‘Vansterdam’ Visitors Want to Partake in City’s Liberal Approach to Marijuana

VANCOUVER – It’s known as the Amsterdam of North America, a mecca of cannabis culture that sparks more than curiosity for many visitors.

The pungent scent of marijuana drifts regularly in the air on the streets of “Vansterdam,” and advocates say the West Coast city’s permissive attitude toward pot draws visitors and their pocketbooks.

But while marijuana use may be tacitly ignored, police warn that possession remains illegal, so tourists looking to indulge in the pot scene still need to proceed with caution.

Ground Zero for ganja in Vancouver is the 300-block of West Hastings Street, which is home to the B.C. Marijuana Party headquarters and Vapour Lounge, Cannabis Culture Magazine, and the New Amsterdam Cafe.

“You don’t have people selling or dealing in here. We don’t do that,” says Phil, an employee at the New Amsterdam. “But people can come here and experience it and if they bring their own stuff they can smoke it here.”

The warehouse-style brick and concrete cafe-come-head shop offers vegetarian wraps and vaporizers, lattes and hand-blown glass bongs. Patrons even have the option of gift cards and reward points for purchases.

Next door is the headquarters of Cannabis Culture magazine and the B.C. Marijuana Party, a registered political party that offers tax receipts for donations and has run candidates in elections provincially and federally.

“Overgrowing the government,” is their motto, and they appear to be giving it a pretty good go.

– Read the entire article at The Ottawa Citizen.