Tourists may no longer be able to puff, puff, pass in Amsterdam if mayor Femke Halsema gets her way. Halsema is pushing to ban foreign tourists from the city’s coffee shops once coronavirus travel restrictions are lifted, marking an end to “Cannabis tourism” in the city.
Amsterdam’s “coffee shops”, (meaning cafes that sell cannabis) along with its world-famous red-light district, have for years been major attractions for tourists. The city has 166 cannabis coffee shops, which accounts for almost 30% of the Netherlands’ coffee shops.
In a recent letter to her city council on January 8, Halsema explains that she and many locals are tired of “the power of attraction of Amsterdam as a holiday resort for soft drug tourism.”
She proposes to make marijuana product sales available only to Dutch nationals and residents of the Netherlands, which she believes will also help control the “coffee shop” supply chain.
“I want to shrink the cannabis market and make it manageable,” the mayor wrote. “A far-reaching plan, but I see no alternative.”
“Amsterdam is an international city and we want to welcome tourists, but we would like tourists who come for the wealth of the city, for its beauty, for its cultural institutions,” Halsema told Dutch public television.
The mayor has the support of the public prosecutor, the police and the business community as they want to change the city’s reputation as a wild place to party and do drugs, reports Forbes.
This “residents only” approach is currently in place in Maastricht in the south of the Netherlands.