The Dutch approach towards cannabis policy has always been pragmatic. Though cannabis is not legal in the country, it has been available for recreational use since 1976. It is sold in coffee shops, which have always played a vital role in Dutch tourism as nearly 25-30 percent of those who visit the country spend time in coffee shops. These coffee shops became outlets for low-volume cannabis sales operating under strict licensing conditions. They are allowed to store a maximum of 500g of cannabis on their premises at any given time. They sell it over the counter and the authorities turn a blind eye to those who have 5g or less in possession. The coffee shops, however, follow age-access restrictions and are not allowed to market it.
The other rule, which is very clear in the Netherlands, is that coffee shops themselves are not allowed to buy cannabis. Thus, the owners of these coffee shops employ third-party buyers. These buyers source cannabis and bring it into the shop.
Of late, cannabis has become a major public policy issue with Canada legalizing it for recreational purposes. Even many states in the US have legalized it for recreational purposes, while a large number of US states have legalized medical cannabis. The day is not far when it will be a regular part of the anglophone world very much like coffee or alcohol.
Making it legal to cultivate marijuana in the Netherlands will make the system more transparent. The coffee shops will no longer be required to employ buyers who help in sneaking it through the back door. It will be easier not only for the coffee shop owners but also for people. They will get better quality, more varieties, and the prices will become cheaper. Thus, it is better in multiple ways.
How to Buy Marijuana in the Netherlands?
When in the Netherlands, you should always buy it at the coffee joints and not from off-street dealers. There are about 175 coffee shops in Amsterdam alone, which offer you a weed menu with all relevant information printed in English. Alcohol is not permitted in the coffee shops, but a limited supply of cannabis is. They also keep pre-rolled joints and if you don’t want to roll your own you can buy these.
Cannabis can be good if treated with caution and respect. It is proving to be really effective in treating many ailments for which the medical world had no or little cure. No one knows when it will be legalized in the Netherlands, but till then, you can frequent the coffee shops.