Wander anywhere in the centre of Amsterdam and the scent of cannabis is bound to waft under your nose. One quarter of all visitors to the city try marijuana during their stay and the government has decided that so-called "weed tourism" is getting out of hand, particularly in the border towns frequented by Europeans from neighbouring countries. Earlier this year it was announced that it would push for a visitor ban, requiring membership for coffee shop patrons and allowing membership only to Dutch residents. This month it was also decided that the shops may no longer sell products containing more than 15 per cent THC, which can currently be as high as 25 per cent.
While the constitutionality of a ban on visiting tokers is discussed and shop owners wonder how they will comply with new restrictions, many Dutch people wonder what is happening to their liberal society. Will these bans change the culture and decrease the amount of visitors (and tourism revenue) to Amsterdam? Will there be an increase in dangerous street dealing?
What do you think about the coffee shop culture in Amsterdam?