In this new Suzy Seeds Cannabis World Blog we take a look at the recent developments surrounding Amsterdam wanting to ban foreign tourists from coming to the coffeeshops and how they got here. That, and we have something to share with you about our 9 year anniversary this month!
Mayor, public prosecutor and police want to ban foreign tourists from the Amsterdam coffeeshops
Looking to visit Amsterdam after corona related traveling restrictions are lifted? It could very well be the last opportunity to visit the famous Dutch coffeeshops. While a plan to ban tourists from coming to Amsterdam was at first traded in 2012 for instead closing all coffeeshops within 250 metres of schools by the previous mayor mayor Van Der Laan, the discussion was recently revamped during the corona crisis. Long lines were forming in front of coffeeshops while bars had to close down, frustrating local businesses. At first the issue seemed tackled and Amsterdam decided to leave it as is in October 2020, but recently in January 2021 the discussion was again on the agenda.
Which must be strange from onlookers, as only two months later New York would legalize cannabis including consumption sites (or coffeeshops as the Dutch would call them) and smoking on the streets. In fact, before New York City got the name it now bears, it was called New Amsterdam. But mayor Halsema told Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool in January this year: “We are definitely not going to rid Amsterdam of cannabis, coffeeshops are part of the city. But there is also an enormous desire to adjust tourism. Our freedom should not be a license for large groups of young people to throw up in the canals because they have smoked and drunk too much.”
The mayor can, if she wants, actually push this through without local government interference. Which is troubling news.
Maastricht: failure and success of banning foreign tourists in coffeeshops
Experts, tourists and locals don't actually all want this however. In their arguments, they point to Maastricht, a border city in the south near Germany and Belgium. Tourists were suddenly banned which was followed by an influx of street dealers even shown on Dutch tv. Cannabis News Network went as far as to go undercover to Maastricht to show this failed policy on video. Yet Maastricht persisted.
There's one advantage: the local weed has gotten better at Maastricht coffeeshops, but the atmosphere is gone and tourists now simply skip Maastricht for another nearby city and/or are growing their own. A local told me he thought the city has become a lot less lively and there's less tourists also visiting other shops. At least whoever is still visiting Maastricht or living there has more parking opportunities now.
How the Dutch got where they are now
What few people known including the Dutch, is that coffeeshops were never invented or agreed upon by the government. Instead, they were founded on the basis of a loophole in the law found by legendary cannabis activist Koos Zwart which said premises which had a maximum of 500 grams of cannabis would be left alone. Cannabis was never made legal either. The Dutch saw with their own eyes the harm and even deaths that cheap, high grade heroin was causing to tourists on the streets of Amsterdam and could see the relaxed cannabis smokers, concluding these were two totally different drugs. This resulted in what is now known as the 'tolerance' policy which has been in effect for over 45 years since 1976. Cannabis is tolerated, but not legal. You could consider cannabis to be decriminalised in English terms.
It’s not a done deal yet though, but I’m sure you’ll hear from it in the news if it will be.
Suzy's 9 year anniversary in april
Suzy grew up and worked in a coffeeshop and is obviously saddened to hear the developments. At the age of 19, Suzy started studying medicine in Rotterdam and worked as a budtender during her college years. We do have something to celebrate however this month as it has already been 9 years since the inception of Suzy Seeds. We've planned some giveaways and other surprises for the whole month.
If anything, the lockdown has shown how important it has become to be self-sufficient. The sun grown season is just about to start. Perhaps starting with easy to grow autoflowers is something just for you! Or if you feel adventurous, we’ve just introduced Suzy's Aficionado Collection with the release of our Tangerina Punch (Mimosa x Blood Orange Tangie) and will soon see another release.