Dutch law make a clear distinction between hard drugs (drugs with unacceptable risks involved) and soft drugs (drugs with limited risks). Hard drugs are illegal and sentences run up to 12 years imprisonment. Strictly speaking the sale and use of soft drugs is illegal too, but use and possession for personal use (up to 30 grams) a blind eye is turned and you will not be prosecuted.
TheDutch government believe by keeping soft drugsseparate from other drugs it makes it possible to control it more and therefore stop people turning to harder drugs and hopefully away from crime and addiction.
Does it work?- The statistics say so; there were 2.4 drug-related deaths per million inhabitants in the Netherlands in 1996. In France, this figure was 9.5, in Germany 20, in Sweden 23.5 and in Spain 27.1. According to the 1995 report of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction in Lisbon, the Dutch figures are the lowest in Europe. (Source: Justice Department)
Coffeeshops - In the centre of Amsterdam, you will see a lot of coffeeshops, a strange word to describe places where you can buy drugs.
Coffeeshops operate under very strict regulations and are getting more strict all the time.
- no active promotion including web sites.
- no selling of hard drugs.
- everyone inside should be at least 18 years of age. Proof required.
- selling limited to 5 grams per sale
- a maximum of 500 grams in on the premises.
- no serving of alcoholic beverages
Recently the laws have changed again. latest one is a coffeeshop which sells alcohol must decide if it's a coffeeshop or a bar. Cannot be both.
The coffee shop owners do not have an easy time of it. They are constantly being harassed and raided by the policewho arrive with dogs.
They come, seal off the premises and terrace, no one can leave or enter and everything is searched.
Another new law they tried to bring in was that ONLY Dutch passport holders will be allowed to buy drugs. Another crazy idea, making it illegal for tourists and foreign nationals to enter a coffeeshop.
It would have been a real nightmare to enforce as all the coffeeshops said they would ignore it.
When will the Netherlands government wake up, can they not see what is happening in the USA. Netherlands is going to banning when the rest of the world is pushing for legalisation.
The government said that France, Germany and others are giving the Netherlands government shit, saying 1000's of its citizens every week cross the borders to buy drugs.
I do not think it will ever happen in Amsterdam.
Hash and Marihuana- If you want to enjoy the pleasure of soft drugs, be warned at the same time: Dutch quality can be a lot stronger than what you are used too back home even if you think you can handle it. Start low and go slow at least for the first night.
Many people expect the same quality and strength as at home and use the same quantities as they are used to. You will not be the first one to end up in trouble.
If you do not smoke and you want to try a slice of space cake or tea take it easy.
Hash cake or tea works extremely slow, the affect, can take up to one hour to start but when it does it is very strong.Do not eat a second sliceunless you are used to it as you will be in trouble and once eaten you cannot do anything about it.
We have had guests clinging to trees calling for there mammy saying there going to die.,
I myself have been there done that and have the tee-shirt. Best thing is to keep calm, do not panic and keep thinking and saying to yourself, I am ok, I am fine, I am just tripping. After a while (30 min's to 1 hour) you will be ok again. Some people say drink a coca cola or something sweet. which I think is also a good idea. Use a straw.
I have seen people just fall straight off chairs onto the floor and smack there heads of the ground and others totally flipping out and loosing control. Some make it out of the shop and drop to the ground once they get fresh air. So be careful.
Smoking in Public Places
Cannabis smoking in public places or bars, unless it is a hash coffeeshop is frowned upon by most people.The Dutch condone smoking marijuana, but they prefer not to be bothered by it.
You can smoke in most night clubs (unofficially) but bars and other places will tell you to put out the joint.
Hard drugs- We advise you to stay away from hard drugs. In the Red-Light district and other city centre areas, guys (mostly black guys) will offer to sell you cocaine, crack or heroin.
If you do buy from them the chances are, you are buying shit, chalk or headache tablets if your lucky and if your not poison.
The best way to deal with them is
1.Do not answer them at all, not even a yes or no.
2.Do NOT make eye contact with them as they will then start to hassle you.
Hard drugs are illegal in Holland and especially since a tourist you will be ripped off and maybe mugged as well.
Lately, the police have a load of undercover officers working the centre and arresting anyone they see buying drugs and many night clubs have been raided/ busted by the police looking for hard drugs and any form of drug dealing on the premises.
What a waste of time and money. Everyone knows the world have lost the war on drugs, so let's party. Nothing wrong in taking drugs as long as you don't take to many. Moderation in everything.