In a letter addressed to the city council on April 11, the Mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, announced her wish to prohibit tourists from accessing cannabis as crimes linked to the drug market keep increasing.
The mayor wishes to ban the sale and consumption of cannabis to tourists.
The environmentalist mayor of Amsterdam said she wants to ban the sale and consumption of cannabis to tourists.
“Many of the city’s major problems are fueled by the cannabis market: from nuisance caused by drug tourism to serious crime and violence. Banning the sale to tourists is a necessary intervention and a first step towards regulation,” explained the mayor in the Dutch News newspaper.
The mayor plans to allow the sale of cannabis products only to residents of the Netherlands.
“There is a worrying interdependence between the trade in soft and hard drugs: money from the lucrative cannabis trade easily finds its way into hard drugs,” says Femke Halsema.
Cannabis is a top tourist attraction in Amsterdam.
Coffee shops are one of the main tourist attractions in Amsterdam, especially in the Red Light District, where prostitution is everywhere. More than three million tourists visit these coffee shops to buy cannabis every year.
In an article published on April 16, the newspaper Het Paroo stated, “the drug economy is in full swing, and young boys are increasingly involved in serious crimes.” Moreover, Amsterdam is an important hub for the international cocaine trade.
“A large part of the production, trade, and distribution are organized from this city. The municipality of Amsterdam is confronted with thousands of street dealers. The police report not only a rejuvenation but also a hardening in the young people with whom they come into contact,” notes the newspaper.
“Criminals have become more ruthless in recent years. Assassination orders are given not only for commercial reasons but also for motives such as revenge, demonstrating power, and instilling fear,” said Mayor Femke Halsema during a presentation of the city’s security report.
According to the Dutch press, the most striking example is the death of Peter. R. de Vries, a journalist specializing in criminal matters who was shot dead in the city center of Amsterdam in July 2021.
The ban could prevent tourism from growing further.
In 2020, a survey carried out by the Amsterdam’s Office of Research, Information, and Statistics found that 11% of tourists said they would never return to Amsterdam again if cannabis were banned.
The town hall wishes to favor the inhabitants’ quality of life rather than encourage a flood of tourists. “Amsterdam is an international city, and we want to attract tourists – but for its wealth, beauty, and cultural institutions,” said Femke Halsema in The Guardian in early 2021.