Coffeeshop Culture in Amsterdam
Cannabis-capital of the world
Amsterdam used to be known as the cannabis-capital of the world; it was one of the few places where everyone could buy and smoke- or eat or vape- cannabis without getting in trouble. Because of this many tourists would visit every year, and the city started catering to them; lots of cannabis-souvenir shops popped up, street food vendors changed places to get money from muchie-having tourists, and so on.
Nowadays however, the Netherlands and Amsterdam (being the capital) with it, are starting the fall behind the legalization of cannabis. Altho there are plenty of coffeeshops in Amsterdam (shops you can just walk into and buy weed), marijuana still isn’t actually legal; it’s just tolerated. These specialized shops, coffeeshops as they’re called in Holland, are allowed to sell it but are not allowed to buy it or grow it. People are allowed to smoke it but not allowed to carry over 5 grams. Dutch politics are looking for a way to legalize it entirely and follow in the steps of the United States or Canada for example, but a lot of conservative politicians are still standing in the way of that really happening.
Let’s get more into the different coffeeshops. There are about 550 coffeeshops in all of the Netherlands, with most located in Amsterdam and Rotterdam (altho most cities have at least one). Think of them like a bar, but for cannabis. Like all places in the Netherlands and even Europe they’re required to to abide by smoking laws, so you can only smoke in the smoking area, and they’re not allowed to sell alcohol as well.
Most coffeeshops have a friendly vibe with a lot of regular customers. However, it can be tricky for tourists to find a good coffeeshop; because as is with all things, some are just tourist-traps that sell low quality goods for way too much money.
There are some classics in Amsterdam that are both known, have fair prices and good quality tho, like the Stud. But a lot of the shops in touristy places aren’t really that great, so it’s smart to do some research beforehand.
Buying weed is really easy. You just walk into a coffeeshop, you can ask them a bit about the different strains and have a look or a smell, make a choice and pay. Most coffeeshops even offer paying by card.
If you went to a good coffeeshop, remember to be careful with the amount you smoke. The quality of dutch weed can still be amazingly high, with THC-levels in hash to about 70% (which is way more than you’d be used to if you only got weed grown outdoors before). So remember to be careful but most of all, to enjoy!