As the Dutch federal government ponders its next moves in its campaign against the country’s famous cannabis coffee shops, the mayor of Amsterdam is advising against a one-size-fits-all policy. The needs of major cities are different from those of border towns, and policy needs to reflect those differences, Mayor Job Cohen said.
Cohen’s remarks came in a letter sent Friday to Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst. In it, Cohen argued that Amsterdam differs markedly from border towns, which are tightening up on coffee shops in the face of an influx of drug tourists from more repressive neighboring countries. Tourists in Amsterdam behave differently than the border town shoppers, he said.
“Tourists in Amsterdam usually visit the capital for several days and, in addition to many other activities, sometimes also go to a coffee shop,” Cohen wrote.
Cohen also staked out a position against requiring membership to be able to buy marijuana at a coffee shop. That has been a proposal floated by the national government and some local authorities.
And Cohen rejected as ineffective a ban on coffee shops with 250 yards of schools. Underage age youth are already barred from entering coffee shops, he noted, adding that most teens usually have third parties procure their drugs for them.