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Mayor of Amsterdam Threatens To Ban Tourists From Coffeeshops |

Meghan Markle might want to trademark the word “archetype” for her own enrichment, but it just goes to show how universal some fights actually are. The constant threats made to Amsterdam’s most beloved symbol, even if they are not funny, continue to be unoriginal.

The latest salvo against the city’s coffeeshops comes (yet again) from the city’s mayor, Femke Halsema, who has just unveiled her latest plan to ban tourists from the city’s cannabis cafes, and further with a well-worn excuse. Namely, to “get a grip” on the local soft drugs market, and the outdated rant that cannabis is a gateway drug to other, harder drugs.

It is a broken record—but sadly, one she insists on pursuing to the bitter end.

Here is her reasoning: According to some city officials at least, “only” 66 of the current 166 licensed shops are “needed” to meet local demand—meaning that she really wants to close down 100 (or about 2/3) of them. Further, according to Halsema, banning cannatourists in Amsterdam is the “best way” to manage the country’s pending cannabis cultivation trial (which of course excludes coffee shops in Amsterdam and other large Dutch cities)—rather than trying to integrate them into it—which is also inevitable.

This isn’t surprising. Amsterdam’s officials have long tried to shut down the cannatrade against evidence that this unique aspect of Holland’s culture has not only become an enduring international symbol of the cannabis industry and reform but are beginning to be widely copied everywhere prohibition is finally receding. These officials don’t believe that Amsterdam should lose the attraction which attracts 58% of the tourists. The city attracts about 3 million visitors annually to enjoy this experience.

Both industry evidence and the facts prove otherwise. Street dealing has seen a rise in small towns of Holland, where there are no coffee shops for residents.

Besides this, Groenlinks and D66, the two largest parties on the council of the city, are against the initiative. It was launched after March’s local elections.

Regardless, Halsema does not need to rely on majority support if she declares the situation to be a “necessity.” She has also been on this particular bandwagon for at least the last two years.

This is democracy.

Amsterdam Prohibition is Under Attack as Progress Threatens to the Status Quo

Halsema, who has worked for years to curb the sale of coffee shops and ban tourists from them, isn’t making this the first effort. She has also used various excuses that more or less sound the same—including using the COVID pandemic to temporarily shut down all of shops—although also being forced to allow takeout service as the lockdown endured for the last several years.

Part of the problem, no matter how popular such destinations are with foreign visitors—particularly British and Germans—is that tourism constitutes only about 10% of the overall economy of the city. According to Halsema, “Amsterdam is in a lucky position where it could really use the pandemic to try some new things.”

Apparently, integrating the city’s coffeeshops into the national cultivation trial is not one of those ideas. It is simply being used to close down these establishments.

Why now?

Although this publicity effort may be timed, it shows how tone deaf and enduringly anticannabis elected officials can sometimes be to industry advancements. 

Cannabis use does not lead to more dangerous drugs. Indeed there is more and more data proving that in fact it is a gateway off of them—starting with opioids.

Beyond this, of course, it is also clear in any jurisdiction which has proceeded with at least a semi-legitimized cannabis trade that banning parts of it do not stop demand—but rather drive it further into the black market.

However, these regressive attitudes and statements, even if they are outdated, will be around for a while in Europe, as many countries struggle to incorporate cannabis into mainstream society. You can see Germany right next to you, where the national government used recreational cannabis reform in its election campaign. However, this move has been put on hold by other compelling priorities.

The jury of course, is still out on whether the mayor and the “Dark Side” will win this salvo. No matter what Halsema and others of her ilk may want, or even wish to impose, it is unlikely that tourists will be effectively banned from such establishments—starting with the fact that in Barcelona, this has also proved to be literally impossible. 

Also, it is unlikely that Halsema wins in the long-term. There may be closing of some coffee shops. Many coffee shops may shut down.

That archetype would even be approved of by Jung.