Amsterdam to ban cannabis from Red Light District months after prohibiting laughing gas - here’s why

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Cannabis cafes and the Red Light District attracts millions of tourists to the area but changes are coming  - here’s why

New regulations in Amsterdam will see the ban of smoking cannabis in its infamous Red Light District. The new law will come into effect from May aiming to improve liveability for residents.

The new law is one of many, due to be implemented later this year, including sex workers having to close their shops by 3am. Residents living nearby have reportedly long complained of disruption caused by tourists.

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Amsterdam’s Red Light district and relaxed laws on cannabis as well as other attractions including Ice Bar, A’Dam lookout, and more, attract hundreds of thousands of tourists every single year.

Local media in the Dutch capital reported that almost all of the councillors involved supported taking action to reduce the nuisance caused to residents. Smoking cannabis in Amsterdam has been legal since 1976.

The local council also imposed new laws on restaurants and bars in the area, saying they will need to be shut down by 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. Restrictions will also mean no new visitors will be allowed into the old district after 1am.

Despite cannabis cafes  bringing money into the city through tourism, locals have complained they also attract street dealers and that drug and alcohol abuse is driving up crime rates.

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Current laws in the Netherlands dictate that it is a criminal offence to possess, produce or deal drugs. Despite this, the use of drugs by a person who is over the age of 18-years-old is not deemed a criminal offence.

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This comes after the Netherlands announced it was banning nitrous oxide - often referred to as ‘laughing gas’ from January 2023. It was banned amid concerns over the health risks for the growing number of young people using it.

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