Ronald Reagan, 1980 campaign speech1: "Leading medical researchers are coming to the conclusion that marijuana, pot, grass, whatever you want to call it, is probably the most dangerous drug in the United States, and we haven't begun to find out all of the ill effects, but they are permanent ill effects. The loss of memory for example."
Democratic Party platform on marijuana: "Because of conflicting laws concerning marijuana, both on the federal and state levels, we encourage the federal government to remove marijuana from its list as a Class 1 Federal Controlled Substance, providing a reasoned pathway for future legalization." See: Full text.
"Of the 233 Democrats in Congress, 208 members (89.3 percent) received a passing grade of a 'C' or higher. Of the 302 Republicans in Congress, 102 members (33.8 percent) received a passing grade of a 'C' or higher."
Amsterdam is the capital city of The Netherlands (although the government resides in Den Haag (The Hague).
Like in the rest of the country, cannabis consumption is (almost) legal in the city. Of all places in the country though, Amsterdam is the most liberal when it comes to smoking your stuff. In practice this amounts to a very high concentration of 'Coffeeshops' in the centre of the city and the fact that you can smoke a joint anywhere out on the streets. Legal as in "tolerated". It is still "the pure crime". Also you are only allowed to buy 5 grams a day in a coffeeshop.
Although all coffeeshops DO sell coffee, that's not the reason for visiting them. Coffeeshops are the only places in town that are legally allowed to sell cannabis products (stuff that you buy in tourist shops that have cannabis leaves printed on them (like cannabis lollipops and stuff) will NOT have any cannabis in them). Coffeeshops come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, from dark brown, old-fashioned Dutch bars to high-life, fancily decorated coffeeshops with designer furniture and of course the rastafari-themed shops filled with green/red/yellow decorations and Bob Marley posters.
Coffeeshops generally have two menu's: A drinks menu and a cannabis menu. A lot of coffeeshops will have quite an elaborate drinks menu that features various fruit juices (sometimes freshly squeezed), various kinds of tea and coffee, soft drinks and chocolate milk. As from late 2007, there are no more coffeeshops with a licence to sell alcohol.
The quantity and quality of different kinds of weed and hash on sale differs between coffeeshops. Some shops feature only organic weeds, others feature a lot of imports, still others focus on many kinds of hashish. Some are expensive while others are cheap. There are certain kinds of weed (White Widow, Some kinds of haze) and hashish (Moroccan, (super) polm) that will be on sale practically everywhere and their prices give you a good idea of how 'expensive' the shop is on the whole. (for instance: White Widow (which is a great variety left from the nineties) should generally not be sold for more than €8 (8 Euros),- a gram and is normally priced around €7,- a gram).
You are required to consume something in a coffeeshop. When you bring your own weed, you are expected to buy drinks.
I will give a very short list of my favourite shops here with a little description. If anybody has any more favourites, just put 'em up here:
Abraxas: Pretty large shop with some nice decorations. It's always pretty busy here on weekends but that's no surprise: they have a large selection of weed/hash and there are couches lined with Persian tapestry all around the shop. Just sit back, relax, and talk with some of the people on the couches around you, it's easy to socialize there.
Kadinsky: It's a chain of coffeeshops. Normally they're pretty small, with a fashionable and clean minimalist interior. It's a bit posh here compared to other shops but they generally have good service, good seats, large windows and laid-back music with laid-back atmosphere.
The Jolly Joker: On one of the corners of the Nieuwmarkt, this is an old Dutch brown bar. The selection of weed is limited but they stock standard good stuff at a very affordable price. You get a nice view of the marketplace and the wooden interior is not like most other shops.
Rookies: Near Leidseplein. They're not cheap, but their selection of all organic weeds is quite perfect. Their house brand (simply called 'Rookies') is my favourite weed; quite potent and completely uplifting. They also have vaporizers here.
Mellow Yellow: Quite well known with the locals. There's nothing special here actually, but there's a good atmosphere there. They have an elaborate menu with weeds and hashish in every price range. Their deal on Super Polm is the best in the city: 2.5 grams for €11,-!
De Dampkring: The name of this shop is the Dutch word for 'Atmosphere' and literally translates to 'The Circle of Fumes'. It's probably the most expensive shop in town but it's decorated interior is unsurpassed. Made to look like it's made from fairytale-like tree stumps on the outside and with an interior made completely out of illuminated, organic shapes in yellow, red, orange and green, this is something special. Their menu is very elaborate and they have a large selection of very high-potent weeds and hashish. Again, these are all more expensive than anywhere else in the city but this place is still worth checking out.
My advice: Don't spend more than €10,- or €11,- on a gram. Even the most potent weeds like Super Silver Haze, Buddha Haze etc. are sold for about €11,- although some places charge silly prices for them.
La Tertulia: A coffeeshop annex gallery on the Prinsengracht with a beautiful indoor "mineral garden" . A relaxed atmosphere and reasonable prices, with a terrace outside for when the weather permits it.
In short: Nobody has full knowledge of the precise legal status of cannabis products in Holland, mainly because all municipalities are allowed to regulate the sale as they see fit, however there are some general rules that uphold anywhere in the country:
- You are allowed to possess a small quantity of weed or hashish. Having 5 grams or less on you at any time is perfectly alright and police won't check for larger quantities on you unless you give them a reason (like causing public disturbance or ignoring traffic lights). Police are not looking for anybody that has weed on them, nowhere.
- You are allowed to buy weed at coffeeshops, that's it. They are allowed to sell you a maximum of 5 grams per day.
- It follows that you are not allowed to sell cannabis products yourself.
- In some places (like Amsterdam) you can smoke almost anywhere on the streets. In some other places you are not allowed to just puff away anywhere you want. When somebody asks you to stop smoking your joint either because that's against local regulations OR because they don't want people smoking in front of their property (bar/store/restaurant) you are legally required to comply.
- You are not allowed to take weed across the border but there's no checkpoint at any EU-border. It is known that there are controls on the highway. Possession of small amounts is not considered a legal offense in some places (like Germany or Belgium) but it is in other places (like France). See: Legality of cannabis by country. This does not include smuggeling.
Due to various goings on here in cannabisland, it's been very hard to generate any interest. Some great new people came along and we all agreed that it would be shameful not to have a protest in Amsterdam. Especially because of the current repressive situation.
So in just 10 days we put an impromptu gathering together on Damsquare. About 150 people gathered and Evert was there with his mobile vaporiser people from the Ccollege. Signature gathering, nice weather and a peaceful gathering fairly left alone by the police. How unlike Antwerp and Moskou/Brazil.
"Grass-A-Matazz is a, free-of-charge, jazz & Blues event, held during the annual High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam (NL). The Grass-A-Matazz party celebrates, and keeps alive, the connection between Jazz & Marijuana."
On the 7th of May, Bush visited the Netherlands. Worldwide over 181 cities are demonstrating against HIS cannabis policy under the banner of: MMM, the Million Marijuana March!
We were intending to hold a demonstration on the Dam Square but were prohibited from doing so by our city council. We asked for this MMM demonstration even before anybody knew Bush would be around.
As soon as we heard the news that he was coming we decided to hook up with the www.stopbush.nl demonstration to organise against this very dubious and unwanted visit from Bush.
5.000 people showed up despite terrible weather. One of Legalize's board members D.C Lama, and the famous Dutch rapper Def P. sang a song together condemning Bush's drugs policy and the Legalize! truck at the end of the demonstration parade warmed everyone up!
Legalize! Event at: International Court of Justice in The Hague, the famous Vredespaleis (Peace-Palace). The two Saturdays following May 6 Legalize! we will have similar demonstrations in two more Dutch towns. On May 27th we will stage our yearly (4th!) 'Legalize! Street party against the Global War on Drugs' in Amsterdam with a number of mobile sound systems. We will also do our normal parade across the Amsterdam center of town!
Republicans think they can spend an infinite amount of money (many trillions of dollars) on health-insurance-company-based healthcare, and have an infinite number of babies, to feed their appetite for endless ground wars, and for more inmates for more prisons for more drug war.