This city, known as a mecca for weed tourism, is thinking about cracking down on visitors due to COVID-19 restrictions and rising crime rates.
Now that vaccines are widely available, travel is becoming a priority for people in the United States. When it comes to cannabis consumers, there’s one particular European destination that tops the list.
Recently, the European Union announced that they would be reopening their borders to vaccinated travelers, including Americans and citizens from countries who’ve managed to vaccinate significant portions of their population.
The EU will be allowing visitors who have received EU approved vaccines (Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson) allowing them to travel without having to undergo testing or quarantine. This is great for Americans who’ve been vaccinated and who might be itching to travel and try different things after spending a year living under pandemic conditions.
When it comes to marijuana, enthusiasts might have to reconsider a trip to Amsterdam, a city that for decades has been one of the most pro-weed destinations in the world. In January, the city’s mayor, Femke Halsema, said she might consider banning marijuana tourism in the country, allowing only the city’s residents to partake in cannabis-related activities.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands, was receiving over a million tourists every month — the majority of whom were hoping to make a stop in one of the city’s infamous coffee shops.
“Coffee shops, especially in the center, largely run on tourists,” Halsema said. “The increase in tourism has only increased demand and attracted hard-drug criminality in the process. We can be an open, hospitable and tolerant city, but also a city that makes life difficult for criminals and slows down mass tourism.”
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Netherlands is currently a level 4 risk destination when it comes to COVID-19. “Because of the current situation in the Netherlands even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to the Netherlands,” explains the CDC.
While the cannabis industry has been beneficial for Amsterdam, producing revenue, keeping dispensaries running and promulgating a culture of fun and freedom, COVID-19 concerns could result in the mayor taking a more conservative stance. It might be the push the city needs to protect further spread from COVID-19 infections and control drug criminality.