1. Head straight to a coffeeshop
It’s legal to buy marijuana at coffeeshops in Amsterdam, and there are literally hundreds of them throughout the city. Trust me, you’ll have no problem finding weed in Amsterdam! Just make sure that you go to a “coffeeshop.” Not a “coffee shop,” “café,” or “coffee house.” Cafés are usually the equivalent of a bar, and coffee shops not selling marijuana are called koffiehuis (which translates to coffee house in English).
Technically, the coffeeshops themselves operate in a bit of a legal gray area, as the suppliers they get the cannabis from aren’t supposed to be growing or selling marijuana. It’s a technicality that goes unnoticed, though, as there’s weed aplenty!
2. Bring cash, some coffeeshops don't take cards
It seems like the majority of the coffeeshops I visited during my stay in Amsterdam were cash only. We did come across a few that took cards, but they were definitely in the minority. Just make sure you have a chip and PIN card though, which is pretty much the standard now in Europe. Our favorite coffeeshop, Easy Times takes cards.
3. "Joints" have tobacco. "Pure Joints" are just marijuana
At most coffeeshops you can usually buy either weed by the gram, hash oils, or joints. But be warned: “Joints” are usually rolled with marijuana and tobacco. If you want something without tobacco, then look for what’s labeled as a “pure joint.” No labels? Well, if the joint is priced under €5, then it’s most likely a tobacco-and-weed joint. The pure weed joints are usually between €8 and €10.
4. Always look at the weed before buying
Although coffeeshops are touchy about advertising and menus, they usually have the marijuana sitting in clear containers and will happily let you look at (and even smell) a few strains of herb before making your purchase. And thankfully so, because as most of us stoners know, there are a few obvious signs of jank weed (light yellow color, no visible crystals, etc.) If the bud looks iffy, then don’t buy much of it until you’ve had a chance to smoke some.
5. Ask for recommendations
If you know that you like a strong sativa strain, then ask the person behind the counter. The Dutch can be rather straightforward and probably won’t want to engage in a lengthy conversation with you, but the budtenders will definitely offer you a recommendation.
6. Ask for joint papers and a lighter
The coffeeshops will give you a few papers if you want to roll your own joints, as well as strips of paper to make a bridge at the tip. They’ll also let you borrow a lighter for your smoke session and will typically sell branded lighters and packs of papers.
7. Make sure it's okay to light up
Probably 90% of the coffeeshops I visited in Amsterdam had smoking sections. Sometimes the whole shop is a smoke lounge where you can get your blaze on, but most coffeeshops have a designated smoking area. Some, however, are set up more as marijuana to-go shops that don’t allow smoking or vaping of any sort. When you buy your weed, always make sure to ask where, and if you’re allowed to smoke.
8. Coffeeshops can't sell alcohol, but you can smoke weed in most bars
If you want to get your crossfade on, hit up a coffeeshop for herb, then find a bar that will let you smoke inside. Don’t worry though, there are PLENTY of bars that let you smoke marijuana inside. It’s illegal for coffeeshops to sell alcohol, and it’s a rule that’s pretty strictly followed.
9. Smoking in public is illegal, but not really enforced
A lot of coffeeshops have outdoor smoking areas, and you’ll frequently see locals and tourists smoking joints out in the open. Smoking marijuana in public is technically against Dutch law, though it’s not really enforced. As long as you aren’t acting foolish and drawing attention to yourself, people generally won’t bat an eye if you’re puffing off a joint as you walk along a canal.
Be extra careful of cyclists while high!
The bikers are everywhere and they don’t stop or even slow down very often. Bike lanes are practically more common than sidewalks in Amsterdam. If you wander out of a coffeeshop stoned (and without checking both ways), there’s a strong possibility you could put yourself or someone else in danger.
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