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Stoned Tourists: R.I.P.? A YouTube tribute…

It’s currently a pretty sweet deal for tourists in the Netherlands. They can strut through the front door of a coffeeshop, smugly engage in a simple transaction, and then smoke the sweet smoke. They can exit the same front door: wiggly, wasted and most importantly — for they have done no wrong — free of paranoia. The glitch is that the wobbly law that allows them this simple pleasure neglected to deal with how the wacky weed got there in the first place. The ‘back door’ where the produce arrives by the kilo is still a gateway to an illegal distribution system.

It’s a typical situation in the Netherlands. It may not be legal but it’s ‘tolerated’. This is why the Dutch national government has been regularly re-introducing the debate of how to deal with this situation — and all those silly, stoned tourists. Whenever this debate reared its head an editor from a foreign newspaper would call me and ask ‘Hey what’s going on? Are they really closing the coffeeshops?’ And then I would have to kill any work opportunity by going ‘No it’s all just talk’. But now the national coalition seems more serious. Crazy. But serious. They plan to institutionalise a ‘weed pass’ whereby only locals would have access to coffeeshops. Were these zealots stoned when they came up with this idea? Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to have a weed pass. I could then show it off to friends back in Canada so they can go: ‘A weed pass!?! You’re kidding right?!?

Naturally the national government did not consult with the local city governments that have to actually implement such a policy and also deal directly with the inevitable rise in street dealing and criminal control. While Amsterdam has been very busy in the last years to lower the number of coffeeshops, the vast majority of local politicians think the weed pass is a batshit crazy idea. So things won’t change much here in the short-term. But just in case, here’s a tribute to that species that may just be one step closer to extinction: the batshit crazy stoned tourist.

Cheech and Chong’s Still Smokin’ (1983) has the dopehead duo visiting their spiritual Mecca and being consistently confused for Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton. Yes, they were probably stoned when they came up with that scenario. They end up partaking in a long list of local activities in such landmarks as the Tuschinski Cinema, Hotel Okura and a gay sauna. While the movie features cameos by such future luminaries as Arjan Ederveen and Kees Prins, the movie is still really, really bad – and sadly, it’s not even badder-than-bad-that-it’s-good-again. A lost opportunity.

The sheer badness of Still Smokin’ has one advantage. It makes Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005) more digestible. However not nearly as digestible as waffles and chicken. The movie has more stoner-esque moments but the above scene stands out for actually being funny.

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008) is also packed with Amster-scenery – the most scenic being a cameo by Boom Chicago’s Rob AndristPlourde as the toking fifth wheel to Harold and Kumar’s double date on a canal boat (watch the unembeddable scene HERE). AndristPlourde appeared earlier in the movie as the bag of pot in the threesome scene. The dude is a chameleon. A freaking chameleon.

Large parts of Ocean’s 12 (watch the unembeddable coffeeshop scene HERE) with Clooney, Pitt and the gang were set and filmed in Amsterdam. While the local response quickly soured to having Hollywood filming here, the Dampkring coffeeshop did extend their thanks for being chosen as a location by adding a special ‘Ocean’s 12 Haze’ to their menus. Now put that in your pipe and smoke it. Or perhaps you shouldn’t… Because if there is an overall lesson to be learned from the above clips it is: drugs are bad. Very, very bad. And worse: very rarely funny. So perhaps the weed pass is not such a bad idea after all. And as bonus, people could use the card to cut up their coke. Now that could make for a hilarious scene. Hmm, perhaps the powers-that-be thought this idea through after all…

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Posted in Uncategorized 6 years, 3 months ago at 1:53 pm.

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3 Replies

  1. Great article Steve. Na na na nananana batshit!
    Have you read the Connie Palmen novel de Nederlandse Cocaine Fabriek? Might be a follow up article in it.

  2. @William S.: the book is actually by Conny Braam… http://www.nieuwamsterdam.nl/boekUitgave.aspx?ID=2059

  3. Steve Jun 1st 2011

    Thanks fellas! And in fact that book was preceded by an out-there documentary Dutch Cocaine Factory by Jeanette Groenendaal. I interviewed her a few years back here:

    http://www.stevekorver.com/writing/profilesinterviews/cocaine-is-watching-you/

    You can rent it at Cult Videotheek I believe… Check it out!


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