One of the most liberal cities in the world has decided to end the era of marijuana tolerance, writes Deutsche Welle.
The Amsterdam authorities have taken a historic decision to ban cannabis smoking. True, the innovation applies only to the Old Town – the streets, squares, and canals adjacent to the red light district. Smoking marijuana is prohibited here from Thursday, May 25. In other areas of the city, this can be done further.
Local authorities decided to ban cannabis smoking in the most touristic area of the city in the interests of the citizens. The city of nearly 800,000 people receives more than 20 million visitors every year. Residents have long complained about the inappropriate behavior of guests: they drink, shout, and smoke “weed” in the street. Not all of them, of course, but there are many in the Red Light District.
100 euros for smoking marijuana in the wrong place
Violators of the ban on smoking marijuana face a fine of 100 euros. However, this prohibition also has a symbolic meaning. With the introduction of the ban on cannabis, an entire era ends – an era when Amsterdam looked at the use of cannabis tolerantly. Recall that in the early 70s of the 20th century, the city authorities tolerated not only those who inhaled marijuana or hashish, but also distributed “weed”. As for the distribution of soft drugs in coffee shops, it is still carried out today. Restrictions on the sale of marijuana to foreign tourists have been introduced gradually in the Netherlands since 2012 and are now in place throughout the country. At the same time, a law that bans the legal sale of marijuana and other soft drugs to foreigners leaves the choice to local governments, which can decide how much or whether to impose restrictions at all.
It should be noted that Amsterdam has already taken some measures to limit the influx of “drug tourists” before. In response to complaints from residents fed up with an overabundance of “undesirable behavior” visitors, the city allowed a maximum of 20 million tourist overnight stays per year in the summer of 2021.
We add that in Germany, in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia bordering the Netherlands, on May 24 it also became known that the regional government opposes the legalization of cannabis trade, citing the negative effects that marijuana has on the brain of adolescents.