A guide to buying cannabis in The Netherlands.
The Netherlands has long been Europe’s cultural home of cannabis. Amsterdam has welcomed cannabis lovers for decades. With a large selection of coffeeshops and a tempting array of varieties, many cannabis tourists love visiting The Netherlands. While you are in The Netherlands, it helps to know the best ways to enjoy buying quality cannabis.
Enjoy ‘totally legal’ cannabis in Amsterdam (?)
If you do manage to visit Amsterdam, or any other Dutch city you should love the quality of the best cannabis on the menus. But it is a popular misconception to think that cannabis is totally legal. In reality cannabis use is tolerated, as are coffeeshop cannabis sales of under 5g. But cannabis itself remains illegal. All the cannabis bought by the coffeeshops is bought from black market sources. Many people hope that The Netherlands will lead the way with a future system of licensed cannabis production . But right now, despite decades of official tolerance there is still no general legal right to grow or use cannabis. Many pro-cannabis groups want to change that in the coming years.
Buying cannabis from the streets or the coffee shops?
One of the reasons that the Dutch introduced the coffee shop system in the 1970’s was to separate the purchase of soft drugs from hard drugs. Of the 443 local municipalities in The Netherlands, over 100 have at least one coffeeshop. Some places, such as Amsterdam, have many coffeeshops. In the coffeeshop you will be able to buy cannabis safely from the menu. Buying cannabis from a street dealer is definitely not recommended. Nor is it necessary when you have a coffeeshop. If you want to know what cannabis varieties are available in the Dutch coffeeshops, you can check out the coffeeshop menus online here .
Are all Dutch coffeeshops open to tourists?
In Amsterdam and many other cities, the coffeeshops are open to both tourists and locals. However, in 2012, a Dutch Judge ruled that local city councils can vote on whether to allow or ban tourists from using coffeeshops. Only a few areas in the south of The Netherlands have voted to ban tourists from using the coffeeshops. However, if you are a resident in The Netherlands you can buy cannabis even if you are not a local. Foreign workers or students can still buy cannabis from these coffeeshops so long as they are residents of The Netherlands. However, Dutch citizens that live across the border in Germany or Belgium are not allowed. Maastricht and Sittard-Geleen are two districts in the southern part of The Netherlands which do not welcome tourists into the coffeeshops.
The Grass Company Coffeeshop and Johan van Laarhoven.
One ongoing coffeeshop scandal involves Johan van Laarhoven . He is the previous owner of the Dutch coffeeshop chain called “The Grass Company”. Johan moved from The Netherlands to Thailand in 2008. Johan has no criminal record in The Netherlands, and conducted no crimes in Thailand. However, the Thai authorities have traditionally taken a very dim view of the cannabis industry. The Thai court ruled that the money he earned in The Netherlands through his cannabis sales was illegal income, meaning that his move to Thailand could be construed as money laundering. Johan was jailed in 2015 for 103 years, later reduced to 75 years on appeal. Efforts to release Johan continue. But his tragic story shows the risks taken by coffee shop owners.
Rules in Dutch coffeeshops.
Coffeeshops are not allowed to serve alcohol, nor are they allowed to sell cannabis to under-18s. You are restricted to a maximum purchase of 5g of cannabis. Many coffeeshops also sell pre-rolled joints, or they offer the use of a vaporizer or bong if preferred. Any coffeeshops found breaking the rules, or selling hard drugs, can have their license revoked. Although you can smoke cannabis in a coffeeshop, the normal rules apply which ban the smoking of cigarettes indoors. So you can smoke a joint, but not a packet of cigarettes. You may be asked to provide ID, such as a passport, to prove that you are over 18 years old.
Coffeeshop cannabis options.
The better supplied coffeeshops will usually have a range of varieties on offer. Chat to the staff in the coffeeshop. Knowledge levels can vary quite a bit, but the best coffeeshops have people that know how the cannabis was grown and why that particular variety is on the menu. Some of the best coffeeshop staff will have personal experience of all the varieties and will be able to offer an in-depth chat on them. Before you visit it is well worth doing some online research to find out which coffeeshops best suit you. Some coffeeshops have better suppliers than others. These days most coffeeshops will try to offer an indica/sativa hybrid, as well as good quality indica and sativa varieties. Most coffeeshops offer 5-6 varieties, sometimes more. Usually you can expect a range of quality and a range of prices. In general, the best quality cannabis sells for the highest price. But that’s not to say that every expensive strain you buy is great quality.
Prices of cannabis and hash in coffeeshops.
Prices do vary a lot, and high prices are not a guarantee of quality. Cannabis prices can vary from €6 per gram to upwards or €20 per gram. Many of the mid-range varieties are available for around €10-€12 per gram. If you like hash then you can expect some top quality selections in the coffeeshops. Some hash is produced in The Netherlands, and some is claimed to originate in places such as Morocco, Nepal and Afghanistan. You can expect a range of colors from cream to black. Prices for hash tend to be a little higher than weed, with basic quality hash starting at around €10 per gram. The best ‘isolator’ hash can cost up to €40 per gram.
Space cake and cannabis edibles in Amsterdam.
You can’t find the same extensive array of cannabis edibles and concentrates which you can find in a USA cannabis dispensary. Dutch Coffeeshops are just not allowed to sell these. But cannabis infused space cake and brownies are allowed. These contain THC and will get you high, though it can take 1-2 hours before you feel the effects. The Boerejongens Coffee Shop have a dedicated pastry chef and take their space cake work very seriously . The video, below, shows the gold-leaf coated chocolate space cake, the most expensive cannabis edible ever created.
Recommended coffeeshops in The Netherlands.
You may already have found your own favorite coffeeshop. But if you want some good suggestions, the following coffeeshops are recommended by the Amsterdam Tourist Office. If you want a directory of all the Dutch coffeeshops to help you plan your vacation, then this list may be useful. The Dutch Passion team have enjoyed visiting the Dampkring Coffeeshop, Boerejongens, Bluebird and the Grey Area. But much will depend on your own preferred setting, atmosphere and cannabis menu.
CBD weed in Dutch coffeeshops?
As well as the usual selection of THC rich varieties you can occasionally find a CBD rich cannabis variety on offer. CBD rich varieties are still in the minority, although a few coffeeshops are trying to appeal increasingly to medical users. If you want to get a good supply of CBD rich cannabis, your best bet is to grow your own from CBD rich cannabis seeds .
Do the Dutch buy all their cannabis in coffee shops?
Many do. After all, the coffee shops are a convenient and safe way to buy good quality cannabis. But many Dutch cannabis lovers actually prefer to grow they own cannabis varieties at home from autoflowering cannabis seeds or feminized seeds . This gives them the freedom to choose which specific varieties they grow, and how they grow the varieties.
Buying cannabis from coffeeshops in The Netherlands.
If you do visit The Netherlands you will find the coffeeshops to be a safe and easy way to get cannabis. Most of the time you will find a great selection of good quality products on offer. If you are thinking of visiting, this coffeeshop guide may be a useful place to begin.
Read on if you are interested in finding out more about the best ways to buy cannabis in The Netherlands. The Dutch Coffeeshops offer great cannabis!.