25 May 2023, by Victoria Séveno

Amsterdam’s proposed ban on public smoking has come into effect in certain parts of the city centre. Those caught smoking weed in public will now risk a 100-euro fine. 

Amsterdam’s weed ban comes into effect in city centre

In February, the municipality announced plans to impose tougher rules for alcohol and cannabis consumption in parts of Amsterdam in an attempt to reduce noise disturbances and disruption for local residents. While the new rules also apply to Dutch citizens, the policy has mainly been designed to deter rowdy tourists. 

A key aspect of the municipality’s new policy – a ban on smoking cannabis on the streets of the Red Light District – officially came into effect on Thursday, May 25. As of today, the ban applies to Dam Square, the Damrak, the Nieuwenmarkt, and the Red Light District. Under the new rules, those smoking in public spaces in these areas will be issued with a warning which, if ignored, will be followed up with a 100-euro fine.

Coffee shops exempt from ban on outdoor smoking

While outdoor terraces of coffee shops are exempted from the ban, the municipality has said that if the current rules aren’t effective in reducing “the nuisance” for locals, it will also look into “the possibilities of banning smoking on terraces at coffee shops in the area.”

Talking to NU, residents of the city centre shared mixed reactions to the ban. Those against the policy said the disturbance they experienced was limited, and wondered how the municipality would enforce the ban. Others were more positive about the change.

“In the three years that I have lived here now, it never ceases to amaze me how many, and at what times, people smoke weed in the city centre,” 25-year-old Thijs told NU. “The new smoking ban in the city centre is, in my opinion, a good decision. Removing drug tourism and improving the residents’ experience seems to me to be an excellent policy for the municipality of Amsterdam.”

Thumb: lornet via Shutterstock.com.

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