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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.)

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)

Recreational Or Medical Cannabis?

In the Netherlands, medical cannabis is regulated and legally prescribed by family doctors, so long as the patients can prove other treatments do not work. These prescriptions are dispensed by the patient’s local pharmacy.

Since 2003, medicinal cannabis has been prescribed as a remedy for various complaints, in trhe process making Holland Europe’s largest manufacturer and distributor of medical cannabis.

Operating under contract for the Ministry of Health, Dutch company Bedrocan is the only producer of cannabis certified by the European Union, and so the only supplier of medical cannabis in the Netherlands and the rest of Europe.

Recreational marijuana, in contrast with medical marijuana, is not legal but is never the less available to anyone in the Netherlands who can prove they are over 18. Surprisingly, with the medical program in place, a growing number of medical patients still rely on coffeeshops to obtain their medicine.

Several Dutch Health Insurance companies took medical cannabis out of their package in 2016 and no longer cover the costs, causing more patients to look to the coffeeshop as an alternative. The mayor of Amsterdam, together with unsatisfied patients have called for better policy that makes medical cannabis easier to get.

Amsterdam Mayor: “Medical Marijuana Should Be Easier To Get.”

In a letter addressed to the Dutch senate, the Mayor of Amsterdam, Van Der Laan, reiterated that medical cannabis should be easier to get for patients.

Last September, Van der Laan notably lent his support to Rudolf Hillebrand, an Amsterdam AIDS patients who uses medical cannabis, and who’s house and medical garden is threatened by the housing corporation, Eigenhaard.

The Mayor suggests that consultation should take place between the parties involved, pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies, with aim to make a clear and sensible policy, obviously beneficial for the patients.

The new Dutch coalition government is currently under reformation, and considering the details of policies that will effect regulation of medical cannabis cultivation, and the coffeeshop supply chain, among other issues.

Proposal To Change Dutch Pot Policy

A fresh proposal from the Dutch social-liberal party, D66, wants to customize the policy on cannabis. With these proposed changes, the cultivation and supply of cannabis will be regulated together with coffeeshop retail, and become part of a closed supply chain.

Growers would require a tolerance decision from the Minister of Health. The production of cannabis would remain illegal, but no longer punishable. Growers would also become taxable, and at long last the production of marijuana and hashish can be held to account regarding public health standards.

Hash and weed would be delivered to the coffeeshop sealed inside labelled packages containing up to 5 grams. This way coffeeshops can be supplied in a responsible manner, and consumers know exactly what they’re getting.

How to impliment this new policy on the ground would be largly left up to the municipalities.