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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Amsterdam will remain a hotspot for cannabis lovers in 2013


by Frans Westman

Of course we all know that Amsterdam is one the places that any cannabis user should visit once in his or her life. Since the 70’s is has been one of the few places on this earth where cannabis is being tolerated and when walking a random street in the city centre you will smell the damping smell of freshly baked joints all year long. Millions of tourists visit this city every year to enjoy the freedom of smoking pot in the streets or one of the 220 cannabis café’s in town, without rising any hassle with cops. 

But all of this is maybe about to change as after many years of discussion and critic from other countries surrounding the Netherlands, the Dutch government is trying to change the law and ban non-residents from the cannabis café’s.  

Cannabis cafes, or coffeeshops as they like to call them in the Netherlands, are meant for local people according to Ivo Opstelten, Minister of Security and Justice. The policy of tolerance that the country has had since the 70’s never totally legalized cannabis and the only reason coffeeshops have been tolerated was to give the Dutch citizens the option to obtain their grass legally, not having to buy it in illegal circuits. But it was never meant to be a tourist attraction for millions of foreigners. The main problem according to the government is not even Amsterdam, but the bigger cities in the South that are being visited on a daily base by foreigners from neighboring countries like Belgium, Germany and even France.

The first idea of the government was to introduce a pass system. This so called “weed pass” could only be applied for by Dutch citizens and would give the pass-holder access to only one particular coffeeshop. Of course the country reacted indignantly as after 4 decades of being able to buy cannabis anonymously it feels like a strange thing to have to be registered as a pot smoker in order to smoke cannabis. 

In the first half of this year the government has tried out their new pass system in the south of the country which resulted in a true disaster. Nobody wanted to get registered of course, which led to most coffeeshops closing down, many demonstrations by foreigners and locals and finally illegal street dealers taking over the complete market of selling cannabis to both foreigners and locals. In cities like Maastricht en Venlo drug-related crime grew very fast and the police had no idea to respond to this.


In the first half of this year the government has tried out their new pass system in the south of the country which resulted in a true disaster. Nobody wanted to get registered of course, which led to most coffeeshops closing down, many demonstrations by foreigners and locals and finally illegal street dealers taking over the complete market of selling cannabis to both foreigners and locals. In cities like Maastricht en Venlo drug-related crime grew very fast and the police had no idea to respond to this.

A few years ago magic mushrooms got banned totally and this has resulted in a rise in the sale of magic mushroom grow kits that are being sold legally in the Netherlands and can be ordered from basically anywhere. It shows that people, but especially the Dutch, will always be finding loopholes in the law when it comes to their beloved mind-expanding substances.

Also, as growing up to 5 plants for personal usage is still being tolerated; many people started growing their own cannabis. Buying cannabis seeds can be done freely on the internet and in seed shops across the country as well as all the equipment needed to grow them fast and easy. 

Mayors of bigger cities in the Netherlands have told the government several times that they are not willing to cooperate with the new law and also Eberhard van der Laan, mayor of Amsterdam, has actively campaigned against the weed pass plan, saying it would have "undone the advantages of Amsterdam's coffee-shop system".

Last November the government finally gave in and discarded the new weed pass system and Dutch cities are now to decide for themselves whether to ban tourists from the cannabis café’s and at the moment 2013 started good for the city and Amsterdam is still being flooded with tourists interested to get baked, eat magic truffles and see the great sites of the wonderful city. And the Netherlands is still producing great stuff! 

Including great ideas for special ways to get high! 

Check this crazy creation out by the famous Daily Smoker:


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