From all the coffee shops I’ve known, I find Amsterdam coffee shops to be the most surprising and interesting of all. You want to know why? I will tell you why and I’m sure you will have same impression when you know. Amsterdam coffee shops are haven for some and oddity for others. As you may know, marijuana, joint, weed, pot, or however you call it, and hashish are legal substances in Holland and have been so for many years.
Amsterdam coffee shops are licensed and taxed. Pot is sold in licensed shops called coffee shops, where cannabis is openly sold and smoked. Though soft drugs have not been legalized in Netherlands, it is tolerated when used discreetly. But, hard drugs are definitely not allowed. Amsterdam coffee shops can legally store up to 500 grams of marijuana and can sell up to 5 grams to adults over 18 years old. There are more or less 500 in Amsterdam and many others throughout the country. Amsterdam coffee shops serve good coffee made right in front of you. Coffeehouses vary from small modest establishments to several storied structures with lavish surroundings. Some are relaxed some more vivid with psychedelic décor or loud music.
People usually go right up to the counter where pot is sold and take a look at the menu. Categories may range from hash, black from Afghanistan or Nepal, or blonde from Morocco and Lebanon, Marijuana of both Indica and Sativa varieties, grown indoors and outdoors. Brownies and space cakes, which usually contain 2 grams of the substance, can also be found. Since people around are enjoying, any aggression will not be tolerated, as well. You can’t hang around, which means you have to order. If you want to smoke from your own bag, it’s permitted but you have to buy something.
Coffee shops are supposed to be lively with full of bubbly conversation, but Amsterdam coffee shops are quiet hangouts with soft conversations, softer music and very little activity. Consumption is the passion to those inside the coffee shops, where they have their own specialties and the bartenders are friendly and more than willing to explain the menu.
Amsterdam coffee shops have general rules to abide and these are:
o Minimum age is 18 years old and above
o No alcohol, no hard drugs
o No mobile phones in some coffee shops
o Aggression is not allowed
o No hanging around.
Officially, it is illegal to sell and consume pot, but for years of tolerance have taught the Dutch to look the other way, so to speak. In reality, use is permitted, but only in designated areas where Dutch officials can keep an eye on people, like the coffee shops. This is probably the reason why these coffee shops are not allowed to advertise.