Amsterdam: The city council of Amsterdam has announced that smoking cannabis on the streets in the famous red-light district will soon be illegal.
The move is part of a plan to make life more comfortable for residents impacted by the high number of tourists visiting the city.
Last year, over 18 million visitors flocked to Amsterdam’s narrow 17th-century streets, causing significant disturbance for residents.
The council stated that smoking joints in public in the inner city will be banned from mid-May and may extend the ban to the terraces of cannabis coffee shops if necessary.
Sex workers will also have to close their businesses at 3 A.M. instead of 6 A.M., while bars, cafes, and restaurants must close at 2 A.M. on weekdays and 4 A.M. on Fridays and Saturdays.
In addition, new customers will only be allowed to enter after 1 A.M.
Inner city shops, which are already prohibited from selling alcohol after 4 P.M. from Thursday to Sunday, will have to remove their bottles and cans from the display or hide them behind screens.
A ban on drinking in public will also be strictly enforced.
The council says the measures are necessary because residents in the old town suffer from mass tourism and alcohol and drug abuse on the streets.
The council adds that tourists attract street drug dealers, causing crime and insecurity, particularly at night.
Almost the entire city council supports the new measures, which will be open for public consultation for a month.
The city has already introduced a one-way system and has employed “hosts” to manage visitors, especially on weekends. Parts of the red-light district can also be closed off completely.
In addition, the city is still investigating a possible ban on stag and hen parties, and the mayor is considering banning tourists from cannabis coffee shops.
A “stay away” policy, set to launch this spring, aims to discourage tourists who visit the city solely for drugs, alcohol, and sex.
The city councilor, Sofyan Mbarki, says that everyone, whether they live, work, do business, or visit the city, ultimately wants a livable city.
Therefore, everyone must work together to achieve this goal.