Article by Sam Riches, Growth Op
Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema has a new vision for the city once tourism resumes.
Halsema, who began serving a six-year term as mayor in 2018, has put forward a proposal that would ban tourists from visiting the city’s cannabis coffee shops, reports CNN.
In a letter dated January 8, Halsema lays out her proposal, which includes increased regulations for the coffee shops, such as preventing them from becoming chains, as well as restricting access to local citizens.
The proposal has garnered a mixed reaction, reports Dutch News. Halsema will discuss the plan with city councillors later this month.
Halsema told The Guardian that too many cannabis shops had proliferated and some have links to organized crime.
“Amsterdam is an international city and we wish to attract tourists — but for its richness, its beauty and its cultural institutions,” Halsema said, adding that the city would still remain “open, hospitable and tolerant” to the shops.
Some jurisdictions in the Netherlands have already established similar tourist bans, such as Maastricht and Den Bosch, which sought to cut back on the number of cannabis tourists visiting from Belgium, Germany and France.
According to The Guardian, there are currently 166 cannabis cafes in Amsterdam. A government study found that the city would support fewer than 70 if visitors were barred from entering the shops.