Before getting into any of the details, I want to clarify that Coffee Shops are legal establishments spread around the city that sell cannabis. Weed is still technically illegal in Amsterdam, meaning that advertising marijuana is illegal (don’t look for signs in coffee shop windows, you won’t find any) and none of the product sold is regulated by the government. In this post, we’ll give you some basic tips on where to go and how to act in Amsterdam’s infamous coffee shops.
Go to the Cannabis College to get some coffee shop recommendations, ask literally any question you’ve ever had about weed, and get the weed you’re carrying checked out under a microscope by an employee to assess its quality/safety (again, weed isn’t regulated, so you might buy old or moldy weed if you go to the wrong coffee shop).
Best Coffee Shops
There are about 200 coffee shops in Amsterdam and if it’s your first time visiting, choosing a good coffee shop can get a little overwhelming. Most coffee shops are located in and around the Red Light District, so if you want to explore on your own, that’s the best neighborhood to start. Below are some of the highest quality coffee shops in the city, recommended by an employee of the Cannabis College (in no specific order):
- Green Place
- Blue Bird
- Grey Area
Coffee Shop Etiquette
Coffee shops are for smoking weed. That’s it. Drinking alcoholic beverages and smoking cigarettes are not permitted inside. You can, however, bring your own weed to smoke in the coffee shop, but it’s respectful to at least buy a soft drink or snack before settling in for a smoke.
All coffee shops have product menus. I highly advise against randomly pointing to a strain of weed with the most interesting name and buying a full five ounces. Ask the shopkeepers questions about the different strains of cannabis and what they’d recommend- if you’re intimidated, remember that shopkeepers are no stranger to unexperienced tourists looking for a fun time in Amsterdam.
Once you find a product you’d like to purchase, buy a small quantity. You can buy up to five ounces of cannabis each day, but that’s a lot of weed for someone just on vacation. Don’t be one of those tourists dumping extra weed into the trash can on your way to the airport. Save your money and buy small quantities until you find a strain you really like and have a plan to smoke it before leaving.
Walk, Don’t Ride
Biking in Amsterdam is intimidating while you’re sober. If you’re not a seasoned biker in this bike-crazed town, don’t even think about it when you’re high. Even walking, however, can be dangerous if you’re not paying attention. Make sure to really look around before crossing streets and alleys. I was only in Amsterdam for three days and managed to see two tourists get into nasty accidents with bikers.
Smart shops, like coffee shops, sell products that are technically illegal in Amsterdam. In this case, you can buy psychedelic truffles (not mushrooms), ayahuasca seeds, etc. We were recommended to check out Kokopelli, where we bought 30 mg of Atlantis truffles. This shop even has a cozy section in the back with giant windows looking onto a canal where you hang out and wait for the magic to kick in.
I ate my first brownie in Amsterdam and thought I was going to die (granted, I ate it 2 hours before a guided night tour through the most crowded part of the city). Plan to have a relaxing day or night and make sure to give yourself extra time in case your reaction is different (i.e. longer or more intense) than what you were expecting.