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Dutch Coffeeshop Law

September 1, 2015

Are Tourists Still Allowed in Amsterdam Coffeeshops?

After the recent cancellation of the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, some may wonder whether tourists are now banned from cannabis coffeeshops, as previous media reports have suggested a tourist ban is imminent.

The answer is no, there is no ban. Tourists are still welcome in Amsterdam coffeeshops...at least for now.

A law was passed in 2012 that was to ban tourists from coffeeshops across Holland.

However a late amendment was made that allowed bans to be determined locally rather than make a sweeping national ban.

Some local municipalities decided to ban tourists, but the vast majority, like Amsterdam, have not.

Amsterdam's mayor has been a vocal opponent of a tourist ban.

Tourists Safe, But How Long?

So Amsterdam tourists are safe from a ban...end of story. Right?

Not quite.

Nothing is ever cut and dry regarding Dutch soft drugs policy.

There exists a significant anti-cannabis element in Dutch national politics.

Policy Confusion

Even after the amendment was made which allowed cities to decide locally on bans, the then Justice Minister of Holland stated shortly thereafter that ALL cities must 'eventually' ban tourists from their coffeeshops.

There's also the threat from the national government to reclassify cannabis and hash with more than 15% THC content as a 'hard drug' like cocaine and heroin, thus making them strictly illegal. Thankfully it has not happened yet, but it's come close.

Last year, solvent-based cannabis extracts like shatter and wax were outlawed, and reclassified as a hard drug.

Not so long ago, new laws made Magic Mushrooms illegal after many years of legality (but the crafty Dutch have simply replaced them in the smartshops with Magic Truffles - same high, different fungi).

With all the changes and all the threats, there's no telling what the future will bring next.

Therefore it is absolutely critical that anyone who has ever wanted to check out the crazy, one of a kind Amsterdam cannabis/coffeeshop scene, do it AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

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