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Amsterdam to Consider Banning Tourists from Purchasing Cannabis

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In an effort to clean up the famous red-light district, Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema announced her plan to not allow foreigners to purchase cannabis. The new plan comes shortly after Mayor Halsema announced tours to watch prostitutes pose in windows will be banned on April 1.

Halsema backed her plan by sending a letter to councilors with survey results attached that showed one-third of foreign tourists and nearly half of Britons wouldn’t visit again if they weren’t able to purchase cannabis in coffee shops. The city attracts nearly 17 million visitors per year, and the municipality wants to keep tourists from taking advantage of the city’s lax stance on cannabis. Amsterdam previously tried to ban British nationals from entering coffee shops amid the Brexit fallout last year.

“For British visitors, coffee shops by far are the most frequently mentioned main reason to come to Amsterdam (33 percent),” said the research, information and statistics office. “They cite walking or cycling through the city less often as the main reason (21 percent) than the average (32 percent) and, on the contrary, more often indicate that a cheap trip was the main reason (11 percent compared with six percent on average).”

The mayor is hoping to deal with the issue of the Netherlands’ drug laws, which allows for the legal sales of cannabis from coffee shops, but it’s illegal to produce the cannabis plant. She also said she wanted a study this year to reduce the attraction of cannabis to tourists and the (local) regulation of the back door . . . A clear separation of markets between hard drugs and soft drugs has great urgency because of the hardening of the trade-in hard drugs.”

The news comes a year after the Netherlands considered banning prostitution after receiving 40,000 signatures on a petition.