As the mayor of Amsterdam has submitted a proposal to ban non-residents from being able to purchase cannabis products at any of the city’s 166 marijuana-tolerant coffee houses – also known as coffeeshops – starting in 2022. The initiative, she says, is designed to prevent foreign visitors from viewing Amsterdam as a destination for "soft drug tourism."
Mayor Halsema’s latest proposal comes after previous initiatives to help curb so-called "party" tourism. In 2018, officials attempted to crack down on excessive partying and bachelor parties by proposing bans on beer bikes and boozy boat trips, partially through a campaign designed to raise awareness of "what is allowed and – more importantly – what is not allowed in Amsterdam."
Moreover, in 2019, Halsema and Deputy Mayor Udo Kock also pushed for increased restrictions on guided tours through the city’s famed red-light district.
CHANGING THE IMAGE
Mayor Femke Halsema wants to attract tourists to Amsterdam for its cultural history, not its coffee shops.
"We need to change the international image of Amsterdam as the drugs capital of the world and if we do that I believe we will draw a different crowd and make sure the city becomes more liveable."
Union leader along with many other not convinced by the proposals to ban foreign tourists from coffee shops claims that it could take the drugs trade to the street.
Joachim Helms, of the Bond van Cannabis Detallisten, which represents coffeeshop owners, believes tourists will keep returning to Amsterdam.
"What the people who made this plan don't realise is that cannabis is a popular product that people enjoy worldwide.
"People want to smoke their joint. If that can't happen in a coffee shop, then they will buy it on the street."
Bans have already been introduced in Maastricht and Den Bosch following complaints of excessive numbers of pot-smokers from Belgium, Germany and France.
A survey, conducted by the Research, Information and Statistics Department, found that footfall of tourist would be reduced to 42% only More than one in ten said they would never visit Amsterdam again.
One in five (22 per cent) said they would get someone else to go to the shop to buy it for them, while 18 per cent said they would find other ways to buy it.
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