Cannabis Culture

Is weed legal in Amsterdam?

Is weed legal in Amsterdam?

Technically, no. In fact, smoking cannabis outside in Amsterdam can result in a 50 euro ticket. Cannabis is decriminalized or tolerated in Amsterdam, but even that might be changing. 

What is the history of cannabis in Amsterdam?

It was only in 1953, that the dealing of cannabis was forbidden in the Netherlands. Then, in the 60s, many young people, especially students, got arrested for smoking. This clogged up the legal system and caused people to lose their entire careers because of having a criminal record. The government of the Netherlands introduced a new commission to study the problem of cannabis use. These reports advised the government to at least decriminalize cannabis, which is what they did in 1976. The Netherlands was the only country in the world to have made this move at that point in time, just four years after Nixon declared the war on drugs.

The famous coffee shops in the Netherlands were not invented by the politicans who decriminalized cannabis, though. There was someone called a house dealer inside youth centers in Amsterdam. In the 60s and 70s there were popular youth centres in the city that created a policy whereby one person was allowed to sell cannabis at youth centres so long as they were specifically known by the centre staff. Many realised that they could have a similar person in a coffee shop. The first coffee shop that opened up in Amsterdam in 1972 was the Mellow Yellow. Four years before the actual decision of decriminalization was made. Guidelines for coffee shops were published in 1981, and the rest is history. 

How much cannabis can you have on you in Amsterdam?

Technically every person is only allowed to have five grams on them. So any of the famous coffee shops in the city will not sell you more than five grams per day. The coffee shops themselves are not allowed to possess cannabis in large amounts. 

Interestingly, there aren’t any regulated cannabis cultivation farms so all of the legal or regulated cannabis is imported from outside of the Netherlands. Again, due to a culture of tolerance the process of illegal importation of cannabis has continued. At home, people are allowed to have five plants, which is the same limit imposed on the coffee shops. 

Can anyone buy cannabis in Amsterdam coffee shops?

Tourists and residents alike are free to buy cannabis in the Amsterdam coffee shops, as long as they are over the age of 18. According to a study a few years ago, approximately 60% of tourists that visit Amsterdam do so specifically to experience a coffee shop. 

However, some local politicians have tried to change this policy in the past. The mayor of Amsterdam attempted to appease some of the city’s residents who were opposed to level of tourism in the city. Apparently these residents felt that cannabis-based tourism resulted in negative experiences, though they mostly blamed the consumption of alcohol in addition to the cannabis for those experiences. 

Is weed banned in parts of Amsterdam?

Just this year, cannabis has been made illegal to smoke in the city’s red light district. The city’s government is attempting to crack down on anti-social behavior by tourists. They are doing this in order to improve the quality of life for residents, many of whom have long complained of the disruption caused by visitors to the Netherlands. 

The next step the city’s council is considering is banning smoking of cannabis on the patios or terraces of coffee shops. All of this change came about along with other regulations around Amsterdam’s more notorious activities like bars and restaurants closing by 2 am on the weekend, and sex workers closing their venues by 3 am. Based on the evolving legislation coming out of Amsterdam at this time, it’s obvious that many of the city’s residents do not appreciate the international reputation that Amsterdam has acquired since the 1970s. 

What other international locations can I travel to and smoke cannabis?

Obviously, if you’re travelling from Canada, there are many locations in the United States where cannabis is now recreationally legal. If you’d like to travel a little further afield, though, you should check out Uruguay. It was the first country in the world to nationally legalize medical and recreational cannabis, doing so in 2014. 

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