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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

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Birth Of The Coffeeshops

[…] I’ve always been fascinated by the origins of the cannabis tolerance movement in Amsterdam and the Netherlands. How did this happen? How did this little country develop the most intelligent approach to marijuana smoking in the entire world?

At the same time that Holland launched its tolerance campaign, we passed local legislation in Ann Arbor, East Lansing and Ypsilanti that limited marijuana crime punishment to a $5 fine, but our movement never went any further than that until medical marijuana was legalized in 2008.

Amsterdam and the Netherlands went on to establish a system that allowed hundreds of coffeeshops to serve marijuana and hashish smokers for what’s turned out to be almost 50 years.

Here’s how the Anne Bonney, writer of Cannabis in Holland—an Introduction: A Book of Cannabis Truths, says it happened.

HASH HITS EUROPE

     Along with the political and social unrest of the 1960’s came a huge explosion in the use of Cannabis and psychedelics. Another part of the cultural upheaval was travel.

Many young Europeans left the comforts of home or university to travel to the exotic East. In those days the world political situation was such that one could drive (or in some cases, hitchhike) from Europe to Tangiers, Delhi or Kabul and many did.

On their travels the young adventurers adopted many foreign practices—from meditation to vegetarianism and hashish smoking. Soon large quantities of hashish began to find their way back to Western Europe, with Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Copenhagen and other cities becoming consumption and distribution centers.

THE COFFEESHOPS ARE BORN

     By the early 1970’s there was widespread use of Cannabis, speed, heroin, LSD and other recreational drugs presenting various degrees of health risks to Dutch citizens….

The then Minister of Health and Interior, Irene Vorink….concluded that Cannabis was considerably less harmful than the other drugs….Vorink saw that the most common way for Cannabis users to be introduced to drugs “harder” than Cannabis was by the drug sellers themselves.

She took the step of recommending that the authorities stop prosecuting people for the consumption and sales of personal amounts of Cannabis. She then set up a system where access was provided to cannabis in a controlled setting. To do this, she took advantage of existing youth centers as places to permit the sales of small amounts of hashish and marijuana….

The basic concept of the coffeeshop as a place to buy and smoke Cannabis, hang out, have a (non-alcoholic) drink, chat or play a game, has been around since 1971.

That was when the first youth hostel started ignoring smoking and small-scale dealing. It was the government-tolerated selling and smoking in youth centers that provided the model for the coffeeshops of today.

Mila Jansen started a teahouse where people hung out, drank tea and smoked a nice spliff. The first joints were handed out for free as an extra with your cup of tea. Also, people from other countries brought back hashish and other products, so they could trade products with each other.

In 1973, Wernard and three friends opened a small “Tea House” called Mellow Yellow where a single “house-dealer” sold pre-bagged hash and grass from behind the bar rather than the old style where the house simply allowed deals and smoking to go on. Mellow Yellow also sold tea and coffee and had a table football game.

In 1974 Henk de Vries opened the Bulldog Coffeeshop, soon to become world famous, and openly sold hash [as] the first business to use the name “coffeeshop.”
[Note: The coffeeshops proliferated for 20 years until there were 750 or so in the city of Amsterdam alone by 1994, when the federal government began its campaign to regulate and control the traffic in Cannabis, demanding that coffeeshops apply for a license and adhere to the government’s coffeeshop rules:]

THE COFFEESHOP RULES (since 1996)

1. No advertising, including no Cannabis leaf motif in the window or on the sign.
2. No hard drugs, no buying, no selling, no possession, by owner, staff or clients.
3. No public nuisance.
4. No sale of more than five grams to any client on any day.
5. No minors. This means persons under 18.

If shop owners play by these five rules, the government will “turn a blind eye” to the fact that the business sells Cannabis. If any of the five rules are broken, then the shop owner becomes liable for a violation of the Cannabis laws [and subject to loss of license, criminal charges, and/or other punitive measures].

So those are the actual facts of the cannabis issue in Amsterdam and how it sank its roots into the general culture to insure that smokers would be able to get their sacrament. Now let’s have some coffeeshops in Michigan!

Here’s one last little factoid from the Cannabis and Coffeeshops pamphlet: Americans are generally fascinated by the way the Dutch, the British and Europeans in general mix tobacco with their weed before lighting up. I always thought this was because they started out on hashish and smoked it in a mixture with tobacco to keep the flame going. Then weed became available in the 1970s and 80s in large quantities and soon Europeans were smoking 2 grams of marijuana to each gram of hash while using the same mixture concept.

But, as the Grow Grrrlzzz point out, “At first, tobacco was a rare and special imported product, available only to the rich. The seeds were hard to find, of doubtful quality and nobody knew where or how to grow it in Europe. Eventually tobacco became available to enough people that the entire nation [of Holland] took up the craze.

“So, the frugal Dutch began stretching their expensive imported tobacco with the leaves and flowers of their hennep plants by the mid-1500s.” Wow. Free The Weed!

(excerpt from  John Sinclair‘s column FREE THE WEED 70. All Rights Reserved.)

Bubblers, Bongs, Pipes in Coffeeshops

Bongs have been used for thousands of years to ingest the active ingredients of cannabis. Based on the principle of sucking smoke through water to cool and cleanse it, using a tubular mouthpiece attached to a bowl.

Many coffeeshops provide bongs and pipes for public use or you can bring your own. If you’re unsure about how to use something the staff can help you, if they’re not too busy. Try and remember to clean the mouthpiece before use, and if you want to pick up some extra kudos with the staff, offer to clean the bong you just sucked on.

We do not recommend smoking bongs and large pipes in the street, but some larger parks may provide the perfect spot, using a sense of discretion and having respect for others around you at all times.

About Edibles

Cannabis is used around the world to transform well known dishes and snacks into totally new gourmet experiences. From gummy treats and cannabis laced candy, to pot pizza, flying lasagna, ice cream and cookies.

The term ‘edible’ is a slang term used among the cannabis community to denote ‘an edible cannabis product’. A small variety of ‘edibles’ are available at coffeeshops in the Netherlands, these include a standard slice of cake, or a muffin, usually in vanilla or chocolate flavors, and a variety of colors.

All ‘edibles’ in the Netherlands come with a label clearly indicating the amount of cannabis inside, which can range from 0.2 – 0.8 grams per item. The dose is calculated to produce effects which can last between two and four hours.

Please remember that edible cannabis is processed via your digestive system into the bloodstream, so what you ingested before and during the experience can have an effect. The experience is stronger on an empty stomach, and weaker after consuming foods high in sugar, which can be handy to remember if you want to return from orbit sooner.

The experience usually takes between 20 and 40 minutes to begin, compared with smoking which can be felt only a few seconds after inhaling. Take it easy.

About Dutch Medical Cannabis

In the Netherlands the Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC) is the official government bureau that oversees the production and distribution of medical cannabis. It has a monopoly on all cannabis trade, import and export, and can decide on special exemptions to the opium act.

Within the Netherlands OMC distributes exclusively to pharmacies, pharmacy holding GPs, hospitals and veterinarians. Outside of the Netherlands they can also deliver depending on strict agreements between the associated authorities of both nations.

The OMC, in collaboration with the Dutch Health Inspectors, also supervise to ensure the medicine is not used illegally. Unlike the situation in America, cannabis in the Netherlands is prescribed by your local doctor, and picked up from your local dispensary.

Five Tips On Scoring Coffeeshop Kudos

You’re at the coffeeshop, finally getting high. So now here’s a few tips to help impress the staff, and the customers with further exemplary coffeeshop conduct.

1. Hide your tobacco from sight. Coffeeshops are under strict no-tobacco laws, and can face fines if it’s discovered by city authorities. Maybe remind your friend or neighbor too, hide it bro.

2. Bring back your coffee cups and bottles, and ashtray, to the bar. You’ll be saving staff  a trip to clean your table. A general rule of thumb is to leave the table as you found it.

3. Tip well if you can, especially if you borrow a bong or vaporizer which requires a little extra work for staff. Don’t worry if you can’t tip, it’s all good. Make it known how much you appreciate the service vocally, ‘Dankjewel’ sounds like: (Dank-Yer-Vell)

4. If somebody rings your phone, have a little courtesy and take the call outside.

5. Keep the noise down to a minimum. It’s fun to laugh and shout and sing when high, even dance, but please, try to remember that coffeeshops are not booze-bars where you can perpetually scream. Please try to consider the others, way out-there in orbit around you. Cool beans.

Three Places In Amsterdam Where You Can Roll Up Besides Coffeeshops

In Amsterdam there are quite a few places that don’t sell weed yet allow you to roll up freely. Here you can enjoy a toke, and feast your senses on the delights these 420-friendly establishments have to offer.

1. Bars and Restaurants

Restaurants
There are coffeeshops in Amsterdam where top-notch breakfast, lunch or diner is served daily, but even more exclusive are the restaurants that don’t sell cannabis, but cater for smokers specifically. A great example is Munchies restaurant where meals are served along with a well packed vaporizer, if you so desire.

Bars
Beer and buds, whiskey and weed? It’s all possible at Amsterdam’s smoker-friendly bars. In these establishments you can’t buy weed, but they’ll let you roll up. Many bars even have complimentary papers available. For example: The Doors Palace, Batavia, The Wonder Bar, Barnies Uptown, Susie’s Salon, Cafe Soundgarden, Kashmir Lounge, and Lost In Amsterdam. (a word to the wise: keep your cigarettes out of sight in any bars or coffeeshop).

2. Clubs
Back in the day, most clubs and venues in Amsterdam would let you smoke on the dance floor, but after a new tobacco law took effect, tokers found themselves exiled to the smoking area, together with the cigarette fans. Smoking joints is generally fine in the smoking areas but if you have your doubts, just ask (or smell).

3. In Public
It may come as a surprise, but once you’re outdoors in Amsterdam you can smoke weed almost anywhere (with the exception of the Red Light District and Central Station). You can light up at a picnic in the park or during a stroll along the canal, there’s no rule against smoking in public albeit, with common courtesy.

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.