After the coronavirus pandemic, tourists hoping to light up a restaurant in a famous coffee shop in Amsterdam may be disappointed. Soon, all coffee shops in the Dutch capital may no longer be allowed to sell cannabis to foreign customers.
The mayor of Amsterdam Femke Halsema proposed a plan on Friday that the city is expected to pass the plan, which only allows the sale of cannabis products to Dutch nationals and Dutch residents. Ms. Halsema wants to prevent young tourists from coming to Amsterdam just to smoke marijuana and disrupt the criminal organization that controls the drug trade.
Amsterdam, like Barcelona and Venice, has increasingly difficult relationships with many of these tourists because people complain that they are flooding historic areas, and short-term accommodation for them is creating a housing shortage for local residents.
In 2019, a total of 46 million people visited the Netherlands, and most of them came to Amsterdam.
Many of these tourists are usually young and have a small budget. Their main purpose in coming to Amsterdam is to visit one of the 166 coffee shops throughout Amsterdam, where the sale of cannabis products can be tolerated. The entire industry has developed around such tourists, providing them with a variety of services, from T-shirts that say “I went to Amsterdam, but I can’t remember”, to selling drops to stone-throwing tourists. There is a pancake shop of Nutella.
A study commissioned by the city showed that 57% of foreigners visiting the center of Amsterdam said that visiting coffee shops was a “very important reason” for their visit.
However, a paradox of the Dutch law on cannabis stipulates that, except for personal consumption, the production, storage and distribution of the drug are all illegal. This means that the only source of cannabis resold in large quantities in the Netherlands is criminal enterprises.
The widespread illegal trade in marijuana laid the foundation for a thriving underground drug economy, where organized drug gangs also fought for the cocaine or amphetamine markets and assassinated competitors on the streets of Amsterdam.
Ms. Halsema said: “Amsterdam is still an open, tolerant and hospitable city, but we want to end the destructive influence of criminal organizations.”
According to Ms. Halsema’s plan, the number of coffee shops in Amsterdam will be reduced to 66, but they will be able to legally purchase and store more inventory in return.
Andre van Houten, a coffee shop owner, said his industry was blamed on the behavior of a group of British people (usually men) who took low-cost airline flights and were intoxicated in the red light district. Keep downtown residents away from sleep.
“Here, is it drugs or alcohol? What is the problem?” he asked while working at his coffee shop, Chapiteau. Since the Netherlands has been under lockdown since December 14 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, he currently only provides takeaway marijuana and joints.
He said: “We are always responsible for all the mistakes that happen in this city.” “And how do I check the source of someone? They might as well put a policeman at our door.”
Since 2005, some cities in the southern Netherlands have been trying to implement regulations that restrict coffee shops from selling coffee to Dutch residents and nationals. Current local laws aim to curb drug tourists who drive in from Belgium, France and Germany.
Amsterdam is currently home to 30% of all coffee shops in the Netherlands. On weekends, even during the pandemic, young people from neighboring countries drove to the city to buy marijuana.
“Multiple sclerosis. Halselma is very brave to solve this problem,” said Els Iping, who was once a councillor of the city of Amsterdam, also in order to get more information between residents and tourists in the city center. Activist with good balance. “Amsterdam will no longer be the coffee shop of the world, which is really great.”
Ard van Duijvenbode wrote this article in Amsterdam.