Amsterdam’s Mayor has hatched a plan that would see tourists banned from the city’s iconic cannabis coffee shops.
Femke Halsema, Mayor of the Dutch capital, said the move is the only option in the city’s fight to get a grip on the local ‘soft drug market’, according to Dutch News.
Last week, Halsema told city councillors there is a worrying connection between the ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ drug trade, stressing that money from the lucrative cannabis trade can easily contribute to the sale of hard drugs.
“Many of the major problems in the city are fueled by the cannabis market: from nuisance caused by drug tourism to serious crime and violence,” she said.
“Banning sales to tourists is a necessary intervention… and the first step towards regulation.”
The new ‘residents only’ rule Halsema wants to see imposed on Amsterdam’s 166 licenced ‘coffee shops’ already operates in the rest of the country.
Research conducted by the country’s government revealed that 58 per cent of international tourists who travelled to Amsterdam chose the Netherlands’ capital in order to consume drugs, according to Halsema.
At the same time, another study revealed that Amsterdam would support fewer than 70 coffee shops if only locals were served.
However, councillors from three parties have so far opposed the move, and said it will only encourage tourists to purchase cannabis products illegally.
“It will tempt youngsters… to earn money and this is not what we want,” GroenLinks councillor Imane Nadif told local news.
The PvdA, the largest party on the city council, are willing to back the ‘residents only’ rule only if the city is able to enforce it, and this is not currently the case, a spokesperson for the party told Dutch News.
Featured image: iStock/Reptile8488