The decades-long acceptance of cannabis that Amsterdam once had may come to an end after its government is considering placing a ban on the public consumption of cannabis and other soft drugs around popular tourist areas.
On Thursday, Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema wrote a letter to the city council mentioning that the municipality has received a lot of complaints from nearby businesses and residents about excessive crowds and nuisances caused by tourism. Residents report having issues sleeping and are overall worried about their quality of life and safety.
The cannabis ban could start this May if approved and will only cover the De Wallen area which includes the Red Light District.
Halsema said implementation of the ban is complex but the city will be enforcing the changes and violations will be addressed as much as possible.
“As an enforcement line, it has been agreed that violations will be addressed as much as possible, repeated warnings will be issued and excesses will only be verbalized. Where possible, joint enforcement actions will be carried out,” she wrote in the letter.
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The municipality will look into whether a ban on soft drug sales from 4 p.m.-1 a.m. from Thursday to Sunday is feasible and enforceable. If the ban is not enough to ease the locals’ nuisances, the city will examine if smoking on coffee shop terraces can be banned.
The local government is also wanting to tackle and remove street dealers and has placed signs for tourists warning them about illegal sales. Last year, the city also tightened alcohol sales and closing times for sex services.
The windows in the Red Light District and some sex services can stay open until 6 a.m. on weekends but the city wants to limit that to 3 a.m. starting in April. Also, restaurants, cafes, and sex businesses where food and beverages are served would have to close by 2 a.m. on the weekends, instead of 3 a.m. or 4 a.m.