Two things come to mind when I say Amsterdam: the infamous Red Light District and marijuana. But of course there’s more to the Netherlands than that like it’s picturesque canals, windmills, museums and historical monuments—all pretty interesting to see even when you’re high (Amsterdam is the weed capital of Europe after all). Eighteen is the magic number to legally buy and consume weed. Some coffeeshops won’t ID you, but if they do and you’re a tourist, a passport may be required since international driver’s licenses don’t count at some establishments. Now that we’ve got that hard rule out of the way, here’s what you need to know about getting high in Europe’s mecca for weed tourists.
Marijuana is kinda, sorta legal.
It’s legal to carry and buy 5 grams of weed at a time, but it’s not legal to smoke in public. If you ask the budtender, they’ll say it’s ok, but technically it’s decriminalized, meaning cops and locals tolerate it or just don’t care. So you don’t have to be paranoid about being judged or arrested, especially since there’re indoor/outdoor smoking areas at some coffeeshops.
Finding a coffeeshop isn’t hard.
What you read online about distinguishing between a plain ol’ cafe (coffee shop) and a 420 friendly smoke shop (coffeeshop) based on the space between “coffee” and “shop” won’t help you in real life. Because by looking through the storefront window you’d either see: 1) people sipping on their coffees with a breakfast tosti or 2) a wall full of weed on display like a candy shop. Plus, these coffeeshops let their Rastafarian flags fly and palm leaves are smack dab on the windows. It’s hard to miss, really.
Ask the locals for recommendations.
You want the closest or the best? Because like Starbucks in America, coffeeshops are everywhere. And just because a coffeeshop is located right next door, across the street or around the corner doesn’t mean you should drop in on the first one you see. Be adventurous, visit a different coffeeshop throughout the day and don’t just buy random weed.
Smell before you buy.
Buying weed is easy as walking into a coffeeshop and making a selection from the weed menu. There’re dozens of different strains, but the quality isn’t always great. You can look, but you can’t touch, so the least you can do is smell it. When in doubt, just pick a top shelf product because those tend to be more potent than the ones on the bottom. Weed on display come in loose buds, so if you don’t want to roll your own, ask for pre-rolled joints. And then double check that it’s pure weed because the Dutch like their spliffs mixed with tobacco.
Try the cannabis-infused edibles.
You’ll find a stoner’s candy land with pot-shaped lollipops and hash-infused chocolate bars at any liquor store or street vendor. Even the bakeries got you covered with space cakes, but know your limits and be extra careful with those potent edibles especially since they take a while to kick in!
Dutch don’t kill your vibe
I’ll send you off to pot smokers’ paradise with a few coffeeshop recommendations from our Uber drivers and Airbnb host to locals on the street. And remember, always buy over the counter, never on the street.
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