UK: Chem-sex, Rape and the Tragedy of Drug Fueled Violence – The Answer is Clear, or is it?

The UK Is Ramping Up Its Efforts To Tackle A Wave Of Chemsex Crimes

Exclusive: For the first time, criminal justice, health, and LGBT organisations will all join together to cope with the rise of serious offending surrounding chemsex.

by Patrick Strudwick   BuzzFeed UK LGBT Editor

The British authorities have launched a nationwide, multiagency effort to tackle a growing chemsex crime wave by escalating intelligence sharing and information gathering between criminal justice, health, and community organisations, BuzzFeed News can reveal.

“Project Sagamore” was unveiled at the first national conference for chemsex and crime, just weeks after the conviction of the most prolific rapist in legal history. The conference also announced a new definition of chemsex in the context of offending — beyond the general description of predominantly men who have sex with each other on particular drugs such as crystal meth and GHB/GBL.

The agencies involved will span not only policing, probation and criminal justice — who are already working together — but also health, sexual health, and community sector groups. This broadening response is an attempt to embolden efforts to curb criminality, protect victims, and reduce harm to health without alienating the communities affected.

Over the last three years, BuzzFeed News has exposed how chemsex is impacting on gay men, unleashing a hidden epidemic of sexual violence, enforced drugging, and deaths. Criminal justice services have been scrambling to cope with a surge in crimes committed by gay men in chemsex-related settings.

The launch of this collaboration follows the jailing in January of Reynhard Sinaga for 136 rapes, for which he used GHB to drug his male victims, many of them heterosexual. The case was the latest in a string of high-profile convictions involving chemsex settings or chemsex drugs.

Serial killer Stephen Port was jailed for life in 2016 for murdering four young men with GHB. Stefano Brizzi, who was gay and had a meth addiction, was sentenced in 2017 for the murder and partial cannibalisation of police officer Gordon Semple — before killing himself. And Gerald Matovu, Stephen Port’s dealer, was imprisoned in 2019 along with his lover accomplice Brandon Dunbar for a string of thefts and a murder in which GHB/GBL was used as the weapon.

At the unveiling of the new initiative, a new, broader definition of chemsex was revealed for criminal justice agencies to identify all the possible situations in which chemsex-related crimes might occur.

It details an array of circumstances: “[in] which a person engages in sex with another (or others), using drugs or during sexual activity, to sustain, enhance, disinhibit, or facilitate the sexual experience”. It includes examples of some of the known crimes: “murder, serious physical assaults, rape, distribution of indecent images, poisoning, theft, blackmail, drug supply, harassment, robbery and a wide range of other offences”.

It also isolates typical scenarios in which “arrangements are usually made via a geosocial networking (hook up) app such as Grindr”, before explaining that “there is not one homogenous chemsex context, nor one set of rules that govern it … a chemsex party could be a single hook up, may exist in a same sex relationship or occur at a chillout of chemsex party. There is also a distinct role for chemsex contexts in the virtual world with participants partaking online, for example in chat rooms or through live-streaming or the sharing of images.”

The definition also broadens who could be caught up in chemsex crimes, spelling out that the “majority of those that participate … are MSM [men who have sex with men]”. This includes gay and bisexual men, but also those who do not identify as either but who “on occasions and in specific situations do have sex with other men (eg male sex workers, males in prison)”.

Victims can also be entirely heterosexual — as with those Sinaga targeted — and not have a history of drug use, such as Eric Michels, whom Matovu murdered.

Expanding what constitutes a chemsex setting is an attempt to increase the capacity of police, justice, and health agencies to identity cases, better understand and better respond to them. The goal, said a representative of the Metropolitan police, is to reduce harm and vulnerability.

About 40% of chemsex-related crimes, however, involve sexual violence. A joint investigation last year by BuzzFeed News and Channel 4’s Dispatches found that over a quarter (28%) of gay and bisexual men who have taken GHB/GBL have been sexually assaulted.

But the reach of chemsex is wider than ever, the conference heard, with women now being affected and victimised. In some cases this occurs when predominantly heterosexual men in relationships with women do sex work on the side, during which they are obliged to take meth or GHB/GBL, and return home high and ashamed of themselves, lashing out on their female partner.

A range of health organisations, including Public Health England as well as LGBT health charities will also contribute to Project Sagamore given the implications of chemsex to physical, sexual and mental health. This includes an increased risk of STIs, drug-induced paranoia, hospital admission for overdose, and injuries sustained from “slamming” — intravenous injections.

For complete article https://www.buzzfeed.com/patrickstrudwick/chemsex-crimewave-uk-escalates-response

One thing we are not permitted to do is challenge this utterly dysfunctional, dangerous and now brutally criminal behaviour – as it might ‘stigmatize’ the drug user?  

What is so breathtakingly obvious, is that if you remove drug use from these scenarios then violent, abusive and coercive behaviours will plummet!

However, continuing to claim the faux ‘right’ to engage in illicit drug taking for hedonist purposes and to ‘normalize’ (thus attempt to legitimize) such self and others harming conduct, is what will continue to foster and escalate much of this disturbing, but not unsurprising outcomes.  Where is voice of outrage from the so called ‘Harm Reductionist’ in this space? (Don’t Legalize Drugs)

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USA: Cannabis Commercialization Crucifying our Kids!

 

As if one needed another reason to stand against marijuana commercialization, a recent study published in the journal Addiction builds upon the mountain of evidence that the reckless, drastic policy change results in negative outcomes for public health.

The study finds that marijuana commercialization was associated with a 67-77% increase in marijuana exposure calls to poison control centers, with a dramatic rise in exposures among those below the age of 21.

According to the study, had all 50 states and DC commercialized marijuana in 2017, the total number of exposures nationwide would have risen by more than 60%.

Also according to the study, marijuana commercialization increased the availability and accessibility of marijuana among minors.

In its conclusion, the study’s author argues that more should be done to aid prevention efforts, with a specific focus on discouraging use of the drug among minors, and combat marketing of the drug.

The fact is, our nation is facing a multitude of issues that threaten public health…

…and with the potential for increased harms to public health and safety, whether it be dangerous exposure of highly potent marijuana to minors, a continuation of the marijuana vaping crisis, or increased impaired traffic fatalities, the risks of expanding this industry are much too great.

Click the link below to send a message to your representative in Congress and urge them to oppose any and all efforts that would benefit the marijuana industry at the expense of public health and safety.

<<Click here to tell your legislators to reject marijuana legalization>>

Nothing can be more important than promoting the health and safety of our fellow Americans. Thank you for all that you are doing on that front.

Stay safe,

Dr. Kevin Sabet – President & CEO                                                                                                      Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM)

For more information about marijuana use and its effects, visit www.learnaboutsam.org.

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Global: The ‘Mile HIGH” Club Just Got Way More Dangerous! Who Do You Want Flying Your Plane?

What’s even more frightening is that Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines, is one of the worlds highest profile proponents for legalizing WEED!

Do the math people! Do the math!

 

Report examines pilot fatalities, illicit drugs

BY DOUGLAS CLARK  |   MARCH 12, 2020

A recently released National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report maintains the prevalence of prescription, over-the-counter, and illicit drugs found in fatally injured pilots has increased since its last focus in 2014.

The findings determined of 952 pilots fatally injured between 2013 and 2017 with available toxicology tests results, 28 percent tested positive for at least one potentially impairing drug, which authorities said represented a rise above the 23 percent figure in the 2014 study. Additionally, investigators indicated 15 percent were positive for at least one drug connected to a potentially impairing condition – an increase of 3 percentage points from the 2014 study.

Researchers also revealed an increase in the percentage of fatally injured pilots testing positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in marijuana, with the NTSB concluding evidence of that drug use presents a safety hazard ineffectively addressed and called for the FAA to inform pilots marijuana use by airmen is prohibited.

For complete story https://transportationtodaynews.com/news/17327-report-examines-pilot-fatalities-illicit-drugs/

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Global: Weed is Addictive and More and More are Paying a ‘High’ Price for ‘Harmless’ Hash!

Think marijuana isn’t addictive? Former users say think again

By John Keilman, Chicago Tribune, March 8, 2020,      

A person smokes marijuana at a private residence in the West Loop on Jan. 25, 2020 in Chicago. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

CHICAGO — In the basement of the Mustard Seed, a red brick building in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood that hosts dozens of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings each week, a handful of people gathered on a recent night to discuss a different addiction.

They were members of Marijuana Anonymous, a rapidly expanding 12-step organization that serves those struggling with a drug that is now legal in Illinois and 10 other states, and that many people view as innocuous.

“When you’re in rehab for weed, you don’t say you’re in rehab for weed,” said Robb, a 30-year-old who lives in Chicago. “Half the people will laugh you out of the room.”

But treatment specialists say marijuana’s addictive potential is well-established. About 1 in 10 people who use the drug end up with the condition known as cannabis use disorder, meaning they continue to use compulsively even when it messes up their lives.

The Chicago Tribune spoke with people in recovery from marijuana addiction about those problems, the complexities of treatment and the reluctance of others to recognize the seriousness of the habit (as is customary for participants in 12-step programs, they asked to be identified only by their first names or no name at all).

Guillermo, a 19-year-old Chicagoan, said the first time he got stoned “felt like I was a piece of butter melting on a stack of pancakes.” But the rapture faded quickly, and smoking weed soon became a joyless reflex akin to brushing his teeth in the morning, he said.

Potent marijuana frequently put him into hangoverlike “kush comas,” he said, and sapped his motivation and alertness so thoroughly that his mother threatened to put him into a mental hospital.

“I was just stoned all the time,” he said. “I was barely even there.”

Dr. Itai Danovitch, chair of the department of psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles and a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, said the hallmarks of cannabis use disorder are similar to those of other addictions.

People become physically dependent on the drug, needing more to achieve the same effect, and they suffer withdrawal symptoms if they stop using. They lose control over their consumption. And they keep going even after their use causes them to suffer adverse consequences.

Robb entered a similar program and said it helped him get through surprisingly intense withdrawal symptoms.

“I got headaches, dry heaves, extreme emotions and mood swings,” he said. “The first two weeks were bad. THC kills your ability to dream, so I was dreaming again for the first time in four years. My mind was catching up on everything I had repressed. Many of the reasons I started getting high in the first place were coming out in my dreams.”

Some experts question the efficacy of 12-step programs, which, given their anonymity and fluctuating membership, are notoriously hard to study. But Danovitch said they have proved helpful for many people, even if they can’t be considered formal treatment.

“We think of it as a community intervention,” he said. “It’s undoubtedly powerful and effective, but not everyone is willing to participate in it.”

Rick, 54, said Marijuana Anonymous helped him give up the drug when he started attending meetings about a decade ago. Since then, he said, the sense of fellowship has provided strong motivation to stay sober.

“These meetings have given me an accountability I could never maintain on my own,” he said. “They just keep me focused.”

For complete article https://www.columbian.com/news/2020/mar/08/think-marijuana-isnt-addictive-former-users-say-think-again/

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Ireland: Normalizing Weed is Destroying Our Kids.

Child cannabis addiction has nearly doubled in last decade

Normalising marijuana ‘is danger to teenagers’

In 2018, 621 teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17 received treatment in Ireland for addiction to cannabis – making up 85pc of the problem drugs for the adolescents (stock photo)

March 01 2020

The number of child cannabis addicts has nearly doubled in Ireland as the drug has become more fashionable.

Addiction has soared among teenagers in Ireland in the past 10 years while cocaine accounts for only a small fraction of addiction cases.

In 2018, 621 teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17 received treatment in Ireland for addiction to cannabis – making up 85pc of the problem drugs for the adolescents.

While cocaine generates headlines, it accounted for only 5pc of cases of teenage addiction in 2018 or 39 cases, ecstasy accounted for 2pc, benzodiazepines account for 5pc and heroin had zero cases.

Cannabis is seen as much less harmful than hard drugs like heroin and cocaine but consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist at the HSE’s Adolescent Addiction Service, Dr Bobby Smyth, said it is by far the single biggest addictive drug for Irish children.

“We seem to have a blind spot for cannabis in society. Cocaine is nudging upwards but it’s well behind cannabis.”

While cannabis can increase the risk of psychosis among adolescents, it is most often a classic addiction issue.

“It consumes their lives. I knew many young people who get away with it but there is a significant minority who have their lives devastated by it.”

Marijuana normalisation has snowballed with US states including California legalising recreational use of cannabis.

Dr Smyth believes positive messages around cannabis are driving the treatment rates for addiction to the drug, which have gone from 348 child cases in 2008 to 621 cases in 2018 in Ireland.

He said: “There is a really highly organised and sophisticated campaign driving the legalisation of cannabis agenda.

“The harms and risks are being lost. We need some counter messaging. A lot of young people are rather thoughtlessly walking in to using cannabis.

“Teenagers know it’s not good to be drinking from first thing in the morning to last thing at night. But they are smoking cannabis the way they smoke cigarettes and that’s a disaster.

For complete article https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/child-cannabis-addiction-has-nearly-doubled-in-last-decade-39002922.html

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GLOBAL: COVID-19 and WEED! Stoner Advice Dangerous!

Dear Community Member,

The marijuana industry has taken the extraordinary step of exploiting the current COVID-19 crisis for its own ends. We felt compelled to set the record straight and, in cooperation with health authorities, release the following guidance on COVID-19 and marijuana.

SAM STATEMENT ON COVID-19

COVID-19 has rapidly spread throughout the world and though there is some confusion about the details of the disease and its spread, one thing is certain: there are populations within the United States that are particularly vulnerable. Among these vulnerable populations, reports the National Institutes on Health and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), are individuals who smoke or vape marijuana, or have a history of smoking or vaping marijuana.

Underlying respiratory issues are a serious risk factor for negative outcomes from COVID-19. NIDA reports that “Because it attacks the lungs, the coronavirus that causes  COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke tobacco or marijuana or who vape:”

  • A report published by the Journal of the American Medical Association reviewed data from China and found that the case fatality rate for COVID-19 was 6.3 percent for people with chronic respiratory disease, compared with 2.3 percent overall (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2020).
  • Deaths and serious illness from COVID-19 have been concentrated among vulnerable populations. NIDA reports, that it “is therefore reasonable to be concerned that compromised lung function or lung disease related to smoking history, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), could put people at risk for serious complications of COVID-19.”
  • NIDA also reports that vaping can harm lung health just as smoking can, and as such, people who vape can be exposed to increased risk from COVID-19.
  • In 2019, the country experienced a vaping crisis in which as many as 2,739 people were hospitalized and 68 people died (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). The more than 2,700 people who were hospitalized and suffer from residual complications associated with vaping-related lung illness are at an increased risk of severe COVID-19.

NIDA concludes: “We can make educated guesses based on past experience that people with compromised health due to smoking or vaping and people with opioid, methamphetamine, cannabis, and other substance use disorders could find themselves at increased risk of COVID-19 and its more serious complications-for multiple physiological and social/environmental reasons. The research community should thus be alert to associations between COVID-19 case severity/mortality and substance use, smoking or vaping history, and smoking- or vaping-related lung disease.”

Unfortunately, the marijuana industry has taken advantage of the situation. According to LegiStorm, “the first lobbyist to explicitly register on coronavirus-related issues is Jack Burkman – a right-wing trickster and conspiracy theorist…who has recently called for the president to ban coronavirus testing.” Burkman is working on behalf of marijuana industry executive Richard Goulding and registered effective Feb. 27 for work on unspecified coronavirus “issues” and “treatments.”

Furthermore, the Federal Trade Commission warned “There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat/cure #coronavirus (#COVID19). Coronavirus-related ad claims will be subject to exacting scrutiny.” More on this can be found here: https://go.usa.gov/xdFCP

Stay safe,

SAM Team

P.S. Think for a minute: If SAM didn’t release this, who would? Please consider donating to support our mission.

Your support will ensure science – not commercial interests and greed – drives health policies across the country.

 

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UK: Treatment and Demand Reduction of Drug Use Empowering Models is Key!

UK Government ‘not willing to consider’ decriminalisation of drugs, says drug summit chair

Ahead of a second drug summit in Glasgow, Kit Malthouse also said that safe consumption rooms are “a bit of a distraction”

The MP chairing the UK Government’s drug deaths summit in Glasgow has said that the UK Government is “not willing to consider” decriminalisation as a possible means for reducing harm caused by drugs.

Speaking on BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, the UK Government Minister for Crime, Policing and the Fire Service Kit Malthouse said that more had to be done to expand treatment and crack down on drug distribution before the government “even contemplates something like (decriminalisation)”.

On safe drug consumption rooms, Malthouse said that drug consumption rooms are “a bit of a distraction” from other means of preventing drugs deaths.

He said: “If you look around the world and look at the research, the numbers that are affected are quite small. Actually the bulk of people who are dying from drug consumption need treatment, they need education and help and support over a long period.”

Pressed by presenter Gary Robertson that safe consumption rooms may help prevent deaths in the immediate term, Malthouse said that he believes politicians tend to “reach for a simple solution” and that there is no “silver bullet” to stop drug deaths.

He said: “It would take us some time to get them in place, they’re quite small scale and the scale of the problem, certainly in Scotland and elsewhere int the UK, demands a much more assertive approach.”

The UK Government drug deaths summit in Glasgow takes place one day after a similar event was held by the Scottish Government.

Writing in the Daily Record, Malthouse said that harm reduction measures such as heroin-assisted treatment and the use of Naloxone, an anti-overdose injected drug, was important.

But he said that cracking down harshly on criminal gangs and drug dealers was still an important part of the UK Governments approach.

“I am passionate about tackling the ruthless, organised crime gangs who are supplying drugs to vulnerable people.

“These criminals do not care about the harm they do to individuals and communities – their actions drive greater drug use and related offending.

“We must relentlessly pursue the organised criminals that are behind this evil trade.”

For complete article go to https://www.holyrood.com/news/view,uk-government-not-willing-to-consider-decriminalisation-of-drugs-says-drug-_15174.htm

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USA: Vaping Marijuana Bad, Bad News!

Vaping oils that have proven deadly flooding across Arizona border: ‘Everyone should be concerned’

Illegal crude oil marijuana floods into Arizona from border

Arizona Sheriff’s Deputies are struggling to keep up with the amount of illegal marijuana coming across the border. Things have gotten even harder as Mexican cartels are now smuggling what’s called ‘crude oil’ marijuana. It’s one of the strongest forms of THC vaping and it’s proving to be deadly. The vaping cartridges sell for about $50. They’re not only being sold on the black market, but on social media too. Detectives were able to track down a dealer near Phoenix, right from his home operation.

PHOENIX, Ariz. — A dangerous form of marijuana is flooding across the Arizona border and quickly spreading across the U.S.

It’s called “crude oil,” a highly potent, concentrated form of liquid marijuana that’s used for vaping or edibles. It’s something Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies in Arizona are seeing more and more of.

“Our Seizures are up, our arrests are up, the dangers for our deputies has increased dramatically,” said Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone.

It’s one of the strongest forms of THC vaping and it’s proven to be deadly.

“This is a social issue that is going to lead to the loss of lives, we know we’ve seen things such as suicides, we’ve seen young adults die from the implications of the chemicals themselves, we’ve seen mental health challenges from this drug itself, therefore, everyone should be concerned,” said Sheriff Penzone.

Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies recovered 25 gallons of crude oil marijuana and about 10,000 cartridges of vaping liquid from one operation east of Phoenix.

Detectives say legal marijuana vaping cartridges contain at most 30 percent of the high inducing THC, but this new ‘crude oil’ version contains up to 80 percent THC.

Detective Matthew Shay with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said once the black crude oil marijuana is brought into the U.S., it’s then brought to illegal processing labs where it can be distilled or cleaned, ready for vaping. Sheriff Penzone said it’s hard to put a number on just how many illegal labs are around Phoenix — but he estimated there are at least dozens.

“I started law enforcement in 1988. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a time where the complexities of illegal drug distribution and the adverse impact it has on our community has been more severe than what we are seeing right now,” Penzone said.

The vaping cartridges sell for about $50. They’re not only sold on the black market but on social media, too. Detectives were able to track down a dealer near Phoenix who started trying to peddle cartridges on his social media accounts, police said.

“So 25 gallons of crude and we recovered about 10,000 cartridges total off of that one guy…We located him through advertising to his various clients through social media….he had his own warehouse where he had a large lab set up there,” Shay said.

Detectives said making the crude oil is dangerous. Marijuana leaves are washed with harmful chemicals like propane or butane, which extracts the high inducing THC. It’s then mixed with ethanol and distilled several times to make it more translucent, ready for vaping.

For complete story go to Vaping bad! Vaping and Weed – disastrous!

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Global: CBD – The Untested Hype Has a Hidden Side!

Worried About CBD Hurting Your Liver? Here’s What the Experts Have to Say

  • A new study shows evidence that extremely high doses of CBD can be damaging to the liver.
  • But experts say this research, which was done in mice, is still in the early stages, and more information is needed.
  • CBD isn’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, but the agency has been cracking down on companies claiming certain health benefits from taking CBD.

The market for products containing cannabidiol (CBD) — the non-psychoactive, pain-relieving chemical in cannabis — has exploded in recent years, but the product is still relatively understudied.

That’s drawn scrutiny from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other regulators as manufacturers make claims on their CBD products that aren’t necessarily backed by science.

Now, a recent mouse study has been making headlines for the findings that taking too much CBD might lead to liver damage in high enough quantities.

Should you be worried? We took a look at the study and talked to experts about what this mouse study can mean for human fans of CBD.

What the study says 

Citing a “lack of comprehensive toxicological studies devoted to CBD safety that are critical for further marketing of CBD and CBD-containing products,” researchers from the University of Arkansas investigated the effects of treatments of various doses of CBD on a group of 8-week-old mice.

While the mice largely tolerated the CBD, those given the highest doses — a human equivalent to 200 milligrams (mg) of CBD — showed clear signs of liver toxicity, the researchers found.

In addition, repeated doses of a smaller amount of CBD — the human equivalent of around 50 mg — also showed signs of liver swelling and damage.

“Although (a dose of) 200 mg is not applicable to most real-life scenarios, it does provide critical information regarding the potential consequences of CBD overdose as well as for doses needed for further subchronic and chronic toxicity studies,” the authors, publishing in the journal Molecules, wrote.

For complete article https://www.healthline.com/health-news/can-cbd-hurt-your-liver-what-to-know-about-a-new-study

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Netherlands: Pot Paradise Losing Lustre, Even More!

Amsterdam looks to bar foreign visitors from buying cannabis

Mayor cites survey of tourists in the Wallen and Singel as she looks to clean up overcrowded red-light areas

Daniel Boffey in Brussels and Jon Henley Fri 14 Feb 2020

The survey of foreign visitors to the Singel area found 34% would come less often to Amsterdam if they were not allowed to buy cannabis from the coffee shops. Photograph: Alamy

The mayor of Amsterdam has sought to win political backing for her cleanup of overcrowded red-light areas by revealing that a third of foreign tourists and nearly half of Britons would be less likely to visit the city again if they were barred from buying cannabis in the coffee shops.

Home to 1.1 million people, the city attracts more than 17 million visitors a year. The municipality is particularly keen to dissuade foreign visitors from taking advantage of gedoogbeleid, “policy of tolerance”, towards cannabis.

The survey by Amsterdam’s research, information and statistics office suggests that 34% of all those who visit the Wallen and Singel areas – which have a concentration of red-light activities and coffee shops – would come less often to the city if foreigners were not allowed to buy cannabis from the coffee shops, while 11% would never come again.

Of the British visitors surveyed, 42% said they would return to Amsterdam less often.

Among respondents of all nationalities, 40% said they would no longer use “hashish or weed” on their visits if such a ban was enforced.

The 100 visitors to the Wallen and nearby Singel surveyed were aged between 18 and 35, the majority of whom (57%) said they counted coffee shops as playing an important role in their choice to come to Amsterdam.

Beyond the city’s canal district becoming overly populated by tourists, and permeated by what is seen as an increasingly seedy culture, Halsema is seeking to deal with the paradox of the Dutch tolerance policy.

While licensed coffee shops are allowed to sell cannabis from their premises, production of the drug is illegal. The result is that the coffee shops often deal at the “back door” with organised crime gangs.

Separately on Thursday, Amsterdam city hall said group tours of the main Wallen red-light district and other areas of the capital containing sex workers’ windows would be formally banned from 1 April, while guided tours elsewhere in the centre would require a permit.

Victor Everhardt, deputy mayor for economic affairs, said red-light district tours had been outlawed because it was “disrespectful to treat sex workers as a tourist attraction”. Other tours must “adhere to new, stricter rules to prevent disruption for residents and businesses”.
For complete story go to https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/13/amsterdam-looks-to-bar-foreign-visitors-from-buying-cannabis-mayor-tourists-red-light-district

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