Amsterdam Mayor Considers Banning Tourists from Cannabis Shops

The mayor of Amsterdam is considering banning tourists from buying cannabis in a reported effort to clean up the city’s overcrowded red-light district.

Full story after the jump.

Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema is considering banning tourists from buying cannabis in the city’s coffee shops, according to a Guardian report. In a survey, 34 percent of tourist respondents said they would come back less often if they were not allowed to use cannabis – and that’s precisely what the mayor wants as she seeks to clean up the overcrowded red-light district. Another 11 percent said they would never visit again.

Cannabis is not legal in Amsterdam, rather the city has a “policy of tolerance.” However, the survey showed that the ban would not stop all visitors from using cannabis. Among respondents of all nationalities, 40 percent indicated they would not use “hashish or weed” during their visits if such a ban was enforced, while 22 percent said they would have someone else go to the coffee shop to purchase products for them, and 18 percent said they would find another way to buy cannabis while in the city. 57 percent of respondents said the coffee shops played an important role in their decision to visit Amsterdam.

Halsema indicated she wanted “a study this year to reduce the attraction of cannabis to tourists and the (local) regulation of the back door … A clear separation of markets between hard drugs and soft drugs has great urgency because of the hardening of the trade in hard drugs.”

In 2018, Dutch officials announced a three-phase “experiment” to legally supply the Netherlands’ cannabis coffee shops with products and the cities that would take part in the experiment were announced late last year; however, Amsterdam is not participating in the project since they are home to about 170 coffee shops and the trial requires that all sellers cooperate with the experiment.

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