Source - “Cannabis tourism” may be coming to an end in Amsterdam if the environmentalist mayor Femke Halsema gets her wish to ban foreign tourists from the city's coffee shops by the time coronavirus travel restrictions are lifted.
It’s no secret that the city’s first female mayor, along with many locals, simply has had enough of "the power of attraction of Amsterdam as a holiday resort for soft drug tourism," as Halsema wrote in a recent letter to her city council, included in her new plan expected to be passed that would permit marijuana product sales only to Dutch nationals and residents of the Netherlands.
Before Covid-19 lockdowns, the euphemistically-called coffee shops, along with the renowned red-light district, attracted more than one million visitors a month — more than its permanent population.
A total of 46 million people visited the Netherlands in 2019, with most coming to Amsterdam and many buying and smoking cannabis at the marijuana shops.
Cannabis trade has become “too big and overheated,” the mayor has said repeatedly during her campaign to change the fact that Amsterdam, @visitholland, is mostly known as "a place of soft drugs tourism" and a haven for cannabis users around the world.
Instead, she wants to return the city to its international renown as one of the most beautiful in the world with multiple other first-class attractions.
So let me get this straight..you want to "reduce the number of people coming to your city to smoke weed"...because too many people are going to your city to smoke weed? Isn't that the entire point of Amsterdam? Isn't that what you've been marketing yourself as since the 1970s when the Dutch government starting tolerating coffee shops as a way to promote tourism? Don't they host the cannabis cup? Isn't their entire identity weed? Seems kinda strange that they'd want to change that given how hard they've worked to accomplish it...
Regardless, here's what the mayor had to say...
“The Dutch city, in an effort to crack down on growing numbers of low-budget “drug tourists” and organized crime, plans to forbid the sale of marijuana to foreigners in its famed coffee shops,” writes The New York Times.
There’s a drive in the city, known for its liberal attitude regarding drugs and its red-light district, to control the flow of young tourists who arrive with the single intention to smoke marijuana — and to undermine the criminal organizations behind the drug trade.
“We can be an open, hospitable and tolerant city, but also a city that makes life difficult for criminals and slows down mass tourism,” said Mayor Halsema.
The demand for cannabis has kept growing year after year, despite official efforts to promote other tourist activities and to control the numbers of hotels and Airbnb rentals, with "cannabis tourists" being a nuisance particularly around the city center.
Amsterdam wants to reduce the flow of visitors and improve the quality of life for residents. The intolerable masses of budget tourism have exploded over the years as cheaper flights made it a popular weekend destination.
"Reduce the flow of visitors and improve the quality of life for residents." Got it. The good news is, if you're reading this and was planning on going to Amsterdam, you can now just go to Denver instead. Personally, I've never understood the allure of a 'weed vacation, but apparently people are into it. According to the Dutch government 57% of foreign visitors say going to a "coffee shop" was "very important" for them on their trip. Oh well. None of this impacts me so I really don't care. I just thought it was funny how Amsterdam is putting a cap on how many people they're allowing to get high. Hopefully they're able to make up for lost revenue in other areas, although I don't they will. Time will tell!