Amsterdam’s red light district is now a smoke-free zone for marijuana. The ban went into effect on Thursday, May 25, as part of a push by the city’s first female mayor to clean up the area.
Signs were posted in the canal-lined neighborhood, which is known for its brothels, sex clubs, and marijuana cafes. The ban is in response to complaints from residents about the nuisance caused by tourists who smoke marijuana in public.
People caught violating the ban will face a fine of 100 euros ($110).
Mayor Femke Halsema has promised to improve conditions for sex workers and reduce crime and excessive use of drugs and alcohol in the red light district. She has also said that she wants to move sex and drug tourism out of the city center, but there is opposition from residents in locations that have been proposed as alternatives.
Despite the ban, people will still be allowed to smoke marijuana inside and on the terraces of coffee shops selling marijuana and hash in the district and other parts of the city. The personal use of small quantities of marijuana is tolerated by authorities in the Netherlands.