WORLD – AMSTERDAM
Amsterdam authorities announced on Friday that a ban on marijuana smoking will be introduced from mid-May to fight crime and anti-social behaviour on the streets of the red light district. The measure is being taken in the context of combating “a huge problem of anti-social behaviour”.
So far, the municipality has already adopted a series of efforts to limit alcohol consumption and postpone the closing times of cafes, bars, restaurants and brothels.
Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands and brothels in the centre of Amsterdam are a tourist attraction, but due to an increase in crime in this part of the city, the one-square-kilometre area has been referred to by the police as the ‘neighbourhood of misfortune’ for several years.
Dutch law allows the sale of cannabis in cafes under strict conditions, but possession, sale or production of more than five grams of the drug is a criminal offence.
“Residents of the old town are deeply concerned about mass tourism and the abuse of alcohol and drugs on the streets, especially at night. Numerous tourists attract street vendors, which also leads to increased crime and reduced security,” the municipality explained.
Officials warn that if the new restrictions do not have the desired effect, the ban will extend to café terraces as well.