Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema wants to ban foreigners from city's drug dens

The mayor of Amsterdam Femke Halsema, along with the public prosecution and police services, has announced that she wants to ban foreigners in "coffee shops" - effectively legalised drug dens - in the capital to reduce nuisance has sparked mixed reactions.

She published a briefing on a new cannabis policy aimed at making the sector more manageable and reducing nuisance and criminality.

Although the briefing needs to be presented to council before final proposals are drawn up, the regulation of coffee shops is the prerogative only of the mayor and she has until now fought shy of saying she would enforce a tourist ban. For some local businesses, which see only negatives from foreign drug tourists, the news came as a great relief.

Bar owner Robbert Overmeer organised a citizens’ petition last year and thinks it is only logical to enforce a 2013 law making coffeeshops residents-only. "She has dared to do it!" he told DutchNews.nl.

"However, the romantic image of the coffee shops is still there and I think that is false sentimentality. Coffee shops don’t pay any VAT, there are only a handful who operate in the old fashioned way and many are in the hands of hardened criminals."

"We don’t necessarily just want people with a lot of money: we say come to Amsterdam for the museums, the food, for love or for friends, but not to sculk around, smoke dope and do drugs."

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