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How Amsterdam’s debated ban on pot smoking for foreigners affects tourism

Excerpt from The Atlantic Cities

Sep 08, 2012 2:54 am

Skift Take

A new law that requires a local “weed pass” for coffee shops would not only decrease the number of annual tourists, but also alter the city’s free-loving, laidback image that draws in even sober foreigners.

— Samantha Shankman

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Weed smoking is part of the local culture in the Netherlands. It’s also big tourism business. So there’s a bit of a conflict facing the Dutch as they head to the polls next week when one of the major issues overshadowing the election centers on whether to limit the country’s plentiful weed-and-coffee-shops only to locals. It’s being framed as a question of preventing cross-border drug smuggling, but for the vast majority of people concerned, it’s really a much broader question of whether a country’s cultural pastime and tourist attraction should be both.

Amsterdam

Photo by Moyan Brenn.

For the Netherlands, the fact that all this centers around what most of the world considers illegal drugs makes things very complicated.

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