Amsterdam’s Loss To Be A Gain For Cannabis Tourism in Toronto?

Article by Jane Stevenson, Toronto Sun

Toronto & GTACannabisCanada Amsterdam's loss to be a gain for cannabis tourism in Toronto? Author of the article:Jane Stevenson Marijuana plants grow at a facility October 29, 2019. PHOTO BY BLAIR GABLE /REUTERS The doors of Amsterdam’s cannabis coffee shops have long been open to Canadians and other tourists. But that may change.

The doors of Amsterdam’s cannabis coffee shops have long been open to Canadians and other tourists.

But that may change.

Femke Halsema, mayor of the Netherlands’ capital, wants to restrict tourist access to its 166 cannabis-selling coffee shops, according toBloomberg News.

Under Halsema’s proposal — supported by police and prosecutors — only Dutch residents would be allowed to enter the shops in an attempt to tackle problems associated with hard drugs,  organized crime linked to the marijuana trade, and the city being overrun by tourists on the weekends.

The bad news is the restrictions show demand from cannabis from Dutch residents would only support 68 coffee shops, according to a government study.

“I want to shrink the cannabis market and make it manageable,” Halsema said in emailed comments to Bloomberg News.

“The residence condition is far-reaching, but I see no alternative.”

Ed Kim, who’s been operating since October 2018 when recreational weed became legal in Canada, said Halsema’s plan would definitely affect Amsterdam’s tourism negatively.

He said it remains to be seen if it would redirect cannabis-seeking tourists to Toronto where  cannabis stores are allowed.

“I don’t know if it’ll help the Toronto side because we don’t have any weed cafes open because right now the legislation is you can’t consume onsite,” said Kim.

“I know LPs (licensed producers) are pushing for that change, but right now there’s not cannabis cafes, per se. Down the line, yes. It was all supposed to happen this year and then COVID just kind of blew that all up. Will it increase the tourism rate? I would think so.”

Back in February 2020, BNN-Bloomberg reported the Ontario government was soliciting input about potentially permitting cannabis consumption in lounges — likely cannabis-infused drinks and edibles only. There was no timeline provided on a decision.

Halsema, who submitted the plan to the Amsterdam council recently, expects the policy to go into force in 2022 at the earliest. Before COVID, the city attracted more than 1 million visitors monthly — more than its permanent population.

Read the full article here.

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