Amsterdam bans cannabis in its red light district

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It will soon be illegal to smoke cannabis on the street in Amsterdam’s red light district under new regulations unveiled by the city.

The laws will come into effect from mid-May and aim to improve liveability for residents who have long complained of disruption caused by tourists.

Rules will be toughened up on the sale of alcohol, and closing times for bars and brothels will be brought forward ‘to give residents more peace late at night,’ the city said in a press release.

From the start of April, restaurants, bars and sex shows will have to shut at 2am and brothels at 3am instead of 6am. From 1am, no more people will be allowed in to establishments where alcohol is served, and bar outdoor terraces will shut at this time too.

Local media reported that almost all councillors supported taking action to reduce nuisance to residents.

Measures to give residents more peace late at night

The city council also announced on Thursday that restaurants and bars would have to close by 2am on Fridays and Saturdays and no new visitors would be allowed into the old city district after 1am.

Currently, the sale of alcohol from shops, liquor stores and cafes in the red light district is illegal from Thursday to Sunday after 4pm. Now, the council will ask vendors to completely remove alcohol from their shopfronts during that time, or hide them from view.

It is illegal to consume alcohol in most public spaces in Amsterdam.

Under current laws in the Netherlands it is a criminal offence to possess, produce or deal drugs. However, the use of drugs by a person over the age of 18 is not a criminal offence.

While it is illegal to sell or possess drugs, the Netherlands has a “toleration policy” that allows coffee shops to sell cannabis under strict conditions. One of those conditions includes that the shops must not cause any nuisance.

In addition to the new laws, the Amsterdam council will launch a “stay away” campaign in the spring to target tourists travelling to the capital for drugs, alcohol and sex purposes.

Read more via BBC/Dutch News

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