Why Amsterdam is Saying No to Cannabis Cafes

This move, championed by police and prosecutors, will combat over-tourism, and result in a contraction in the number of tourists predicating their trips around its 166 cafes
Post sundown vibes in Amsterdam
Post sundown vibes in Amsterdam

In an attempt at dissuading tourists and mitigating the predicament of organised crime and drug trade, Amsterdam is gearing up to declare its cannabis-dealing outlets out-of-bounds for non-Dutch residents.

Predicted to take centre-stage in 2022, this ban is being spearheaded by environmentalist mayor Femke Halsema.

According to a survey, 57% of tourists visit Amsterdam for its cannabis-selling cafes and around 34% claimed that they weren&rsquot sure whether they&rsquod schedule another trip if these cafes were banned, while 11% say they wouldn&rsquot return if they were deemed off-limits for non-residents.

These statistics substantiate the fact that Amsterdam&rsquos cannabis outlets are a primary area of interest for travellers, and a number of individuals plan their trips to the capital in order to avail of its cannabis-serving facilities. According to a report in Forbes, these outlets, accompanied by the capital&rsquos Red Light District, see about 10 lakh travellers per month (pre-COVID, of course). That number exceeds Amsterdam&rsquos permanent population. 

In 2018, the Dutch capital witnessed the arrival of 19 million people. It&rsquos predicted that this number will ascend to a whopping 2.9 crore by 2025, according to a Guardian report. 

On January 8, 2021, mayor Halsema proposed a &lsquoresident criterion&rsquo to the Council via a letter. This proposition insinuates that the residents of Amsterdam, and no one else, will be allowed to access its cafes. For non-residents, the cafes are off-limits. &ldquoThe cannabis market is too big and overheated,&rdquo Halsema stated in e-mailed comments, &ldquoI want to shrink the cannabis market and make it manageable. The residence condition is far-reaching, but I see no alternative.&rdquo

This move, championed by police and prosecutors, will combat &lsquoover-tourism&rsquo, and result in a contraction in the number of tourists predicating their trips around its 166 cafes. 

In the past, Amsterdam&rsquos government has attempted at addressing escalating numbers of tourists by inflating taxes, reducing the number of shops in the city, and preventing the institution of new restaurants. These measures didn&rsquot quite deliver. The recent measure&rsquos implementation is supposed to culminate in 2022 following a transitional agreement with shop owners. 

&ldquoWe can be an open, hospitable and tolerant city, but also a city that makes life difficult for criminals and slows down mass tourism,&rdquo Halsema said. While the tourism standstill has taken a toll on the city&rsquos budget, Amsterdam&rsquos first female mayor is adamant at reinventing the sector soon. 

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