Will Banning Marijuana in Amsterdam Affect the Tourism Industry?

Topics: Illegal drug trade, Tourism, Psychoactive drug Pages: 12 (4419 words) Published: July 16, 2013
Will banning marijuana in Amsterdam affect the tourism industry?

Amsterdam is known to be the liberal city of the world and the capital of the Netherlands. The 1970’s saw the Dutch government change drug policy and categorise marijuana as a ‘soft drug,’ as a result coffee shops were born. Coffee shops allowed locals and tourists to smoke small amounts of cannabis with a wide range of variety and strengths. Coffee shops have since become part of Dutch culture and Amsterdam’s identity. Fast forward forty years later and the Dutch government is in the process of once again changing the drug policy. The aim is to ban tourists from coffee shops as well as making residents obtain a ‘weed pass’ and become members of the coffee shops. The purpose of this journal article is to examine and analyse whether implementing the ban on foreign tourists will affect the tourism industry. Furthermore, the article will discuss the potential impacts the ban will have on the City and society. Using credible information sources from industry professionals, results from a survey conducted and the writers empirical observation on the issue, the journal will conclude with predictions on the future of Amsterdam’s tourism industry.

Literature review
Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands and is a popular tourist destination in Europe. The liberal city is home to coffee shops, which has allowed tourists and locals to purchase and smoke small amounts of cannabis. The Dutch government back in the 1970’s introduced the soft drug policy. The aim was to combat serious drug addictions by distinguishing a difference between hard and soft drugs. Amsterdam soon became a popular city to visit for many free spirited people who practiced smoking marijuana. Additionally, it quickly became a must see destination on many people’s travel itineraries and became extremely popular in Europe. Presently, the Dutch government is threatening to abolish their current drug laws and ban foreign tourists from being able to purchase, smoke or enter a coffee shop. For the Dutch nationality, they will have to apply for a “weed pass” which indicates they are of Dutch nationality. Owners of the weed pass will also have to become members to coffee shops. The Dutch are most worried as to what this ban could mean for their capital city that relies on a thriving tourism industry. To establish what could happen to Amsterdam’s tourism industry if the ban is implemented, various credible secondary sources were researched using the Internet. The writer also conducted primary research with an industry professional and the public in order to establish what the opinions of others were on the issue, supporting material to the argument and ensuring credibility throughout the journal article.

Three credible key sources have been used in order to prove that banning marijuana in Amsterdam will affect the tourism industry. The first key source is an article “If Amsterdam won’t sell weed to foreigners, who will?”, written by Paul Ames a reporter for the Global Post. The article was published in May 2012 just after the controversial ban was to be implemented in southern parts of the Netherlands. The article raises a key issue: if the ban is to take place then where will tourists go next? This is a key argument in which the writer will discuss throughout the journal article. A second argument brought to attention is that if Amsterdam is subjected to the ban, then how many tourists will the city lose, and will it affect the economy? Many people believe that the availability of marijuana is a key factor in why so many choose to visit the Netherlands. Ames mentions that countries like Portugal and Spain who also take a liberal approach to marijuana could very well be likely candidates to attract new visitors. Ames also raises the point that if the ban is enforced then an underground trade would be inevitable. Ames’ chooses to present all the known facts and make predictions on what the...

References: Ames, P. (2011). Amsterdam fights for your right to smoke pot. Retrieved August
14, 2012, from http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/benelux/11062
Ames, P. (2012). If Amsterdam won’t sell weed to foreigners, who will?. Retrieved July 11, 2012, from
Amsterdam Tourism Convention Board. (2008). Amsterdam Visitors Profile
Government of the Netherlands. (n.d.). Alcohol and drugs. Retrieved August 9,
2012 from http://www.government.nl/issues/alcohol-and-drugs/drugs
I amsterdam. (2012). Amsterdam history. Retrieved August 9, 2012, from
Metherell, M. (2012, April 6). Converts and sceptics on road to reform. The
Sydney Morning Herald
Tierney, J. (2006). The Czars’ Reefer Madness. Retrieved August 9, 2012, from
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