For the longest time, Amsterdam has been known for its liberal attitudes towards drugs. Before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, the city attracted more than 1 million visitors a month, close to 200,000 more than its permanent population. Thanks to the introduction of cheaper flights, a lot of these people were young “budget tourists” whose sole intention was indulging in the marijuana sold in Amsterdam’s coffee shops.
If Mayor Femke Halsema has her way, however, tourists will no longer be able to buy cannabis from the city’s numerous coffee shops. Halsema, who is Amsterdam’s first woman mayor, has proposed a plan that, if passed, would restrict the sale of marijuana products to residents of the Netherlands and Dutch nationals. She intends to stop the influx of young budget tourists coming into the city just to smoke marijuana and to undermine the criminal organizations that are behind the drug trade.
The plan has the support of the public prosecutor, the police and the business community in the city center. It is similar to policies enacted by cities in the south of the Netherlands, such as Den Bosch and Maastricht, which saw tons of tourists from Belgium, France and Germany and have since banned them from visiting their coffee shops. According to the Halsema, the cannabis trade has become “too big and overheated”; Halsema added that she wants the city to be known for its numerous first-class attractions not just cannabis.
According to research commissioned by the government, 57% of foreign visitors say visiting a coffee shop is a “very important” reason for coming to Amsterdam. The city has 166 coffee shops, and said Halsema, most of them, especially at the city center, deal mainly with cannabis tourists. She wants to shrink the large cannabis market and make it more “manageable.” Of the 166 coffee shops, 66 would be able to support demand from locals, the research found.
There are simply too many cannabis tourists streaming into the city every month, Halsema says, and these tourists have caused a massive increase in the demand for cannabis. Although the Netherlands allows the possession of less than 0.18 ounces of marijuana for personal consumption, the actual production and supply of cannabis are outlawed. Since it is illegal to produce, store or distribute cannabis, large quantities of marijuana for resale tend to originate from criminal enterprises.
The funds from these illegal trades have helped to lay the foundations for a flourishing underground drug economy, the “New York Times” reports. By reducing the demand for marijuana and confining sales to just residents, Halsema hopes to undermine the criminal organizations operating behind the scenes.
Back on American soil, numerous legal entities are thriving in the cannabis space. For instance, The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (NASDAQ: WTER) (CSE: WTER) is enjoying massive success with its recently launched A88CBD brand, which contains several topical and edible products infused with CBD.
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