By John Knetemann
I have recently made the pilgrimage that all cannabis enthusiasts must take once in their life, the voyage to Amsterdam. This past year, I have arrogantly claimed that Denver is the new weed capital of the world. Denver is my home-city, and I took huge pride stealing that title from Amsterdam. However, I was wrong. Even though Denver may have the most bodacious bud in the world, the title of weed capital of the world still goes to Amsterdam. No doubt.
When in Amsterdam, you have spliffs absolutely everywhere (which they just call jays or joints, even though they always put tobacco in it). Smoke a jay at the train station. Smoke a jay in the street. Smoke a jay at the bar. Smoke a jay outside of the shop. Smoke a jay after a meal. The point is that you can smoke absolutely everywhere, and people do. I cannot think of a moment I have been in the city and not been within two yards of someone smoking a joint.
Not only do people smoke everywhere, though, but paraphernalia is on every inch of the city. Marijuana leaves and other stoner branding is on every brick and sign, it seems. In the souvenir shops, all the shirts and posters seem to be making a pun on joints or edibles. There were beautifully decorated grinders made of woods, plastics, and metals. There were ashtrays shaped like marijuana leaves. There were pipes of all shapes and sizes. And there were shrooms! No, just kidding. There weren't mushrooms, but they sold the root of mushrooms that supposedly just has the milder effects of mushrooms.
Coming from the United States, this is shocking. In the States there is an incredibly negative stigma on pot culture and cannabis consumption. Even dispensaries in Denver are conservative with their marijuana branding. They don't have flashy signs about getting high or marijuana leaves all over the building. Normally, the dispensaries in Denver just have a green cross. However, in Amsterdam the stigma is completely obliterated. It is normal and celebrated to smoke bud. Clearly, Amsterdam is not shy when it comes to smoking pot. Actually, the stigma behind just about anything seems to be non-existent in Amsterdam, whether it be marijuana, hard drugs, prostitution, heavy drinking, or erotic sex fetishes and toys.
Amsterdam is one hell of a place to drink, shout, puff, and pass. It is a heaven on Earth for the pot-head, stoner, or even casual user. There is not a place on Earth, including Denver, Las Vegas, or New Orleans, that I would recommend more than Amsterdam. Come and see for yourself.