For example, did you know that growing weed is illegal? The answer to the question of where coffee shops get their weed can be a bit complicated.
There are a lot of things that the typical tourist in Amsterdam doesn’t see behind the scenes in the local weed industry, and that’s probably for the better. Besides, you don’t need to understand how or why weed is sold in Amsterdam to enjoy it. My experience with marijuana has come exclusively from the medical side, and I have only visited coffee shops while in town for guests. But for this article on weed culture in Amsterdam, I’ve decided to dive deep into the Amsterdam marijuana scene. You’re welcome.
What is the law on cannabis?
To start, it’s important to understand the law on smoking cannabis. Cannabis is not legal in the Netherlands, which many people not from there are unaware of ― shockingly some Dutch people don’t know this as well (although they should)! Weed in the Netherlands is decriminalized (‘toleration policy’). This means that it’s tolerated.
It’s not legal to smoke cannabis in coffee shops, but the shops are unlikely to throw you out for a small amount.
This doesn’t go for growing though. Yes, you can get away with planting a few plants for personal use. It’s much more difficult, though, to grow on a mass scale or even just distribute to coffee shops. Well, that’s a pity or shame. This is what makes the whole thing completely confusing, as the weed in the coffee shops has to come from somewhere. It’s just a complete grey area.
As a result, many coffee shop owners now have buyers who bring them cannabis to sell in the store. A coffee shop can have 500g of beans on-site and nothing more.
Can I smoke weed legally in Amsterdam?
No, technically. Again, as I said before, nothing will happen to you if you’re an otherwise law-abiding citizen, you’re not causing a public disturbance, you don’t have more than 5g on your possession and you’re smoking in an Amsterdam area where weed smoking is not banned. Beyond that, you’re good to go.
You might want to inform yourself at the Coffeeshop Info Centre Amsterdam
If you’ve got any specific questions about smoking weed in Amsterdam and you’re a bit hesitant to visit a grizzly dark coffee shop then you might just want to visit the Coffeeshop Info Centre Amsterdam.
As you can see in the photo it’s all nicely lit and clean there and they’ve got all the information you could ever need when it comes to smoking it up. Places like the Coffeeshop Info Centre can point you in the direction of several different coffee shops. They will answer all your questions on the regulations about soft drugs in Amsterdam. Customers can browse and purchase premium seeds, CBD products, and stylish ganja paraphernalia from the seed bank in Amsterdam.
Smoking weed in Amsterdam is mostly for tourists
Walk into any coffee shop you come across in Amsterdam, and you will find nearly every person behind the counter to be Dutch and most customers are international travelers. This is because locals just don’t partake in the activity. Whether it’s because these people have been around it their whole lives, or because most coffee shops are located in tourist traps where locals never go, people who live in Amsterdam just don’t do it. Come on, if you lived in Efteling, would you eat the cotton candy every day? Don’t answer that!
There is no regulating body to verify strain, potency, or anything else
If you are from the US and Canada and live in a state/province with legalized marijuana for recreational use, then you may be accustomed to buying weed with a lot of information about it. This is not the case with weed in Amsterdam.
Cannabis prices at a disreputable venue are unpredictable and may not be as powerful. If you’re an expert and can tell the difference between Indica, Sativa, AK-47, and Alice In Wonderland – good for you! You should not take anything from the coffee shop that isn’t covered in your order.
Understand what you’re getting — weed, weed with tobacco, hashish
When deciding what to purchase, you will be faced with many different options and decisions. The main categories of weed are pure weed (just the leaves), weed mixed with tobacco (if you’re a smoker), and hashish (oil usually mixed with tobacco in a joint or used in a bong). You will also be asked to decide between Indica weed (which gives more of a relaxing body high) or Sativa weed (which provides an uplifting head high).
Next, you’ll be asked to choose how your purchase will be delivered to you. Do you want the cannabis in the loose form that will require rolling and joint-smoking for yourself, or do you want them pre-rolled into joints? Either way, they can offer it as either taking it orally (e.g., edibles) or by in.
If you are new to this, my advice is to go for a pre-roll of pure Sativa or Indica when you’re smoking weed in Amsterdam for the first time. When enjoying edibles, take care to pay attention to the portion size because the effects can be delayed and build up.