Amsterdam - Drugs                                                                              

Coffeeshops Amsterdam

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.

The Dutch government believe by keeping soft drugs separate 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. There are still a few which still have not made up there minds yet but time is running out.  The most famous ones surviving are

Nescafe - Nes lane (off dam Square) 

De Dampkring - Handboogstraat 29

D-Day for them is January 2007.

The coffee shop owners do not have an easy time of it. They are constantly being raided by the police with dogs. They arrive, seal off the  premises, no one can leave or enter and everything is searched.  Bad times for Amsterdam.

Another new law being talked about at present is that ONLY Dutch passport holders will be allowed to buy drugs. This is another crazy idea. This is going backwards. Making it illegal for tourists and maybe even foreign nationals is totally the wrong way to go.
The tourist trade alone will be wiped out. This is happening because of France, Germany and others are giving the Netherlands government shit, saying 1000's of it's 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.

Hash Cake
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 slice unless 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
Smoking in public places or bars, unless it is a hash coffeeshop is frowned upon by most people.
The Dutch condone smoking cannabis, 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 strongly advice you to stay away from hard drugs. Most places you go in the centre of the city guys (mostly black dudes) will try 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 particularly as 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 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.

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