Amsterdam: Marijuana, booze and Red Light District don’t mix

by: Harry Johnson | copyright: eTurboNews – Travel Industry News – World Travel News

Amsterdam officials have announced new rules for the city’s world-famous De Wallen – Red Light District, that will take effect in the middle of May, 2023.

In an effort to improve safety conditions in the area and decrease the number of problems caused by rowdy tourists, new law will completely ban smoking cannabis in public spaces in the district between 4pm and 1am, Thursday to Sunday.

Additionally, no new visitors will be allowed into the old city district after 1am, according to the city council. 

According to the Dutch capital officials, the restrictions could later be extended to include a ban on smoking marijuana outside coffee shops as well. 

Amsterdam officials are also planning to launch a “stay away” campaign in the spring, to discourage visitors from traveling to the city purely for drug, alcohol, and sex purposes.

New laws are set to have a large impact on businesses, since entertainment establishments will now have to limit their operating hours, while sex workers will have to shut up shop by 3am. Restaurants and bars will have to close by 2am on Fridays and Saturdays.  

Liquor stores and cafes, located in the Red Light District, which are currently banned from selling alcohol from Thursday to Sunday after 4pm, will have to completely remove all alcohol from their storefronts during that time, or hide them from view. 

In a press release announcing the legislation, a spokesperson for the city council stated that the new laws will hopefully give the city residents more “peace late at night.”

The atmosphere in the district becomes “dire, particularly at night” as there are large numbers of people “under the influence that hang around for a long time,” the statement added.

Local Christian Democrat leader Diederik Boomsma declared that he was delighted with the new legislation, saying that Amsterdam needs to “finally get rid of its image as a Walhalla for paid sex and drugs.” 

“Some days you can’t even walk around the center without breathing in the persistent stench of cannabis fumes, with glassy-eyed tourist zombies staggering about. That has to stop,” he said.

Amsterdam is notorious for its marijuana and hashish cafes and Red Light District, which attract millions of tourists every year. But the city residents have long complained that these venues attract street dealers, and that the rampant drug and alcohol use drive up crime rates in the capital. 

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