Here’s part of a longer article by travel writer and friend of the cannabis plant Rick Steves. It’s about changes underway in the Netherlands as regards cannabis. I hope you will read the whole piece. Enjoy.
“The Dutch hemp heritage goes way back in this sailing culture. In the days of Henry Hudson, hemp was critical for quality rope and for sails. The word “canvas” comes from the same root as “cannabis.” In fact, there was a time when tobacco was the pricey leaf, and sailors mixed hemp into their cigarettes to stretch their tobacco.
Tourists who haven’t smoked since they were students are famous for overdosing in Amsterdam, where they can suddenly light up without any paranoia. Coffeeshop baristas nickname tourists about to pass out “Whitey” — because of the color their face turns just before they hit the floor. The key is to eat or drink something sweet to stop from getting sick. Coca-Cola is a good fast fix and coffeeshops keep sugar tablets handy.
No one would say smoking pot is healthy. It’s a drug. It’s dangerous, and it can be abused. The Dutch are simply a fascinating example of how a society can allow marijuana’s responsible adult use as a civil liberty and treat its abuse as a health-care and education challenge rather than a criminal issue.
They have a 25-year track record of not arresting pot smokers, and have learned that if you want to control a substance, the worst way to do it is to keep it illegal. Regulations are strictly enforced. While the sale of marijuana is allowed, advertising is not. You’ll never see any promotions or advertising in windows. In fact, in many places, the prospective customer has to take the initiative and push a button to illuminate the menu in order to know what’s for sale. And, surprisingly, marijuana is just not a big deal in the Netherlands — except to tourists coming from lands where you can do hard time for lighting up. A variety of studies have demonstrated that the Dutch smoke less than the European average — and fewer than half as many Dutch smoke pot, per capita, as Americans do.”
It’s worth your time to read the article and you will find it here.
[images: Huffington Post]
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