Cannabis tourism in Amsterdam coffeeshops

Marijuana.com

Amsterdam is known the world over for their famous coffeeshops,  easy access to weed, and safe consumption spaces. But what is the history behind Amsterdam’s storied cannabis establishments and its seemingly permissive and lenient laws, especially given that, even in Amsterdam, cannabis remains illegal? Let’s take a look behind the scenes.  First things first: As mentioned earlier, despite all evidence that suggests otherwise, cannabis is not legal in Amsterdam locally, nor the Netherlands in general. What the Netherlands does have is progressive drug policy that distinguishes hard drugs from soft drugs.  According to the Netherlands government, hard drugs like LSD, heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, and ecstasy are incredibly hazardous to your health and have a much higher level of risk associated with their use. On the other hand, soft drugs, which include substances like cannabis, hash, sleeping pills, and sedatives, are considered to be less hazardous to your health. While not specifically decriminalized, the “more or less” official policy is one of non-enforcement for small use and possession. Prior to the distinction between hard and soft drugs, the Dutch government passed the Opium Act in 1953,  which criminalized possession and consumption of drugs that bore “unacceptable risk,” cannabis among them. However, an amendment to the act in 1976 brought about the distinction of hard and soft drugs, and was also one part of broader drug policy reforms.  How drug policy and reform shaped cannabis in the Netherlands Interestingly, an abstract on the Opium Act of 1976 amendment says that the policy not only establishes basic principles and operating practices for contemporary drug policy, but that Dutch policy is “pragmatic and non-moralistic…Within the ideology of normalization, illegal drugs are seen as a limited and manageable social problem rather than as alien threat forced on an otherwise innocent society.”  In other words, a…

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