Amsterdam City Council to vote against banning tourists from 'smoking weed' in coffee shops
Amsterdam City Council will vote against a proposal to impose a nationwide ban on visitors smoking marijuana in coffee shops, reports DutchNews.nl. The official vote will take place on Wednesday. During a long debate within the town hall, where residents, researchers and coffee shop representatives also spoke for more than an hour and the majority spoke out against this ban.
The report mentions that a majority of political parties also opposed this policy change.
In April, in a 13-page report, Mayor Mrs. Femke Halsema strongly suggested temporarily banning access to the 166 coffee shops from the city to non-residents. Amsterdam has long since obtained an emergency law, but it is already a national law which is applied in certain areas of the territory.
In this report, the Mayor stated that she, as well as the Attorney General and the Chief of Police, that in order to reduce the growth of the cannabis industry, to remedy the nuisances and to combat the crime induced by this growth, this prohibition had to be applied.
However, Fatihya Abdi, a Labor politician from the PvdA, told a late-night debate that the larger party would ultimately oppose the proposal because there were no "sufficient guarantees" that the city would take action. measures to stem street traffic and enforce the law.
Sheher Khan, Denk party leader and city councillor, added that there was little evidence to support the idea that soft drugs were driving the hard drug trade. His party's main concern is that as long as there is a demand for cannabis, there will be more street trading and more impressionable young people drawn to crime. However, after the debate, it emerged that she would have only eight of the 45 votes from the council, the liberal VVD, the Christian Democrat CDA and the right-wing JA21.
Before the debate, Claire Martens, head of the VVD, told Second News that if he was making it harder to enforce the residents-only law, while increasing the police on the streets, his party thinks that's the best way forward. A significant number of Amsterdam residents have spoken out. Dr Ton Nabben, a criminologist at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, said there is currently a problem with crime, but the argument that a ban on coffee shops to non-residents would solve the problem is unlikely, he added that legalizing and fully controlling the cannabis trade would be more effective. "The flow of tourists will continue despite the ban," he said.
Mark Jacobsen, co-owner of The Rookies Club cafe, said it's more the "drunken and vociferous" tourists who are the problem, not his customers, let's not get this mixed up, I've had a coffee shop for nearly thirty years and as soon as I see customers doing anything, like touching cocaine, I fire them, I don't see any hard drugs in my establishment”.
At the end of the late night debate, however, a concerned Mayor Halsema said she had not given up and was still determined to tackle the illegal backdoor of coffeeshops, where to sell and smoke cannabis. is legal but that commercial cultivation is not: “My friends, this is cooking,” she said.
The official council vote will take place on Wednesday.