Amsterdam bans cannabis on red light district streets

In an effort to tackle rising urban crime and anti-social behavior, Amsterdam city authorities announced that they will ban cannabis smoking in the streets of the red light district starting from mid-May 2023. The move is part of a broader initiative to limit drinking hours and early closing times of cafes, bars, restaurants and brothels.

While prostitution is legal in the Netherlands and Amsterdam's city center brothels are a popular tourist attraction, the area has become a "square kilometre of misery" due to increasing crime and drug and alcohol abuse.

Coffee shops in the Netherlands are allowed to sell cannabis under strict conditions, but it's illegal to possess, sell, or produce more than five grams of the drug.

The municipality explained that residents are "very upset" about mass tourism and the street drug and alcohol abuse, particularly at night, which attracts street dealers and increases criminality and insecurity.

If the new restrictions don't work, authorities warned they may extend them to coffee shop terraces.