From 25 May, residents and tourists are no longer allowed to use soft drugs outside De Wallen. Smoking cannabis on the terrace of a coffee shop remains permitted.
The plan was formally approved on May 10 by a majority of the full city council, with only BIJ1 and Forum voor Democratie voting against. BIJ1 proposed granting an exemption for Amsterdammers, but received no support for the motion from other political parties.
Nuisance caused by cannabis and alcohol
The plan to people prohibit smoking cannabis in the Old Town of the capital was announced by the municipality in February. The ban is a development from a larger package of measures that the full city council adopted last December to combat crowds, noise complaints and nuisance in the Red Light District. This plan includes earlier closing times for storefronts used by sex workers and limits on alcohol sales.
“Inhabitants of the old city center are structurally and excessively bothered by the crowds and nuisance caused by mass tourism and substance abuse, including cannabis, in public spaces,” says the municipality. The issues make it difficult for residents to sleep at night, reduce their quality of life and are detrimental to the safety of the entire neighborhood.
The ban is included in the APV, the collection of city ordinances. However, the enforcement approach will mainly consist of informing people if they are found smoking on the street. Stubborn offenders will first receive a warning, followed by a fine of 100 euros if they continue.
The municipality says that special signs will be installed in the area to inform people about the ban. During nights out, 'street hosts' will also be present in the area to remind people of the ban.
The measure could go even further. “If the nuisance with the smoking ban does not decrease sufficiently, the possibilities of banning smoking on terraces at coffee shops in the area will also be examined,” the municipality warned.
Source: NLTimes.nl (EN)