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Study Abroad Opportunity Announced for the Netherlands

April 22, 2021

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MACOMB, IL – Two Western Illinois University professors have created a unique study abroad opportunity for students to follow the history of the legality of cannabis in the Netherlands.

Students taking part in the Cannabis and Culture in Amsterdam program will travel with Anthropology Professor Heather McIlvaine-Newsad and Liberal Arts and Sciences Professor Sarah Haynes from May 20-30, 2022. The study abroad course can be taken for credit in the Anthropology or Liberal Arts and Sciences programs.

Interest meetings for the travel opportunity will be announced at a later date.

The Netherlands has a long history with cannabis, dating back to the 1920s, when the plant was legal in the country's colonies. Throughout history, there have been various levels of legality and permissiveness with cannabis use in the country. This study abroad course will explore how the legalization of cannabis and how the gedoogbeleid, or "policy of tolerance," toward cannabis has resulted in an influx in tourism, presenting challenges to an already crowded city. Cultural activities include visits to the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank Haus, the Rijksmuseum and a boat tour through the canals.

The class will also explore how American culture and attitudes related to cannabis consumption may also change over time as the legalization of cannabis becomes more widespread in the United States.

For more information about the program or the associated costs, visit

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