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Amsterdam: the mayor wants to ban coffee shops for tourists


The mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, indicated last Monday in a letter addressed to the city council of the city that she wanted to temporarily ban coffee shops for tourists, and reserve the consumption of cannabis to only Dutch people.

This decision by the mayor had already been mentioned in January 2021. According to Femke Halsema, it would be the only option to control the local soft drug market.

The Dutch News newspaper reported that Femke Halsema told councilors there was a ‘worrying interdependence’ between the trade in soft and hard drugs and that ‘money from the lucrative cannabis trade easily ends up in hard drugs’ .

For her, “many of the major problems in the city are fueled by the cannabis market, from nuisance caused by drug tourism to serious crime and violence”.

Hundreds of stores closed

The mayor’s demands were not unanimous, especially among traders in the capital. According to a study published by the office Breuer & Intravalune, such a measure would have serious financial consequences for coffee shops in Amsterdam, since more than three million foreign tourists visit each year.

The study also indicates that such a reduction in demand would involve the closure of around a hundred coffee shops.

Many shops therefore risk being forced to break the law by continuing to sell cannabis to tourists, if they wish to avoid bankruptcy. Finally, street dealers could probably do well by continuing to sell their products to tourists.

The police and the public prosecutor of Amsterdam are convinced that such a measure remains necessary to stem the drug market in general and better supervise that of cannabis.