Amsterdam’s Mayor, Femke Halsema, has proposed closing the city’s world-famous coffee shops to the throngs of cannabis tourists. Her stated reasoning is that there is a ‘worrying interdependence’ between the trade in soft and hard drugs and that ‘money from the lucrative cannabis trade easily ends up in hard drugs’. Of course, the move is being met with opposition, particularly from traders.
The mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, indicated last Monday in a letter addressed to the city council of the city that she wanted to temporarily ban coffee shops for tourists, and reserve the consumption of cannabis to only Dutch people.
This decision by the mayor had already been mentioned in January 2021. According to Femke Halsema, closing coffee shops would be the only option to control the local soft drug market.
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Coffee Shops Claimed to Show “Worrying Interdependence” with Hard Drugs
The Dutch News newspaper reported that Femke Halsema told councilors there was a ‘worrying interdependence’ between the trade in soft and hard drugs and that ‘money from the lucrative cannabis trade easily ends up in hard drugs’.
She claims that coffee shops are at the heart of the problem, stating that “many of the major problems in the city are fueled by the cannabis market, from nuisance caused by drug tourism to serious crime and violence”.
Hundreds of Coffee Shops Closed
The mayor’s demands to close coffee shops were not unanimous, especially among traders in the capital. According to a study published by the office Breuer & Intravalune, such a measure would have serious financial consequences for coffee shops in Amsterdam, since more than three million foreign tourists visit each year.
The study also indicates that such a reduction in demand would involve the closure of around a hundred coffee shops.
Shops Forced to Break the Law
Many coffee shops risk being forced to break the law by continuing to sell cannabis to tourists if they wish to avoid bankruptcy. Finally, street dealers could probably do well by continuing to sell their products to tourists.
The Amsterdam police and public prosecutor remain convinced that the coffee shop measure is still necessary to stem the drug market in general and better regulate the cannabis market.
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