In Amsterdam, cannabis tourism may be coming to an end.

As part of an effort to discourage mass, low-income tourism, Amsterdam’s mayor, Femke Halsema, wants to move through with plans to prohibit foreign visitors from visiting the city’s infamous and euphemistically titled ‘coffeeshops.’ Residents were tired of visitors considering the city as “a holiday destination for soft drug tourism,” Mayor Halsema said to the city council in a letter.

Halsema aims to “reduce the cannabis industry and make it controllable” with the help of the police and the public prosecutor by limiting legal marijuana sales to Dutch nationals and residents and reducing the number of coffee shops in Amsterdam from 166 to 68. Once a council vote confirms the limits, coffee shops in Amsterdam will likely have a year to adjust to the new laws.

“We are not aiming for a cannabis-free Amsterdam,” Halsema told Het Parool. “Coffeeshops belong to the city.” “However, there is a strong desire to transform tourism.” Our liberty should not be used as an excuse for big groups of young people to vomit in canals after smoking and drinking too much.”

Before the epidemic, over 20 million tourists visited Amsterdam each year, a city with a population of 850,000. Within five years, this figure might reach around 30 million. What’s the result? There are sky-high living costs and housing shortages in the city center, small streets packed with selfie-stick-wielding tour groups, and an unlimited number of Argentinian steakhouses and Nutella pancake businesses.

The problems of city center dwellers, according to Halsema, are mostly due to freely available cannabis. According to research commissioned by the mayor last year, 57 percent of visitors felt visiting a coffee shop was “very crucial” to their vacation.

To prevent weed-seeking travelers from France, Belgium, and Germany, the Dutch border towns of Maastricht and Den Bosch enacted a ban on marijuana sales to tourists in 2012. Businesses in Amsterdam’s city center were initially hesitant to follow suit, but that attitude appears to be changing.

“She has dared to do it!” exclaimed Robert Overmeer, the chair of a city center business owners group that petitioned the Amsterdam city council to prohibit tourists from purchasing marijuana. “However, the romantic image of coffee shops persists, which I believe is based on false sentimentality. Coffee shops do not have to pay VAT, and just a few operate traditionally. Many are in the hands of hardened criminals.”

A residents-only restriction in coffeeshops was put into national legislation in 2013, but Amsterdam was exempted due to concerns that it would increase criminality. According to Joachim Helms, a spokeswoman for an association of Amsterdam coffee shop owners, this is still the case because demand will be satisfied on the streets rather than in a legal coffee shop.

“What the plan’s creators don’t grasp is that cannabis is a popular commodity enjoyed by people all over the world,” he told the Dutch ANP. “People want to smoke their joint,” says the narrator. They’ll buy it on the street if they can’t get it in a coffee shop.”

That may be true, but what matters to Halsema is reducing the number of tourists visiting Amsterdam while raising the quality (i.e., the income bracket). Another long-tolerated industry due for a major revamp is the Red Light District, a sex tourism magnet. Halsema even suggested opening a $50 out-of-town amusement park where guests may consume drugs, ogle scantily clad women, and vomit up in canals to their hearts’ pleasure.

The end of marijuana tourism in Amsterdam comes as the Netherlands launches a cannabis producers pilot program in what appears to be another attempt to professionalize the secretive industry. In the Netherlands, marijuana use and sales have long been tolerated, but growing more than a few plants is still banned.

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