The Amsterdam, Netherlands city council is expected to vote against a proposal to ban tourists and other visitors from consuming cannabis in coffee shops, WION reports. The official vote is Wednesday but coffee shop owners and representatives, and researchers vocalized their opposition during a debate last week.
The plan was first announced in 2020 by Mayor Femke Halsema but Amsterdam had secured a legal exception. Halsema – along with the police chief and public prosecutor – wants to slow the growth of the gray-market ‘soft drugs’ industry, address acute annoyances expressed by residents, and combat criminality, the report says.
There are more than 100 coffee shops that serve tourists.
During the debate last week, Fatihya Abdi, Labour PvdA politician, said she would oppose the plan because officials could not offer “adequate guarantees” that action would be taken to prevent street dealing.
Denk party leader and councilor Sheher Khan said there was little evidence to support the idea that soft drugs helped the hard drug trade and that as long as there is demand for cannabis, there would be street dealing, which could lead to more criminality than the sales that occurred in the coffee shops.
A report published in April for the Bond van Cannabis Detaillisten business group found just under half of the tourists came for cannabis, and 24% would still come, even if they were prohibited from accessing cannabis.
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