Amsterdam’s coffeeshops will continue to welcome tourists

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The Amsterdam City Council voted last week in the General Affairs Committee against the introduction of Criterion I, the residency criterion, and with it the ban on coffeeshops for tourists, which had been imagined by the current mayor of Amsterdam, Femka Halsema.

Most political groups, including the left-wing coalition PvdA, GroenLinks and D66, opposed the introduction of the Residence Criteria and thus the banning of coffeeshops for tourists.

“We are planning a massive transfer to street trading. We believe it is not wise to go for millions of illegal drug deals,” said Rob Hofland (D66), who spoke out against the plan.

Trip to Amsterdam: our selection of coffeeshops

But he also proposed a strict control framework:

“We could ask to inspect the books of account. Coffees that refuse, we can monitor them more strictly. The cafes that participate, we can give them advantages, such as having a larger stock. »

Other proposals were also discussed. Like banning consumption in the streets and intervening in places where there is an overconcentration of coffeeshops. But also against stores that sell products associated with cannabis.

The Council therefore requested that these proposals, as well as those of the coffeeshop industry itself, be considered.

Mayor Halsema responds

In response to the proposals and the rejected plan, Femke Halsema explained to the council that she wants to reduce the demand for cannabis in the city.

“None of your proposals reduce this demand,” the mayor said. “The solutions you propose are not related to the problem we identify. We must not have excessive expectations regarding the prohibition of consumption in the street. »

She continued: “There is so much money in this market that it is attractive for serious crime to invest in it. »

Ms Halsema also slammed opponents of her plan. “You rely solely on your intuition. Our studies show that the number of tourists, who come to the city to consume, will decrease and that they will also come less often. »

The mayor warned against closing cafes. “We don’t do it just like that. If you reduce the number of cafes, without doing anything about the number of people who buy there, the turnover of a small number of cafes increases. It’s easier to do something about favoritism. »

The return of the “i-criterion”?

Now that there is definitely no majority, Criterion I should be dropped. Mayor Halsema, however, wishes to keep it in mind.

“No hard feelings, but it’s simmering. We let Criterion I simmer in your head,” she said.

Reacting to the AT5 article, Simone van Breda, president of the coffeeshop union, therefore wrote on LinkedIn: “I think the article is slightly premature. But we are cautiously positive. It has yet to be submitted to the board, but there is no majority on the board for Criterion I so far. »

The municipality, together with the police and the Amsterdam public prosecutor, will now write a letter to respond to the proposals of the city council and the coffeeshop industry.

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