Amsterdam counts about 250 coffeeshops and most of them are located in the Red Light District. From psychedelic to hipster-ish but also from very local ones to more touristic places, each of Amsterdam coffeeshops has its own atmosphere. You will surely find one that suits you perfectly. They are not only to smoke weed. They are real social places where you can easily meet people and spend some good times with friends. Watching TV, playing chess or card games and much more can be done here. And always in a very relaxing way.
In 1972, the first coffee shop opened its doors: the Mellow Yellow. At that time, the place was called a “tea house” and it was the only place where you could buy and smoke weed in an almost legal way. In fact, even if regarding to the Dutch law consuming cannabis was forbidden, the explosion of hard drugs such as heroin and the fast increasing amount of their users led the government and the police agreed that tolerating soft drugs would keep people away from the hard ones.
Amsterdam weed laws
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Due to the allowance of cannabis consumption, the Netherlands are very well reputed to be a very liberal country. This is true but you should be aware of the Dutch law and the rules inside a coffee shop.
The owner of the Mellow Yellow – Wernerd – did a great bet with his business. He had no idea it was going to become so popular and then even a part of the Dutch history and culture.
Non-residents face being banned from Amsterdam’s cannabis coffee shops as part of wide-ranging plans to discourage organised crime and cut back on drugs tourism that have drawn mixed reactions from residents and business owners.
Halsema said the measure would take some months to become effective because there would need to be a period of consultation and transition for coffee shop owners, and the city wanted to introduce a hallmark scheme for approved vendors.
She said the city could remain “open, hospitable and tolerant”, but at the same time would make life more difficult for criminals and cut down on mass, low-budget tourism.
Backed by police and prosecutors, the city’s mayor, Femke Halsema, has tabled proposals allowing only Dutch residents to enter its 166 marijuana-selling coffee shops, with the measure likely to come into force sometime next year.
Fearing an out-of-control street market, Amsterdam did not impose the so-called “residence criterion” on its hash cafes, which account for about a third of the Dutch total, instead banning smoking in parts of the city and closing individual shops.
“I came from Amsterdam, and I liked the whole coffee shop system but in America, I really found out more about the activism and cannabis culture,” he said.
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Dutch laws are far less relaxed than many realize. While it is legal for Helms to sell cannabis, he can only have 500 grams in stock at any one time and must sell no more than 5 grams to each customer per day. It is illegal for Helms to produce the drug, and Dutch police make regular visits to the coffee shops to ensure laws are being upheld.
Boomsma says he sympathizes with the businesses but the proposal has been in the works for years. He says the last thing he wants to see is the city return to the hedonistic capital it was before the pandemic.
“People will come to Amsterdam anyway, and when they can’t buy it [cannabis] in the coffee shops, which they normally would have done, they will buy it on the streets.”