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Amsterdam ready to enforce pot law


Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema told the city's councilors she has decided to enforce a 2013 Dutch law banning outsiders from the city's famous cannabis-haven 'coffee shops,' a move that still has the power of controversy.

The 'coffee shops' have lived in a world of anomaly: the 2013 law recognizes them as legal for locals but not for others. They are allowed to sell various forms of marijuana, but there is no legal supply; the government simply doesn't look as they find supplies 'at the back door.' And, Amsterdam was given authority to decide whether or not to enforce the exclusion of foreigners.

The option was based on a fear that enforcement might simply create a drug market in the streets. On the one hand, non-enforcement has been supported by 'coffee shop' owners and others worried about a street market; on the other, it has become part of the issues around Amsterdam's reputation and the kind of tourism it attracts.

Campaigners against 'overtourism' have generally favored enforcement, believing that ending the city's reputation as a place to visit for drugs and rowdy behavior will discourage 'low-rent' tourism, reclaim the city center from tourism-related businesses and make the city more attractive to visitors coming to visit museums and the like.

Halsema's plan also includes limiting the numbers of 'coffee shops' that can be part of a chain operation, and also to regulate supply with a 'quality mark.'

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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I recall being in the intelligence business, that if a soldier with a security clearance  was on leave in the Netherlands, that when he/she returned for duty they were immediately checked for cannabis usage via urinalysis.  Not sure how effective the tests were, but just the thought prevented most intel soldiers from making the druggie mistake and jeoperidize their careers.

George G

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