Dutch Authorities Raid High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam

A Dutch revenue agent questions an exhibitor during the raid on the High Times Cannabis Cup. (Photo by Dana Larsen).A Dutch revenue agent questions an exhibitor during the raid on the High Times Cannabis Cup. (Photo by Dana Larsen).Shortly before 4:20pm today, Dutch police and revenue agents raided the High Times Cannabis Cup Expo in Amsterdam.

Dozens of uniformed officers quickly occupied the building and separated the hundreds of attendees from exhibitors, who were instructed to remain at their tables.

Read an earlier report from Cannabis Culture and see video of the raid in progress.

Officers were polite and efficient – all armed, but no guns were drawn. I asked one why this was happening and he told me undercover police had investigated the Expo yesterday and seen violations of the Opium Act. He cited things such as some people giving away free samples of bud and hash, offering bong hits to promote their business, and so on.

Dutch rules allow only the sale of marijuana and hash from licensed coffeeshops. They are prohibited from selling customers more than 5g each per day, and cannot have more than 500g on the premises at any time. Individual possession is supposed to be kept under the 5g limit as well. Dutch coffeeshops are also prohibited from promoting or advertising themselves.

It took about two hours for police to clear the hall. Everyone was searched before being allowed to leave, and all marijuana and hash was confiscated.

There were about 50 police officers on site, and about two dozen tax agents wearing reflective green jackets. The tax agents questioned exhibitors about their products, sales and receipts. I saw some exhibitors being questioned as their cannabis was put into plastic evidence bags by uniformed officers.

At this point it looks like the Expo portion of the Cannabis Cup is over. I expect that evening entertainment scheduled at the Melkweg club will still take place as planned.

Legal Status

The status of cannabis law in Holland is often debated, but change happens slowly. The licensing and control of coffeeshops is done largely at the municipal level. Some cities do not have any, others have only a few, while Amsterdam has over 300. That may seem like a lot, but the number is down from over 800 a few years ago.

Holland’s current federal government is less friendly to the coffeeshop scene and has been pressuring cities to restrict marijuana sales to Dutch citizens. They want coffeeshops to become private clubs, with a record kept of all sales made to every member. Some border towns have already gone this route, largely in response to concerns about German tourists returning home with pockets full of Dutch weed and hash.

Watch Cannabis Culture for more updates as information becomes available.

Dana Larsen is the former editor of Cannabis Culture and founder and operator of the The Vancouver Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary.



  1. underkat on

    “Everyone was searched before being allowed to leave, and all marijuana and hash was confiscated.”

    They’ll probly resell it all for profit, which was probly the real motivation behind this asinine raid.

  2. Son of Sam Walton on

    Interesting Take on your approach. Soldiers are required to both eradicate and not eradicate the poppy fields at the same time . . . meaning one unit needs to in one area since it’s the poppies financing the local insurgents directly and the other unit needs to not eradicate the fields since it’s the local’s lifeline to being able to buy food and thus it keeps them happy and stable and keeps them from being influenced by our enemy. I know you’ve heard the stories from your troop friends about them marching past a field and doing nothing and similar stories from other troop friends in another unit whom were told to eradicate the fields or urge the locals to grow another crop or to help the DEA.

    Iran-Contra it is assumed allowed the Middle East to obtain cocaine connections and protected transportatoin/buys/sells for the purpose of selling the cocaine and using the money to eradicate the Russians in Afghanistan . . . the secrete dope money would have been better hidden than say oil money or American/Brit contributions –decreasing the threat of military escalation between Russia and the West or a Russian boycott on Saudi Oil. This is why I believe 80% of 9/11 was from dope deals –mostly cocaine (Guinea-Bissau, African cocaine depots making a non-drug producing nation a Narco State more influenced by dope than Mexico) and some from pot (Morocco, Muslim India, The Nepal trade, Muslim Thailand, Lebanon, Muslim Malawi/Africa and Muslim grow houses in Europe/other parts of the world) and some from the opium trade coming from Pakistan/Iran and smaller grows from various regions . . . the MDMA trade begins in Cambodia via a certain tree and the oils from the tree are shipped to Thailand or transported across Asia or the Indian Ocean, thus some of it being bought by dealers with militant ties, especially since Indonesia/Bangladesh has strong militant ties and is geographically closer to Cambodia. Indian-Napal hash/weed would have access to trade as seen in all the Indians in Arabia working for the hotels/catering/construction etc as well as the fact that India/Thailand/China/Russia all have huge Muslim populations, which would be natural breeding grounds for drug trades with Militant Muslim drug cartels/growers. If oil money influenced the terrorism happening in India, Philippines, China, Russia, America, Europe –wouldn’t the rich be too afraid to use the oil money since CNG and Ethanol etc represent a threat to oil since boycotting oil to reduce terrorist funding would be applicable and demanded by the consumer . . . wouldn’t it be easier to use oil money to buy dope so that oil money will miraculously reappear in London along with enough money to buy more dope and the next dope deal will support any militant agenda desired and if Iran has hundreds of thousands or millions of addicts, wouldn’t that be a great way of financing state sponsored terrorism?

    Could it not be that the war on drugs defaulted the war on terror via drug money financing 9/11 and 9/11 being the catalyst for war –a natural step towards the Middle East –a way of traveling to the Middle East with the actual support of the people and their taxes . . . no dope gets no attack and no attack leads to no Middle East agenda and all the policies affecting America after 9/11. Wouldn’t an inside job be protecting drugs by keeping it illegal or using the already existent laws on drugs to maneuver it by whatever degree one wants . . . knowing the enemy would never be able to finance themselves legally or by other black market needs (since one needs not buy more and more pirated electronics or DVD’s etc the way one buys more and more drugs –which miraculously springs forth from the ground and not from some factory/warehouse/truck needing hijacked). So the need to keep a badly needed product illegal for financing an agenda would make that agenda possible. In the Baghdad Military Prison I worked in, we had Russian Mafioso and Sicilian Mafioso and rich Arabic bankers in the CIA portion . . . something akin to giving the dog a few bones so he doesn’t attempt to dig up the whole graveyard in search for all the bones.

  3. HG on

    this is not a true article. this is not what is happening, High Times did not do what they should do to make the cup safe.
    the lawyer is trying to make it appear everything ok but that is not true\he is just covering up
    when actually the police are again at the cup and telling us they will close it
    the way this was handled is not protecting the people who pay to come to the cup
    the articles hare are different from the other one written by same man.
    the dutch government needs to be sued in the Hague over this
    but at least we should have some real reporting not just calming words

  4. Truthbeknown on

    The global illegal drug industry constitutes nearly 8% of the worlds economy – almost 400 Billion dollars. Of course any criminal group wants wants a piece of that action; Organized Crime is this planets largest single industry. The opium and heroin trade in Afghanistan is worth over 4 Billion dollars inside the country, and nearly 30 times that much to narcotics runners outside the country. One of the main reasons the Taliban are trying to take Afghanistan back is to control this money, a huge market in a land where the average man makes less than $500 a year. American armed forces in Afghanistan allow opium growers and warlords to traffic in drugs, as long as they keep the Taliban out. One of the main reasons the Taliban fell so quickly in 2001 was that they had banned opium production that year, and thus lost all support of the tribes and warlords that were involved in it. So the American military is now facilitating the drug trade, while pretending to fight the global mafias that control it.
    There may be some strategic reasons why the U.S. allows this, as there are 3 million heroin users in Iran, an enemy of America, and 5 million in Russia, a potential adversary in the region. Afghan heroin is nearly 85% of the worlds supply, and the DEA allows most of it to leave the country unmolested. The narcotics trade is a scourge on the inner cities of Europe, Canada and the U.S., and keeping the poor people down might be just what certain segments of the “Security State” apparatus want.
    The Al-Qaeda operation against America in 2001 was financed mostly by contributions from members of the Saudi Arabian Royal family. The entire amount sent to the U.S. was only $500,000; much was even unspent and sent back. The C.I.A. couldn’t even conduct a feasibility study for that amount. The 9/11 attacks were one of the most audacious and successful operations in history, as the U.S. response has been to spend 1.5 Trillion dollars on internal security, 1.4 Trillion dollars on military operations and hundreds of billions more on intelligence gathering. This as much as anything has caused the financial collapse and stagnation of the American economy. The Federal government debt DOUBLED in the last decade. The “War on Terror” has been a financial debacle that will take a generation to recover from. And it is far from over. The costs stated above are only half of the total expenditure that will be made. And now the “Security State” leadership is beating the drums for a new war against a somewhat dubious threat, “Nuclear Iran”. A war here would be a disaster for the global economy, as petroleum prices might rise to $200 a barrel. It would cost the U.S. taxpayers more than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan COMBINED. And it may even spread beyond the Persian gulf to the entire Middle East.

  5. joe on

    In order to bring the new world order the Old world order must be distroyed.

  6. Eve Lentz on

    If this can happen in Amsterdam, it can (and does) happen everywhere! My heart goes out to everyone involved!

  7. Anonymous on

    I was planning to take a trip to Amsterdam, but after hearing about banning tourist in cafe’s and now this fiasco.. well now im not going there. too bad so sad.

  8. Anonymous on

    I was planning to take a trip to Amsterdam, but after hearing about banning tourist in cafe’s and now this fiasco.. well now im not going there. too bad so sad.

  9. Anonymous on

    go bankrupt holland others can only benefit

  10. richard kudra on

    Thank you for clarity Mr.P.Lunk. Nice to hav the real info…from the ground. I read somewhere they pull 2B / yr from our industry. keep up the good faith fellow “Lobbiest”.

  11. Anonymous on

    This is absolutely ridiculous! Amsterdam is greatly reliant upon the Marijuana tourism and the United States may soon be responsible for a cities “recession!” The U.S. Gov’t has taken it upon themselves to run around and meddle in other countries- there are many instances of this-even in Jamaica where MJ is a RELIGIOUS sacrament! Marijuana is a great part of total income in the Emerald Triangle in Cali and now pretty much All of Denver and its surrounding areas. Marijuana is an asset to the communities that allow it, Colorado used 9 Million of the Marijuana industries taxes and fees to balance the budget last year. Colorado is extremely close to full legalization and will not tolerate outside pressure to suppress the legalization movement. Amsterdam should have done the same with the Bush Administration and subsequent officials, this is going to bite them in the behind.

  12. Peter Lunk on

    This just in from David Holland, event counsel, via comments.
    “Chillax, all is good over there. I am one of the attorneys for High Times and this started over a misunderstanding about a permit application filed by the venue to host the event. Our US and Dutch lawyers have just finished reviewing them with the police there. No attendees have been arrested and attendees are not the targets of the police presence. Police are ensuring that all vendors are in compliance with the 500 gram limit under the Opium Law for licensed vendors at the venue. Only one vendor has been identified as potentially over the limit, but only slightly. In any event, the show will go on tomorrow and additionally, the Melweg will be opening at 2pm tomorrow to accomodate judges who do not wish to trek outside of Amsterdam so that they can avoid the lines and vote early. Further details will be posted on the High Times site later today.”

  13. Chris on

    A sad day indeed when the Dutch government no longer thinks for itself, but is instead a loyal poodle to the Britsh, French and German governments who are putting pressure on the Dutch to close down the coffeeshops, as the successful Dutch policies show up their failed policies of prohibition.

  14. Son of Sam Walton on

    The act of keeping drugs illegal finances terrorism. In the Real World of Cause and Effect it is either A: Drugs are legal and therefore terrorism is illegal or B: Terrorism is legal and drugs are therefore illegal. Funny how actions speak louder than words: I guess the Dutch Government is keeping their fingers crossed for the blessings of having a large bomb detonate in Holland by some terrorist cell . . . lest we forget what happened in Paris of December, 2008 at the large shopping mall . . . they were at least lucky it was a warning made out of a lot of bombs and no detonators. The Dutch are our allies in the War on Terror and therefore a target . . . drug money just makes it easier for cells to operate locally and internationally and regionally . . . organizing 9/11 and letting the hijackers stay in America for over a year (pilots) to a few months (muscle men) cost a bunch of money, given we can prove it requires money to pay rent or buy groceries. I guess the Dutch forgot what they did to Anne Frank . . . funny how alcohol and tobacco affects the memory. Police are supposed to stop terrorism and crime, not be its largest fans and supporters.

  15. Bhonze on

    Well this is really going to boost there economy. What dumb asses, to do this in a time when the economy is so poor. So now they loose tourism money and money from weed sales. Man i’d like to see those figures! I will take my business to Vamsterdam and when Colorado legalizes I will go there. FUCK Amsterdam!!!