Today on It's Just a Ride:
New Plans to tighten restrictions on marijuana sales in Amsterdam!
So here's the story. Apparently, the governments of the world theater are starting to get pretty upset that everyone is having such a good time over in Holland. Holland has started instating tighter restrictions on the sales of marijuana in their world famous Coffee Shops. These restrictions, which are already in place, essentially turn these Coffee Shops into Members Only organizations. This effectively makes it impossible for foreigners to become members of these clubs, preventing them from accessing the sweet green medicine inside.
While not as an extreme an example, this does bring to mind memories of the US Drug War's tampering with the country of Nepal in the 1970s. The US Drug Enforcement Agency, back in 1976, used disbursements of foreign aid to effect the Nepalese national platform on what had been a well established hash and marijuana culture and trade market. Essentially, the DEA went in and riled things up to change the paradigm of the Nepalese in order to illegalize cannabis.
This had a violent and profound change on the social climate of Nepal. What was once a haven of peaceful and relaxed tourism for Americans during the 60s and 70s with an open acceptance of marijuana commerce drastically changed over the course of a few short years. Harmony was replaced by a cut-throat war between the Nepalese Military and a budding yet driven black market. What was once a peaceful paradise in one of the only established Hindu countries in the world was violently transformed into yet another nation beleaguered by the vile effects of the international tampering of the DEA in order to pursue our agenda of a drug-free world.
Now, the point of all of this in Holland presumably is to curtail the influx of marijuana from decriminalized Holland into neighboring European countries and America. A new conservative slant in the Dutch government has taken the stand that Holland needs to drastically change its international image of being so open and welcoming to the tourism of stoners.
While I do not have the actual figures showing what percentage of Amsterdam's tourism is related to travelers wanting to experience the Coffee Shops and pot culture over seas, I'd be willing to bet a pretty penny that marijuana has a higher driving force than say, the Anne Frank Museum. Personally, I don't know anyone who went to Amsterdam for any other reason than to be able to experience the feeling of legally getting high.
I'm not saying that these new regulations are going to cause a societal change in Holland as large as what happened in Nepal, but it would be very naive to think that there won't be some negative effects of these changes. Amsterdam, with legal prostitution and decriminalized marijuana, has virtually no black market to deal with.
We'll see how long that remains the status quo when Holland starts losing dramatic chunks of their tourism dollars. If capitalism has taught us nothing else, there will always be someone ready to make a quick buck when there is a void in a profitable market. In my opinion, it won't be long before we have drug dealers back on the streets of Amsterdam, hocking their wares on street corners near hotels and hostels.
It will be interesting to see how far this all goes in the coming months and years. Don't touch that dial, kids. We'll keep it coming.
And I honestly thought we were moving past this Reefer Madness bullshit. God damn my optimistic idealism.