It’s why thousands of punters flock to the famous Dutch city every year, but what is it really like to smoke weed freely and how do you go about it?
I wouldn’t say I'm a stoner, but I've had my fair share of dank during my adolescence and the thought of being able to travel to a city where I can smoke away freely all day sure did tickle my pickle. So this year I embarked on a little get away over the pond to The Netherlands capital city. Obviously I knew weed was legal in Amsterdam, but that was all I knew. I had no idea on the etiquette and the rules that one had to adhere to, I was just excited to get out there and buy my first bag of the magic green stuff. Luckily I was with someone that had frequented the city more than once so was in safe hands as I was taken on my tour of the dank capital of the world.
I found out pretty quickly that there are actually quite a lot of regulations behind the laws, much like there is with alcohol in the United Kingdom. You’re not aloud to smoke on the streets like you would with a cigarette and all weed smoking is to be done within the home or in one of the many ‘Coffee Shops’ around the city and we were told that if you allow people to smoke in your establishment, you are not aloud to serve food, something I have not found out why but one would assume its to avoid contamination between the weed and the grub or maybe to stop people from setting up camp and smoking all day long. You are also banned from using any tobacco products when inside, (something we got told off for a few times) and instead can only either smoke blunts or you are offered a strange herbal mix to line your joint with which, to me, tasted like they’d just raided their herb cabinet from home and chucked it in a jar. We also found out that Amsterdam is the only place in The Netherlands that tourists are aloud to smoke and everywhere else is illegal for non Dutch residents, which is why most people flock to the capital do get their dank fix instead of elsewhere.
I was somewhat surprised at all the rules behind the legality of the Class B drug as I believe many people are. I always envisaged the plane coming down through a cloud of thick spliff smoke but actually, unless your inside one of the coffee shops or cannabis stores, you just don’t see or smell the stuff at all. But even so, it was still a surreal experience be able to walk into a shop and seeing a menu of cannabis stacked up on the shelves like you have with beer and such in the UK. Every time I lit up a joint I had my inner self just thinking, uh can I really just smoke this here? Is someone going to tell me off? And it felt somewhat liberating doing something I knew would get me arrested back home but here I was welcomed by the deed.
So regarding buying your weed, you could find special cannabis stores on the high streets that sold a huge selection of the drug itself and every single utensil used to aid smoking from bongs to an array rolling papers (some over a foot long) to special joint holders that you could use to store your spliffs safely while on the move. You could even buy seeds to grow your own cannabis plants if you so pleased. You can also buy weed in the coffee shops, of which had menus all over the bar with varying degrees of strengths, tastes and types available to purchase. The weed comes in two strains of ‘Indica’ and ‘Sativa’ or sometimes a mix of both. The two types give different kind of highs depending on what you fancy. The Indica gives a more relaxed body high and the Sativa gives you that giggly head high. The first one I opted for was a medium strength “Apple Kush” of the Indica variety, which actually tasted and smelt a bit like apples, and proceeded to mellow my whole body out and caused me into a slumped, but happy mush for the best part of the week. We then opted for a more Sativa influenced branch weed named “Kandy Kush”, which made us spend nearly a whole day curled up in a quiet coffee shop, drawing pictures of random shite and playing games that made us giggle till we couldn’t speak.
It’s felt a bit odd coming home knowing that now if I want to just spark up a J, I will probably get kicked out of whatever establishment I am in, and I do kind of miss the freedom of it all. It’s nice to have to option of just having a smoke when you fancy without any of the repercussions. It doesn't hurt anyone, no one dies from smoking marijuana, so maybe one day our little island will follow in the footsteps of our Dutch neighbours and legalise the wacky backy for all to enjoy.