Earlier this week, the Netherlands announced plans for new regulations that effectively ban tourists from visiting the ‘coffee shops’ where drugs are openly smoked.
Marijuana was never fully legal in Amsterdam, however it was tolerated and has been sold for decades in designated cafés and police make no arrests for possession of small amounts.
The main cause of concern comes from tourists buying and transporting drugs out of the Netherlands.
“In order to tackle the nuisance and criminality associated with coffee shops and drug trafficking, the open-door policy of coffee shops will end,” Dutch Health and Justice ministers wrote in a letter to the country’s Parliament on Friday.
Under the new laws, Dutch citizens will be required to buy a “Dope Pass” in order to purchase marijuana from the coffe shops located around Amsterdam.
The policy should be taking effect some time next year and will end up affecting the business of over 200 marijuana cafés in the Netherlands.
An estimated 40 percent of Amsterdam’s 16 million annual visitors are “drug tourists” who have already begun to react to the new law. Tourism has already taken a hit and so have the businesses in the area.
We wonder if the Dutch government has taken into consideration that most tourists don’t visit Amsterdam to ride around on bicycles and take a tour of Anne Frank’s house and the Heineken brewery.
The majority of people who visit Amsterdam are looking to indulge in the marijuana or sex industry, which has also been getting cutbacks recently.
We understand that no city wants to be known as the place where the world comes to get their party and freak on, but at this point you may as well embrace what you’ve got and find the best way to capitalize on it!
A packed “Coffee Shop” in Amsterdam before the ban.
A Coffee Shop Menu in Amsterdam.
The Bulldog is one of Amsterdam’s well known Coffee Shops that sells marijuana.
The Ladies in Amsterdam’s “Red Light District.”
Tourists at the Heineken Brewery.