Mayor Wants To Auction Off Coffeeshop Licenses

In a controversial response to calls for more coffeeshops in Rotterdam, the city’s Mayor recently proposed to auction off licenses.

The Mayor told reporters of Dutch newspaper NRC, if possible he would like ”something” to go back to the municipality.

Such an auction would be unprecedented in Holland and raises questions concerning the legality of such a move as Dutch coffeeshops are not allowed to make charitable donations to public infrastructure.

The nominal cost of a coffeeshop license in Rotterdam is between 500 and 600 Euro.

Weed Demand Outweighs Secret Supply Of Coffeeshops

Dutch Coffeeshops are under increasing pressure and scrutiny over the amount of cannabis stock they can hold, due to an ever growing demand for the drug. In general coffeeshops are allowed a maximum of 500 grams, which sells quickly in a busy shop. The supplier, known as a ‘runners’, may find themselves resupplying the same shop many times a day, risking arrest with every run, if caught in the street, or at their stash pad.

The paradoxical situation revolves around the back-door supply chain, which is illegal but tolerated under strict conditions, together with the question of where to store the stock (usually inside a secret room). Both these grey areas in the law leave coffeeshop owners in constant uncertainty, with the ongoing threat of prosecution. While the problem of nuisance in the cities increases as coffeeshops are closed. Welcome to the paradox of Dutch coffeeshop culture.

Coffeeshop ‘nemo’ in Rotterdam was the largest in the city, and it remains closed after two years since the authorities discovered excess amount of stock on the premises.

“After the municipality decided that no coffeeshops were allowed within a 250-meter radius of the school, 16 were closed. Many customers then came to Nemo. That’s why I had such a large stock.” said Mr. Ilonka Kamans, Lawyer representing coffeeshop Nemo.

Maurice Veldman, a lawyer in Amsterdam highlights a similar need for adjusting the stock limits in Amsterdam and points out that the municipalities of Utrecht and Maastricht allow for one kilo of cannabis stock, due to precisely this higher demand that is caused by the closure of so many coffeeshops. “The increase in demand is largely due to the closure of coffee shops […]”, Veldman said.

Five Fun Things To Do In Amsterdam Once You’re High.

When high in Amsterdam, all things may seem possible. However, we recommend taking it easy at a safe and manageable pace, and perhaps consider one of the following fun, relaxing activities.

1. Visit one of the stunning parks such as Vondel park, the choice location for Amsterdam smokers ever since 1967 when they congregated, talked, smoked, and danced together. Westerpark also provides a tranquil location for a toke over on the west side of the city, with exhibition spaces, restaurants, music clubs and bars only a short distance from the lush green grass.
2. Friday nights at the world famous Van Gogh Museum are changing the way museums are percieved, with a regular programme of entertaining VJ and DJ performances, plus a food and cocktail bar! It’s high brow, but who wouldn’t give their left ear to party at the Van Gogh Museum? Check it out if you get the chance.
3. Take a trip to the the Botanical Gardens, and get to know some of the other species from the plant kingdom in full glory. Take note, if you smoke weed before heading into the butterfly sanctuary there’s a strong chance that beautiful butterlflies as big as bats land on you.
4. Some Amsterdam canal boat rides, with discretion, may overlook you smoking a bomber on the back, where you can gain a uniquely different perspective of the pretty city of Amsterdam, from the water level. If you don’t fancy spending on a canal boat, you can take the free ferry from central station across to the north and back.
5. Amsterdam hosts a large selection of famous festivals through the year, such as the Light Festival, Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), Cannabis Liberation Day, Roots Festival, King’s Day, Museum Night, and Pride Amsterdam. Hosting in excess of 300 festivals every year, Amsterdam’s festival agenda spans all tastes and genres. No matter the time of year, you can plan your trip to coincide with one of these festivals.

Cannabis Liberation Day 2017: A Sunny Success

Cannabis Liberation Day

The sun was beaming for the happy festival goers on Sunday at the 9th annual Cannabis Liberation Day festival. Held in the spacious and beautiful Flevopark in the east of Amsterdam, the event proved to be an overall success with a huge friendly turn out, showing a strong example of what Amsterdam cannabis culture looks like, outside of the coffeeshops.

New-born babies and grandparents shared the same space together, and the smiles swept from end-to-end of the field in a green sea of happy high people. This was a gathering of the varied cannabis tribes, spearheaded by artists, musicians and cannabis activists.

The guest speakers could be heard clearly and the live bands and DJs played nicely with the energy from the crowd. Surrounded by like-minded individuals, fresh food, diverse programming, well presented stalls and good weather, all in all it was a perfect day.

Heads up to all the people who made it possible, the clean up crew, and to all the speakers and performers.

Of Mice And Marijuana

Traditionally, in some cultures the elderly smoke cannabis. This is reported to help an elder convey knowledge of the tribe’s culture. It turns out that this is not such a bad idea today.

A research group led by Andreas Zimmer of the University of Bonn in Germany, studied the mammalian endocannabinoid system (the indiginous cannabis system in all mammals.) This is involved in stabilizing the stress responses of our body. THC’s effect on this system generally causes us to calm down.

Studies in mice

Scientists found that mice grow older sooner–with genetic mutations that disrupt the functioning of the endocannabinoid system–than mice that have no mutations. The cognition of mice with genetic mutations also deteriorated at a higher rate, as a result, Zimmer wondered if stimulation of the endocannabinoid system would have an opposite effect.

The young mice from the control group that did not receive THC performed much better than the middle and elderly control group mice. But the middle and older mice who received THC performed as well as the young mice, without THC.

Further studies showed that THC stimulates the number of brain cell connections in the hippocampus, a brain area involved with memory. “It’s a striking result,” says Zimmer.

Zimmer thinks his results show that too much or too little stimulation of the endocannabinoid system can be harmful. This system is most active in young mice and humans, so the additional stimulation of THC can overload it. Unlike older mice, the activity of the endocannabinoid system is decreasing, so a little bit of THC could reduce the system to an optmum level.

Studies in people

The results from the research are not so surprising, according to pharmacologist David Nutt of Imperial College London, who specializes in neuropsychology. Animal studies have shown that the cannabinoids produced in the body have beneficial effects on the brain. Nutt and his colleagues have also found that the use of THC can protect alcoholics from brain damage, caused by alcohol.

The Zimmer research team is now planning to conduct studies in humans to investigate whether older people can benefit from a small dose of THC.

Even if the researchers find the same results in humans as in mice, it’s unlikely that doctors will prescribe joints. “The dosage is important,” says Zimmer. ‘Smoking of marijuana is very different.’

Top Three Amsterdam High Views

The Netherlands are generally very flat, and while it’s easy to get high in a coffeeshop, it can prove tricky getting high geographically speaking. Here are some recommended vista points in Amsterdam, if you’re searching for that extra uplift.

1. Amsterdam ‘Look Out’ is a unique observation platform situated high atop the Amsterdam Tower in the North of the city, and only a two minute ferry ride across from Central Station. For thrill seekers there’s the ‘Over The Edge’ swings, the highest in all of Europe. Not for the feint of heart at over 100 meters high.

2. The Nemo ‘Science Museum’ is a large green building that looks like a boat, only five minutes walking distance from central station. There are steps leading up to the top deck where you can sit and enjoy the panoramic vistas of Amsterdam North, East and West. If you’re discrete, you can put one in the sky for old captain Nemo and Jules Verne.

3. Amsterdam Library was recently moved to a new building just to the left, when walking out of Central Station. The stunning library features a restaurant on the top floor, which leads out to a viewing balcony to enjoy the sights.

Juneau, Alaska’s ‘New Amsterdam’?

Could Alaska’s capital, Juneau become one of the biggest destinations for pot tourism in the world? The City and marijuana retailers are hopeful.

If the state allows smoking lounges, Juneau’s city manager says Alaska’s Amsterdam could be even bigger for pot tourism than the real one.

“We want to be the Amsterdam of Alaska,” said Giono Barrett, co-owner of Rainforest Farms, a cannabis store in downtown Juneau. “There’s a lot more going on up here for adventure, they want to see mountains and whales and an ocean and glaciers. So, we have all of that right out of our port– you can access it within 20 minutes of getting off your ship– including the cannabis.”

It’s an attraction with a catch. While it is legal to buy pot in Juneau, there’s no legal place for tourists to smoke because cruise ships sail in federal waters. “Since it’s a federal crime, that’d be a big problem,” said cruise ship passenger Greg Smith, of California.

(Full story: http://www.ktva.com/juneau-amsterdam-alaska-759)

Amsterdam Style Coffeeshops In Las Vegas?

Several US states have legalized recreational use of cannabis but no state has yet created a state-sanctioned place for adults to legally consume cannabis. This leaves many consumers with no place to enjoy legal cannabis as no state permits public consumption. A bill in Nevada could make it the first state to allow for cannabis clubs.

”One can imagine a few social use clubs fitting in on the Las Vegas strip. Las Vegas could become the US-version of Amsterdam or Barcelona, where cannabis consumers can enjoy their product at a cafe or bar”, says Daniel Shortt from Cannalawblog.com

Senate Bill 236 would grant cities and counties authority to issue licenses to businesses wishing to allow cannabis use at their premises or to hold special events where cannabis use is permitted. Cities and counties would have the ability to establish an application process and create rules for these businesses. These businesses could not be located within 1,000 feet of a school or community facility, defined as a daycare, playground, public swimming pool, recreation center, place of worship, or drug or alcohol rehabilitation facility. Businesses could not allow consumption of marijuana in public view and could not allow individuals under 21 to enter the business or special event where marijuana is consumed. These licensed businesses could be the cannabis clubs that recreational states have been missing.

Legalization initiatives in California and Maine may allow for cannabis clubs, but those states have not drafted regulations addressing cannabis clubs. Alaska experimented with the idea of cannabis clubs but ultimately has not permitted such clubs. Oregon and Washington explicitly prohibit consumption of marijuana at a place of business. Some towns and counties in Colorado allow private clubs where individuals can consume cannabis but they are subject to local rules and regulations. For example, the City of Denver passed Initiative 300 last November to allow businesses to permit cannabis consumption, but the program has yet to be fully implemented.

(Full story: http://www.cannalawblog.com/cannabis-clubs-will-nevada-lead-us)

About Vaporizing

Vaporizers in Amsterdam

Besides smoking, vaporizing is a popular way to consume cannabis in Amsterdam coffeeshops. With a device called a vaporizer you can heat up weed and sometimes hashish, to a specific temperature at which the active ingredients in cannabis evaporate. This temperature (229c) is well below the point of combustion, keeping the weed from igniting.

In short, a vaporizer more-or-less  ‘steams’ your weed as opposed to burning it. Thus, when vaporizing the active ingredients, no smoke is created. People who do not smoke may still ”vape”.

In the Netherlands, some coffeeshops have in-house vaporizers which are offered as a free service, if you purchase something from the weed counter.

Over the years a number of smaller, hand held vaporizers were developed that make it possible to vape’ out and about. These devices are usually USB charged. While some versions are made specifically for dry herbs, other models allow for the use of concentrates like wax, shatter and honey oil.

Vaporizing is arguably less damaging than regular smoking, producing less second hand smoke, and it is a preferred method for medical cannabis users.

Race For Holland’s First Drive-Through Coffeeshop

Amsterdam’s New West District and the City Council have given the green light for the opening of a new coffeeshop near Sloterdijk Station.

Local news channel, AT5 reports that according to district manager Achmed Baâdoud, it will be a ”drive-in coffeeshop”, where you can pick up weed in your car, like a fast food drive-through.

A previously proposed drive-through coffeeshop by The Bulldog met with  fierce opposition. This was because the location of the coffeeshop in the capitol’s harbor area was too close to schools. But this does not apply to the location at Sloterdijk station. “There are no schools and residents affected by the arrival,” Baoudoud explained to Dutch newspaper de Telegraaf.

Utrecht

In the city of Utrecht, music producer and activist Chris Pilgram proposed a drive-through coffeeshop as a solution to concerns of some people in the city regarding coffeeshops and cannabis tourism.

Pilgram’s citizens initiative maintains that a drive-through coffeeshop located near the outskirts of the city, would help prevent ‘weed shoppers’ heading into the heart of the city, providing an alternative, licensed cannabis outlet.

Pilgram campaigned for over 10 years to open a drive-through, but has encountered resistance from officials who he feels have held up the plan for spurious reasons.

Recently however, ruling political parties VVD, D66 and SP gave their support to the idea, and now even want to “speed up” the process. The Mayor of Utrecht, Jan van Zanen stated that he will come up with a adequate response to the situation very soon.

Rotterdam

Meanwhile the SP in Rotterdam proposed its own plan for a  drive-through coffeeshop to help solve the problems of long coffeeshop queues, street traffic and extra road traffic in their city . These nuisances are the given reason for closing nine coffeeshops in Rotterdam over the last six years.

A majority of the municipality’s council has voted for a  two-year trial with a cannabis pick-up point, which is intended only for costumers with a motor vehicle. “In any case, let’s try to see if the pressure on the coffeeshops in our city will actually decrease, as the initiators suspect,” says local SP Chairman, Leo de Kleijn.