Coffeeshops Amsterdam Fully Open Again!

Good news! Coffeeshops in Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands will fully open again from July 1st.

Coffeeshops were still open for take-away, but from next week they’ll be allowed to offer seats and full-service again. Bars and restaurants in Amsterdam have been open since the 1st of June and, although earlier the government decided coffeeshops had to wait until September before they could reopen,  it looks like there is no reason to keep coffeeshops closed any longer.  Standard measures against coronavirus (such as the direction to keep 1.5 metres distance from each other) still apply.

Holland Is Looking For Talented Weed Growers

The Dutch government is looking for growers to participate in a nationwide weed experiment. Farmers who want to take part in this national cannabis experiment can register from July 1st.

Despite popular belief, cannabis is not legal in the Netherlands – it is decriminalised for personal use and its sale by specialised coffeeshops is formally “tolerated” by the Dutch authorities. Although producing and trading cannabis remains illegal in the Netherlands, the sale of weed to the public by these coffeeshops  is “illegal, but not punishable”. This pragmatic approach is subject to debate.

Currently, the sale of weed is permitted by coffeeshops, but the purchase and production are not allowed. Regulating the supply of weed to the coffeeshops would end an ongoing contradiction, as a coffeeshop is allowed to sell marijuana and hash within the formally tolerated limits, but its suppliers are not allowed to grow, import or sell cannabis products to the coffeeshop. As one coffeeshop owner commented: “The front door is open, but the backdoor is illegal.”  For more than 40 years, suppliers of coffeeshops and the coffeeshop owners have risked prosecution due to this deadlock. The closed coffeeshop chain experiment should clarify whether legal supply, purchase and sale of cannabis is possible.

To qualify, growers must comply with the general conditions set by the national government. Among other things, they must submit a business plan and be able to submit a Certificate of Good Conduct (VOG). A maximum of ten cannabis growers are selected. The quality of the cannabis will be monitored. The diversity of the supply will also be checked to make sure that there will be sufficiënt choice for the end-consumer. Potential pot growers have to be able to produce at least ten different varieties of weed and/or hash to qualify.

With this trial, the government says it wants to solve the problem that coffeeshops may sell soft drugs, but cannot legally obtain their store stock. Last year it was decided that there will be a trial with ‘legal’ cannabis cultivation in these ten municipalities: Almere, Arnhem, Breda, Groningen, Heerlen, Hellevoetsluis, Maastricht, Nijmegen, Tilburg and Zaanstad.

 

 

 

Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum Reopens To The Public

As more measures against coronavirus are being lifted in the Netherlands, the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum in Amsterdam announced that it will reopen its hemp and marijuana exhibition after the weekend.

The museum, which manages and exhibits one of the world’s oldest and most elaborate collections dedicated to cannabis, says on its website that it is set to welcome visitors again from June 8th.

Museum director Ben Dronkers: “It is important that we can open the museum to the public again. In these uncertain times, cannabis is a friend, not an enemy. It gives you an open heart, an open mind.”

The museum states it has taken the necessary steps to ensure ”visits are as safe and enjoyable as possible”. For the time being, visitors will only be admitted into the museum with pre-booked tickets.

Mayor Wants To Decimate Amsterdam’s Cannabis Industry

Amsterdam mayor, Femke Halsema says she wants to “combat fun tourism” by reducing the demand for cannabis.

According to the mayor, a large proportion of what she calls “fun tourists” is attracted to prostitution in the city center and the “enormous amount of coffeeshops”. That is why she wants to see whether it is possible to make these markets “smaller and more manageable”.

This is what mayor Halsema told local news channel AT5, when asked about the municipality’s aims to keep tourists out of the city center.

After the corona crisis, the municipality doesn’t want ‘fun tourism’ to return to the city. The intention is that establishments and shops will again focus more on the residents of Amsterdam. The municipality wants to achieve this by, among other things, introducing new rules and purchasing buildings.

Halsema says that she is now focusing on the coffeeshops. She sees that there are no fewer than 120 shops in the city center, a large part of which live on tourism. “It doesn’t mean that we just close coffeeshops. But we do try to steer the demand.”

Earlier this year the mayor told the same news channel that she had plans for a large erotic center or a prostitution hotel as an alternative to the city’s Red Light District: A five-storey building as the new erotic center of Amsterdam. Here patrons and tourists could not only visit sex workers, but also make use of catering facilities, a hairdresser, a beauty salon and a tanning salon. It would have space enough for about a hundred sex workers.

Although it’s well known by officials that most disturbances in the city center are the result of alcohol abuse, mayor Halsema did not mention the ‘Heineken Experience’, the beer fun house (with ‘tasting facility’) on the edge of the city center, where tours of the brewery grew to become one of Amsterdam’s most popular international tourist attractions.

Amsterdam Coffeeshops Are Open, These Are The Rules

These are the obligated measures taken by the Amsterdam coffeeshops against coronavirus:

– Coffeeshops are open and permitted to sell weed and hashish at a take-away counter.
– They must be able to arrange this logistically and also observe all hygiene measures prescribed (such as maintaining a 1.5 metres distance between people).
– Customers are now only allowed to pick up weed and can not stay in the coffeeshops or use the shop’s facilities.
– Delivery is not permitted.

Update: Bars and restaurants in Amsterdam will open again on June 1st. Coffeeshops will be allowed to offer full service again on July 1st. Until then they will remain open for take-away.

Stay safe everyone.

Corona Measures: Amsterdam Coffeeshops Open With Restrictions

A slight panic struck Amsterdam’s 420 community when, in the late afternoon of March 15th, the Dutch government announced measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. All establishments in the Netherlands, such as restaurants, bars and coffeeshops, were to be closed by 6 o’clock that evening, and were to remain closed for at least three weeks.

In a last-minute effort to secure some weed or hash in order to have something left to smoke during the impending ‘drought’, people formed long lines outside the city’s cannabis shops. In those queues, which sometimes stretched for tens of metres along the sidewalk and around corners, patrons were not keeping distance from each other. To make matters worse, at some coffeeshops the people waiting outside were being targeted by pushy street dealers who were handing out business cards and promoting their merchandise as the soon-to-be only available alternative. However, the local government took notice of that and quickly recognised the potentially harmful side-effects of a complete coffeeshop lockdown. After some deliberation, it was decided that in the course of following day the shops would be allowed to open again – be it with restrictions:

Takeaway only (no seats, no service, no toilet), everyone is to keep 1.5 metres distance from others and there is a limit on the number of customers that are allowed in the coffeeshop at one time for pickup.
On top of this, most reopened coffeeshops have added their own measures such as the placement of transparent screens on the dealer’s counter and distance markers on the floor.

Relaxing Measures

Prime Minister Mark Rutte recently announced the long awaited relaxation of most restrictions. In public buildings from June 1, a maximum of thirty people will be allowed per room. This means, for example, that movie theatres and concert halls can open again.

In addition, most establishments may also open on June 1st. There is no maximum number of people on the terraces but everyone should sit at a table and keep 1.5 meters apart.

Coffeeshops have to wait two months longer to fully open. They will be allowed to provide public access without capacity restrictions again from September 1st.

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.