By Roland Sebestyén
Amsterdam could be taking steps to ban fake cannabis and ‘magic’ mushroom souvenir products from the city to tackle wholesalers who target tourists.
Het Parool reports that, in part of a series of actions to clean the city and its “druggy image” in the public, the city council will strictly restrict the mass sale of weed cookies, cannabis lollipops and space cakes.
According to a proposal, the sale of such products is in conflict with local zoning laws and promotes drug use.
Ilse Griek, a member of the city centre borough council, told the Parool the products are misleading as they don’t contain any illegal drugs.
He also added “[The products aimed at tourists are often prominently displayed in the shop windows] are an eyesore.
“We are now going to take a stricter approach to that.”
As Canex reported a few months ago, Amsterdam’s Mayor is working very hard to get rid of cannabis and clean the streets of the city.
Mayor Femke Halsema said coffeeshops had become a problem for locals. Moreover, it is reported that the city leaders and the authorities are growing tired of “mass, low-budget tourism.”
Ms Halsema told a Dutch public broadcaster: “Amsterdam is an international city, and we wish to attract tourists, but we would like them to come for its richness, its beauty and its cultural institutions.”
The looser cannabis restrictions in the Netherlands attract millions of tourists from everywhere in the world – even though these tourists mean a lot of revenue, some city officials and many living in Amsterdam are calling for change.
At the same time, thousands depend on ‘legal’ cannabis businesses for work, and the mayor’s decision to potentially crackdown on coffee shops, alongside the Covid-19 pandemic, could put them in danger of losing their jobs.
Based on data provided by Statistics Netherlands, in the second quarter of this year, turnover in accommodation and food services was 52.6% up on the same quarter of 2020 – however, when it comes to the comparison to the same period of 2019, the turnover is now 35% lower.
An employee from Barney’s Coffeeshop told CNBC: “It’s been a quiet year, definitely. Obviously [it’s better] compared to last summer with the corona[virus], but this year it started getting busy, but it’s still nothing compared to the years before.
“Only really French tourists have been coming over, French and Germans, not many English, not many Italians anymore.”
A 2020 government research study showed that 58% of Amsterdam tourists cite cannabis consumption as the primary reason for their visit.