Amsterdam Bans Cannabis Use on Streets of Red Light District

Amsterdam officials have banned the use of cannabis on the streets of the city’s historic red light district in an attempt to improve the quality of life for local residents.

Full story after the jump.

Officials in Amsterdam, Netherlands are banning the use of cannabis on the streets of the red light district, CNN reports. The new policies include discouraging alcohol in the district as local leaders attempt to improve the quality of life for city residents.

“Residents of the old city center experience a lot of nuisance from mass tourism and alcohol and drug abuse on the street. … Tourists also attract street dealers, who in turn promote criminality and insecurity. Especially at night, the atmosphere can become grim. People who are under the influence also stick around longer. … Residents cannot sleep well and the neighborhood is becoming unsafe and unliveable.” — The Municipality of Amsterdam in a statement via CNN

Alcohol sales in the city are already banned after 4 p.m. Thursday to Sunday and officials may take further steps, requiring alcohol to be hidden from view or removed from stores during those hours. City officials are also considering a ban on take-out purchases of soft drugs at certain times, and banning cannabis smoking at outdoor seating areas of coffee shops. There are 166 so-called coffee shops in Amsterdam, according to Health Ministry and city data.

The reforms were spurned by the “We Live Here” campaign which is meant to make visitors more aware that people live in the red light district and to take this into account, according to the campaign website. Toward the end of last year, residents of the De Wallen neighborhood launched a “stay away” campaign hoping to keep tourists out of the area.

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