Amsterdam unveiled plans Saturday to close brothels, sex shops and marijuana cafes

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — Amsterdam unveiled plans Saturday to close brothels, sex shops and marijuana cafes in its ancient city center as part of a major effort to drive organized crime out of the tourist haven.

    The city is targeting businesses that "generate criminality," including gambling parlors, and the so-called "coffee shops" where marijuana is sold openly. Also targeted are peep shows, massage parlors and souvenir shops used by drug dealers for money-laundering.

    "I think that the new reality will be more in line with our image as a tolerant and crazy place, rather than a free zone for criminals" said Lodewijk Asscher, a city council member and one of the main proponents of the plan.

    The news comes just one day after Amsterdam's mayor said he would search for loopholes in new rules laid down by the national government that would close marijuana cafes near schools citywide. The measures announced Saturday would affect about 36 coffee shops in the center itself _ a little less than 20 percent of the city total.

    Asscher underlined that the city center will remain true to its freewheeling reputation.

    "It'll be a place with 200 windows (for prostitutes) and 30 coffee shops, which you can't find anywhere else in the world _ very exciting, but also with cultural attractions," he said. "And you won't have to be embarrassed to say you came."

    Under the plan announced Saturday, Amsterdam will spend euro30 million to euro40 million ($38 million to $51 million) to bring hotels, restaurants, art galleries and boutiques to the center. It will also build new underground parking areas.

    Amsterdam already had plans to close many brothels and some coffee shops, but plans announced Saturday go further.

    Asscher said the city would reshape the area, using zoning rules, buying out businesses and offering assistance to upgrade stores. The city has shut brothels and sex clubs in the past by relying on a law allowing the closure of businesses with bookkeeping irregularities.

    Prostitution will be allowed only in two areas in the district _ notably De Wallen ("The Walls"), a web of streets and alleys around the city's medieval retaining dam walls. The area has been a center of prostitution since before the city's golden shipping age in the 1600s.

    Prostitution was legalized in the Netherlands in 2000, formalizing a long-standing tolerance policy.

    Marijuana is technically illegal in the Netherlands, but prosecutors won't press charges for possession of small amounts. Coffee shops are able to sell it openly.
  2. I was there last week, and most of the locals I talked to were very proud of the low rate of pot usage by teenagers, citing something like half the rate in North America.

    Businesses which benefit from the tourist trade aren't going to be all over this idea. Amsterdam is a pretty city but there isn't a hell of a lot to attract tourists away from Paris/London/Barcelona/Rome/ for more than a day or two, unless it's a quiet week getting high, laid and relaxed. Sure as hell isn't the weather. You can do the Van Gogh Museum and look at the canals in a day. You can attempt to go out into the country, or make a road trip to Rotterdam, but be prepared to sit in your car going 10 miles an hour the entire way. The highway traffic was the worst I have ever seen in my life. I suppose you could take a train.

    There are a lot of pot smokers out there, most of whom have to scurry like rats to smoke up in their hometowns. The flight from Toronto took less time (and money) than it takes me to get home for Xmas.
  3. The flight from Toronto to Amsterdam took you less time than what comparable commute?

    BTW: Kind of an irony related to this thread. I don't know if you follow American style football but today there is an NFL game in Toronto. The Miami Dolphins feature a back named Ricky Williams who has been suspended a few times for pot. In 2006 while banned in the States he played in the CFL for the Argonauts. This week he was quoted about his love for Toronto and how he might even move there after his playing days are over.
  4. Has the med-pot rage hit San Diego? I recently read that there are more pot shops in L.A. than Starbucks!
  5. I have no idea. I assume that prescriptions for medical marijuana are not so easy to get, and do not include refills, requiring a patient to see the doctor each time.

    It is still a controlled substance.

    I am assuming that there is a strict supervision process over the doctors writing prescriptions and the pharmacies filling the prescriptions, but I could be wrong.

  6. My commute to my home town is intra-Canadian but involves a layover. The trip to A'dam took 6:50 after they had to turn on the afterburners to get their passengers to make their connections. There was a medical emergency on the ground in T.O. that delayed us by 1.5 hours, and I noticed our airspeed was significantly higher than they usually fly a 747.

    I saw Ricky play while he was up here. He probably talked about moving up here because he realized that race is so much less important here than it is in the U.S. Most U.S. blacks who come up here to work comment on how obvious it is.

    The NFL is the only football I watch these days.

    The backlash has already started in A'dam.

    "Christian Democrat Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin has said he has "no intention" of changing national marijuana policy, but he hinted he might be flexible on the school zone law".
  7. They're not that difficult to get. I know someone who has one.

    Why? Because he has asthma. Figure that one out.
  8. That is good to hear. I am glad that people are getting relief from something herbal.

    You still have to go to a doctor, and pay them for their time to write the prescription, so in a way, the doctor has now become the drug dealer for those who are buying medicinal marijuana.

  9. Brandonf

    Brandonf ET Sponsor

    Sadly it seems that in this case you assume wrong. I say sadly because at this point it's so easy to get medical marijuana that the federal authorities are very likely to use that to crack down on everyone, legit or not.
    I have a friend that lives in Santa Monica and went to one of the marijuana pharmacies, he did not have a marijuana card. Told them he had asthma and that smoking pot helped it. They said well you need a card, we will juts go ahead and charge you right now, coz you can go to such and such doctors office around the corner and he will give you the permit.
    I think that marijuana should be available for medical use. I've used it twice for chemo induced nausea and it worked better then anything else I've had, and I was very thankful to my uncle for giving it to me. The way that the fed's go after patients is sick and wrong, but the pharmacies and doctors making it so easy to get the card is just going to end up badly in the end.
  10. Marinol (Pill marijuana) is for medical use, but smoking marijuana is illegal if I am right?
    #10     Dec 7, 2008