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Amsterdam will not ban tourists from coffee shops, says mayor

Thursday 01 November 2012

Tourists can continue to use Amsterdam’s 220 cannabis cafes, even if they are not resident in the Netherlands, the Volkskrant quotes the capital’s mayor Eberhard van der Laan as saying on Thursday.

The new cabinet is pressing ahead with banning non-residents from the country's cannabis cafes, but says enforcing the ban will be carried out together with local councils, taking local policy into account.

This means the city can take its own line, the Volkskrant says. At least 1.5 million of the city’s seven million visitors a year go to a coffee shop – the name for licenced cafes where small quantities of marijuana can be sold for personal use.


The outgoing cabinet introduced its new wietpas system in the south of the country in May and had planned to extend it nationwide in January 2013. The new coalition is dropping the registration system but still wants to keep out tourists.

But excluding tourists from Amsterdam's coffee shops will 'undo all the good work that has been done' and lead to a return to street dealing, Van der Laan told the paper.

At the same time, Van der Laan has promised justice minister Ivo Opstelten to take a tough line on coffee shops which cause a public nuisance and to reduce marijuana use by youngsters.

'Sales to minors, too strong marijuana, no advertising or public nuisance - we are going to keep a close eye on it all,' Van der Laan says.

The mayor also backs the new government's plans to set a maximum limit to the amount of THC - the active ingredient in marijuana. 'Health is paramount. I have seen the damage it can do,' Van der Laan told the paper.

No green light

However, a spokesman for the justice ministry told news agency ANP later on Thursday Van der Laan had not had permission from Opstelten to ignore the new rules and that the mayor has jumped to conclusions.

While the approach to each city would be tailor-made, it had not yet been decided how the new rules would be implemented, the spokesman said.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Yes!!! yes yes yes yes!!!

By AmDan | 2 November 2012 1:43 PM

I will say one thing for Opstelten, he doesn't know when he's beaten.

By Nika | 2 November 2012 2:28 PM

In both cases, ban or not ban, dutch government and ban fans, look ridiculous. The image of the country is jeopardized in any case. I won't come back to a place where someone tried to discriminate me.

By jim | 2 November 2012 4:17 PM

Whatever they do to get rid of the filth and seedy that proliferate in the most touristic areas of Amsterdam, I'm for it. Those areas have awesome architecture and landscape, but Netherlands should send a loud, clear message that junkies from abroad are not welcomed and shouldn't come.

By Andre L. | 2 November 2012 4:57 PM

If you had the the UN, the US Gov, its UK lap dogs, their pharmaceutical and incarcerations industries, law enforcement interests, etc., etc., etc. on your side, you'd probably feel confident enough to pretend you hadn't been beaten, too!

By McD Dunderdale | 2 November 2012 5:00 PM

Good news at last, BRAVO!!

Opstelten has yet to tell us all the REAL reason/s he wants to destroy the thriving business of the soft drug retail biz. How can you trust a man like that!?

By The visitor | 2 November 2012 6:29 PM

Im from Scotland and visit Amsterdam 2-3 times a year to spend my hard earned overtime money at Kadinsky coffeeshop. The Dutch economy will continue to benefit for years to come!! A great decision, delighted.

By Duncan S. | 2 November 2012 8:56 PM

By tolerating weed and resin sales in coffeeshops NL has the only effective war on the junkie street dealers on the Planet. Coffeeshops have a zero tolerance of drugs like heroin that protects youngsters from becoming junkies. Every Amsterdam tourist I speak with reports they rarely see junkies there - and THAT is the reason most tourists want to return. But the idea strong weed is the same heroin needs to be shown as scientific fact, not just political opinion.

By Max Harmreduction | 2 November 2012 11:21 PM

the only jumk here is what you write about tourists, learn some respect for people that bring money to your poor country and make sure you take a course about what racism is. idiots like you are the real problem of your country.

By jim | 3 November 2012 5:06 PM

I have been spending 1 month each year vacationing in Amsterdam. I have a medical marijuana card issued from my home state of AZ, USA. I'm not just a recreational user, I also medicate to relieve severe migraines & eye pressure from glaucoma. My husband & I spend a good deal of money while we are there If the ban is enforced I will have to put an end to our yearly trips to a city we love. I feel if this law is enforced the city & the Netherlands will suffer financially due to lost tourism revenue. Lastly people who frequent coffee shops are pretty mellow unlike rowdy one's who get drunk at bars. Is that ban next?

By DONNA C | 3 November 2012 5:11 PM

You won't come to Netherlands because tourist are (at least in south) banned from coffee shops and you feel discriminated. I wonder whether in your home country marijuana is legal and if people discriminate you for using it.

By Phill | 4 November 2012 9:59 PM

i quote you in full, the proposed ban comes from ignorance and discriminatory politics. there is not even 1 gram of good common sense or practical evaluation. has been proposed so that many ignorant and racists' votes can be gathered by their populist parties. I am starting to suspect that was a bluff to push people to visit the city before the ban to later state that they are changing their mind. in both cases i won't go back there.

By jim | 5 November 2012 12:55 AM

Good decision. Thanks to the Major of Amsterdam, land of freedom.
Keep an eye on alcohol dealers though : this is the real (hard) drug.

By Philippe | 5 November 2012 9:39 AM

in my country, canada, weed is not a criminal offence. is administrative. but the difference between my country and yours, that you little brain failed to catch, is that we DO NOT discriminate dutch tourists. go vote for your populist party now. you lost my money for ever.

By jim | 5 November 2012 5:43 PM

The states of Colorado and Washington approved tonight the legalization of weed sales for pure recreation use.
Now while you count the money you lost...bye bye discriminatory dutch... Denver, we are coming :)

By jim | 7 November 2012 7:27 AM

Thanks Amsterdam, it is great to know that free choice has reigned supreme. As a 50year who visits the Netherlands every year from the other side of the planet, this is great news and much appreciated. The dutch should be proud of this monumental step!

By John | 8 November 2012 9:58 AM

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