There are certain cities and countries around the world that we intrinsically associate with certain things, whether or not we’ve actually visited and seen it for ourselves.
What comes to mind when you think of Canada? Hockey. Maple Syrup. Polar bears (if only because there are people out there who really believe we ride them like winter kings and queens all around our towns.)
Paris, France? The Eiffel Tower.
New York? Times Square, or maybe the Statue of Liberty.
Along with several other coveted cannabis locations, Amsterdam in the Netherlands has long been celebrated as one of the weed capitals of the world.
Amsterdam “coffee shops” refer largely to alcohol-free establishments, where cannabis products can be purchased and consumed. According to the Dutch Drug and Coffee Shop Law, Amsterdam coffee shops are licensed to sell cannabis in small quantities to adults over 18. There are around 250 coffee shops in Amsterdam, many of which are recipients of the High Times Cannabis Cup awards several times over.
Interestingly enough, while Amsterdam is one of the pot capitals of the world, possession of soft drugs such as cannabis in the Netherlands is prohibited by law. The tolerance policy enforced in this region allows police to seize up to 5 grams of drugs from a person with no punishment, while carrying more than 5 grams is punishable with a fine and possible prison sentence.
Similar to Canadian laws on legalization, consumers must be over 18 to purchase cannabis, and there is no public consumption allowed – smoking weed is permitted only within Amsterdam coffee shops.
Along with cannabis “coffee shops”, Amsterdam is known and celebrated for its canals (sometimes referred to as the “Venice of the North”, culture and beautiful scenery. The city has more than 51 museums and galleries, including the World Renowned Van Gogh Museum, which sees an average of 1.5 million visitors each year.
And of course, Dutch tulip season brings an array of colours and light to the city each year when millions of flowers bloom, marking the beginning of spring.
Amsterdam is a beautiful, busy place with plenty to offer. Is it on your travel bucket list?