New marijuana rules are a buzzkill in Amsterdam

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

Well, at least you can still take a lovely bike ride along the canals.

Amsterdam — once a trailblazer in the arena of progressive marijuana policy — is clamping down on weed businesses, according to a report in Newsweek.

The city once had 300 coffee shops where locals and tourists alike could spark a joint without fear of a police crackdown. Now that number is down to 200, after a law was passed forcing businesses to choose between alcohol or chronic. Across the Netherlands, the number of coffee shops dropped from 1,000 to 617, according to Newsweek.

New regulations on marijuana growers encourage coffee shops to buy their pot from the black market, putting money in the hands of criminal organizations instead of legal businesses. The government is also considering classifying marijuana with higher levels of THC as a hard drug.


Why are things changing? Newsweek cites a shift to conservative politics in the country after 9/11, as well as pressure to regulate the drug from neighboring European nations.

Kosher cannabis? New Yorkers might see it soon

Medical marijuana may soon be available with a kosher stamp of approval in New York State.

The Jewish Daily Forward reports that Rabbi Moshe Elefant, the head of the Orthodox Union kosher certification agency, has engaged in "preliminary discussions" with companies interested in selling kosher weed.

The Forward points out that while Orthodox rabbis seem to have accepted marijuana use for medical purposes, they're opposed to recreational use of the drug.


Cannabis itself doesn't need a kosher certification since it's a plant, but other forms of the drug — pills, foods, and drinks — would need the designation for use by Orthodox Jews.

Elefant said he “would not have a problem certifying” medical marijuana as kosher, since it has clear medical benefits, but other Orthodox groups have not officially endorsed the idea.


How Colorado high schools are dealing with legal weed

The number of drug incidents in Colorado high schools has increased since marijuana became legal. Although schools aren't required to tally marijuana separately from other drug incidents, a local news report recently tied the rise to the new legal status of cannabis.

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

Don't worry, he's in college. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

That's left the schools wondering how they should handle weed. The state uses marijuana tax dollars for public service announcements warning teenagers about the effects of smoking weed, but kids seem dubious. Albert Amaya, a 16-year-old Colorado Springs high school student, is one of those skeptics.


"I feel like, in comparison with things like alcohol and cigarettes, marijuana has far fewer long-term side effects," he told NPR. "I saw one of the smoking commercials, and this guy couldn't start a barbecue because he was high. That's taking it to the extreme, I think. I don't think that just because you're high, that you can't function."

Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.

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