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Amsterdam to ban smoking of cannabis in Red Light District

Officials are also exploring further tightening of regulations around cannabis consumption in the city.



Amsterdam to ban cannabis smoking in Red Light District
The ban on smoking on the street is expected to come into force in May. Photo by Azhar J on Unsplash.

Officials in the city of Amsterdam are to introduce a ban on smoking cannabis in public areas to tackle ‘nuisances’ in the famous Red Light District. 

The ban on smoking on the street in the old centre of Amsterdam is expected to come into force in May and is part of the city’s efforts to address the negative effects of ‘mass tourism’ in the historic district. 

The Netherlands is known for its tolerant drug policy, where cannabis is sold openly in coffeeshops and prostitution is legal. However, in recent years, city officials have taken steps to mitigate the impact of tourism in the capital.

In 2014, a former mayor tried, unsuccessfully, to ban the cannabis coffeeshops in the Red Light District. Since then a number of proposals on the subject have been put forward, with the government increasing tax on hotel rooms and short-term rentals.

The new smoking ban is part of a number of changes aimed at improving the quality of life for residents of the historic quarter of Amsterdam. 

The city has also tightened restrictions on the sale of alcohol after 4pm from Thursday to Sunday and from April, will limit the opening hours of certain businesses. 

Cafes, restaurants and prostitution establishments with catering services can open until 2am on weekends, as opposed to the current opening times of 3-4am, and businesses dedicated to prostitution will now be open until 3am rather than 6am.

In addition, the municipality has introduced a ‘window of time’ for establishments serving alcohol, with a ban on entry after 1am and closure of terraces at the same time.

The City Council is also exploring the possibility of banning smoking on the terraces of coffeeshops in the future.

In an official statement, the city council stated: “Residents of the old city centre are structurally and excessively disturbed by crowds and nuisances caused by mass tourism and substance abuse in public space. 

“This behaviour comes at the expense of residents’ night rest and the quality of life and safety of the entire neighbourhood.”

This article originally appeared on Cannareporter and is reprinted here with permission. 

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