Dutch coffeeshops threatened

Now may be the time to visit!Now may be the time to visit!Do you have your travel reservations in place for this year’s summer vacation in Holland?
If not, you might want to look into it right away, especially if your main reason for going to Holland is to enjoy the Dutch cannabis coffeeshop system.

Ever since 9-11, European governments in Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway have taken a turn to the right, and with that turn have come regressive social policies.

Holland’s “CDA” political party, which holds a majority of seats in the newly-configured coalition government, espouses a conservative Catholic ideology that views cannabis as evil.

CDA officials have made no secret of their desire to dismantle the entire Dutch system, even though they have couched their wishes in the rhetoric of political reality.

In the last year, government agents have launched a concerted attack on Dutch potshops, especially in places where local officials agree with CDA’s position. Some shops are being closed permanently or temporarily, while others have scaled back their public profiles.

Amsterdam shops have been especially hard-hit. Some have endured raids and other official harassment which have even affected customers.

The Dutch Justice Ministry and lawmakers are proposing draconian new regulations, including a limit on the potency of Dutch coffeeshop cannabis, a ban on coffeeshops selling to non-citizens, and a requirement that coffeeshops become “smoke-free workplaces” by the start of 2004.

Dutch coffeeshop guru Nol Van Schaik, who owns three potshops in Haarlem, Holland near Amsterdam, says the government’s attacks will be unevenly successful.

Nol might have to lay low soon.Nol might have to lay low soon.Van Schaik helped broker a deal with the Haarlem government that he believes will protect all potshops in Haarlem from the kind of persecution experienced by some cannabis shops elsewhere in the country.

He says coffeeshop owners are finally waking up to the need to become politically organized and to encourage their customers to stand up to CDA through voting and other means. The legendary Dutch weed activist and entrepreneur, who currently is working with medical pot advocates in Spain, says he doesn’t believe the government’s actions will result in total destruction of the potshop system, but he sees short-term trouble and perhaps cessation of business for some shops in places where local officials are hostile to marijuana.

CDA has shown that it doesn’t respect democracy in Holland; a majority of Dutch citizens oppose CDA’s stance on marijuana and sex, but CDA wants to shut down potshops and end legal prostitution. There’s no telling how effective their anti-cannabis efforts could be, and it’s a sure bet that Holland’s liberal cannabis shop system has seen the peak of its official approval and will be fighting for its survival in the next few years.

Built in bongs: a thing of the past?Built in bongs: a thing of the past?Under those circumstances, it’s time to live for today and book the Holland vacation you’ve always dreamed of. Here are some tips:

* Center your stay in Haarlem and the scintillating beach resort of Zandvoort, which is close to the international airport and a far more pleasant city than Amsterdam. On a warm summer day, Zandvoort hosts 50,000 barely-clad Europeans who dance to the hottest music at dozens of beach pavilions that offer mini-concerts and DJ shows.

* Visit Van Schaik’s three excellent shops in Haarlem, one of which is located on a scenic river with a classic windmill framing the view.

* Between Haarlem and Zandvoort is a fantastic and pristine national park with miles of biking and hiking trails, swimming, forests, dunes, oceanfront, and places to get high with nature.

* Budget your trip carefully, because the Euro currency is strong.

* Ask cannabis shop owners what you can do to help them defeat the CDA.

* Live in the moment. The only thing certain in today’s sci-fi world is change. Go to Holland now, before it changes in ways that you won’t like.Built in bongs: a thing of the past?

For more information: www.hempcity.net

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