3 min25 October 2021

(il)legal marijuana

In the 1960s, with the colorful age of hippies, marijuana, which was very popular at the time, entered the Netherlands (and Europe in general). Marijuana and hashish come from a plant called cannabis. Hemp products containing an organic chemical compound, THC are referred to as “soft drugs” in the Netherlands. Most of these stimulants come from cannabis grown in the country. With the growing popularity of hashish and marijuana, the Dutch authorities felt obliged to respond to the situation somehow – and decided to allow them to be sold and consumed because they were considered the “lesser evil” on the drug market. The lesser evil means they carry the least risk of addiction.

Coffee shops

For modern tourists, especially the very young ones, the Netherlands is an attractive country because of its access to coffee shops. These are places where you can legally buy and consume hemp products. A typical Dutch coffee shop is like a pub, but with no access to alcohol. In most cases, you can buy not only “weed”, but also the accessories needed to smoke it. The activity of coffee shops is regulated by law. Shop guests are required to properly behave and not disturb the peace of the inhabitants of the area. Of course, it is forbidden to sell to minors – some coffee shops are admitted by a security guard who verifies the age of customers at the entrance, and in others the age is checked at the counter when shopping. According to the assumptions of Dutch law, enabling access to soft drugs is to counteract drug addiction caused by hard drugs. In addition, it allows you to control both the quality of the goods and who they are sold to.

(il)legal marijuana

It is not legal at all to have marijuana in the Netherlands. If you have up to 5 grams with you (you can also buy this amount at a time in the coffee shop), you will not be punished. The authorities will turn a blind eye to it. However, more drugs, possession of “hard” drugs, or selling them on the street are severely punished (imprisonment or a fine of up to 11,000 euros). In addition, it’s not like you can smoke anytime, anywhere! Because, surprisingly, marijuana in the Netherlands is not legal! Smoking is not criminalized, sales in coffee shops are uninterrupted, citizens are allowed to carry up to 5 grams of herb, but formally the Netherlands has never legalized soft drugs. They decided to tolerate them.

Everything within limits

Despite having easy access to marijuana, the Dutch do not smoke much of it. It is estimated that among coffee shop customers, native inhabitants of the Netherlands constitute no more than 10%. Walking on the street with a joint is considered inappropriate, and if you really want to smoke in the street, make sure that there are no people around who might be disturbed (e.g. parents with children). Moreover, taking even a small amount of drugs from the Netherlands is severely punished. Also, remember that the Netherlands has much more to offer than access to drugs. Here you can get intoxicated with air and nature alone, you don’t have to smoke a joint at all 😉

Also interesting!

Read more blogs from these categories

Typical Dutch Food

3 min5 December 2022

How to avoid cultural faux pas in the Netherlands?

3 min1 July 2022

Top 5 amusement parks in the Netherlands

3 min10 June 2022