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Amsterdam Bans Smoking Cannabis in Its Red Light District

Amsterdam Bans Cannabis in Its Red Light District
Amsterdam Bans Cannabis in Its Red Light District. Credit: Anthony O’Neil / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Red Light District in Amsterdam will soon have stricter regulations about smoking cannabis on the streets and late-night disturbances.

Except for coffee shops that follow the ‘tolerance policy,’ which allows them to sell cannabis under strict conditions, it is illegal in the Netherlands to possess, produce, or trade drugs.

The Red Light district in Amsterdam is one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations. Therefore, its municipal council has introduced some new laws with the goal of minimizing the disruption that visitors to the area cause.

“Residents of the old town suffer a lot from mass tourism and alcohol and drug abuse in the streets”, the City Council said in a statement.

After the rules take effect in the middle of May, it will be against the law to consume cannabis in public places, and sex workers will be required to close their establishments at 3:00 AM.

Red Light District to Close Early

Under the new regulations, the sale of alcohol from shops, liquor stores, and cafes in the red light district will be illegal from Thursday to Sunday after 4 PM.

After 1 AM, the old city center will be closed off to new visitors. The inhabitants have long complained about the disruption created by late-night partying and drug use, and these steps are intended to improve the livability of the area for those people.

During this particular period, the merchants have been requested by the council to either remove all instances of alcohol from their storefronts or conceal them from view. In Amsterdam, the use of alcohol is already prohibited in the vast majority of public areas.

Tackling Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Cannabis cafes in the Dutch capital are well-known and bring in millions of tourists each year. Nevertheless, locals have voiced their concerns that these establishments also draw in street traffickers and that drug and alcohol misuse is contributing to an increase in the city’s overall crime rate.

“A lot of people are under the influence [of drugs and alcohol] and hang around for a long time. This comes at the expense of a good night’s sleep for residents and the livability and safety of the whole neighborhood,” said a local spokeswoman.

The new laws are part of a broader effort to clamp down on drug and alcohol use in the Red Light district, as well as reduce the nuisance caused by tourists.

“Stay Away” Campaign to Target Tourists Seeking Drugs, Alcohol, and Sex

The Municipal Council of Amsterdam plans to begin a “stay away” campaign in the spring, targeting visitors who come to the city for the purpose of using drugs, drinking alcohol, or having sexual encounters.

The campaign is intended to discourage visitors who engage in illegal or disruptive activities and improve the livability of the red light district for residents.

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