The mayor of Amsterdam has introduced a plan to ban cannabis sales to tourists and foreigners in the capital city of the Netherlands. Amsterdam has about 30% of all of the cannabis coffee shops in the Netherlands and in her announcement, Mayor Femke Halsema said she “wants to reduce criminal influences and bring the relationships between residents and visitors more into balance.”
The plan was first announced last year as Halesma said she wanted to clean up the city’s image and the over-crowded red-light district. In 2013, local officials passed a law making coffee shops residents-only but the law has not been enforced.
Joachim Helms, spokesman for the Bond van Cannabis Detaillisten, said that banning non-residents from the coffee shops will only turn them to street dealers and public consumption.
“A more transparent market is a good thing but at the same time this plan is hugely negative for livability in the inner city,” he told Dutch News. “That’s not a good swap.”
Robbert Overmeer, a bar owner and chair of the businessowners’ group BIZ Utrechtsestraat who organized a petition last year to ban non-citizens from coffee shops, told Dutch News that the coffee shops appealed to less desirable tourists. He noted that coffee shops don’t pat VAT and “many are in the hands of hardened criminals.”