The mayor of Amsterdam has submitted a proposal to ban non-residents from being able to purchase cannabis products at any of the city’s 166 marijuana-tolerant coffee houses – also known as coffeeshops – starting in 2022. The initiative, she says, is designed to deter foreign visitors from viewing Amsterdam as a destination for "soft drug tourism."
"Amsterdam is an international city and we wish to attract tourists – but for its richness, its beauty and its cultural institutions," wrote Mayor Femke Halsema in a recent letter to the Amsterdam city council, The Guardian reports.
Under the new measure, only residents of the Netherlands would be allowed to purchase small amounts of marijuana within the city’s coffeeshops. Such regulations are already in place in other major Dutch cities since 2013, though Amsterdam was granted an exception at the time, according to Dutch news outlet NRC.
Without foreign tourists, only around 68 of the 166 coffeeshops in Amsterdam would need to remain operation to meet the demand of Dutch residents, according to research commissioned by the city of Amsterdam, and cited by NRC. The new regulations, if adopted, would be introduced via a phased approach in 2022.
Mayor Halsema’s latest proposal comes after previous initiatives to help curb so-called "party" tourism. In 2018, officials attempted to crack down on excessive partying and bachelor parties by proposing bans on beer bikes and boozy boat trips, partially through a campaign designed to raise awareness of "what is allowed and – more importantly – what is not allowed in Amsterdam."
In 2019, Halsema and Deputy Mayor Udo Kock also pushed for increased restrictions on guided tours through the city’s famed red-light district. "We are banning tours that take visitors along sex workers’ windows, not only because we want to prevent overcrowding in the red-light district, but also because it is not respectful to sex workers," said Kock at the time, per The New York Times. "It is outdated to treat sex workers as a tourist attraction."
Currently, international travelers are "strongly encouraged" to avoid travel to the Netherlands unless necessary. Incoming travelers with essential business in the country need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result and quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.