by David Downs
(See update at bottom) When conservatives who seized power in the Netherlands this year closed coffeeshops in the southern part of the country to weed tourists, it seemed like an unfortunate bummer.
This morning, however, police in Amsterdam are in the process of raiding the 24th annual High Times Cannabis Cup Expo. Possession of marijuana has been decriminalized in the Netherlands. But according to tweets on the scene, "everyone will have their buds confiscated, but no one will be charged or fined. This is the first time this has happened in 24 years."
According to @DanaLarsen, Director of the Vancouver Cannabis Dispensary Society, "Police officer told me they investigated yesterday, saw some booths giving out weed and breaking other rules. So now the event is shut down."
"Everyone has to leave except for exhibitors. Cops are friendly and polite."
UPDATE: 10:25 A.M. PST This just in from David Holland, event counsel, via comments.
"Chillax, all is good over there. I am one of the attorneys for High Times and this started over a misunderstanding about a permit application filed by the venue to host the event. Our US and Dutch lawyers have just finished reviewing them with the police there. No attendees have been arrested and attendees are not the targets of the police presence. Police are ensuring that all vendors are in compliance with the 500 gram limit under the Opium Law for licensed vendors at the venue. Only one vendor has been identified as potentially over the limit, but only slightly. In any event, the show will go on tomorrow and additionally, the Melweg will be opening at 2pm tomorrow to accomodate judges who do not wish to trek outside of Amsterdam so that they can avoid the lines and vote early. Further details will be posted on the High Times site later today."