When politicians work against the public good — yet believe they’re working for the public good — what you get are policies that are no good at all!
Take Holland. For decades, tourists throughout the world have been able to enjoy its unique national policy of tolerance via hundreds of coffeeshops that allow patrons to purchase and enjoy pot in a congenial, comfortable atmosphere. The tourism industry has flourished because of this refreshingly sane treatment of cannabis smokers.
In recent years, however, cannabis has been under fire in the Netherlands. Laws were enacted to prohibit foreign tourists from visiting marijuana coffeeshops. Thoseare still on the books, but it’s up to individual municipalities to enforce them. Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan is no friend of the industry, and has used zoning laws to force many coffeeshops to close down. The result: an increase in black market pot sales.
It’s time for Holland to understand that tourists don’t plan their vacations solely because they love tulips. Moreover, as Holland focuses on limiting the cannabis industry and American attitudes grow more favorable to legalization, perhaps it’s time to enhance our own tourism profile by opening coffeeshops here in the US.
Think about it. Here in New York City, thousands of tourists arrive daily to wander this great urban metropolis. They visit museums, go to Broadway shows and eat in New York City’s superb restaurants. But imagine the addition of coffeeshops to the scene. Imagine a pot-friendly venue with better coffee than Starbucks (not a hard feat to accomplish) with the added attraction of great marijuana. We might see a resurgence of the coffeeshop scene of the 1960s, where folksingers, poets and avant-garde entertainers were given a stage to perform. And wouldn’t so-called Internet cafes do bigger business with patrons able to surf the web while smoking weed? American coffeeshops have the capacity to revitalize business districts of cities nationwide.
We’ve already seen the results of legalization in Colorado and Washington. The cannabis industryhas filled tax coffers while causing no social harm whatsoever. It’s high time that America begins to examine real opportunities for economic growth. Coffeeshops will provide instant tax revenue, gainful employment for locals and increase the tourism profile of every city that allows them to operate.