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Amsterdam mayor considers banning tourists from buying cannabis

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Amsterdam mayor considers banning tourists from buying cannabis
Copyright  ALEXANDER KLEIN / AFP
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Amsterdam's mayor is looking at banning tourists from buying cannabis in the city's coffee shops.

It is one of the solutions Femke Halsema, elected in 2018, is considering to solve the problem of the overcrowding in the city's red-light district.

Halsema has published a report showing that a third of foreign tourists would be less likely to visit Amsterdam again if they couldn't buy cannabis in coffee shops.

Amsterdam has trouble coping with massive tourists crowds in its city centre, especially the red-light district where coffee shops abound.

In a letter to the council announcing her resolve to reduce the number of coffee shops, Halsema referred to a recently published report from the Dutch office for Research, Information and Statistics that found that tourism would decrease with the implementation of such a policy.

Asked if they would come back to Amsterdam if foreign tourists were banned from entering coffee shops, 34% of respondents said they would visit less often and 11% said they would not be back.

22% said that if barred from entering, they would ask someone else to go into the coffee shop and 18% said they would seek another way to buy drugs.

Dutch Office for Information, Research and Statistics

Up to 44% of Brits, 50% of Germans and 45% of French tourists said they would no longer visit Amsterdam if they could not enter coffee shops, which would cut the tourism crowd from these countries by almost half.

42% of Brits said they would come to Amsterdam less often, while the French and the Germans would be 36%.

Respondents to the survey were aged 18 to 35 and in their majority (57%) see coffee shops as one of their main reasons to visit the city.