Although lots of locals would like to a more sophisticated view on the city, Amsterdam might be best known for it’s liberal views on drugs and prostitution. Most of the Amsterdam coffeeshops are not known for selling excellent coffee, instead they are known to sell excellent pot. In Amsterdam it is legal to buy and smoke marijuana. But be aware that the marijuana sold in coffee shops is a lot more potent (at least twice as strong!) than anywhere else in the world. Therefore we recommend to be cautious! If you want to explore marijuana you’d better start of with the lighter versions of weed and hashisch. Feel free to ask the people at the counter for advice on which one to buy.
In a lot of countries around the world we see that regulations on the use of marijuana are moving to more liberal views. In Amsterdam tolerant regulations on weed and hasj have been around since the 70’s. The government tolerates licensed coffee shops to sell marijuana to people over the legal age (18), with a valid ID.
What is allowed in Amsterdam?
- The possession of marijuana (weed/hasj) up to a maximum of 5 grams. In theory the police is allowed to seize it from you, but as long as you behave this will not happen. If you don’t cross the limit of 5 grams, you can not be fined or prosecuted.
- Buying and smoking marijuana in coffeeshops.
- Smoking marijuana on the streets and public area’s as long as this doesn’t create any nuisance to others. Please keep in mind that although it’s legal it’s not appreciated by everyone. In order to keep liberal regulations in Amsterdam, make sure not to bother people smoking marijuana.
- Smoking marijuana at children’s playgrounds and schools.
- Smoking marijuana at certain area’s; there’s a traffic sign that designates area’s where it’s not allowed to smoke marijuana.
- Driving under influence (including bicycles)
- Buying drugs on the streets. This is both illegal and dangerous. You never know what exactly you are buying. In 2015 multiple tourists were hospitalized as they bought white heroin which they were told to be cocaine. Sadly enough some young tourists didn’t survive.
- Possession of harddrugs. Anything other than marijuana, magic mushrooms or smartdrugs acquired from a coffeeshop or smartshop with a license.
Products sold at Amsterdam coffeeshops
As for most shops, coffeeshops in the centre tend to be a bit more expensive in the city centre. Coffee shops in Amsterdam usually sell multiple types marijuana in different forms. The coffeeshops have an actual menu with the types of marijuana, these types are grown from different plants. One plant can be much more potent than the other and can give you a different type of high. In general the more expensive the marijuana, the more potent it is. Marijuana can be bought in the following forms:
- Pre-rolled joints
- Space cake / hash brownies
Weed & Hash
Sold in many variety’s which vary in taste and potency. Usually sold per gram or pre-cut in plastic seal bags for a fixed price. Prices range from €7,- to €15,- per gram. Occasionally prices go up to €50,- per gram for extraordinary quality, though the potency of this pot is so high that it’s only suitable for very experienced smokers. We strongly recommend starting of with lightest versions as the THC levels in this pot are already twice as high as in most countries.
If you know how to roll a joint we recommend buying marijuana in a seal bag. It’s cheaper than a pre-rolled joint, but you’re also able to decide how much pot and tobacco (or not) you like to have in the joint.
If you don’t know how to roll a joint and don’t have anybody to do it for you there’s always the option to buy a pre-rolled spliff. We do recommend asking the exact contents of the joint; what plant is in there? Is it mixed with tobacco? Make sure to know how strong it is and if it’s suitable for inexperienced smokers. Take your time when smoking, don’t rush it. Feel free to put the joint away for a moment and wait for the effect to kick in. If you feel comfortable after 10 to 15 minutes continue when you feel like it. A pre-rolled joint usually costs between €3,- to €7,-.
Space cake / hash brownies
In contrary to smoking marijuana, eating it can take long before noticing any effects. Therefore it is important to be extremely cautious. It is very hard to find the right dose as first effects may take up to 90 minutes to kick in. Many people make the mistake of taking more as they have the idea it’s not working. Once the effects do kick in, they can be far more overwhelming.
Is it legal for tourists/foreigners to buy weed in Amsterdam coffeeshops?
If smoking marijuana was on your wishlist of things to in Amsterdam, there is no need to worry. Although on the official Dutch governmental website is stated that only Dutch citizens are allowed in to coffeeshops, cities or municipalities are allowed to make there own policy on this issue. The actual law to prohibit foreigners to go in to coffeeshops was designed in an effort to stop drug tourists from Belgium, France and Germany coming to the coffeeshops near the border.This caused rumour to spread that tourists wouldn’t be allowed in coffeeshops in Amsterdam anymore. Don’t worry, it’s just a hoax!
In Amsterdam tourists have always been allowed in to coffeeshops, and probably always will be. Basically it’s part of the Dutch culture and one of the reasons to visit the city. Besides allowing no more tourists in coffeeshops would force them to go to streetdealers, which causes nuisance and brings a lot of risks. So please feel free to enjoy the coffeeshops, but behave while doing so.