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Everyone is rushing to legalize weed, but Amsterdam can’t get rid of it fast enough?

Amsterdam prohibits smoking weed in the red light district

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Amsterdam’s red light district has been a haven for tourists looking for liberation of the rules and regulations of their worldly lives. However, the residents of this vibrant region are keen to tone down the wilderness. The City Council recently announced that the use of cannabis would be prohibited on the streets of the Red Light District, citing the noisy and dreary atmosphere that often lingers in the area at night. This new law is set to take effect from mid-May.

According to the council’s statement, Thursday, the residents of the Old City are facing the brunt of excessive tourism and the use of alcohol and drugs in public places. This unfavorable environment also attracts illegal street vendors, which increases crime rates and a general sense of insecurity. The situation worsens during the night when drunk individuals loiter for extended periods, causing sleep disturbances for the residents. Ultimately, this makes the neighborhood uninhabitable and unsafe for the locals.

The council added that a ban on cannabis smoking in the streets would reduce the distress faced by residents. Furthermore, they are exploring the possibility of preventing picking up of light medications during specific hours. If the nuisance continues, the council will consider a possible smoking ban on cafe terraces. As reported by ReutersThe move is part of Amsterdam’s first mayor, Fimke Halsema, to create a more comfortable neighborhood for local residents.

Previous attempts to mitigate the impact of tourism

CNN reports There have been many efforts in recent years to reduce the negative effects of over-tourism, the influx of problematic tourists, and the transformation of the red-light district’s image. For example, the authorities passed a law prohibiting guided tours from passing through the windows of sex workers. Since she was appointed mayor of Amsterdam in 2018, Halsema has been committed to reforming the city’s red light district.

According to a CNN report, in 2019 Halsema proposed four alternatives to ensure the welfare of sex workers, reduce criminal activities, and reduce the impact of tourism in De Wallen, Amsterdam’s red-light district. Other options were to hide sex workers behind closed curtains to prevent street view, reduce the number of window-style rooms, move brothels to other areas of Amsterdam, and create a “hotel” for sex workers.

Citing the statement from the mayor’s office, CNN reports that for many tourists, the sex workers in the red light district have turned into just a sight to see. However, this often leads to disorganized behavior and disrespect for the dignity and profession of sex workers, which can be seen through the windows.

Apart from the recently announced smoking ban, Amsterdam City Council also revealed that one of the measures already finalized is forcing all food and sex establishments with a catering license to cease operations by 02:00 on Fridays and Saturdays. . This differs from the current closing times of 3 or 4 am

The council made it clear that businesses related to prostitution can operate until 3am, while they are currently allowed to operate until 6am. Down the stands at 1 am during the summer months, as opposed to 2 am in the current situation. The council also stated that the sale of liquor by liquor stores, shops and cafeterias will continue “from Thursday to Sunday, starting at 4 p.m.”.

Based on a CNN report, the De Wallen district, known as the red light district, is the base for approximately 10% to 15% of Amsterdam’s tourism industry.

Legalization of cannabis in Amsterdam

Legalization of cannabis in Amsterdam It is a unique situation in which the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana is permitted, but cultivation and distribution remain illegal. The Netherlands has adopted a pragmatic approach to drug policy, and Amsterdam is world famous for its lenient cannabis laws.

In 1976, the Dutch government introduced a dossier Cannabis Tolerance Policy, which allowed coffee shops to sell small quantities of marijuana to customers. This policy aims to separate the soft-drug market from the hard-drug market and reduce the harms associated with drug use. Since then, Amsterdam has become a popular destination for cannabis tourism, attracting millions of visitors annually.

Under Dutch law, it is legal to possess up to 5 grams of cannabis for personal use. Coffee shops are licensed to sell up to 5 grams per customer per day and are allowed to stock up to 500 grams of marijuana at any one time. However, the sale of other drugs, such as cocaine and ecstasy, is still strictly prohibited.

Coffee houses must follow strict regulations, such as not selling to minors, not advertising, and not causing public nuisance. They are also subject to regular inspections by the authorities. However, despite these regulations, the existence of coffeehouses in Amsterdam has drawn criticism from some quarters.

Critics argue that Cannabis tourism contributes to social problems such as drug addiction, petty crime, and general disorder. They also claim that the policy of tolerance has led to an increase in drug use among young people. Supporters of the policy argue that it has reduced the harms associated with drug use, such as the spread of diseases such as HIV, and has provided a source of revenue for the government.

In recent years, the Dutch government has moved towards a tougher approach to drug policy. In 2012, the government introduced a policy banning entry for non-residents Buying cannabis in coffee shops In the southern provinces of the Netherlands. This policy was later extended to other provinces, including Amsterdam. The government argued that the policy was necessary to reduce drug tourism and the problems associated with it.

Despite the changes in policy, cannabis is still a widely used drug in the Netherlands. The debate over drug policy and the legalization of cannabis continues, with controversy on both sides. However, for the time being, Amsterdam remains one of the few places where cannabis use is largely allowed.


The Amsterdam City Council has made the red light district more friendly to residents by introducing a smoking ban and reducing the opening hours of catering and sex establishments. The council’s decisions are part of a campaign led by the city’s first female mayor to address problems associated with mass tourism and crime in the area. While the red light district remains a popular destination for visitors, these new regulations aim to make it more respectful and safe for all.

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