Tuesday 05 July 2022

Councillors oppose Amsterdam cannabis cafe tourist ban plan

Amsterdam councillors are not convinced of the need to close the city’s cannabis cafes to tourists and fear an increase in street dealing if the plan goes ahead, the Parool reported on Wednesday.

Mayor Femke Halsema said on Monday that she wanted to press ahead with introducing a residents only rule for the city’s 166 licenced so-called coffee shops, in order to make the cannabis market more manageable.

The residents-only rule already operates in the rest of the country.

Halsema said the move is necessary to combat crime and to make sure that tourists who only come to the city to smoke stay away. She also sees it as an important move ahead of experiments to regulate marijuana production, which aim to remove the gray area between licenced sales and illegal growing.

Street

But councillors from the three parties in talks on forming a new coalition are opposed to the move, saying it will only move the problem to the street. ‘It will tempt youngsters… to earn money and this is not what we want,’ GroenLinks councillor Imane Nadif told the Parool.

Amsterdam is also short of 300 police officers and 20 wardens, making enforcing a ban difficult, the paper said.

The PvdA, the biggest party on the city council after last month’s vote, is willing to support the residents-only rule as long as there is sufficient capacity to enforce it, and this is not currently the case, spokesman Sofyan Mbark said.

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