Amsterdam mayor threatens (again) to ban cannabis for tourists

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The mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, wants to continue her plan to close the city’s coffeeshops to tourists, believing that this is the only solution to rein in the local cannabis market.

She believes that there is a “worrying interdependence” between the soft drug trade and the hard drug trade and that “money from the lucrative cannabis trade easily finds its way into the hard drugs”.

“Many of the city’s major problems are fueled by the cannabis market: from the nuisance caused by drug tourism to serious crime and violence,” she said.

“The ban on sales to tourists is a necessary intervention… and a first step towards regulation”.

Legal tourism

Every year, some three million foreign tourists visit a coffee shop in Amsterdam, a part of the country where the sale of cannabis is not restricted to residents.

Nonetheless, Femke Halsema says introducing a ban would be the best temporary measure to ensure the cannabis market remains manageable while experiments in regulated cannabis production, with legal production, take hold.

However, the government recently announced that the pilot project had encountered several problems and would not start until 2023. The project, launched five years ago, aimed to remove the gray area between licensed coffee shops and producers, illegal.

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