Amsterdam will not ban tourists from coffee shops

Good news for those who visit the Dutch capital not only for its beautiful canals and famous museums, but also to visit one - or more - of its many coffeeshops. Amsterdam's mayor Eberhard van der Laan stated in Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant that despite new regulation, coffeeshops will remain open for tourists.

The new cabinet is pressing ahead with banning non-residents from the country's cannabis cafes, but says enforcing the ban will be carried out together with local councils, taking local policy into account. At least 1.5 million of the city's 7 million anual visitors pay a visit to a coffeeshop.

Coffeeshop owners - particularly in the south of the Netherlands - remain sceptical about the revised plans. The new regulation can still require visitors to register at a coffeeshop before they're allowed to enter. Border towns were already forced to implement this system almost a year ago, resulting in a huge drop of visitors, forcing many coffeeshops to fire staff members or to close altogether. It also led to a surge in street dealing and other drug-related crimes. The Councillor of Venlo, Hay Janssen, reported earlier this year that the south of the country is now suffering from a 'tsunami of drug runners'.

What's more, the recently unfolded plans by the new cabinet also include a - still to-be-determined - limit for active substances in cannabis sold in coffeeshops. In plans by the outgoing cabinet this limit was set to a maximum allowed THC percentage of 15%. Last year already, the Dutch association for Coffeeshops VOC deemed this measure unnecessary and extremely hard to enforce.

Also see: Dutchnews.nl