Guilty Through Visitation?


Visiting a Country With Legalized Marijuana and the Incessant Questions

Ok, so I went to Amsterdam. Big deal! Right? Apparently it is. Ever since getting back from the city, I have been asked many questions about the free use of pot. And I didn't know that choosing to visit a city could reflect so much on my character. "Did you go to smoke a lot of pot" or "did you feel unsafe with all the pot" are the two main directions the conversation takes when I say that I visited Amsterdam alone. Either they think I am a complete stoner or that I was cowering in my room the entire time. So let me clear the smoke-filled air with this post.

I would like to first say that I have never smoked marijuana or anything in my life. So my reason for going to Amsterdam had nothing to do with the legal drug. So no, I did not go to Amsterdam to smoke (or see prostitutes). I went to Amsterdam to see its history. I wanted to see the canals, some of its art, and of course, as much of its history as I could fit in. And no, I never felt unsafe in the city. Yes, I took my usual precautions, but they weren't necessary. The people were nice and its not like I spent time in the Red Light District, which is known for being not as safe as the other areas. While I may have had my fill of Amsterdam for my lifetime, I don't think back and feel unsafe or regret my decision. I just have other interests. It's not you Amsterdam, it's me.

But then I got to thinking, is that what people think of when they think of Amsterdam? I mean I personally think of the Anne Frank House and the canals. But is that what people go to Amsterdam for, to smoke pot freely? Then I got to thinking even more, the majority of the times that I smelled pot were in areas highly populated by tourists. It was in line to see museums or checking out the main sights. And the majority of the time I heard the people that were stoned speaking languages other than Dutch. Even the guidebooks say that the city is safe and most of the time the police are called out is because a tourist enjoyed those brownies or lollypops (yes they have pot lollypops) a little too much. So, from what I saw, the Dutch have their stuff together. They know their limits and don't over indulge, if they even do. So its the tourists that give the city its reputation. Aha! So I now I get the incessant questions. Guilty by association. Great!

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