Friday, February 24, 2012

No more high for Amsterdam's weed-loving tourists

Foreigners will be banned from Holland's infamous cannabis-selling coffee shops under new anti-drug laws. Under the new rules only Dutch residents will be allowed to enter the shops, which lawfully sell small amounts of cannabis to customers, the Daily Mail reported.

By the end of the year customers will have to sign up for a one-year membership, or "dope pass", to the shops. The legislation, branded "tourism suicide", has been spearheaded by far-right politicians convinced that the move will discourage the "wrong" type of visitors.

-- Tourists to be banned from Amsterdam cannabis cafes

Which reminded me of this travel piece I wrote a few years ago, noting how a visit to one of these cannabis cafes, and munching on their cannabis cookies, was a high point in anyone's Amsterdam tour. At least it was in my case. Did I get high? Nope--perhaps the kick wore off faster than I could have felt it, with all the walking and gawking I did all over the city.

From Dutch Treat: The sacred and the profane in a cordial, live-and-let-live arrangement. You might call this the Dutch way, and every social conservative’s nightmare. Many of the flashpoint issues that have flummoxed other First World countries—prostitution, gay marriage, euthanasia, drug use—inspire no hand-wringing here. The famously tolerant Dutch have managed to finesse them with surprising open-mindedness and sobriety.

Thus, in Amsterdam, Holland’s sparkling capital... chic haberdashery and strong coffee beckon to passersby side by side with mountains of cheese, traditional souvenir items and sex paraphernalia. Cheerfully lighted sex shops share cramped street space with quaint indie bookstores and cafés, while hazy pubs offer a choice of pastries laced with marijuana.

Since pot smoking is tolerated in this country (though heroin and cocaine remain illegal), some stores are dedicated to selling the best varieties of weed. “World-class cannabis seeds,” reads one.

Well, now, goodbye to all that.

1 comment:

Henry said...

That's a really nice place to go. I hope to visit it someday.

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