Wednesday 05 August 2020

Amsterdam wants to weed out cannabis-flavoured products from tourist shops

Amsterdam wants to crack down on cannabis-flavoured lollies, drinks and gimmicky ‘weed’ products sold in tourist shops.

A council meeting on Thursday evening voted to research how the sale of such products could be reduced or banned in future. Many are thought to be made from hemp oil – which is not restricted – but it is not known if others have any of the psychoactive effects they claim, or are fake in any case.

A motion, submitted by the D66 liberal democrats and CDA Christian democratic parties, said that cannabis-related products should fall under current drug laws, and edible tourist shop stock is widely regarded by tourists as no different from that of coffeeshops.

‘Mass sale of these products contributes to the image of Amsterdam as a tourist drug city, and it would be good to change this image,’ the motion adds.

In addition, it points out that while coffeeshops selling cannabis itself are subject to strict rules about advertising – and cannot use logos of the cannabis leaf, for example – the sale of these spin-off products supposedly containing cannabis extracts is currently uncontrolled.

The two parties have asked the council to look at how to regulate the sale of cannabis products including biscuits, ice creams, cakes, tea, doughnuts, lollies and sweets.

Monoculture

Alexander Hammelburg, city centre spokesman for D66 who submitted the motion, told DutchNews.nl that the party wants the mayor to ban the sale of these products altogether, to improve diversity and the quality of tourists in the city.

‘We are facing a large struggle against what we call the monoculture of retail in the city, which is very much geared towards a specific kind of tourism,’ he said. ‘We want to diversify and change the face of the city centre to make it attractive for people living in Amsterdam again.

”We have regulations for coffeeshops that are allowed to sell cannabis but are not allowed by law to advertise or sell cannabis related products like lollies or doughnuts or what have you. At the same time, we see tourist shops all around the city selling those cannabis related products so there’s definitely inequality there.’

Before the lockdown, Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema announced that she wanted to make cannabis less of a tourist attraction and crack down on the illegal supply chain, and a national experiment is ongoing into whether legalised cannabis growing would reduce criminality.

Proposals to require a local resident’s permit to buy weed in Amsterdam have been considered, but rejected in the past.

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