Saturday, August 27, 2011

Goodbye Amsterdam, Hello Denver

Goodbye Amsterdam
updated 5/27/2011 3:47:01 PM ETThe Dutch government on Friday said it would start banning tourists from buying cannabis from "coffee shops" and impose restrictions on Dutch customers by the end of the year.

The Netherlands is well known for having one of Europe's most liberal soft drug policies that has made its cannabis shops a popular tourist attraction, particularly in Amsterdam.
Backed by the far-right party of anti-immigrant politician Geert Wilders, the coalition government that came into power last year announced plans to curb drug tourism as part of a nationwide program to promote health and fight crime.
"In order to tackle the nuisance and criminality associated with coffee shops and drug trafficking, the open-door policy of coffee shops will end," the Dutch health and justice ministers wrote in a letter to the country's parliament on Friday.
Under the new rules, only Dutch residents will be able to sign up as members of cannabis shops.
Dutch customers will have to sign up for at least a year's membership and each shop would be expected to have only up to 1,500 members, a justice ministry spokesman said.
The policy will roll out in the southern provinces of Limburg, Noord Brabant and Zeeland by the end of the year and the rest of the country next year, the spokesman said.
Amsterdam, home to about 220 coffee shops, is already in the process of closing some in its red light district. Some officials have resisted the measures, saying they will push the soft drug trade underground.
Some Dutch border towns including Maastricht and Terneuzen have already restricted the sale of marijuana to foreigners.

Hello Denver

Denver Has More Marijuana Dispensaries Than Starbucks Coffee Shops

Posted by majestic on July 6, 2011

Is this going to be old news very fast, with Denver just the first major American city to see the light? Report from

DENVER — The Mile High City is getting higher all the time.

There are now more medical marijuana dispensaries in Denver than there are Starbucks. Glossy guidebooks list nearly 300 locations where Colorado’s 125,000 residents who have been prescribed medical marijuana can get their “medicine.” Many offer a free joint to new customers, allowing them to sample exotic strains like Jah Kush, Golden Goat and Romulan Cotton Candy.

Local smokers even have a professional critic to help them navigate the gauntlet of bongs, pipes and vaporizers, or make that essential choice between Super Silver Haze and Purple Passion.

The critic’s pen name is William Breathes; he keeps his real identity secret to ensure he gets the same treatment as any other patient.

His weekly weed purchase is paid for by the Denver Westword, the popular alternative weekly that hired Breathes after its editors realized they were serving one of the most stoned readerships in America.

“It’s a fun new writing area,” Westword editor Patricia Calhoun told The Daily, “and if your publication prides itself on doing strong cultural coverage of art, theater and food, then why not do pot, too?”…

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