Saturday, December 6, 2008

Common Sense Descends Upon Amsterdam

Image:Blowverbod.jpgIn a shockingly logical response to the prevalence of organized crime in the industries supporting gambling, prostitution and drug sales, the city of Amsterdam has introduced plans to close many of the establishments that presently peddle those wares.  The plans announced are a step even further than those already underway to close many of the city's world-famous brothels and cafes in an effort to confront Amsterdam's use as a haven for money-laundering operations used by criminal enterprises.

As quoted in a article, Lodewijk Asscher, an Amsterdam city council member speaks to the goal of his city's program.

Asscher underlined that the city center will remain true to its freewheeling reputation.

"It'll be a place with 200 windows (for prostitutes) and 30 coffee shops, which you can't find anywhere else in the world -- very exciting, but also with cultural attractions," he said. "And you won't have to be embarrassed to say you came."

Under the plan announced Saturday, Amsterdam will spend €30 million to €40 million ($38 million to $51 million) to bring hotels, restaurants, art galleries and boutiques to the center. It will also build new underground parking areas.

It should be noted that marijuana possession or sales is not legal in the Netherlands.  The existence of marijuana cafes persists under a don't ask, don't tell attitude of local law enforcement as long as sales and use occur within the same walls.

The Netherlands' laws legalizing prostitution are not being repealed and the new plans will only affect 20% of Amsterdam's "coffee shops".

The recognition by an icon of the legalized vice trade that there will always be a blackness that infects those exchanges, no matter how much a society attempts to sanitize them through legalization and tolerance, will be seen by other places around the world.  Seattle, for example.


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