: Coffeeshops To Continue Selling Cannabis

CoffeeshopsNo new Laws, No Discrmination!
by Nol van Schaik Dutch coffeeshops can keep on serving foreign cannabis consumers. The recent news about the possible exclusion of foreigners from the Dutch cannabis coffeeshops raised up quite a stir, worldwide! I have the habit to protest against any anti coffeeshop and cannabis propaganda, and not only because I happen to be the co-owner of three coffeeshops, I have a problem with prohibition. After doing some digging on and downloading from the Internet, I found out that Minister Donner has no right to exclude foreigners from purchasing marihuana or hash in our widely criticised coffeeshops, he is just trying to stay friends with the Germans by making promises he cannot keep. Here is what I dug up, and the Dutch coffeeshop regulations. Just keep all coming to the Netherlands to enjoy cannabis in coffeeshops, the boogie man does not existÖ. Dutch coffeeshops: Current legal status. The latest commotion around Dutch cannabis coffeeshops, caused by the criticism of Germanyís Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily, leads people to believe this will automatically lead to the measurements suggested by the new Dutch Minister of Justice, Piet Hein Donner. I will try to explain the legal status of the Dutch cannabis coffeeshops. According to the 2003 figures, there are now only 782 THC coffeeshops left in the Netherlands. All of these coffeeshops are allowed to sell cannabis, through a tolerance permit, they all pay taxes over the sales of cannabis. Justice Minister Donner is clear about coffeeshops: He does not want them, and will try everything in his power to get them all closed. He promised he will close half of the Dutch coffeeshops, who are to close to schools and other buildings where young people are concentrated, and for other violations of the AHOJG regulations for coffeeshops. This is bluff, Minister Donner knows that he can not close one coffeeshop, he can only ask the city-councils and Mayors to act as he wishes, for only local authorities have the power to act against the coffeeshops in their municipality. The Dutch Government only set out the guidelines for Hollandís coffeeshop policy, it is up to the local authorities to work out a policy for their city, town or village. The CDA, Donnerís political party, and the biggest party in the Netherlands, stands alone in their urge to go after coffeeshops and cannabis, all other parties in the Dutch Parliament are for a more progressive stance towards the substance and the trade in it. Only the municipalities with a CDA lead City council and Mayor might be subdue to Donnerís wishes, in case they have any coffeeshops. Only 107 out of Hollandís 496 municipalities have coffeeshops, so the black market serves the largest part of our country, even today. That would be the channel that could serve the foreigners, in case Donnerís scheme would have worked, as they serve the under 18ís already. About 46% of the Dutch cannabists buy their softdrugs in coffeeshops. The CDA believes in the gateway theory, meaning they think that cannabis is the first step to the use of hard drugs, the reason they want to close the coffeeshops. This makes them so tough to convince, it is easier to argue with the wise, than it is to argue with the ignorant. Minister Donner is heavily overplaying his hand, he already promised German Minister Schily that he would tell the Dutch coffeeshops to no longer sell cannabis to foreigners, specifically Germans. The City councils involved, those along the German border, and Venlo in particular, do not agree with Donner. Venlo has 5 registered coffeeshops, and recently launched the plan to open two more, close to the German border, to keep the traffic out of the city centre. Venlo is afraid that Donnerís plans will cause more dealers on the street, and wants to talk to Donner on short notice, about the consequences of his ideas. Other cities from the border area, Nijmegen, Hengelo and Enschede clearly state that foreign visitors of the coffeeshops do not cause any problems at the moment. These cities will not comply with Donnerís plans, they want peace and quiet in their communities, and freely accessible coffeeshops. The Dutch Federation of Municipalities (VNG) will await Donnerís concrete proposals first, in order to be able to check the stance of the member cities and municipalities. The Ďborder problemí can only be solved by opening coffeeshops in Germany, Minister Donner should tell Minister Schily that, instead of licking up to him. Like the CDA, Minister Schily is a believer in the Gateway Theory, ignorance is not bound by borders. The registration system, as Minister Donner wants it, will implicate that all coffeeshop will have to become members-clubs, register their, Dutch only, visitors as members and issue them with a members pass. Only people with such a pass should be allowed to buy and use cannabis, foreigners without a pass can only enter the coffeeshops, drink coffee and watch the Dutchies do their thing, smoking cannabis in a safe environment. This system would not only exclude Germans, but every non-Dutch person, even Eskimoís. This will not work, because such a system would be against the Law, says Ruud Galle, a professor in Members-Clubs Law. He says it might be the system to regulate the business, buy allowing a maximum number of members, who can buy a maximum quantity of cannabis. But you cannot refuse members on nationality, that is DISCRIMINATION. Galle also predicts that Donnerís plans would lead to the creation of new channels. Members that can buy cannabis can then sell it to others, for example. This means, that any foreigner could join up as a member of a Dutch coffeeshop club, and buy and smoke cannabis in there. Letís save ourselves the time and money, and invest that in a nice joint, instead of filling in a form and walking around with Donnerís Dopey ID. Belgium, on the other hand, recently allowed their cannabis-consuming citizens the possession of 3 grams of cannabis, and to use it in private. Their Justice Minister, Verwilghen, said that he would not allow the sales of cannabis in Belgium, anyone who wants it, should go to a Dutch coffeeshop. Minister Donner never addressed him about that, although the coffeeshops on the Belgian border are flushed with herds of Belgian and French cannabists. Verwilghen was clearly in violation of the A of the Dutch AHOJG rules, he was promoting all Dutch coffeeshops! It appears that Donner is not very smart, he shouts all kind of things about and against coffeeshops, then comes up with a couple of weird plans, which all turn out to be non-executable, legally and technically. Holland has a clown running the Justice department, and an adult Harry Potter for Prime Minister, but they are not very entertaining, their lack of competence is boring and disturbing. One of the Dutch parties in the opposition, Groen Links (Green Left), knows all the facts that Donner either ignored or did not know, they made an excellent report about the use of drugs in the Netherlands, based on facts and figures of official statistics and research. They suggest to take cannabis out of the penal system, and to regulate the use of other drugs efficiently, for the better of Dutch society, and to inform the rest of the world of the good results of the Dutch policy. Groen Links should ask the parliament if Minister Donner was informed about the standing of the Netherlands in drugs consumption worldwide, before he started selling us out to Germany. My coffeeshops are open for everybody above 18 years, and we sell cannabis to every nationality, we might refuse right wing politicians. The Dutch Coffeeshop regulations, or the: AHOJG rules in English: A : the A means : NO Advertising or promotion for the sales of softdrugs. No more weed leafs on the front of coffeeshops, in some cities it is even forbidden to have your logo and address printed on your lighters ! No stickers, no T-shirts, no ads. H : the H stands for : NO Hard drugs on the premises, not for sale and not for personal use. The shopkeeper and staff have to be real sharp on this, the police are! Coffeeshops do not allow problematic hard drug users in, for that reason, their personal stash could mean a yellow card for the coffeeshop, on a check up. O : the O stands for NO Overlast, which word actually means: Disturbing of the peace, like to loud music, customers being to loud on leaving the premises, etc. This rule goes for all bars, discos, cafes and restaurants too, and are common in Dutch Leisure and society. J : The J is your Y, for NO Youths, they are not allowed in under 18 years of age. Coffeeshops should be on a certain distance from schools and youth centers, varying from 150 to 250 meters, in different municipalities. G : The G stands for NO Big Quantities, coffeeshops are not allowed to sell more than 5 grams, per person, per day. Coffeeshops are allowed to stock a maximum of 500 grams. Groen Links Report:
http://www.groenlinks.nl/partij/wb/drugswb.pdf
www.intraval.nl Nol van Schaik.
www.hempcity.net __________________
May the stash be with you.

Posted by on Sunday, January 11 @ 23:22:11 UTC (28699 reads)
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: The End of Amsterdam Coffeeshops?

CoffeeshopsThe End of Amsterdam Coffeeshops? UPDATE: The enforcement of the non-smoking law in restaurants, cafes and restaurants has been delayed several years, so coffeeshops are still selling marijuana. Locals and visitors can still purchase and consume cannabis products in Dutch coffeeshops as of this time (Sept 2005). The Dutch government has been pressured over the last decade to stop the sale of cannabis products in their famous coffeeshops by the French, German and especially US governments. This has resulted in many laws being passed, from limiting the amount of cannabis being sold to 5 grams per person per day, to shutting down coffeeshops for various reasons. Now under the more conservative government of Balkenende, new laws are coming out to further damage the coffeeshop business, and to make it difficult if not impossible for coffeeshops to continue operating as they have been for thirty years. The Dutch know that a complete shutdown of coffeeshops in Holland would not only put a lot of people out of work, and damage the tourism industry but would probably result in an all out attack upon the government by many, many distraught Dutch whose lives are dependent upon this industry, worth billions annually to the Netherlands. What the Dutch refuse to acknowledge is all these workers, whether they're growing cannabis (still very illegal if more than 5 plants), processing the weed, selling the weed wholesale and retail, working in the coffeeshops, or tangentially involved in the industry, are people who don't fit the standard worker mold and refuse to conform to normal Dutch social expectations. These people would not only be put out of work, but they'll have a lot of difficulty staying employed in other occupations. And it should be apparent that if these people are out of work, and unable to freely smoke their cannabis, they're likely to remind the government of what happened in the 1960s, when the Provos demonstrated on the streets of Amsterdam, demanding these rights. They even brought down the government when confronted on this issue. So rather than face the wrath of a substantial segment of their workforce, the Dutch government continues to eat away at the trade with further restrictions, some of which may be impossible to enforce by coffeeshops, and may result in far fewer coffeeshops or none at all. There are two newly passed laws and another proposed one that directly affect the way coffeeshops operate. The first is a law aimed at employee rights. The EU has mandated that employees should have the right to a smoke-free workplace. This means that every business with employees must prohibit smoking or set aside a place for smokers, away from non-smokers. It's seen as a health issue, and a important one, in my opinion. Of course this means coffeeshops must stop their customers from smoking. It's unclear whether that means tobacco and marijuana or just tobacco. The original EU law supposedly singled out tobacco smoke, but apparently the Dutch version of the law doesn't make such a distinction. The Dutch government has given the Horeca businesses (hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes) an extra year to comply since they too will be affected. But since coffeeshops have never been classified as Horeca (why I'd like to know?), they must comply by Jan 1, 2004. And that might be the day the coffeeshops die. Since about 35% of Dutch people smoke tobacco this law is going to affect all of them to one extent or another. Businesses that are large enough can set aside smoking areas for their customers. But most coffeeshops are too small to allow for a completely separate area. Also it might be possible for coffeeshop employees to sign some kind of waiver that states that they don't mind working in a smoke-filled workplace, but this seems unlikely. So the likely scenario resulting from this law is that you can go to a coffeeshop and buy cannabis, but you can't consume it there. This would be absurd, since there would no longer be any place left in public for people to smoke cannabis. You'd have to go to your home to smoke. And while that might work for the Dutch who pretty much do that anyway, it would be devastating for tourists who for the most part are prohibited from smoking in their hotels. In other words there'd be no place left to light up, legally, in Amsterdam! The next law has just been proposed. It says that the THC level of Dutch cannabis is too high and that this is a problem since people, especially the tourists, get too high! So they want the Dutch to lower the THC level of the cannabis sold in coffeeshops. It seems the Dutch politicos haven't been to a coffeeshop lately, because they would've discovered that this is no longer a problem since most coffeeshops and growers now shake the THC out of the pot to make the most potent hashish in the world. So the pot being sold has already had a good portion of the THC removed. Of course the hashish can have THC levels up to 50%! So under this law, that hashish would be banned from sale. So little of it makes it to the dealers' counters in coffeeshops since the growers and their friends consume most of this product anyway. The third law coming down will force the 64 Amsterdam coffeeshops, and others around the country that sell booze along with cannabis to choose one or the other to sell. This has been going on thru a process of attrition where if a coffeeshop license changes hands, the new owner must choose one type or the other. But this has taken so long, that the Dutch government wants to speed up the process. This means that you won't be able to spark a doobie and quench your thirst with a beer at the same time. This is sure to put a cramp in many a pot smoker's day, tourist or Dutch. It's almost like saying you can't smoke cigarettes and drink coffee at the same time. But of course that is what the new employee law is doing. Let's hope the Dutch don't shoot themselves in the foot with these new laws. The Dutch have a long history of trading in human vices, and if this conservative government manages to outlaw vice (or pleasure as some Dutch accuse their conservative Calvinist leaders of attempting to do), the result will be a loss not only for the Dutch but for human rights, freedom and tolerance. Up till now, the Dutch have aspired to be a model society with these values at the core. But unfounded fears, lies, and backroom politics rule the day, as our freedoms come under attack from every corner. If the Dutch cannot allow such minor freedoms to continue, then other freedoms are sure to fall to the conservative reactionaries. An obvious solution to the present coffeeshop dilemma is to just create a special class of business for coffeeshops that not only exempts them from the new smoking rule, but lets them become more self-regulating, a concept that most conservatives heartily embrace when it comes to big business. Why not let coffeeshops continue as they have, but instead of adding more regulatory burden on the coffeeshop owners, start to regulate and legalize the backdoor system of wholesalers and growers who supply the coffeeshops with marijuana products? A recent poll suggests all the Dutch political parties except for the ruling party endorse the legalization of marijuana. And if EU regulations are to be enforced, as they would with the no smoking rule for employees, then shouldn't the agricultural laws likewise be enforced when it comes to cannabis? Specifically the allowable chemical residues and organic labeling laws? Indeed if they want to start regulating THC content as the proposed law would do, just how do they plan to enforce this? I suppose we can look forward to new teams of inspectors visiting coffeeshops and testing their product for THC percentage. If they exceed it, you can be sure the coffeeshop will be shutdown. Likewise if the inspectors see smoke in a coffeeshop workplace, they can shut it down for that. Isn't that the real threat here? Pass more onerous regulations that are nearly impossible for coffeeshop owners to comply with. Then when they can't comply with every one, just shut them down. That is if they haven't already opted to become an alcohol only, nuisance creating bar instead of a mellow cannabis selling coffeeshop. So does this spell the end of coffeeshops in Amsterdam? It's hard to tell at this point, but if you're thinking about coming to Amsterdam to enjoy the freedom of buying and smoking cannabis in public, you might want to do it soon... while you still can...

Posted by on Friday, June 13 @ 06:25:54 UTC (32769 reads)
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: Cannabis Buying & Smoking Tips

CoffeeshopsCannabis Buying & Smoking Tips There are more than 300 marijuana and hashish selling coffeeshops in Amsterdam. So how do you know where to go and what to order? The locals have their favorite places to hangout and buy smoke, the ex-patriats theirs. Some places are fun to linger in while you fire up a big fat doobie, others are best just to score da kine shit and leave. So how do you know which is best? Our Coffeeshop Guide has reviews of 45 of the most popular coffeeshops in Amsterdam with visitor comments. This should give you a good idea of what's available and what our visitors think about each one. We also have a Coffeeshop List that ranks each coffeeshop on a range of criteria including smoke and ambiance. In addition we've written a series of articles on Coffeeshop Rip-offs to warn you about how the coffeeshop system works and how to avoid getting fucked over when you go to buy weed. Now I'm going to give you some more advice about purchasing mj and hash from Amsterdam's coffeeshops. 1. Never buy anything labeled "Thai" or "Colombian". They are both the same shit swag of dubious origin that gets stockpiled by distributors just so the coffeeshops have something cheap to sell. Even if you could smoke this it still won't get you high like anything else on that menu. So don't waste your money on this. I object strongly to this practice and plead with the coffeeshop owners to stop selling this mislabeled shit to the public. If you won't smoke it yourself (and no coffeeshop owners would be caught dead smoking such shit), then don't sell it! Once upon a time the Dutch imported quality grass from around the world. Now all the good grass sold in Amsterdam is European grown. 2. Buy Organic! The Dutch really don't give a shit what they put into their marijuana plants during the growth cycle. They put tons of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides on their plants without regard to the end result. Their only concern is maximizing their yield and profit, not taste or health. This callous disregard for their customers is very typically Dutch, who are not noted for their service culture. The result of these practices is overfertilized, chemical tasting weed, that can often leave you wishing you'd never smoked it. And yet you pay a very high price for what many connoseiurs consider to be unsmokeable weed. So to find that really pure, clean, sweet tasting smoke, you're going to have to hunt a little harder. Certain coffeeshops pride themselves on having a small selection of organically grown weed. Some shops only say that there is no pesticide in their pot. What about man-made fertilizers and fungicides? Sorry they don't want to talk about that. Even the stuff labeled "bio" doesn't mean it's organic, only that it's been grown in soil. The Dutch word for organic is "biologisch" which still doesn't register with the Dutch coffeeshops as being organic, but you're getting closer. So be specific, and ask for "organically grown" cannabis. They'll know what you mean. But that STILL doesn't guarantee that what they put in front of you is really organic, as the European organic certification does not extend to marijuana sold in coffeeshops. Most coffeeshops do not grow their own weed and so must rely upon the word of the growers. If you're used to buying weed in the US or from other "third-world" sources, chances are you've been getting organically grown weed. Hash from the same sources is likewise untainted by chemical since the growers in places like Morocco can't afford these enhancements. Only the Dutch have made a regular practice of putting almost every agricultural chemical known to man on marijuana. And it really shows. Don't encourage this practice. Buy organic and you'll be happier, healthier and higher. 3. Buy it cured! The Dutch smoke pot and tobacco together, so they prefer their cannabis relatively wet. As a result most pot sold in coffeeshops hasn't been properly cured. It smells stronger and weighs more than properly cured weed. If you like it like that, fine. But those who like to smoke pure cannabis joints need drier pot to keep it lit. You'll never keep wet pot lit for long. So ask for well cured pot (but not the brown dried out shit they sell as Thai or Columbian. See #1.) Remember, properly cured buds are going to be a much better deal (lighter) than wet buds. 4. Shake, Shake, Shake. Thanks to the soaring demand for Ice hash, those buds sold in coffeeshops have now been shaken once or several times to remove the big THC laden tricomes for hash. So what you're buying is inferior, weakened buds that bear little resemblence potency-wise to what was actually grown. This is not just a shame, it's a rip-off and we discuss this practice in our article "Shake and Sell". Look for sticky buds covered in white tricomes. Most of the pot sold in Amsterdam was like that once, but not anymore. Want to find out what's missing from that gram you bought? Try some nederhash/ice hash and you'll find out. Of course you're gonna pay a big price for it. At least two to three times what you paid for the bud it came from. So now the Dutch have ripped you off twice! And speaking of hashish, realize that the ice hash has the highest THC content of anything you can buy in Amsterdam. So it's very potent and a little goes a long way. But because it's so pure, there's less flavor. If you're looking for the exotic flavors of Moroccan, Afghani or Nepalese hashish, you'll want to try those varieties instead. Each country's traditionally processed hashish has a unique flavor due to the growing conditions, genetics and processing techniques. Unfortunately the quality of most black hashish has declined over the years, with only the top quality Moroccan and ice hash winning the awards these days. You should also be aware that adulterants and contaminants including opium often appear in black hashish, adding odd flavors. Yet most traditional hashish is still made from organically grown cannabis. 5. What to buy? There are now so many types of cannabis available in Amsterdam, nobody can keep track of them. It seems like there's a new variety every day. The breeders have been very busy creating new strains for your smoking pleasure. Nevertheless, everyone seems to have their favorite. Yet I feel we've almost reached overload with so many types. It's become a big ego trip for the breeders to the point where seeds are more important than the resulting smoke. The Dutch care more about which variety they're growing than the way in which it is grown. As a result you can buy variety A in coffeeshop X, and it may taste like crap because it's been overfertilized, underflushed, badly cured, and heavily shaken. Then you go to coffeeshop Y and buy the same variety A and it's been grown organically, well cured and unshaken and it's a whole 'nother experience. So I put little stake in the variety, and much more in the way it's been grown and processed. This makes it difficult when trying to decide what to pick from a menu, with a line of jonesin' folks behind you at the dealers counter. How do you know which one is best? Well, you could start by asking the dealer. Remember you local dealer back home? He should know what he's selling right? So should the dealers in Amsterdam's coffeeshops. But the reality is some do, some don't. Ask questions to find out. Here's a few good ones to ask: Is it organically grown? Has it been shaken to make hash? Is it cured well, not too wet? Does it taste fresh and sweet or like chemicals? Is it a heavy or light high? If you get attitude when asking these questions, just say never mind, and go somewhere else. A good dealer SHOULD know the answers. Better still, you could just ask for what you want. Like: "A gram of organically grown, well cured, sweet-tasting, unshaken, 100% sativa, please." Of course the dealer'll probably just roll his eyes if he doesn't crackup laughing at you. That's because it's highly unlikely you'd find that particular order in any Amsterdam coffeeshop. But it doesn't hurt to try, and let them know what you really want to be smoking, not what they want to sell you. 6. Get it cheaper! Yes, you can pay less than 7-10 Euros a gram for the good shit. The easiest way is to get out of downtown Amsterdam, go to the suburbs or Haarlem and you'll find great smoke for 5-7 Euros a gram. You'll still run into some of the problems mentioned above, but at least you're paying less for it. You can also sometimes get a deal on quantity, but this rarely happens anymore, since coffeeshops are now limited to 5 grams per customer per day. Coffeeshops aren't the only ones selling weed of course. You're always admonished NOT to buy anything from the street dealers, and of course this applies to cannabis as well. You WILL get ripped off, guaranteed. However there are other people, often small time growers or their friends who have quantities (usually organically grown) to sell at very good wholesale prices. You won't find these people on a casual visit to the city, as you must make friends and get to know the scene before anyone would offer you a deal. I won't go into this, as this trade is very low key and frowned upon by the Dutch authorities, but it does exist and some of the best cannabis around never makes it to the coffeeshops. There is a booming export business for those who deal in kilo quantities, but NOT in Amsterdam. Along the Dutch borders with Germany and Belgium people try to smuggle out larger quantities and are regularly caught by Dutch or German or Belgium or French police. The business is so big thanks to the booming border towns catering to the cannabis needs of other Europeans. These border towns are near some of the biggest grow operations in Holland. We don't recommend anyone try to smuggle any cannabis products, as it's just not worth the risk. Those who do it regularly are well organized, tightly-knit groups and know exactly what they're doing. 7. Roll your own, smoke your own. The American practice of sharing joints has never caught on in Holland. The Dutch roll their own tobacco laced joints and like to smoke it themselves. Oh they'll occasionally pass it to a friend, but it's not an ingrained social custom here. Needless to say, it's smart not share your joints or pipe with strangers. It might seem impolite not to pass it around, but these days you never know what else you might be passing around along with that joint. Be smart, smoke it yourself or only with those you know. Practice safe smoke. 8. Don't over do it! I wish I could count the number of people I've seen pass out in coffeeshops right in front of me. Whether they had too much to smoke, or too good smoke, or too much space cake, or too much beer and smoke, or it's their first time smoking strong cannabis, or they smoked a tobacco joint without knowing, the result is the same, unconsciousness. It can be very dangerous as people go down fast, sometimes hitting a very hard surface. If this happens, sugar water or juice will quickly get him/her on their feet again. It's better to prevent this from happening by moderating your intake of cannabis at first. Don't start your day by eating space cake cause you won't remember the rest of the day. Go easy on the booze. Some people can't handle both booze and pot together. EAT! Don't go drinking and smoking on an empty stomach as cannabis lowers your blood sugar level and this can be bad if you haven't eaten recently. If someone passes you a joint, ALWAYS ask whether it has tobacco in it, if you don't smoke tobacco. There's a better than 50-50 chance it will have tobacco, so don't make any assumptions. And of course you should know your limits. Even those who smoke regularly might not be prepared for the good shit (assuming you were able to find it). Take it slow and easy at first. You just got here, you're not going anywhere, the smoke's gonna be around, so take it nice and easy. 9. Where to smoke. You can light up in any of the 300 or so coffeeshops in Amsterdam or around Holland, but smoking weed elsewhere could cause problems. The Dutch frown upon public smoking of cannabis, but as long as you keep it low key and not too obvious you can get away with a lot. If you smoke a pure joint it will smell a lot worse than a tobacco joint, and be more obvious to the public. But you don't need to worry you'll get busted. If someone tells you you can't smoke here, don't argue, just say "sorry" and put it out. The worst that would happen is an embarrasing moment. You certainly don't want to smoke in restaurants or other in other businesses unless you see others doing it and getting away with it. It's not quite like Spain where people seem to light up anywhere these days. Be discreet. Hotels vary on their cannabis smoking policies. Most simply don't allow it, and will cause you trouble if you do. The worst attitude would be in the high class hotels. Certain low key hotels do allow smoking or have a place like a bar where you can smoke. Most, but not all of these, are around the Red Light District and some even have their own coffeeshop downstairs. To be safe, just ask if it's permitted and where. 10. Joint, pipe or bong? This depends upon personal preference. Certainly it's more convenient if you're going to be bopping around to have a few doobies ready to go. Often I've been caught outside in Amsterdam's notorious wind trying to roll a joint. This can be very frustrating. My preference is for a bong or water pipe to filter the carcinogen-laden tar from the smoke. Most coffeeshops have a bong or two behind the counter, and will loan it to you. But I don't recommend this as you really don't know who's had their lips all over it and they're usually very dirty. If you're going to be around for a few days and prefer water filtration, I suggest you purchase a small water pipe or bong in a headshop. You won't find a better selection anywhere. I recommend the Old Indian headshop. If you're going to smoke in your hotel, I recommend smoking hashish thru a waterpipe to release the least amount of smelly smoke. Remember don't take any used parapernalia back home with you. You'll get busted. So just buy something cheap and give it away or throw it away before you leave. Read the Cannabis Smoking Tips for more cautions about smoking pot in Holland.Tell us your experience! Let everyone know about your experiences at Dutch coffeeshops. You can rate and comment on them in our Coffeeshop Guide.

Posted by on Wednesday, May 28 @ 05:59:15 UTC (109492 reads)
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: Coffeeshop Rip-offs, Part 3: Bio, Hydro, Organic or what?

CoffeeshopsBefore the Dutch started their own homegrown cannabis industry, most marijuana and hashish was imported from various third-world sources. Many growers in these very poor countries can't even afford fertilizer, and unless they have some livestock around to generate some, the cannabis is grown without any enhancements. Therefore, in the early days of coffeeshops, most of the marijuana was grown organically without chemicals. With the advent of Dutch marijuana horticulture, the game changed. Now it was possible to control not just the genetics of cannabis, but the way it is grown to maximize such important things as yield, pest-resistance, and potency. Unfortunately the short growing season, lack of direct sunshine, cool temperatures and mold convinced the Dutch it would be smarter to grow indoors or in huge greenhouses. Always on top of the latest technology, and even pioneering new breakthrus, the Dutch set high standards for breeding and growing indoors. With Europe's ever growing demand for marijuana, it was a challenge to increase yields, yet not run afoul of the ever changing Dutch laws on growing and possession of cannabis. So the Dutch settled on growing either bio or hydro weed. Hydro weed is grown hydroponically, which means it never touches soil. Water and nutrients are fed through tubes into an artificial soil. Artificial light is provided, and a constant temperature is maintained through environmental controls. These systems can be so complex and highly automated that the grower can watch and maintain a growroom(s) from the otherside of the world via cellphone or the internet! So basically Hydro weed is grown under completely artificial conditions (often using "sea of green" techniques) and fed a specially balanced nutrient cocktail to maximize growth. There is little that is "natural" about hydro weed. But as anyone can tell you, it can be very, very potent! That is if it hasn't been "shaken" several times before you get it (see Part 2 in our series on Coffeeshop Rip-offs). Then there's bio weed. Technically, anything sold in Holland with the term "bio" is supposed to be grown organically. This is true for produce or packaged products purchased in the market. But for weed that doesn't apply. Bio simply means it was grown in real soil, as opposed to using hydroponics techniques. It doesn't even mean it was grown outdoors, as you might hope. It might even have gotten it's start as young sprout in rockwool, which some people detest, but is now the norm for all starts. The label hydro or bio gives no indication about the use of chemicals in the growing process. It doesn't tell you whether the plant was fertilized with organic matter or a chemical stew. It doesn't indicate whether the plant was treated with pesticides, or some natural form of control like predators. For all you know that bag of bud you purchased could've been treated with a melange of chemicals that could really affect you in unpredictable ways. In fact there's always been stories that a lot of cannabis gets coated with hairspray after harvest and before sale to make it seem fresher and more sticky/resinous. I can't really confirm or deny whether this is current practice, although in the past I've smoked Nederwiet* that sure tasted like it'd been sprayed with some kind of chemicals (it could've been pesticides). So where does that leave someone who likes to consume organic weed, without chemicals having been used in the growing? Good luck! A few coffeeshops, notably the Greenhouse, have advertised no pesticides in the pot they sell. Whether this is true or not is open to speculation. Unless they have complete control over every variety of weed they sell, it's unlikely they can guarantee anything. The Greenhouse does grow much of it's own weed and has it's own seed company, so they have one of the best reputations. However they don't claim all their weed is totally organic. So although no pesticides were used, chemicals may have been used in the fertilizer to enhance growth. So unless you know the grower yourself, you're likely to be consuming a chemical cocktail with your cannabis. This is because Dutch weed is often attacked by predators and mold and must be treated at several points in the growth cycle. The easy and cheap way, especially if you're growing a lot is to use chemicals. Ideally these chemicals should be flushed out of the plant with a minimum of several days of extra watering (flushing) before harvesting. But in the rush for profits this is rarely done properly anymore. Indeed, the Dutch refuse to cure their pot, selling it still wet, which makes for good rolling in tobacco laced joints, but making it impossible for pure cannabis joints to hold a light. And of course selling uncured pot means it's heavier, thus again making it more profitable for both coffeeshops and growers. I can state that there are some growers out there who specialize in organic weed. But finding such natural cannabis is very difficult as the demand outstrips the supply. And very little makes it to the coffeeshops. You can ask for it, but again there's no guarantee as the Dutch themselves don't seem to think it makes much of a difference. It's primarily tourists and expats who want organic marijuana. So my advice is to ask for organic pot if that is your preference. If you can't get it go somewhere else. Let them know you prefer organic, and if enough people request it, perhaps the Dutch will get the message. Until then caveat emptor! Buyer beware! * Although I refer to the fresh cannabis sold in coffeeshops as Nederwiet (the Dutch term), much of it is no longer grown in the Netherlands, but rather in Switerland or Spain! The Dutch have cracked down on big grow operations in the Netherlands, and it may actually be a good thing since the Swiss and the Spanish grow more marijuana outdoors in real soil and sunshine. So I hereby christen cannabis of uncertain European origin, "Europot!"

Note: A lot of confusion exists as to whether any given sample of marijuana is bio, hydro or organically grown. Here's what those terms mean in practice and how to tell the difference.

Posted by on Tuesday, July 09 @ 07:10:58 UTC (35171 reads)
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: Coffeeshop Rip-offs, Part 2: Shake & Sell!

CoffeeshopsIt seems making a huge markup on marijuana isn't enough for the poor coffeeshop owners. Go ahead and ask to see a few varieties next time you're in a coffeeshop. Look for those big buds dripping with white resin. Did you find them? If not, you're the next victim in the big Coffeeshop rip-off - Shake & Sell! Most growers and coffeeshop personnel nowadays have discovered the wonders of pollinator and isolator hash, which is the concentrated resin from the cannabis flower. It's extremely pure and potent, and goes for a very high price, usually double or triple the price of imported hashish. The demand for this has grown as the Dutch preference for these forms of cannabis becomes more widespread. Unfortunately to get enough to meet their own in-house demand and for those willing to pay the price, most of the marijuana being sold in Coffeeshops now gets "shaken" not once but twice or three times. What does that mean? It means that you no longer get what you pay for. Instead the best part of the cannabis plant, the THC bearing tricomes get skimmed off by "shaking" or dragging them over a screen, or using a pollinator which tumbles the precious buds. Doing this causes the biggest, juiciest resin glands to fall from the bud and thru the screen. This is collected and made into hashish which is then either sold separately or consumed by those supposedly selling you intact buds. But really this process is akin to "stepping on" the drug, where you dilute it with another substance to make it go further and increase your profits. But rather than adding something, the thing you most want and the substance that gets you high (THC), is being STOLEN from you. You are paying for buds without getting the full amount of THC that was present on that bud when harvested. The cream has been siphoned off leaving you with far less potent marijuana. Just a shadow of what it was. Do you remember a time when they had microscopes on the dealer counter for you to view those tricomes close-up? Try to find one now. Yup, Amsterdam's coffeeshops once had pride in the products they sold. Now it's just another business trying to maximize profits. At your expense. Some might see some logic in this. After all by "diluting" the THC content, they are selling a less potent product, which is probably a good idea since most tourists who purchase marijuana in Amsterdam aren't used to the "heavy" stuff. Thus it's like insurance against tourists overdoing it. Also some might say by allowing the coffeeshops to skim off the best and make more expensive hashish, it keeps down the price of the grass. Sort of a subsidy. For an inferior product. I wonder what the EU Agricultural commission would think about that. But I say it's an insult to those who bred the strains to sell a "brand" of cannabis that is anything less than advertised. Unfortunately, there's not much we can do about. Or is there? What if when you go to the dealer's counter to make your next purchase, you ask if the pot has been "shaken". Look them in the eyes. Note their response. Check out the buds. Can you see sticky resin on the outside? I don't mean small tricomes here and there (there's always some that doesn't fall off). I mean big beautiful buds covered by tricomes that stick to your fingers. Are you getting large dense buds? Or somewhat smaller broken up pieces? That's a sure sign the pot has been well-shaken, and much of the THC has been removed. If it isn't to you liking, ask to see what they have that hasn't been shaken. If they don't have anything else that hasn't been molested to offer you, then take your business to another coffeeshop. Repeat as often as necessary. I know there are some coffeeshops and growers who still take pride in what they sell, and want you to experience the full effect of their products. However it's getting much more difficult to find a fair deal anywhere. So unless you, as a consumer, demand unshaken buds, you will continue to get ripped off. Next week: Coffeeshop Rip-offs, Part 3: Bio, Hydro, Organic or what?

Note: One of the biggest complaints about coffeeshops these days is how they shake the marijuana before selling it, thus decreasing its potency and enhancing profits for the owners and growers.

Posted by on Thursday, June 27 @ 07:20:39 UTC (41822 reads)
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: Coffeeshop Rip-offs, Part 1: Bait & Switch!

CoffeeshopsOnce upon a time, when you purchased cannabis from a coffeeshop, you could be reasonable sure you were getting what you paid for. Whether the pot came from Columbia, Thailand or Africa it was labeled as such and priced according to its cost to the Coffeeshop. Then the Dutch got into growing their own, and the selection increased dramatically with new varieties like Neville's Haze, Skunk, Jack Herrer, White Widow, all appearing on the scene. This stuff was fresh and very potent. Each bud was thickly covered in sticky red hairs and/or white tricome crystals, and there was enough difference between the types that they were easily identifiable to regular consumers. A glance at the typical Coffeeshop menu today reveals an outstanding variety of cannabis products from around the world! Hashish from Morocco, India, Nepal, Afghanistan, Lebanon. Marijuana from Columbia, Thailand, Swaziland in addition to at least half a dozen Dutch varieties. Isn't it amazing how they can keep so many kinds in stock, from such diverse sources? And even several grades of hashish, like Zero-Zero, Ketama and King Hassan all from Morocco, all on hand at the same time! Some of this hashish gets stockpiled (in secret warehouses) so supplies can be available on a regular basis. But those menus don't get updated often, and though many coffeeshops occasionally "run out" of an item, it seems they run out of all grades and varieties of an item at the same time. Suspicious? Indeed. Could it be that many coffeeshops sell cannabis that isn't exactly as advertised? After all it's not like there's a strict labeling law covering marijuana sales in Holland. What you see is what you get. Forget the name they put on it. Unless you're buying from a very reputable coffeeshop (and these are getting scarcer), chances are you're buying whatever came in that day. The same cannabis could be sold as Skunk, Widow, Haze, or even the generic "Orange Bud", whatever, just so long as it fills out the voids on the menu. But the real shock comes when you realize that the price for the same bud could vary as much as 50% or more. But the real unsavory part is that they say you're getting one thing, and in reality you're getting something completely different. And they know it. So the question arises, how can you tell if you're getting what you asked for? If you're looking to buy some imported grass, say Thai stick or Columbian, forget it! There isn't any. Oh, it's possible a little might make its way into Amsterdam, but these days that's next to impossible with all the new airport security, etc. So what you will get is some other imported brown shit from Mexico or Africa. It's usually much lower quality than anything else, often barely smokeable, and it will be sold under just about every name you can think of, or whatever imported grass they have listed on their menu. It's usually seedy or stemmy, and is very dry unlike the fresh Dutch grass. Only naive tourists order this inferior shit. What a waste! Imagine coming to Amsterdam to sample the fabled grass, and buying such crap! I especially admire the lengths they go to, to make this shit look like Thai stick, by wrapping string around an ugly dry bud (some times seedy) and a wooden stick. (Real Thai stick uses fresh sinsemilla tied up with hemp fibers wrapped around a piece of hemp stem.). I've never seen real Thai stick in Holland. The last time I saw it was in Thailand in the mid-1980s. But this is typical of the irresponsible sales practices of some Dutch Coffeeshops. If they were covered by EU rules, this type of deception would be a criminal offense. As far as hashish goes, if it's black and soft, it may be opiated. And lately this has been the case with most black hash thanks to the War in Afghanistan flooding the market with opium. See our article on this. Beware! That Manali or Nepalese may not be pure hashish (they're often adulterated anyway). Stick to the lighter Moroccan or Nederhash, and you'll do fine. But then again, if you pay top Euro for the best, you might not really be getting the best if they're out of stock. So ask to compare all their grades. Do they look different? If not, then you might save a few Euros getting the cheaper grade, and it might be just as good as the more expensive one, the only real difference being the name and price. The real tricky deal though is the Dutch weed. It's difficult to tell the varieties apart anymore. So rather than make a purchase decision on the variety, I suggest using other criteria. Large, intact buds with lots of resin glistening, a fresh, spicy smell, and a recommendation from the dealer are all good things to look for. Also if you favor bio or hydro or organic, that can also be a deciding factor, but here you're less likely to be sure it's really organic, or really bio, because the coffeeshops don't always produce their own weed, and must rely on the growers word about how it was treated. And you, dear pot-smoking consumer, must rely on second or third hand information about the cannabis you buy in the coffeeshop. And there's always a chance you're not getting what you wanted or what you paid for. At least it's still better than buying from a street dealer... So next time you're at the dealer's counter in a coffeeshop, don't be shy about comparing several varieties or grades, side-by-side. Since they won't let you try it, the least they can do is let you inspect it carefully. They used to let you view it under a microscope, but no longer! See next week's article, to find out why. Next Week: Coffeeshop Rip-offs, Part 2: Shake & Sell!

Note: Amsterdam coffeeshops don't always know what they're selling, and sometimes what you get is not what you think it is. So buyer beware!

Posted by on Wednesday, June 19 @ 07:04:24 UTC (64962 reads)
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: Black Hashish & Opium

CoffeeshopsIn Amsterdam's famous coffeeshops besides the usual fresh marijuana, a variety of hashishes are also sold over the counter. There are many different types of hash from various parts of the world. One type in particular, the legendary black hashish, has a rather dubious reputation. The reason is that the hash is often adulterated or contaminated with non-cannabis products. One of these adulterants, opium, sometimes gets mixed in to soften it up and improve the quality. Black opiated hashish is sometimes sold in Amsterdam under various names including any kind of "cream", "indian", "manali", "trans-himalayan", "nepalese", etc. Since the Afghan war, it seems Amsterdam is awash in hashish with much higher opium content (than usual), and most coffeeshops seem to have no qualms passing this same heavily adulterated hashish as just about whatever black hash you might choose. The switcheroo on types of hash and grass is an old trick among coffeeshops, since they can never be sure what it is they're selling anyway, much less be certain of what adulterants it might contain. So when they tell you it's manali cream or afghani or whatever, it's probably just whatever they got in that day. More reputable coffeeshops will try to verify the source and keep the names straight, but I doubt if most really pay that much attention. Today it seems, profit is all that matters to many a greedy coffeeshop owner. You should realize that opium has often been added to hashish from certain regions in Afghanistan and other regions in South Asia. So it's nothing new. Other adulterants also find their way into lower quality hashish. In fact most of the black hash I've tried over the past few years tasted so bad, thanks to adulterants or contaminants, that I gave up smoking it competely in favor of the much purer Moroccan hashish or the local Nederhash/bubble/isolater (all of which I recommend to anyone who likes hashish). Unless you WANT to smoke opium, I highly suggest you avoid the black hashes. Why? Because unlike hashish it's addictive! Oh you can smoke a couple of bowls, one time, and not feel like you want more. But if you were to smoke it several days straight, and in good quantity, you will learn fast what REAL addiction is like. It won't be terrible to get off, but you won't enjoy it. It's not like heroin withdrawal, but it has many of the same symptoms but to a lesser degree. In fact in one coffeeshop the dealer actually told me, "You'll crash after smoking that." I knew right then it was heavily opiated. Because no pure cannabis product will make you "crash". So be suspicious of ANY black hash that is overly soft and pliable. If it smokes smooth, even a big toke, it probably means there's more opium than hashish in it. Opium isn't harsh like hashish, and usually once lit will stay lighted or even hold a flame (some good hashish does this too). But since you're likely to be smoking a blend it's more difficult to be sure. With hashish you can usually smoke a fair amount at which point you hit a plateau and smoking more won't get you more stoned, at least you won't feel more stoned. With opium, the MORE you smoke, the HIGHER you get. You don't hit a plateau. Of course you can only smoke so much before you just pass into a dream state, and slow down. The high itself is qualitatively different, but difficult to discern since you're also high on whatever hashish they felt like adding. With opium you crash. Opium doesn't keep you high as long as hashish does. That's why opium addicts keep smoking all day, and why junkies need several fixes everyday. Good hashish will keep you high and let you down gently. With opium if you stop smoking after a long stretch, you'll go through withdrawals and they won't be pleasant. Depression, body aches, bad disposition are just some of the more noticeable symptoms. Another sure sign you have opium in your system is a lot of itching and scratching. Junkies do this all the time. I believe that the usual opium content of those types of hash long associated with opium adulteration was always a much smaller percentage than we're now seeing in the coffeeshops. I'd say some of the hash now being sold is as much as 50% or more opium. BTW, opium IS illegal in Holland, and the coffeeshops are forbidden to sell it. But as it is purchased as "hashish" through the Dutch "backdoor" system, (which is NOT regulated), nobody seems to care. This is a major drawback, and a potential health danger being ignored by the Dutch coffeeshops and the police. The tourists are not as much at risk as are the Dutch themselves since the tourists won't be here long enough to develop a heavy addiction. However the Dutch seem to prefer these black hashes to roll with tobacco in their joints. I strongly feel that someone, either the coffeeshops, the police or the government or one of the drug testing agencies should be testing samples to determine how much opium is in them and then decide whether it's enough of a problem to pose a health risk. If so, it might be up to the coffeeshops themselves to start refusing to buy this heavily adulterated hash, as they are also at risk of being accused of selling opium, and losing their licenses. Hashish and Opium are two completely different things (esp. legally), and people should know what they are purchasing. I hope this is just a temporary situation and once opium becomes less abundant, hashish won't be so heavy with it. The Dutch probably won't like what I've just written, or won't care, but it needed to be said. I don't want this scene to be spoiled by some greedy drug cartels in South Asia. Word has it you can now buy straight opium on the streets. However we advise against purchasing ANYTHING from street dealers in Amsterdam because you're more likely to get ripped off than anything else.

Note: A warning to those consuming black hashish in Amsterdam.

Posted by on Saturday, January 19 @ 10:36:15 UTC (98684 reads)
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: Get Stoned in Amsterdam!

I want to...So you've heard that the Dutch are tolerant towards the recreational use of soft drugs. Now you want to find out more about the Dutch Coffeeshop Scene. Well you can take a look at our Coffeeshop Reviews and find that cool place with the right combination of music, ambiance and of course great smoke. But you might also want to read our Cannabis Smoking Tips which warn you about the effects and offer suggestions should you do too much.
Yes folks, marijuana joints come in colorful packages with bar codes and recycling labels, now available in Dutch Coffeeshops, and soon coming to a store near you??? If you need some paraphernalia, check out our Headshop Reviews. For some seeds or clones to grow your own, our Grow Shop Reviews will be very helpful. And if you want to check out other natural psychedelics like mushrooms, peyote and salvia divinorum visit our Smart Shop reviews. If you're curious about the drug laws in Holland and why they're so liberal, visit Amsterdam's Drug Policy page. I guarantee you'll discover what a socially healthy attitude towards drugs entails. Every drug czar, DEA agent, and politician should read this and learn. We also recommend Hippyland's Drug Page with links to the best sites to learn more about all types of drugs.

Note: If you've ever wanted to smoke cannabis out in the open, without fear, you're welcome here. The world's best selection of marijuana and hashish are awaiting your enjoyment.

Posted by on Monday, July 09 @ 08:15:04 UTC (50870 reads)
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: Drugs in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Tips
Display of Marijuana and Hashish at Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam.
The Netherlands' tolerant approach to drug use is the source of much international debate. The Dutch are constantly having to defend their position on "illegal" drugs due to pressure from other countries especially France and the U.S.† If only these other countries would adopt the Dutch attitude towards drugs, they would see their "drug problem" and most related crime evaporate overnight.† The Dutch statistics bear this out. By decriminalizing the use of soft drugs, and treating even hard drug use as a disease, the Dutch have created the model that others should emulate.† By dividing drugs into soft and hard categories, they can deal with every situation calmly, rationally and effectively. The Dutch have a far greater problem with alcoholism (and tobacco) than with any "illegal" drug and they know this.† By allowing people to purchase and consume marijuana in licensed coffeeshops, they not only remove the stigma of being a marijuana user, but they completely remove this as a "criminal activity".† Thus it becomes safe to purchase and use the drug without a criminal element involved (although they have cracked down on growing the plant in quantity, thanks to the aforementioned pressure from other nations).† The fact is you can walk all over Holland and see marijuana plants growing in windows, on houseboats, in backyards, etc. Current law allows Dutch gardeners to grow 5 plants, but no lamps are allowed (only sunlight, a rare commodity). But there is NO FEAR, associated with marijuana, hence a true enjoyment of this magical herb that can heal, relax and enlighten. See The Dutch Coffeeshop Scene for more about smoking cannabis in Holland. As far as hard drugs like cocaine and heroin, the Dutch are firmly keeping these drugs illegal, but not prosecuting the users.† There are many treatments available for those addicts seeking it.† They go so far as to give these addicts their heroin or methadone to keep them from stealing to get it. Again it is seen as an illness and treated like one, not turning the addicts into criminals. Warning! Ecstasy is considered a hard drug in Holland!

Note: The Dutch tolerance towards soft drug use is the only sane and humane way to approach the issue.

Posted by on Wednesday, June 13 @ 06:06:00 UTC (43266 reads)
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: The Amsterdam Coffeeshop Scene

CoffeeshopsSee Our Coffeeshop List for reviews & ratings.The Dutch have an attitude of tolerance dating back to the 16th century when they forced out the Spanish and their inquisition. Since then, the Dutch make a point of not criminalizing or feigning moral outrage at victimless "crimes". Prostitution, pornography, homosexuality, euthanasia, and soft drug use are all tolerated and integrated into Dutch society. This permissiveness has resulted in Holland becoming a mecca for those who wish to experience the freedom of cannabis culture, and the flowering of a highly successful coffeeshop scene where marijuana and hashish are legally available for purchase by the public. The "coffeeshop" is a unique Dutch institution. For over 20 years, coffeeshops have operated with quasi-legal status in the Netherlands. Although there is no law that allows for the production and distribution of large quantities of marijuana and hashish, the Dutch tolerate the presence of coffeeshops because they separate the soft drug users from the hard drug dealers. This makes it less likely that someone desiring cannabis would end up purchasing a more dangerous drug, and keeps a whole market away from the illegal drug trade. The Dutch attitude towards drugs is very straight forward. If you have a drug problem they want to help you, not persecute you! Recreational use of soft drugs is seen as being less harmful to society than persecution and incarceration. Coffeeshops are regulated by the government on a local level, which requires them to obtain a license and pay taxes. Currently, conferences are being held to decide if a regulatory system can be extended to the growing of cannabis for supplying the coffeeshops. While supply is an obvious necessity for the shops, the cultivation and supply of cannabis remains in a legal shadow, and is still being sporadically prosecuted. Despite the hazy status of growing, the acceptance of cannabis consumption has allowed coffeeshops to flourish with broad acceptance in Dutch society. Marijuana tourists and locals can hang out and toke up in pleasant surroundings with little concern for experiencing the most dangerous side effect of marijuana in most parts of the world: arrest or other legal hassles. For more about the Dutch attitude towards drugs, visit Amsterdam's Drug Policy page. There are approximately 300 coffeeshops operating in Amsterdam, with about 1,000 total in the entire country of Holland. Coffeeshops may be located almost anywhere including residential areas, but outside of Amsterdam they can be more difficult to find. Some towns have decided NOT to have any coffeeshops and it is their right since they issue the license. In any coffeeshop you can roll a joint, smoke a pipe or get blitzed from a bong. Most coffeeshops provide complimentary papers and filters or will loan you a pipe if you have none. Anyone can can sit and smoke in a coffeeshop without buying cannabis there. but as with most establishments, it is necessary to make a purchase, such as a drink or a snack like a tosti (grilled sandwich). Many shops will provide outside seating, and in agreeable weather, it can be an incredibly liberating experience to grab a table and get high outside, much to the amazement of straight tourists! Passing a bong on a crowded sidewalk has the definite flavor of freedom! Since there are so many coffeeshops in Amsterdam, shopping for one that agrees with your taste can be half the fun. Nearly all coffeeshops echo some theme, be it a 60's rock group or an exotic location. Shops vary greatly in the type of music they play, and the ambiance and amenities they offer, which range from a quite cozy environment of only a few tables to elaborate spaces on multiple floors which may offer couches, television, pool tables or internet access. The available food and beverages may also sway your opinion. Some coffeeshops serve coffee and pastries, while others may offer a full menu, prepare specialty items such as smoothies or organic treats, or serve alcoholic beverages. And of course the variety, quality and price of the marijuana and hashish will be key. Location may also be a deciding factor, if a coffeeshop is located close to your home base, or in a neighborhood you particularly enjoy. Most people tend to find a coffeeshop that suits their style, and frequent it regularly. Tourists are attracted to the larger coffeeshops that advertise, but the locals tend hang out in their neighborhood coffeeshops where the prices are lower. Most Dutch people just pop in to buy some grass then go smoke elsewhere. Coffeeshops usually have a separate counter where they sell cannabis. To buy cannabis in a coffeeshop, just ask for their "menu". It will list both hash and grass with prices. Prices vary according to quantity and quality. Typically it's priced by the gram or you can buy 12 Euros (about $11) worth. The local Dutch weed is always the freshest and best quality. Hashish is another story. The most reliable high quality will come from Morocco with several different grades to choose from. Black hash from Afghanistan, Nepal, India or Pakistan is available everywhere. Please read our warning about opium in black hash! You might also benefit by reading our stories about Coffeeshop Rip-offs. For a real treat check out the Nederhash. It's Dutch hashish made from their hydro or bio plants. As a rule of thumb; the lighter color the nederhash, the better. The current law limits the amount a person can buy to 5 grams of hash or grass, which is enough for anyone! Many coffeeshops also offer 'space cake' or some other pastry or chocolate dessert laced with marijuana or hashish. Beware! It's better to get space cake "to go", otherwise you might not go anywhere for a very long time! The Dutch coffeeshop scene is not typical of Europe, although things are beginning to change in the European Union. Belgium and Portugal have now decriminalized cannabis and Germany may be next. Despite the "open" borders, laws and attitudes vary drastically from country to country. The Dutch have clearly demonstrated not only how good marijuana can be, but how it can become an integral part of an enlightened society! The Dutch coffeeshop scene is an excellent model for other countries to emulate someday, and for those seeking true freedom, to enjoy now. Another warning.† Theft is rampant in Amsterdam.† Whether you're in a coffeeshop, bar or restaurant, keep your bag or belongings very close, under your table, between your legs.† Don't leave anything unattended!† Also beware of teams of thieves where one distracts you while the other takes your valuables! If something is stolen go to the police immediately.† They won't bother to act unless the crime just happened.† Get witnesses too, otherwise it's your word against theirs. The Hip Travel Guide does not advocate the breaking of laws.† Please use common sense and obey the local laws wherever you are!

Note: Discover the liberating pleasures of purchasing and smoking marijuana openly, without risk, in a tolerant, free society.

Posted by on Monday, May 28 @ 08:12:06 UTC (248060 reads)
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