“Cannabis tourism” could be ending in Amsterdam. That is if mayor Femke Halsema is able to ban foreign tourists from the city’s coffee shops by the time coronavirus travel restrictions are lifted.
The city of Amsterdam is trying to clean its image up and is aiming to stop its key tourist attraction: Coffee shops.
“The power of attraction of Amsterdam as a holiday resort for soft drug tourism,” is what Halsema wrote in a recent letter to her city council.
Halsema, who is Amsterdam’s first female mayor, has a plan that is expected to be passed and would permit marijuana product sales only to Dutch nationals and residents of the Netherlands. The plan is supported by local police and prosecutors.
Halsema says she also expects support from the business community as many entrepreneurs in the city center are not liking Amsterdam’s reputation for unrestricted access to sex and drugs.
“The cannabis market is too big and overheated,” Halsema said to Bloomberg. “I want to shrink the cannabis market and make it manageable. The residence condition is far-reaching, but I see no alternative.”
“Coffee shops, especially in the center, largely run on tourists,” Halsema explained. “The increase in tourism has only increased demand” and attracted hard-drug criminality in the process.
Research by Amsterdam’s government has found that coffee shops were the reason for 57% of foreign visitors to the area. The city is home to 166 coffee shops.
“We can be an open, hospitable and tolerant city, but also a city that makes life difficult for criminals and slows down mass tourism,” said the mayor.
With Covid-19 lockdown measures, nonessential shops, including coffee shops, are currently closed in Amsterdam.