The city of Amsterdam announced last week that from mid-May it would ban cannabis smoking on the streets of the Red Light District, known for its many brothels and plagued by crime and nuisance.
The measure, coupled with tighter restrictions on alcohol and earlier weekend closures of cafes, bars, restaurants and brothels, is intended to combat "huge nuisances," the municipality said.
Rise in Crime
Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, and the brothels of Amsterdam's notorious Red Light District, located in the city center, are one of the capital's great tourist attractions. Due to the rise in local crime and the crowds of young party tourists, the area was once dubbed the "square mile of misery" by the police.
Residents of the neighborhood "are very bothered by mass tourism and the abuse of alcohol and drugs on the street," the municipality emphasized. "Tourists also attract street dealers, which leads to crime and insecurity," it continued, adding that the atmosphere in the neighborhood can become "sinister, especially at night."
The municipality believes that the plan to ban cannabis smoking on the street should reduce nuisance, and if the measure does not have the desired results, they will consider extending the ban to the terraces of coffee shops.
Since the 1970s, the Dutch government has tolerated these establishments that sell cannabis to consumers. The production of cannabis and its supply is illegal.