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News, Politics, Travel

Are We Saying Goodbye to Amsterdam’s Legendary Coffee Shops?

Ashley Priest

by Ashley Priest

February 2, 2021 03:30 pm ET Estimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
Are We Saying Goodbye to Amsterdam’s Legendary Coffee Shops?

Amsterdam, the Netherlands’ ever popular capital, could be closing the doors of its legendary coffee shops to tourists. Amsterdam attracts a large volume of tourism each year. This beautiful 17th-century era location draws people to enjoy architecture, art, and outdoor activities such as hiking and cycling. Amsterdam houses the Van Gogh museum and displays artwork from Vermeer, Rembrandt, and of course Van Gogh along with others. It’s home to numerous hiking trails, bike paths, the legendary Red Light District as well as cannabis coffee shops.

For those who have a love for cannabis, Amsterdam has been a dream destination for years. Of course, nowadays you can visit places like Colorado, Washington state, California, or others and enjoy cannabis as you could in Amsterdam or Nevada if you also enjoy purveying the Red Light District. If you’re looking for a coffee shop experience, you can take a trip to Canada. Amsterdam isn’t the only player on the market these days.

Amsterdam and cannabis go together sort of like Cheech and Chong. But just like Cheech and Chong have separated to do their own things Amsterdam is apparently getting ready to separate from tourists who come to partake in the country’s legendary cannabis.

Amsterdam Cultivated Cannabis as We Know It

The Netherlands is also the birthplace of cannabis seed banks. The first one in the world was started there during the early 1980s by Neville Martin Schoenmakers. It was called “The Seed Bank of Holland.” Because of this, some of the best cannabis strains on the planet have found their way to Amsterdam. Amsterdam has helped to populate cannabis as we know it. Legend has it that Dave Watson AKA Sam the Skunkman, an industry pioneer of questionable repute depending who you talk to, made off with five legendary strains of cannabis from the west coast of California in the United States and took them to Amsterdam. Early Pearl, Early Girl, Haze, Northern Lights, and Skunk all found their way across the Pacific Ocean to make the shores of Amsterdam, where they were greeted by legends such as Neville and Shantibaba.

The cannabis scene in Amsterdam has been a smoking one for decades now. The Netherlands has many coffee shops. 166 of them are located in Amsterdam which accounts for nearly 30% of all the coffee shops in the entire country. However, if you are one of the many people out there that have had that dream of going to Amsterdam to enjoy some cannabis in one of their fine coffee shops, that dream could be coming to an end.

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New Proposal Limits Amsterdam’s Coffee Shops to Locals Only

Councilors in Amsterdam received a proposal of limiting the local coffee shops to local residents only in an effort to reportedly make tourism more manageable for the city. Currently, all of the coffee shops in Amsterdam are closed in compliance with COVID-19 lockdown measures. However, they are allowed to do delivery and take out.

There are places such as Maastricht, that have coffee shops that do not allow anyone except for Dutch residents. While Amsterdam might sound like it has it going on, they still have quite the tussle when it comes to cannabis legalities. While it is legal to buy cannabis from coffee shops in Amsterdam and for them to sell it, it is against the law for them to produce cannabis.

Shutting Down Cannabis Tourism But Not Prostitution

Amsterdam is a gorgeous place without a doubt. The tourism there, however, is driven by cannabis and prostitution. Amsterdam’s coffee shops are by far a much more attractive lure than the more taboo Red Light Districts. It’s odd to see all the focus going on cannabis coffee shops instead of prostitution especially since it requires more physical contact. According to CNN Travel, a survey that questioned 1,100 international visitors to Amsterdam’s Red Light District disclosed that half of those questioned said they were there to visit a cannabis cafe. If cannabis cafes were to shut down to tourism, 34% of those survey respondents said they would come to Amsterdam less often and 11% said they just wouldn’t come.

While prostitution is legal in the Red Light District only 1% of those surveyed said that window prostitution was their draw to Amsterdam while 72% were looking to visit a coffee shop. Visit Amsterdam, go to a coffee shop, enjoy the cuisine, and take in the beauty of the city, or maybe even stop in the Red Light district for some forbidden fun.

Damn Amsterdam, really? Why the dismay for canna tourism and not for those looking to visit the Red Light District where social distancing sort of defeats the purpose of the visit? Are tourists who come to partake in one of your legendary cafes, really that bad there? If not, you may want to reconsider the message you’re sending out to the world. building walls to keep people out is not exceedingly popular these days, whether they be physical, imaginary, or walls of laws.

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