The Dutch do not smoke as much pot as the rest of the Europeans do and the coffee shop industry in Netherlands mostly caters to the demands of the tourists. Before indulging in smoking pot, there are a few things you must keep in mind. The new legislation allows only native Hollanders to smoke pot. However, in October of 2012, the liberal government of Amsterdam voted against this legislation; therefore, tourists can continue to smoke pot while in Amsterdam.
You can purchase such stuff from most coffee shops for prices ranging from 5-20 euros per gram. The coffee shops offer a rich selection of hash and weed to choose from. Do not hesitate in asking questions and describing your demand to the dealer. Describing your demand will help the dealer give you the best stuff.
No matter how strong of a pothead you are, you might be blown by the Dutch marijuana as it is pretty potent. So beware and careful. If your usual choice is not cannabis, then try asking question from the staff so they can help you decide. Whether your medium is brownie, bong, or joint – do not feel like you have to act cool about it. You are doing it for fun, not so that you can get sick. So do clear up your mind before making your choice. However, if you do get an overdose, do not let it worry you. Just try to find some place quiet where you can calm down and breathe deeply. It is just temporary and soon you will get over the discomfort. Consumption of sweets can help you deal with your high so remember to keep them handy with you.
About two hundred and forty coffee shops exist in Amsterdam but things might get a little rough. Many proprietors were forced into drying up their bars of alcohol as a law in April 2007 prohibited the sale of pot and alcohol together. Proprietors had to retain their licenses for coffee shops, and so they got rid of all their booze. Like many other cities, Amsterdam has become free of smoke since July of 2008. Smoking is prohibited in public places, such as coffee shops, and special areas have been reserved for smokers. Confusingly enough, smoking a pure joint (weed or hash) is legal, but in a coffee shop only. Selling of pot in small amounts is permissible for coffee shops. Technically, the sale of marijuana is not allowed, but the government does not bother to enforce the laws. Because of the Dutch Opium Act of 1976, hard drugs and soft drugs are differentiated, with weed being a soft drug.
All through 2011 and 2012, tourists were required to get a ‘wietpas’, which is a membership card, if they wished to purchase the offerings of the coffee shops in Amsterdam – whether it was marijuana or hashish. However, the law was cancelled in 2012. Ever since, it has become easy for all the locals and foreigners to indulge in this forbidden pleasure.
Because Holland is the only European country with a laid back approach towards the use and sale of soft drugs, many pot tourists started pouring into it. This resulted in the establishment of towns on the border, in coffee shops as big as supermarkets and traffic jams in the streets. Obviously, it bothered the locals who started to complain about it. The government decided to deal with these problems by introducing the brilliant idea of a ‘wietpas’ for coffee shops – or so it thought! The idea was that only natives, and no tourists, would be able to get the ‘wietpas’ and so the problem would be solved. This idea was implemented in 2012 in the towns on the border. After experimentation, it was planned to implement this idea in all of Holland in the next year. However, all that is history.
Reason? First, the introduction of ‘wietpas’ increased illegal drug dealing on the streets – which involved the sale of hard drugs as well. Second, most of Holland’s cities, such as Rotterdam and Amsterdam were against this idea from the beginning. The only change that came in Amsterdam was that the coffee shops near schools were closed down; also, some coffee shops – such as on Wallen - that were in the hands of criminals, were closed down. Other than that, a liberal government came to power in the Netherlands, which does not favour the use of ‘wietpas’.
Same rights for all!
The mayor’s spokeswoman stated that the wietpas will not be introduced by Amsterdam. She also said that the city will fight in case such a law is passed by the government. As we can see, Amsterdam did fight back. Therefore, things will remain in Amsterdam just the way they were; tourists and the natives will enjoy the same rights when it comes to smoking pot. If you want to learn more about this interesting issue, visit the city’s official website at www.iamsterdam.com.