Amsterdam Weed FAQ - Answers About Drugs In Amsterdam & Coffee Shops
Amsterdam weed (or marihuana) is famous around the world. Not only is buying and smoking weed legal in the coffee shops in Amsterdam and the Netherlands, but because of decades of weed improvement, Amsterdam weed has become very strong.
It's important to know, however, that only soft drugs in Amsterdam (meaning weed and hash) are allowed, and only in the official coffee shops in Amsterdam (also called Amsterdam cannabis cafes or coffee houses).
All other drugs besides hash and weed are banned.
Where Can I Buy Amsterdam Weed?
In Amsterdam, you can legally buy (and smoke) weed and hash at over 200 "coffee shops" (that have little to do with coffee). I've listed the best ones on my Amsterdam coffee shop map so you'll have no problem finding them.
Is It Still Legal? What About the "Weed Pass"?
Recognize coffee shops
by the cannabis leave
The Dutch national government has made plans to introduce a "weed pass" (wietpas) or "weed card", meaning only Dutch citizens could buy cannabis products (weed and hash) from the coffee shop of which they're a member. Foreigners and tourists would be excluded, then. But, there's a lot of resistance against the weed pass, the Amsterdam city government doesn't want to cooperate, and it's still unclear when OR if the weed pass is ever introduced. If it is introduced, illegal street trade may flourish again as it did in the past.
Which Coffee Shops Can You Recommend?
The quality of Amsterdam coffee shops varies, so we've put up a list of Amsterdam coffee shops in the city centre with a good reputation over many years.
Dutch coffee shops vary widely: some look like Hobbit hideouts or space ships, while others are more like designer cafes or mainstream restaurants (see our Amsterdam coffee shop reviews for descriptions). You can often recognize them by the marihuana leaves on their front windows (but not always). If their websites don't mention soft drugs, don't be surprised because they aren't allowed to advertise. They are listed in Amsterdam guide books and the Amsterdam phone directory, though.
Funny enough, because of the new tobacco smoking ban in bars and restaurants etc., you can only smoke your weed in a coffee shop if you don't mix it with tobacco. Unless the coffee shop has a special tobacco smoking area where staff isn't allowed. Smoking weed without tobacco is possible through a bong (water pipe), a vaporizer or a ready-made herbal joint.
Can I Smoke Weed Anywhere, Anytime In Amsterdam?
Amsterdam is a pretty tolerant place, but that doesn't mean anything goes. Inside buildings, always ask for permission if you want to smoke a joint. Some hotels and bars don't mind, while others do. If you light a joint without permission, expect a tongue lashing at the least.
Smoking weed outside (on the streets and in parks etc.) used to be no big problem, but lately the police seems to have gotten stricter. If you're caught, and especially when you're causing inconvenience for other people, you can get a hefty fine.
Driving while under the influence is a crime. There are police stops who are equipped to test for drug use. If you can bike straight and safely after smoking weed, police may not stop you, but it's not advisable. Walk, take public transportation or call a taxi (020-7777777). Riding a tram, bus or subway while stoned is usually not a problem if you act normally and peacefully.
How Can I Use Weed Safely?
Coffee shop El Guapo
Research shows that Amsterdam weed is very strong: on average it contains 16% of THC (the active substance) while weed sold in the United States only has around 8%. So, when you're new to weed, or if you're used to weed with a low THC level, you should watch out a bit and ask the staff in coffee shops how much to smoke in how much time.
Be aware that the weed may hit you only after 15 to 30 minutes, so don't smoke too much too quickly. If you've taken too much Amsterdam weed, eat something sweet, go to a place where you feel comfortable and try to relax or sleep.
Don't mix weed or hash with alcohol or other drugs. If you're stressed or worried, weed may not have a good impact, and if you're having mental health problems, you should totally abstain from weed. Be aware that some people have anxiety or paranoia attacks when stoned.
Drugs use always involves risks, however. If you want to be 100% safe, there's a simple solution: don't use drugs.
Is Buying And Smoking Weed Really Legal In Amsterdam?
Well, technically it is 'only' decriminalized. Dutch politicians did want to fully legalize it in the past, but due to international anti-drugs treaties they would get into trouble with foreign governments if they had.
So they decided to keep the formal ban on soft drugs (weed and hash), but at the same time adopt an official policy that people who own less than 30 grams of weed or hash, or own less than 5 marihuana plants, are left in peace. Coffee shops (also refered to as coffee houses or cannabis cafes) that sell hash and weed are allowed, too. They have to get a permit and if they stick to some simple rules - e.g. not serving alcohol and not allowing people under 18 - they can remain open. Here are the backgrounds and history of coffee shops in Amsterdam.
Large-scale growing and trading of weed, however, is still banned, and actively prosecuted. Every week, the Dutch police raids marihuana growing facilities, and the perpetrators are prosecuted. This strange 'double stance' is the subject of continuing criticism in the Netherlands, because you can only sell something if it's produced first, of course.
Can I Buy Amsterdam Weed Online?
Dutch authorities don't allow web shops to sell weed, but they are allowed to sell the seeds and growing epuipment etc. Most Dutch web shops ship around the world. Visit e.g. www.buydutchseeds.com or www.dutch-seeds.com.
Legally buying Amsterdam weed online is not possible, because the Dutch authorities won't give a license to online shops in the Netherlands. However, Dutch authorities do allow online sales of seeds and growing equipment, so you can order them online and grow your own weed at home. It isn't rocket science, and it's much cheaper.
What About Other Drugs?
Besides cannabis, all other drugs are fully banned. Marihuana is another name for weed. After some incidents involving the death of a tourist, magic mushrooms (psilos) have been banned too. Here's more about drugs in Amsterdam.
- Introduction to Amsterdam coffee shops
- Amsterdam coffee shop reviews
- A handy Amsterdam coffee shop map, listing only the best
- The history of coffee shops in Amsterdam
- Introduction to drugs in Amsterdam
- Read about the annual Amsterdam Cannabis Cup, one the biggest cannabis events of the world
- What are the long-term effects of smoking weed?
- Amsterdam smartshops: where to find them
- From Amsterdam weed back to Amsterdam Advisor