Had Too Much Space Cake? Amsterdam Tourist Doctor Comes To The Rescue

When doctor Van Ommeren is called during his night shifts, he must make a quick analysis. Does it sound urgent or can it wait a while? Then he cycles to the tourist’s residence, often in the centre of Amsterdam.

His medical service for international visitors has been around for three years now. After having worked in Australia for two years, Van Ommeren returned to the Netherlands and founded HotelDoc.

In a recent interview with newspaper Parool, Van Ommeren says that “a large part of the job consists of the classic cases for a general practitioner: stomach flu, airway complaints but also – what else – cannabis.”

Space cake is usually the culprit. According to the doctor, it is striking that it is often middle-aged people make the mistake of eating too much. “They want to try some but they’re not accustomed to much [of it’s effect]. They panic, get palpitations and think they’re dying. Yesterday I was with a patient who had eaten space cake and engulfed the entire bathroom in puke. It came up to the ceiling. It didn’t help that the partner also ate space cake and was also panicking, with one inflicting the other. The only thing I can do is reassure them. Then I do a few small tests, such as measuring blood pressure. It’s not medically necessary, but it helps to reduce the panic. I only leave when they are calmed down. Usually I say: tomorrow you will laugh about it.”

Journalist, who “couldn’t feel her face” after eating spacecake, thanks coffeeshop

British journalist Yomi Adegoke wrote an open letter to employees of an Amsterdam coffeeshop, saying she’s “eternally grateful to them” because they helped her when she “couldn’t feel her face” after eating spacecake.”

Adegoke was in Amsterdam for a panel discussion and wanted to try Amsterdam’s favourite edible, space cake. She first ate a quarter of the cake, felt nothing after an hour, and then ate another quarter.

After this she decided to participate in a city walk, but she soon felt very bad. “It was as if the world was slowly collapsing,” she writes in the letter, which was published by The Guardian. She was convinced that everyone wanted to make sure she would miss her flight – which would depart two hours later.

Adegoke managed to drag herself to the nearest coffeeshop and plop down on the couch to “die softly.” She cannot remember the name of the coffee shop.
“You did not laugh at me when I asked if I would ever feel my face again,” she writes. “You gave me a drink and assured me there was no conspiracy against me.” She is “forever grateful to the coffeeshop for all the water, the sweets, and how you managed to get me to the airport in a taxi.”
But most of all Adegoke wants to thank the employees for ‘’putting up with a smug tourist, who even though she has done it all before’’.

 

Full letter:

Dear cafe staff,
You sat with me for nearly an hour, as I became the world’s worst ad for anything weed-related in front of your irked customers. That weekend – I explained as you passed me the ninth glass of water – I had been booked for a panel discussion in Amsterdam, a stay I extended by three days to convert business into pleasure, a much-needed mini-break I intended to spend almost entirely baked. To facilitate this, I went to a place that did the “best space cakes in the city”; “best”, I soon realised, meaning “the ones most likely to make me think I dropped one of my ears on the high street when running from God”.

On my last day, with a fair amount in my bloodstream already, I ate a quarter of a space cake and felt a bit tired. An hour passed; still nothing but a mild case of the munchies. And, like a spoilt child in a moralising fairytale, I decided to sate my hunger with another quarter.

It was during a walking tour of the city that the world casually began to cave in. I glanced downwards and the floor was suddenly at the tip of my nose. I then suspected I was a mere millimetre away from everyone else in the group, and that my slightest movement would send the six-year-old near me flying across the square. Slowly, I began stepping back, attracting bemused looks. The jig was up. I wasn’t concerned that they would realise I was high as a kite on the face of the moon, but that now they were “out to get me”. My backwards walk became a backwards run. The skyline began to drip on to the pavement. I became convinced of a growing conspiracy to keep me stoned enough to miss my flight home, which was in two hours.

I managed to lug myself into another coffee shop – yours – to die quietly on your couch.

“Was it something we gave you?” one of you asked, touching my forehead. And though it wasn’t, you tended to me with the bedside manner of a paediatrician caring for a child with a broken arm. You rallied around me with water, assuring me there wasn’t a conspiracy and you definitely weren’t part of one. You weren’t fussed when I pointed out that that was exactly what someone would say if involved in a conspiracy. You handed me an orange, and comforted me when I tearfully realised I had forgotten how to peel one. You suppressed smirks as I asked if I would ever feel my face again. Dazed, I asked how long I’d been there. “I’d say about eight minutes,” one of you replied. At that, I actually began to cry.

Though I can’t recall your shop’s name for obvious reasons, to you all, I am eternally grateful: for the lakes-worth of water, for the non-stop sweets, for bundling me into a cab to the airport. But most of all, for putting up with a smug tourist, who even though she has done it all before, still manages to make an absolute tit of herself in Amsterdam.

Yomi

(photo: Metro)

Dutch Christian Party (CU): No More Weed for Tourists!

CU en wiet

If political party the ChristenUnie  (CU) has her way, customers of Dutch coffeeshops will have to show an extract from their Personal Records Database records (BRP) before they can buy any weed. This proposed measure aims to ban tourists from coffeeshops and limit the acces to weed to Dutch residents only.

The idea is not new. The Dutch central government already gave municipalies the option to ban non-Dutch from their coffeeshops, but municipalities are allowed to determine whether they want to implement this rule. Many towns and cities, such as Amsterdam choose not to implement the ban and still allow tourists and other visitors of the Netherlands to buy and enjoy weed at its coffeeshops. The ChristenUnie wants to change that now. The party wants Justice and Security, minister Dutch to discuss the issue with the municipalities.
“At the moment, the Netherlands is known as the country where you go to get off and use drugs,” says MP Stieneke van der Graaf (CU). “That is horrible and shameful and I want to do everything to break that image as a drug country.”

Drugs and drug tourists cause too much trouble in our country, the politician believes. “Keeping tourists away from coffeeshops is a good start to tackle that nuisance.” Van der Graaf also considers it important that all municipalities apply the same criteria. “Otherwise you are only moving the problem.”

Illegal circuit

Ferry de Boer from the BCD, a branch organization for coffeeshop entrepreneurs, does not think that keeping tourists out of coffeeshops is a good idea. According to de Boer, the demand for cannabis does not disappear and this way you only chase consumers into the street. “This has already been happened in the city of Maastricht, where [after the ban] the number of illegal outlets has increased enormously.” An increase in illegal trade is not desirable for anyone, De Boer says. It would only aggravate the nuisance.

The coffeeshops were created to separate drug markets [to separate hard drugs from soft drugs consumption], he says. De Boer sees the refusal of tourists as a step back. It dates back to the time when there were hardly any coffeeshops. Then everything was sold from the illegal circuit and the Netherlands faced a major heroin problem. “There were parts of Amsterdam where you couldn’t walk as an ordinary citizen,” he says. With the arrival of the first tolerated cannabis, the situation changed. “The tolerance policy displaced the hard drug trade” with the coffeeshop as “safe haven”.

According to Van der Graaf, the increase in street trafficking of cannabis in Maastricht was not so disproportionate that it is a reason not to maintain the resident criterion. “The police were prepared for this and the illegal trade was quickly suppressed. Of course we have to take this into account, but it is not an argument for the long term. ”

Lots of police work

De Boer believes that closing the coffeeshops for tourists, and the associated growth of the illegal market, will cause major problems. “Maintaining something like this is going to require a huge amount of police work, and there is already a shortage of thieves.” In addition, making it mandatory to show a BRP would raise the threshold to go to a coffeeshop. This could also force the Dutch on to the illegal market.

It is not yet clear whether the minister will respond to the call of the ChristenUnie.

Exhibition ‘The ABC of CBD’ at the Hash Museum Amsterdam

The ABC of CBD

From July 11th to until January 26th, The Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum in Amsterdam proudly presents Europe’s first exhibition about CBD. In “The ABC of CBD”, the museum takes you on a journey through the many applications to the source of this mysterious molecule.

Cannabis for wellness

CBD (short for cannabidiol), is one of the active ingredients in cannabis, a herb which people have used for centuries thanks to its healing propertiesIn “The ABC of CBD” the museum turns the spotlight on the aspect of the cannabis plant that aids your body rather than expands your mind. Cannabidiol is primarily used for pain relief, to reduce tension, and against sleeplessness. Research into this substance is increasing, and the results all suggest the same: CBD has a positive effect on the body and contributes to a general feeling of well being. However, the acceptance of CBD products is still challenged by the controversy that surrounds the cannabis plant, and its legal status worldwide. There is still a long way to go.

Coalition Agrees on Experiment with Legal Weed

The Dutch coalition parties have reached an agreement about an experiment with legal, government controlled cannabis. As planned earlier, six to ten municipalities will be conducting trials, but an additional six to ten municipalities are used as a ‘control group’. Moreover, the test can be extended if it proves successful.

During the trial, the coffeeshops involved will be allowed to have a larger trade stock (of marijuana cultivated by the state) than the current maximum of 500 grams. There will be a choice of different types of weed for customers to choose from and there will be no limit to the amount of THC, the active substance in cannabis. Should the experiment be a success, it can be extended.

A control group has also been added to the experiment. It consists of tolerated coffeeshops in the vicinity of the municipalities involved. The same measurements are made at these shops. On the basis of this so-called zero measurement, it can then be concluded whether the test with state weed was successful.

The decision is politically sensitive. The two christian democratic parties that are part of the current coalition agreed with a limited variant, which ten municipalities would participate in. But a research committee headed by Professor André Knottnerus ruled that this group would be too small for a ‘sufficiently representative survey’. The government should keep the experiment in ‘considerably more’ municipalities than the coalition agreement says.

The Committee also concluded that if the trial is a success, a national introduction of ‘state cannabis’ should be considered. The government does not want to do so for the time being, but the possibility to extend the trial does leave the door wide open.

Advice for Dutch Government: Expand Cannabis Experiment

Cannabis Bevrijdingsdag 2018

According to the specially appointed advisory committee, Commision-Knottnerus,  the government must broaden the experiment with controlled cannabis cultivation and supply for recreational use: More participating municipalities, several growers involved and no limits to the strength of the weed.

The Committee has examined the planned cannabis experiment in recent months and is currently issuing it’s advice. This states that the experiment should take place in “significantly more” municipalities than the six to ten that the government has now established. According to the committee, it is important for the value of the experiment, that large and small municipalities across the country participate in the trial. The weed experiment will take four years. During this period, cannabis can be produced in certain municipalities and also be delivered to coffeeshops.

The plan is to evaluate the experiment after four years and then, over a period of six months, return to the present situation. After the completion everything would be as before. Christian parties have forced this point as they fear the experiment will quietly become standard practice. But the committee thinks it is “illogical and risky” and wants to be able to extend the trial if it is successful. According to the committee it would also be “unethical” to have sales outlets operate legally for four years only to have them return to clandestine operations for supply at the end of that period. The Committee advises the government to make it clear in advance that upon a succesful completion of the experiment, the aim is to “implement the closed, regulated cannabis chain nationally”.

 

[photo from debate during Cannabis Bevrijdingsdag 2018]

Exhibition: We are Mary Jane: Women of Cannabis

This summer, until september 23, you can enjoy the exhibition ‘We are Mary Jane: Women of Cannabis’ at the Amsterdam Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum.

The exhibition explores the role of women in the world of cannabis. From prehistoric times to the present day, the Museum pays tribute to the often overlooked female contribution in the history of the world’s most versatile plant.

‘We are Mary Jane’ highlights the extraordinary women who have shaped the modern cannabis world, and shows how women are advancing the industry today.

Address of the Museum: Oudezijds Achterburgwal 130, Amsterdam

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Ten Fun Things To Do for Stoners

Over the Edge
‘Over the Edge’ is Europe’s highest swing on our sky deck. Daredevils and thrill seekers will swing 100 meters above the ground. The swing is part of the A’dam Lookout experience.
Back and forth over the edge of the tower with Amsterdam below your feet. Enjoy the unrivalled view over our capital city, while the adrenaline flows through your body.
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Amsterdam Summer Festivals 2018
Going to a festival is a favorite getaway of Amsterdammers. The Amsterdam festivals attract many visitors from home and abroad.
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Vondelpark Open Air Theater (free)
From May through September every year, the Vondelpark Open Air Theatre presents a programme packed with festivals, dance, music, cabaret,…
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Artis Zoo (summer Saturdays open until sunset)
On Saturday evenings throughout summer, party animals in Amsterdam’s Artis Royal Zoo gather expectantly in their enclosures as the ZOOmeravonden (summer evenings) let visitors learn what the animals get up to after hours by staying open until sunset on every Saturday in June, July and August
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De Parade Theater Festival (August 17-September 2)
The Parade travelling theatre festival returns every summer to tour the Netherlands with a rich array of artistic surprises in tow. The festival rolls into Amsterdam’s Martin Luther Kingpark in August.
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Canal Cruising
Besides providing a stunning backdrop to the city’s historic centre, Amsterdam’s canals offer one of the most memorable ways to discover the city. Whether you’re a first-time or frequent visitor, everything in Amsterdam seems that little bit more magical when viewed from a boat.
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Free Ferry to NDSM in Amsterdam-Noord
Pioneers are giving shape to NDSM. A place where ship workers, artists, media makers, performers and young entrepreneurs are each making their unique mark.
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Amsterdam Parks
There are about 30 parks in Amsterdam, ranging from Wertheimpark which covers one hectare, to the fabulous Vondelpark which covers 48 hectares. The number of parks makes Amsterdam a peaceful oasis even on a busy day.
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Swimming – Pools, Beaches and Canals
Amsterdam has many public indoor- and outdoor swimming pools, officially approved natural spots, and a good number of ‘wild swimming’ locations,  perfect for picnics along with a refreshing dive or swim.
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When it’s warm outside, a lot of people enjoy swimming in ponds, lakes and rivers. The best place to go swimming is in the designated swimming spots where people can swim in safe and clean water.
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Free Lunchtime Concerts – Het Concert Gebouw
For many years now, free Lunchtime Concerts have been held in the Main Hall and the Recital Hall. Usually, these Lunchtime Concerts take place on Wednesdays, but please check the concert schedule as occasionally this changes. The concerts range from public rehearsals by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, to chamber music performances by young up-and-coming artists.
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Cannabis Liberation Day 2018

Come and celebrate the tenth anniversary of Cannabis Liberation Day with us on Sunday, June 17 in Flevopark, Amsterdam.

Cannabis Liberation Day highlights international cannabis culture and argues in favor of tolerance and broad use of hemp as a sustainable raw material and counteracts criminalization of the plant, cannabis consumers, coffeeshops and growers.

New at Cannabis Liberation Day this year is the ‘Cannabis Olympics’. There are ‘five playful games, including Bungee Run and Stonede Stormbaan [stoner obstacle course]’. The first 500 participants win a ‘cannabis medal’.

As usual access is free. Check www.cannabisliberationday.org for details.

Exhibition ‘Cannabis Cuisine’ at Hash Museum Amsterdam

Everyone knows you can eat cannabis. Space cake from Amsterdam coffeeshops is world-famous, but did you know life expectancy of residents in the Chinese town of Bama Yao is well above 100? Scientists believe the secret behind this long lifespan has something to do with their diet, which contains a lot of hemp seeds.

Although the cannabis sativa is mainly known for its flowers, which can be smoked, it is also proving to be a versatile source of nutrition. Nowadays, hemp seeds are available at any supermarket and in recent years, CBD oil has been on the rise as a nutritional supplement. In the exhibition Cannabis Cuisine (1 December 2017 – 25 February 2018), the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum in Amsterdam explores the history of cannabis in nutrition, lists the healthy qualities of hemp and follows the latest trends in high cuisine.

Address: Oudezijds Achterburgwal 130, Amsterdam