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24 Tips For Getting Stoned Like A Pro In Amsterdam

Here's what to expect if you're heading to the Netherlands to get blazed.

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1. Head right to a coffeeshop!

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It’s legal to buy marijuana at coffeeshops in Amsterdam, and there are literally hundreds of them throughout the city. Trust me, you’ll have no problem finding weed in Amsterdam! Just make sure that you go to a “coffeeshop.” Not a “coffee shop,” “café,” or “coffee house.” Cafés are usually the equivalent of a bar, and coffee shops not selling marijuana are called koffiehuis (which translates to coffee house in English).

Technically, the coffeeshops themselves operate in a bit of a legal gray area, as the suppliers they get the cannabis from aren’t supposed to be growing or selling marijuana. It’s a technicality that goes unnoticed, though, as there's weed aplenty!

2. Don’t expect much in the way of window signage, since advertising marijuana is illegal.

You won’t find any “marijuana sold here” decals in the windows, but rest assured, if the sign outside says “coffeeshop,” then the establishment sells ganja. Also, if you’re googling venues before visiting, then don’t worry if a website doesn’t list marijuana or soft drugs. Again, if it’s a coffeeshop, then it’ll have weed.

3. Every coffeeshop is different, so explore town to find a place you like.

When I said there are literally hundreds of coffeeshops in Amsterdam, I wasn’t exaggerating. There are more coffeeshops then you could possibly visit during a stay in the city, but be sure to spend some time exploring to find a coffeeshop that you enjoy. They come in all shapes and sizes, have different strains of marijuana, and have totally different environments.

Some are set up as multiroom lounges with board and arcade games, while others are more like quick shops (without any seats) for marijuana buyers looking to get their weed in a timely manner. Don’t just set up camp at the first coffeeshop you visit; take some time to explore and find one that you’ll enjoy patrolling.

4. You pretty much just walk in and buy weed.

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Buying marijuana is Amsterdam is a stress-free process. Honestly, there’s nothing to it. You walk in, ask for your herb, then pay the budtender. Legally, coffeeshops can sell marijuana to customers over the age of 18, but most won’t check your ID unless you plan to spend time smoking or vaping on site.

The legal limit is five grams per person, so if you’re with multiple people then you can buy more. But given that there are so many coffeeshops throughout the city, you’ll have no problem finding another should you smoke through all five grams (!!!) and need more.

5. Bring cash with you, because some coffeeshops don’t take cards.

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It seems like the majority of the coffeeshops I visited during my stay in Amsterdam were cash only. We did come across a few that took cards, but they were definitely in the minority. Just make sure you have a chip and PIN card though, which is pretty much the standard now in Europe.

6. “Joints” have tobacco; “pure joints” are just marijuana.

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At most coffeeshops you can usually buy either weed by the gram, hash oils, or joints. But be warned: “Joints” are usually rolled with marijuana and tobacco. If you want something without tobacco, then look for what’s labeled as a “pure joint.” No labels? Well, if the joint is priced under €5, then it’s most likely a tobacco-and-weed joint. The pure weed joints are usually between €8 and €10.

7. Most coffeeshops have menus, but they aren’t always descriptive.

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The menu will tell you what types of weed, joints, and hash the coffeeshop has for sale. However, don’t expect the menus to tell you much about the herb, because they usually don’t say much other than the names of the strains and the price in euros.

Another thing to be aware of is that because of the advertising restrictions, the menus aren’t supposed to be removed from the main counter. Some shops go to the extreme of having the menu under glass, while most don’t even bother. The advertising policy seems to be a lighter rule, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get scolded for moving a menu at a touchy establishment. It’s probably a good rule of thumb just not to touch or move the menus.

8. Ask for recommendations.

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If you know that you like a strong sativa strain, then ask the person behind the counter. The Dutch can be rather straightforward and probably won’t want to engage in a lengthy conversation with you, but the budtenders will definitely offer you a recommendation.

9. Always look at the weed before buying it.

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Although coffeeshops are touchy about advertising and menus, they usually have the marijuana sitting in clear containers and will happily let you look at (and even smell) a few strains of herb before making your purchase. And thankfully so, because as most of us stoners know, there are a few obvious signs of jank weed (light yellow color, no visible crystals, etc.) If the bud looks iffy, then don’t buy much of it until you’ve had a chance to smoke some.

10. A lot of coffeeshops don’t sell bongs or pipes.

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Don’t expect to be able to get all of your smoking gear at your first stop, because most coffeeshops don’t sell bongs or pipes. They’ll sell joints, and if the establishment allows smoking inside then they won’t mind if you bring your own pipe to use, but yeah, most don’t sell paraphernalia. A lot also have vapes on site that you can use, but rarely sell ones you can take back with you.

11. Luckily, there are plenty of other places to find them!

The Netherlands has no real drug paraphernalia laws, so you’ll see bongs in the windows of shops all over Amsterdam, especially near the Red Light District. Heads up though: Most of the pipes, bongs, and other paraphernalia seem like they’re mass-produced. The bongs you find in one store are probably going to be the same that you find throughout town, so there’s no real need to go hunting for the “perfect” bong.

12. Ask for joint papers and a lighter.

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The coffeeshops will give you a few papers if you want to roll your own joints, as well as strips of paper to make a bridge at the tip. They’ll also let you borrow a lighter for your smoke session and will typically sell branded lighters and packs of papers.

13. Make sure it's OK to smoke before you light up.

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Probably 90% of the coffeeshops I visited in Amsterdam had smoking sections. Sometimes the whole shop is a smoke lounge where you can get your blaze on, but most coffeeshops have a designated smoking area. Some, however, are set up more as marijuana to-go shops that don’t allow smoking or vaping of any sort. When you buy your weed, always make sure to ask where, and if you’re allowed to smoke.

14. The coffeeshops usually serve snack snacks!

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Candy, water, and almost always some type of coffee. My favorite was the Pringles dispenser situated in the corner of one coffeeshop, where you could start poppin' for only €2.

15. But the actual coffee they serve isn’t always that good.

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Every coffeeshop that I visited sold some sort of coffee. However, not all of the coffee was all that good. Some shops definitely took pride in their coffee and made delicious espresso beverages. Others had instant coffee machines that spit out almost undrinkable cups of joe. Of course, you're not really there for the actual coffee, so if you only see what looks like an instant coffee machine, buy your weed and get your caffeine fix elsewhere.

16. Check for the Wi-Fi sign.

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Some coffeeshops have Wi-Fi (the good ones, IMO), but a lot surprisingly don’t. And it’s surprising because free Wi-Fi is somewhat ubiquitous in larger European cities. So if you’re looking for a place to smoke, hang out, and post pics to Instagram, then look for the Wi-Fi sign in the window before you enter.

17. Weed quality and prices vary, so look for herb outside the city core.

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Every shop has a different menu, with different prices. In my experience, shops closer to popular tourist destinations and train stations sold somewhat shoddier herb, while shops further away from high-trafficked streets tended to offer better bud. I actually found my favorite weed at a coffeeshop in an empty side street a few blocks from Rembrandtplein.

18. Coffeeshops can’t sell alcohol, but you can smoke inside a lot of bars.

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If you want to get your crossfade on, hit up a coffeeshop for herb, then find a bar that will let you smoke inside. Don’t worry though, there are PLENTY of bars that let you smoke marijuana inside. It’s illegal for coffeeshops to sell alcohol, and it’s a rule that’s pretty strictly followed.

19. Liquor stores and small markets sell edibles.

Some but not all coffeeshops will sell edibles in addition to grams of herb and joints. But smaller markets and liquors stores throughout the city sell lollipops, “space cakes,” and other weed-infused goodies.

20. Smoking marijuana in public is illegal, but not really enforced.

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A lot of coffeeshops have outdoor smoking areas, and you’ll frequently see locals and tourists smoking joints out in the open. Smoking marijuana in public is technically against Dutch law, though it’s not really enforced. As long as you aren’t acting foolish and drawing attention to yourself, people generally won’t bat an eye if you’re puffing off a joint as you walk along a canal.

21. Smart shops don’t sell weed. They sell “mushrooms” and other “mind” drugs.

They’re called “magic mushrooms,” but they aren’t actually mushrooms. The sale of actual hallucinogenic mushrooms was banned in 2007, so instead smart shops sell truffles that have basically the same affect on you as mushrooms. They also sell other mind-altering drugs like salvia, peyote, and other psychedelics.

22. Hotels usually frown on smoking, but many Airbnb places allow smoking and soft drugs.

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Before booking your trip, make sure you consider your smoking habits. If you’re a frequent smoker and are looking for a place where you can rip your new bong at night before bed then you may want to consider staying at a rental property instead of a hotel, as most don’t allow smoking indoors. Just be sure to email potential hosts to find out what their policy is regarding marijuana. As you can see from the picture above, our Airbnb was marijuana and soft drug friendly.

23. Be extra careful of bikers while exploring the city stoned.

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The bikers are everywhere and they don’t stop or even slow down very often. Bike lanes are practically more common than sidewalks in Amsterdam. If you wander out of a coffeeshop stoned (and without checking both ways), there’s a strong possibility you could put yourself or someone else in danger.

24. Don’t buy weed from anywhere besides coffeeshops.

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And if you’re going with any other drug, then make sure you buy it at a smart shop. Do not buy drugs from random street dealers.

I personally wasn’t approached by anyone selling drugs during my visit, but did see signs at numerous shops with warnings that white heroin was being sold on the street labeled as cocaine. Apparently snorting the substance could lead to very, very serious health complications.

In other words, don’t fuck up your visit by doing anything stupid. Stick to legitimate establishments, use your best judgment, and have a great time getting stoned in Amsterdam!

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