Will Hashish Tourism Be Over in Amsterdam?


It’s probably not the first time you read a title stating that cannabis tourism might end in Amsterdam. It’s happened before. However, with a new policy in the air, the city might actually shut its coffeeshop doors to non-residents, ending cannabis tourism in Amsterdam, which truly would be the end of an era.

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For a long time, there weren’t a lot of options for tourists who wanted to find a place to smoke marijuana. The cannabis tourism in Amsterdam revolves around its coffeeshops, which have often been the best known, and sometimes only known, place where a tourist could sit and enjoy a smoke without law enforcement breathing down their neck. Things have changed though. Cannabis social clubs exist in tons of countries. Some countries have altogether legalized, with others on the way. And many of the counties that have not, have loosened their policies, often turning a blind eye to small cannabis offences. Amsterdam has already been losing its value in the last few years.

Amsterdam and cannabis

The first thing to do is to look at the general laws that govern cannabis use in the Netherlands. First and foremost, cannabis is not legal for recreational use. This is confusing to some due to the abundance of cannabis coffeeshops where people do, indeed, smoke freely. The Netherlands does consider cannabis to be a soft drug. The 1928 Opium Act made the drug illegal; however, a 1972 Policy of Tolerance was instituted, which allows the coffeeshops to operate, and for the cannabis tourism market in Amsterdam to thrive.

Local authorities have the ability to decide if a person has made a violation of cannabis law, but this happens mostly in extreme cases – like endangering a child, and law enforcement tend to look the other way for small infractions. Smoking cannabis in public places is considered illegal which is why, when in Amsterdam, you don’t find people smoking in the streets (which I can personally attest to.)

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Beth Edmonds