Manual Amsterdam Coffee Shops: Cannabis or Cappuccino?

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It will turn coffee shops into private clubs with membership open only to Dutch residents and limited to 2, per shop.


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The Netherlands has more than coffee shops, of them in Amsterdam. The number has been steadily declining as municipalities imposed tougher regulations, such as shuttering ones close to schools. But the new membership rules are the most significant rollback in years to the traditional Dutch tolerance of marijuana use. The government argues that the move is justified to crack down on so-called "drug tourists," effectively couriers who drive over the border from neighbouring Belgium and Germany to buy large amounts of marijuana and take it home to resell.

They cause traffic and public order problems in towns along the Dutch border.

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Such issues do not exist in Amsterdam, where most tourists walk or ride bikes and buy pot for their own consumption. The weed pass "doesn't solve any problems we have here and it could create new problems," said city spokeswoman Tahira Limon. Barring tourists from coffee shops will only drive them into the hands of street dealers, warned Liza Roodhof, unwinding with a friend at an Amsterdam cafe that caters to artsy types. So you add more problems than you solve," she said. Her friend Nina Fokker, an actress, also worried about what the ban portends for the Netherlands' image as an open-minded society.

Tolerance "is something beautiful, it has something special, it has something that's authentic about the Netherlands," she said. It is not just hardcore pot heads taking a toke in the city.

Coffee Shop De Rokerij | Cannabis or Cappuccino in Coffee Sh… | Flickr

Limon said 4 million to 5 million tourists visit Amsterdam each year and around 23 per cent say they visit a coffee shop during their stay. Therese Ariaans of the Dutch tourism board said it was hard to judge the effect on tourism — it could reduce visits from people wanting to smoke pot but increase tourists previously kept away by Amsterdam's seedy side.

Amsterdam argues that the reasons coffee shops were first tolerated decades ago are still relevant today — they are well-regulated havens where people can buy soft drugs without coming into contact with dealers of hard drugs like heroin and cocaine. The conservative Dutch government introduced the new measures saying it wants to return the shops back to what they were originally intended to be: local shops selling to local people.

Best coffeeshops in Amsterdam

However the Dutch government collapsed this week and new elections are scheduled for September. It's unclear whether the new administration will keep the new measures in place. Coffee shop owners in the southern city of Maastricht have said they plan to disregard the new measure, forcing the government to prosecute them in a test case.

Search News Search web. Moving to a new location allowed Speakeasy coffeeshop to rebuild from scratch. They seemed to have embraced this opportunity. The interior of the new space is a well designed mix of contemporary and classic. On the one hand, you have brushed leather seats, tiled walls, polished wood, and a flat screen television.

On the other, you will find collages of framed pictures that pay homage to prohibition-era gangsters. It is a little bit of history which relates at some level to all cannabis businesses.

Best weed in town - 420CAFE

The shop is interesting, as much as it is comfortable and accommodating. The cannabis menu here is modest in size. Usually we find less than a dozen items of mixed weed and hash. However, sometimes that means the shop is keeping tight control over their inventory. To that, you will notice a microscope on the counter - a good sign. This is usually an indication that you are in a connoisseur shop, where they encourage customers to inspect their offerings very closely. Under a microscope you can often see things that would otherwise go unnoticed, such as broken or malformed trichomes, or bug excrement.

Not many shops invite you to examine their inventory for fear you will discover such things in your purchase. We applaud shops like Speakeasy that do this! Eerste Oosterparkstraat 47 Oost, Amsterdam. Visit Website.


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  • I have used marijuana for chronic illness for 10 years and upon landing in Amsterdam after 3 weeks in Turkey, where obviously nothing was available, I was in very bad shape. The first clerk was rather careless about what he suggested but it worked. The next days clerk was an asshole who essentially dumped 2 different joints on the counter with an attitude that I could take it or leave it.