Drug Tourists Go Dutch

Drug Tourists Go Dutch
Posted by CN Staff on May 27, 2005 at 19:32:06 PT
By Megan Farrington, AlterNet
Source: AlterNet
Amsterdam -- A Dutch official hopes the creation of "cannabis boulevards" will help alleviate the problem of drug tourism in the Netherlands.  Gerd Leers was once a staunch prohibitionist in the Dutch Parliament, but three years as a local leader have changed his perspective. Leers, now the Mayor of Maastricht, a Dutch border city, is calling for the creation of "cannabis boulevards" in border areas to ease problems associated with cross-border drug tourism. He also seeks regulation of the supply of marijuana to coffee shops to eliminate a robust black market created by the fact that production of the plant is illegal in the Netherlands.
Border areas attract a large number of "drug tourists" from Germany, Belgium and France. Maastricht has 1.5 million visitors every year, the majority of whom come not only to enjoy the pleasant atmosphere of the city, but also to buy marijuana. The demand created by these tourists is accompanied by an increase in drug-related crime. Because it is illegal to grow marijuana in the Netherlands, police in Maastricht spend a great deal of time removing home-based grow operations. Small plantations exist mostly in the houses of low-income families, but are overseen by professional criminals.This strategy allows those running the plantations to take smaller losses when the grow operations are raided, while impoverished families take the fall. This "cottage industry" also gives rise to turf wars among the groups running plantations. In addition, border towns wrestle with crime related to the illegal sale of larger amounts of marijuana than are available in the official -- strictly regulated -- coffee shops, and crime related to the sale of illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin.Leers advocates legalization of marijuana production, and supports the idea of centralized locations where people can buy marijuana -- "cannabis boulevards" -- to alleviate the impact of drug tourism on border cities. Last month, the Netherlands' Minister of Government Reform and Inner City Problems, Alexander Pechtold, spoke out in support of the "cannabis boulevard" approach, and advocated loosening European Union (EU) policies around marijuana as a long-term solution.Pechtold's position -- at loggerheads with that of the more conservative Minister of Justice, Piet Hein Donner -- was backed by the mayors of 20 of the 30 most populous cities in the Netherlands. In the wake of Pechtold's comments, the Dutch Parliament held a debate about possible experimentation with marijuana policy, which resulted in two motions: one instructing the Dutch government to approach other EU governments for their views on a more liberal marijuana policy, and the other telling the government to develop experiments exploring the regulation of marijuana growth to supply coffee shops.Leers recently convened a conference of experts and local authorities from the area as well as the adjoining German and Belgian provinces to work toward a regional liberalization arrangement that could also serve as an example for other European regions, given that an EU-wide arrangement does not seem likely any time soon.Speakers at the conference (among them law professors, representatives of the treatment sector, the Lord Mayor of the Belgian city of Liege and the President of the Association of Maastricht Coffeeshops) stressed the advantages of the Dutch public health approach to drug policy, which results in generally lower problematic drug use than is seen in the neighboring German and Belgian provinces. They also presented statistics that they said demonstrate the superiority of this approach to more repressive policies practiced in countries like the United States and elsewhere.The conference adopted a resolution calling for closer regional cooperation on law enforcement and experimentation with strictly regulated and certified marijuana growing at the regional level. A follow-up conference with more concrete proposals will take place later this year.This strategy by authorities at the local and regional level has a parallel in state-based drug policy reform work in the United States. The traditional "laboratories of democracy," states often blaze the trail for the slower-moving federal government to embrace reform. Similarly, regional reforms in Europe initiated by Leers and others who recognize that repressive policies do not work can pave the way for common sense drug policy reforms in the EU as a whole. Megan Farrington is the web content assistant at the Drug Policy Alliance in Washington, DC. -- AlterNet (US)Author:  Megan Farrington, AlterNetPublished: May 27, 2005Copyright: 2005 Independent Media InstituteContact: letters Website: Articles:Mayors Back Legalisation of Cannabis Dutch Support Legalizing Marijuana in Netherlands
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Comment #21 posted by afterburner on June 02, 2005 at 04:38:07 PT
Gee, I Wonder Why
Dutch blow to EU constitution could be fatal
Jun. 2, 2005. 07:05 AM [Toronto Star]"Dutch voters have plunged the European Union further into crisis by dealing a likely fatal blow to its proposed constitution. They overwhelmingly rejected the treaty in a referendum yesterday, with 62 per cent voting against it and 38 per cent in favour. The vote comes three days after French voters gave a resounding "No" to the proposed constitution."  [Full Story]
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on May 30, 2005 at 10:08:46 PT
Drug Reactions
Of all the reactions I had in the past to legal prescription drugs it was not being able to sleep and when I did sleep it was restless. Herbs don't cause problems for me. I take Valarian Root at night and sleep peacefully and wake up without feeling hung over. 
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Comment #19 posted by Hope on May 30, 2005 at 09:53:11 PT
You said, "It made my tongue curl up in my mouth."You've experienced Tardive Dyskenesia, sounds to me like. Involuntary movements...often with a spasmodic nature.Talk about "bad trips"! Whatever demon might live in a rum bottle can't hold a candle to the ones that live in prescription drug bottles.
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Comment #18 posted by PainWithNoInsurance on May 30, 2005 at 09:46:50 PT
The experience you went through with that drug was horrible. It is a coincidence because I had a similar experience with a prescription drug in the eighties. It made my tongue curl up in my mouth and was one of the worst experiences I have ever had. It lasted for quite a while and was like a spasm. I will never forget it either.Uninsured
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Comment #17 posted by mayan on May 30, 2005 at 06:21:18 PT
Here's an article from January but I know several more of the world's most prominent microbiologists have died since...Author Theorizes 40 Microbiologists Killed Before Unleashing "The Ultimate Epidemic" is going on.
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on May 29, 2005 at 20:26:07 PT
You said, "I am currently getting hooked on vicodin..."I'm so sorry. Prohibitionists are directly responsible for your misery. We've got to end their cruelty. God help us.
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on May 29, 2005 at 20:23:12 PT
Tardive Dyskenesia
I misspelled it earlier.Elavil was a cheap medicine commonly prescribed for depression at the time. I knew of three or four women that were taking it for common depression. It made everyone that I spoke to that took it feel weird and after awhile they could just no longer bear to take it. (Strangely, a noticeable percentage of the women that I knew of that were prescribed Elavil got a divorce during the time they took it if they took it very long. It was noticeable enough that I soon began to inquire on hearing of a divorce if that person was taking Elavil. Luckily, I only took it for three days before I recognized something was really wrong.) I had taken it for about three days when I went to an eatery and oddly, found myself extremely reluctant and fearful of going inside. Forcing myself to go in anyway, I suddenly realized what "Alice...when she's ten feet tall" meant. I felt "ten feet tall" and hugely, outrageously noticeable, to the point that I imagined that everyone in the room went silent when I walked in and that everything I said was loud and weird and bounced off the walls. It was horrible. I suspected the Elavil right away, because I realized that I had not been like that three days before and I knew drugs could do weird things. That night as I was drifting off to sleep I suddenly became aware that my arm was raised in the air. I saw it. I didn't feel it. EEEEEKKKK and double EEEEEEKKKK! Finally, I managed to get to sleep, (actually, as I remember Elavil made you terribly sleepy). During the night I awakened to realize that my mouth was spread in a broad, hideous grin (a drug grimace). Demon possession did occur to me there in the dimly lit gloom (nightlight in the adjoining bathroom), but I decided against it.Thank God, I had enough sense to know that it had to be caused by the drug. I called my doctor first thing in the morning and he realized immediately it was the Elavil and told me to chunk it. No problem. Chunk it, I did, and never experienced those frightening symptoms again. Thankfully, I do not have schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder, but I dang sure had those symptoms and not after long term use, either.Apparently, I was one of the "other patients" mentioned below and, I'm not sure if this site mentions it. It can be a permanent effect that can continue even after the drug is discontinued.Come to think of it. I may have recognized it because of a daytime TV show, perhaps Oprah, that I'd seen that had people on that had been permanently afflicted with horrible manifestations of Tardive Dyskenesia that drugs had caused. Blinking eyes...protruding tongues...horrible tics, etc.. Their minds were normal and unaffected, but they bore these horrible tics that left them disabled and disfigured, likely forever. Anyway, I had known that such things were possible and that it was a manifestation of some sort of drug poisoning.It's been more than twenty years ago and I think such drugs aren't widely prescribed anymore. from above url: Tardive dyskinesias (TDs) are involuntary movements of the tongue, lips, face, trunk, and extremities that occur in patients treated with long-term dopaminergic antagonist medications. Although associated with the use of neuroleptics, TDs apparently existed before the development of neuroleptics. People with schizophrenia appear especially vulnerable to developing TDs after exposure to neuroleptics, toxins, and other agents. TDs are most commonly seen in patients with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder who have been treated with antipsychotic medication for long periods, but TDs are occasionally seen in other patients as well.
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Comment #14 posted by PainWithNoInsurance on May 29, 2005 at 18:41:47 PT
What is Tardive Dyskenesia? I have tried about everything for my back problem and have read all of the side effects that come with them. They are enough to scare me out of taking them. Predensone will cause glaucoma if taken too long. I have taken that one a lot and finally told one of the many different doctors I have visited no more because I didn't want to risk getting glaucoma. I could smoke a pin joint and that would be better than all of the pharm meds put together. I am currently getting hooked on vicodin right now because it make me feel better--that is until I get used to them like the last time I took them. I take way more than prescribed though.Injesting cannabis in my home (which always has a lean against through property taxes) harms no other person.
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on May 29, 2005 at 17:17:01 PT
Another thought about those demons...
Those were just three of at least four or five that I was able to see clearly. God only knows how many others were waiting to do their thing or were already doing it unseen.
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on May 29, 2005 at 17:14:12 PT
About those "demons" that live in pill bottles. I never met the "demon" that's supposed to dwell in a bottle of rum, but I did meet the ones that lived in the Elavil bottle. They were, to say the least, some alarming individuals. I can tell you that. One had a name...Tardive Dyskenesia and another went by the name of Drug Grimace. One taught me what Grace Slick meant when she sang "Alice...when she's ten feet tall”. Thankfully, they were "cast out" with the pill bottle and my physician was thankful that I recognized them and that they didn’t become permanent residents of my body.
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Comment #11 posted by PainWithNoInsurance on May 29, 2005 at 06:09:06 PT
Pharms Always Come With A Problem
I find it so facinating how every pill that can be bought from the pharmacy comes with a whole list of VERY SERIOUS side effects. It's like they just can't get it completely right----ever----ON ANYTHING. Or they just have those demons that get into the pills and they can't keep them out. Don't get me wrong, there are good pharms out there but they all have side effects that are SERIOUS RISK.Whatever's the problem is with pharmaceuticals, I just wish I was allowed to take the medications that works for me and don't come with the life threatening side effects that pharms do. It doesn't harm anyone else for me to consume cannabis in my home the county tax treasurer owns.I take so many pills for my back problem (and they barely work); it should make the pharmaceutical companies just wealthier than gods green earth. 
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on May 28, 2005 at 21:12:12 PT
Found this very interesting information
over at Reykr's blog, and Cialis may cause blindness.
The headline in last night's Courier said the FDA is trying to find out if
Viagra, Cialis and/or Levitra may cause blindness. may in some instances prevent blindness.The human eyeball is filled with fluid, which exerts pressure to keep the eyeball spherical. Glaucoma is a condition where the channels through which the fluid flows gradually become blocked, and the intraocular pressure gradually increases, causing increasing damage to the optic nerve, and gradual deterioration of vision. Glaucoma is the second-largest cause of blindness, and affects 1.5 % of 50-year olds and 5 % of seventy-year olds.Standard treatments have unpleasant or dangerous side effects, and have little effect on intraocular pressures in end-stage glaucoma. Cannabis however lowers intraocular pressures dramatically, with none of the serious side effects. Patients who find that standard medicines do not help their conditions report that smoking cannabis quickly restores their vision. Many long-term glaucoma patients have successfully maintained their sight using cannabis for 20 or 25 years, and avoided the gradual painfull deterioration to blindness that is otherwise enevitable.However older generations, who are most at risk of glaucoma do not appreciate the euphoric side effects of smoked or ingested cannabis. There is also concern about the effects on the cardio-vasculat system. There is hope that a cannabis-containing eyedrop could be developed in the future which would have no side effects but this is made difficult since cannabinoids are not water soluble.Ironically the discovery that cannabis lowers intraocular pressure was made accidentally during a police experiment. They were trying to discover if cannabis caused pupil dilation in users, so that they could detect and arrest them more easily!Scientific EvidenceThe effect of cannabis on intraocular pressure (IOP) in normal subjects has been well studied, however the effect on glaucoma patients is less well known, with only a handful of patients studied. Only one study used herbal cannabis, the rest have used cannabinoids.Hepler & Frank (1971) found that oral or smoked cannabis reduced intraocular pressures in normal subjects for about 4 to 5 hours with "no indications of any deleterious effects ... on visual function or ocular structure". They concluded that cannabis may be more useful than conventional medications and probably works by a different mechanism.Almost all of the studies using cannabinoids have been double-blind and placebo controlled. Two studies were of the effects of oral or smoked THC on IOP in normal subjects. Hepler et al. (1976) reported that the drop in IOP was dose-related. Jones et al. (1981) found that tolerance to the effects quickly built up, and there was a rebound in IOP to above baseline levels when treatment was stopped. Another two studies used intravenous infusions of various cannabinoids. Perez-Reyes et al. (1976) found that only the cannabinoids that had psychoactive effects produced a drop in IOP. Cooler & Gregg (1977) reported a drop in IOP but increased anxiety. The effects of cannabinoids on IOP were confirmed in numerous animal experiments, reviewed by Adler & Geller (1986).The few studies on glaucoma patients all involve small numbers of patients. Hepler et al. (1976) found that when THC was smoked for months at a time by glaucoma patients, the effect on intraocular pressure stayed constant and there was no deterioration of vision. However only 7 of the 11 patients showed the effect. Merrit et al. (1980) carried out a double-blind and placebo controlled study on 18 patients and found a significant reduction in IOP but unwanted cardio-vascular and pyschoactive side-effects.Applying cannabinoids directly to the eyes should remove the side-effects but is proving difficult since they are not water-soluble. Merrit et al. (1981) applied THC to only one eye in 8 patients, but found an effect on IOP in both eyes suggesting that the THC had been adsorbed into the bloodstream, rather than acting topically. However his patients reported no pyschoactive side-effects.
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Comment #9 posted by The GCW on May 28, 2005 at 11:45:37 PT
More about Viagra...
Offenders Get Medicaid-Paid Rx for Viagra By KEVIN FREKING 
Associated Press WriterWASHINGTON (AP) -- Nearly 800 convicted sex offenders in 14 states got Medicaid-funded prescriptions for Viagra and other impotence drugs, according to a survey by The Associated Press.The majority of the cases were in New York, Florida and Texas.cont. states implicated, seem to reveal something: New York, Florida and Texas.THCUBob Dole's drug of choice...Death, blindness, sexual offensiveness;But, hey, it keeps business UP.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on May 28, 2005 at 10:16:48 PT
You said: Who knows, maybe it is better to not know about it, people willl go absolutely nuts once they find out a pandemic is loose. I know what you mean. I personally feel we should know because when an epidemic would start we need to know what to do and we shouldn't learn about it in a panicked state of mind. I read they were doing tests to see how they would secure NYC if a pandemic started. They are getting ready and the only option will be to seal off the cities until it's over and everyone that is infected dies or recovers. I'm so glad I don't live in a big city.
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Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on May 28, 2005 at 10:07:17 PT
Real danger
That's funny FOM, I was just having a similar discussion with someone recently - most people are totally unaware that terrible hemorragic fevers break out in Africa every year or two. They are stopped by teams of Western doctors going in and working hard to systemically track down every victim & contain the disease - any breakdown in this process could potentially allow one of these bugs to break out & sweep the world. Very similar to nuclear weapons, where there seems to have been some kind of mass amnesia that they even exist! In the 80's that was probably the number one news item every year - nuclear arms & progress on treaties to contain them.  What's seems to have have happened is that there's no Soviet threat to make us reduce the number of warheads, so we've just stopped.There was also news today that Chinese scientists have discovered a working vaccine for the bird flu - I think it's "H5N1". This is a huge relief, this strain had recently developed the ability to spread from person-to-person. 50% of those infected died! Experts think we're due for another worldwide pandemic, and, since it's a virus, there's not a whole lot they'll be able to do. Anti-biotics won't work.Who knows, maybe it is better to not know about it, people willl go absolutely nuts once they find out a pandemic is loose.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on May 28, 2005 at 09:48:27 PT
Happy Memorial Day to you. I do not support the war but I do support the young men from any war that are or were fighting for what I'm not sure but I salute them none the same.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on May 28, 2005 at 09:43:53 PT
What is News Worthy News Anyway?
Sam this is a comment on the articles you posted. What is important isn't talked about more then a few sentences in a paper or on the network news channels. When I got my first computer late in the year of 96 I started looking for news chats and went to MSNBC everyday for a year and a half. I really loved the moderators and the effort they were putting out but after a year and a half I realized that I couldn't keep going regularly because the news was sensational and lacked substance. Now years later all we read and see is of no practical value. Because of the Internet and how it has developed into a fantastic news source we don't have to depend on news channels for information. I follow disease outbreaks in other countries because I believe we are in for a rude awakening in the states in the near future. I think they are afraid to tell us news we can use because it will effect peoples spending money and they just can't risk that.
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Comment #4 posted by billos on May 28, 2005 at 09:37:08 PT
On this Memorial Weekend I realize.......
that since the "War" in Iraq started, it has and still costs America two lives per day to keep going................with no end in site.....happy Memorial Day Weekend on this sad but ever so important Holiday.
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on May 28, 2005 at 09:29:10 PT:
Republicrate, legislooters.
It is as old as law enforcement its self. But not only cops play good cop, bad cop. Law makers play it as well. 
I don't get too caught up in the bickering and yammering that goes on in congeress. I's mostly all for show any way. It's what they don't talk about that matters. It's who is really being served that counts.Namaste 
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on May 28, 2005 at 08:45:20 PT
Making too much sense
What's this, elected leaders calmly making logical policy choices? On marijuana laws? It's hard to believe that in the whole world of humans, only the government of this tiny country seems to be immune to the disease of WOD.What about people driving stoned? What about kids stealing Mom's stash? What about reminding us to hate a certain type of person? It all seems to have gone by the wayside. I thought this was interesting. This article is on a recent worldwide nuclear weapon conference - no progress was made, because the Bush administration is refusing to decrease the US nuclear arsenal (10,000 warheads), which we apparently promised to do in 1995 and again in 2000: was really interesting is that this story was buried on page 6. Meanwhile, prominently featured on the front page was this article:'s a long story about how overweight women do not get paid as much as thin women, do not advance in their careers, etc. The Globe has already figured out why - the reason is, of course, that they're cruelly perscuted by the rest of us. Only when liberal media outlets & leaders get their act together will they gain control of the government. I'm sorry, I feel for anyone who's persecuted, but this kind of bleeding-heart stuff is not going to convert anyone in Red America. Maintaining tens of thousands of nuclear weapons with no conceivable enemy in sight is insanity!  I think it costs $20-40 billion per year. Apparently the Democrats have no problem with it, they're awful quiet.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 28, 2005 at 08:07:52 PT
Have a Wonderful Weekend Everyone!
I can't find any news to post so far today. It's understandable because it's a holiday weekend. I'll keep looking for news though. Have a great and safe holiday!
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