Smoking cannabis could be banned in Amsterdam’s famous red light district

Smoking cannabis could be banned in Amsterdam's famous red light district

Image of Amsterdam's red light district of De Wallen. Credit: Google maps - Mohammad Asfour (Geuvara)

The city council is looking to ban cannabis smoking in Amsterdam’s famous red light district.

Amsterdam is looking to prohibit the smoking of cannabis in the streets of the De Wallen district, which incorporates the famous red light district. A proposal to this effect was announced on Thursday, February 9 by council officials.

Plans are also being proposed by Mayor Femke Halsema, that will ban the distribution of soft drugs in the same district from late afternoon into the evening.

Alcohol sales could also be limited and sex workers will be forced to close their windows earlier, probably by 3am. They are currently allowed to keep the windows open until 6am. If the law becomes reality then this would come into force from April 1.

Under the current laws, from Thursday to Sunday alcohol is not allowed to be sold in the red light district after 4pm. The new legislation – if passed – will see alcohol totally banned from being displayed on shopfronts during those days.

“This measure will apply indefinitely and will be tightened from mid-May. Alcoholic beverages must be shielded or removed from the shop at times when the alcohol sales ban applies”, said a council official.

Restaurants and bars could see themselves facing a 2am closing time on Fridays and Saturdays. Licenced catering businesses would be banned from allowing new customers into their premises after 1am on those days.

These new regulations could come into force as early as the middle of May, once they have been debated in parliament. The objective of this action is said to be aimed at cutting the disturbance inflicted on residents living in the area by the huge number of tourists the area receives.

A city official warned: “If the nuisance does not decrease sufficiently with the smoking ban, the possibilities of banning smoking on terraces at coffee shops in the area will also be examined”. Before any change in the law can be implemented, the city must first determine if it is legally possible.

“Residents of the old city centre are structurally and excessively bothered by the crowds and nuisance caused by mass tourism and substance abuse in the public space. The presence of tourists also attracts many street dealers who in turn cause crime and insecurity”, explained a spokesperson for the city council.

“The atmosphere can get grim, especially at night when many people are under the influence and hang around for a long time”, they added, as reported by


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at