Amsterdam To Ban Pot Smoking in the Streets

Amsterdam at night

For decades connoisseurs of fine marijuana have traveled to Amsterdam to be able to spot pot legally in sidewalk cafes and on the streets of the city’s famed red-light district. That’s about to change when the country’s recently introduced new rules go into effect that are aimed at addressing complaints by local residents that noisy pot-smoking tourists negatively impact their quality of life.

“This should reduce the nuisance caused by drug use in public spaces, particularly by tourists,” Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema told the New York Times. The rules are scheduled to go into effect in May, 2023 and will also limit the sale of alcohol. Amsterdam’s red-light district has for generations been the hub of legal prostitution. Amsterdam residents claim that they have been “excessively bothered” by the crowds of party-goers drawn to the area.   

Amsterdam has become a vibrant hub for tourism because of the “free” lifestyle that legal prostitution and drugs offer. Though this city and other European capitals want to appeal to international visitors, they also must balance the needs of the district’s full-time residents. The new rules will require cafes and bars to close at 2am and houses of prostitution to close by 3am.  Almost 22 million people visited the Netherlands in 2019.   

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