Police raid dampens Cannabis Cup
For smokers, the safe haven of the Netherlands is less so
Published: December 7, 2011
The horde of coppers descending on the Cannabis Cup exposition hall last month seemed to me remarkably congruent with the government's aggressive policy against drug tourism — a way of letting American sojourners know that they are no longer welcome in Viper Central.
The fact is that Amsterdam and the Netherlands have long enjoyed a period of official tolerance for recreational drug use that dates back to the early 1970s, when the Dutch government decided to adopt the concept of "harm reduction" as the basis of its response to the swelling number of cannabis users.
Instead of demonizing marijuana smokers as criminal dope fiends and throwing the book at them as was — and is — the prevalent mode imposed by official drug policy makers almost everywhere else, the Dutch government concluded that recreational smoking was a relatively harmless social activity that demanded little governmental attention. The government decided to allow certain coffee shops and cafés to sell to smokers in recreational amounts for consumption on the premises or off.
This system has worked extremely well for almost 40 years now, but this new twist on nationalism by the current Dutch authorities is definitely bad news for people like ourselves — and even for the future of the Cannabis Cup and the Dutch cannabis industry as a whole.
I wish I could tell you what's about to happen in Holland, but I can only stand by with bated breath and observe. As a medical marijuana patient in Michigan and in the Netherlands, I'm confident that my own smoking needs will be met in the future as they are today, but as one who hopes for the best for humanity in all its infinite permutations, I fear for the future of this haven of freedom and tolerance like never before.
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