I will never forget the first time one of my friends went to Amsterdam. It was my best friend’s little brother in the early 2000’s. I had read all about Amsterdam in magazines like High Times, and when I got dial up internet connection, Amsterdam was one of the first things I looked up. Obviously the reviews all said that the cannabis was unreal, but what were people basing that off of? Were the reviewers used to smoking bammer/brickweed, because if so I’d imagine anything would be amazing to them.
My friend’s little brother was a veteran consumer, having smoked more top shelf Oregon marijuana than most. I valued his evaluation. I can’t remember how many days he was there (he was visiting his girlfriend who was studying abroad), but I do remember anxiously awaiting his return to hear what he had to say. He came back and told us all about his adventures, and vouched that the marijuana in Amsterdam was indeed as good as it was made out to be. Since then I have had family visit Amsterdam, and married an amazing women that lived in Amsterdam for about 14 months.
I have never visited there myself, but it’s my understanding that marijuana is technically illegal there, but enforcement is limited to cultivators. The ‘Amsterdam model’ results in a system that is almost entirely unregulated, with everyone operating in a ‘grey area’ at best. The ‘grey area’ approach perhaps fine decades ago, but is extremely outdated now.
The Netherlands was a revolutionary place once upon a time, but has fallen behind on marijuana policy compared to some parts of America. The European country took a step in the right direction this week when the lower chamber of The Netherlands’ government approved a cannabis cultivation legalization measure. Per Dutch News:
A narrow majority of MPs on Tuesday backed new legislation which would regulate marijuana cultivation under government control.
The vote, by 77 to 72, would allow cannabis cafe owners to buy their produce from licenced growers who produce the marijuana in a closed system.
The bill, drawn up by D66 MP Vera Bergkamp, was backed by Labour, GroenLinks, the Socialists and pro-animal PvdD as well as all the splinter parties. The VVD, PVV and three Christian parties in parliament voted against.
As a handful of American states have proven, legalization and regulation works. Cartels and gangs are getting hit in the pocketbook more and more with each year that goes by and more consumers make their purchases in the open rather than in the shadows. The Netherlands should create a system that helps people not live in fear, and encourages industry growth. It’s my understanding from talking with friends in The Netherlands that the measure is headed to the upper chamber where the chances of it passing are not favorable. Hopefully time proves that not to be the case, because Amsterdam has long been a top cannabis tourist destination, and the industry there deserves to flourish and people deserve to stay out of jail for cultivating a plant that is safer than alcohol.