If you’re exhausted like us and browsing through news headlines at 12 am and you just read “no more cannibals for the Netherlands,” relax – there are no cannibals in Netherlands, and now, there’s no cannabis for tourists either!
Oh wait. Maybe that’s not such a great thing.
The move is meant to cut back on the drug-related social disturbances and rowdy behavior among visitors, but some people are calling it “tourism suicide.” Why? The ban is aimed entirely at tourists. Under the new policy, “coffee shops will be considered private clubs with a maximum of 2,000 members limited to Dutch residents who are older than 18 and carry a so-called ‘dope card.’”
But MILLIONS of tourists flock to the Netherlands every year to take advantage of relaxed marijuana laws. Amsterdam itself receives about 4-million visitors per year, and about one-quarter of those people are there just to kick back in a coffee shop. Will tourism traffic decrease, especially in Amsterdam? Well, at least they still have the Red Light District.
Then there’s the concern that Dutch residents will sell cannabis to tourists for extremely inflated prices, and once drugs start being sold “underground,” a whole set of new problems (i.e. crime) is introduced. Never mind the coffee shop owners whose businesses heavily depend on their touristy clientele.
At the moment, the ban doesn’t apply to Amsterdam; however, by 2013, the measure will include the entire country.