High Times was forced to close the doors of the 27th Annual Cannabis Cup expo in Amsterdam yesterday after Mayor Eberhard van der Laan said the event would be shut down and everyone associated with it arrested if it went on as planned.
Expo staffers stood at the doors yesterday turning people away, suggesting they head to the city’s remaining coffee shops and stay tuned for more updates.
“For everybody’s safety, nobody wants to get busted,” said a representative outside the event to a group waiting to enter. “Right now, the cup is still on, but this day is fucked.”
High Times is trying to salvage what’s left of the expo, keeping Monday’s and Tuesday’s seminars as scheduled, announcing locations for Thursday’s and Friday’s seminars later today, and keeping the concerts and Cannabis Cup awards ceremony as scheduled.
The magazine posted on its website yesterday: “From the onset, we were informed by our lawyers, who were working with the mayor’s office, that as long as we remained compliant with local regulations, we would be allowed to proceed. We have strenuously tried to meet those standards and go beyond them… We want everyone to know that we would never have allowed vendors to set up, nor would we have opened the doors to the expo without assurances from the mayor’s office that we were under compliance.”
Mayor Laan, who was elected on a platform of stricter marijuana laws for tourists, apparently saw this as the perfect opportunity to keep his campaign promises on an international level. Casually stopping 26 years of Thanksgiving tradition with out-of-the-blue threats and warnings? This guy’s not fucking around.
"In the 26 years of the Cannabis Cup, there has never been any health or safety issues, nor has there been any lawlessness on the part of the attendees,” High Times said.
In the wake of the shut down, High Times published four new rules for the expo imposed by city officials:
1. Expo attendees and those working the booths are only allowed up to 5 grams of personal cannabis or hash.
2. Security will be on hand to search bags and backpacks and will confiscate amounts over 5 grams.
3. Solvent-based cannabis extracts are not legal under Dutch law. No shatter, wax, or torches are allowed in the expo.
4. Vendors are not allowed to distribute or share cannabis or cannabis-related products with attendees. (The mayor has made clear that ‘no cannabis distribution’ is one rule that will be very strictly enforced.)
The magazine’s officials say they’ve been double-crossed by local officials and effectively blindsided by this. However, they’re still trying to salvage the tradition and keep the general spirit of the Cup alive.
“It’s unfortunate that the land that once liberated cannabis has now taken a conservative approach to its use,” said Nico Escondido, cultivation editor at High Times. “However, like everything else in this world, it is cyclical. I believe that the marijuana outlook in Amsterdam and the Netherlands as a whole will one day come back around to the point of tolerance and acceptance.”