Amsterdam Has Cracked Down on Cannabis, But Europe Has Other Options

Amsterdam Has Cracked Down on Cannabis, But Europe Has Other Options

Red Light Bar Coffee Shop, a tourist favorite that serves cannabis and alcohol—and don't forget the women dancing behind glass. (Image: Budhaze)

When you think about cannabis, usually the subject of Amsterdam pops up somewhere along the way. Amsterdam has always been thought of as the “Capital of Cannabis” since it was the first city to introduce cannabis cafes (or “coffee shops”) in the early 1970s where locals could go spark a joint without The Man (i.e., the government) breathing down their backs. However due to the country’s new laws, it’s not nearly as simple as one might have thought.

A lot of people don’t realize how much has changed in Amsterdam since the ’90s. Yes, smoking marijuana in Amsterdam is still legal; and yes, you can still buy upwards of 5 grams of cannabis at these specialty coffee shops (and only these coffee shops), but since 1999 hundreds of these cafes have closed their doors. Due to the fact buying large amounts of cannabis is still illegal in the Netherlands, these coffee shops are forced to apply a “back door policy”, where the cafes will turn to illegal drug suppliers for their cannabis and sneak it through the back door. Once the product is in the coffee shop, it becomes legal.

Infamous Amsterdam cafe for tourists and backpackers, Coffee Shop Smokey.

Although Holland is no longer the swingin’ hash hot-spot it used to be, countries all over Europe still turn to the Netherlands for their cannabis needs and information. Once upon a time, the Netherlands even considered closing its weed borders to foreigners and only allowing national residents to toke in peace. Luckily that law didn’t pass, but thankfully for those who can’t keep making the journey to the cannabis-friendly Venice of the North, there are still Netherlands companies working towards legalization and supplying Europe with products, grow tips, information, and more.

The prime example of this is, one of Europe's largest online cannabis stores. Unlike your typical online-herb shop, Zamnesia does not sell cannabis—but what they do offer is much more valuable. If you give a man an quarter of weed, he gets high for a week; if you teach a man how to grow weed, he gets high for a lifetime. Zamnesia does just that. They offer a HUGE selection of seeds (more than 1000 types, to be exact) ranging from outdoor to auto-flowering.

Zamnesia is not just a seed-selling site. They sell anything your cannabis-loving heart desires. (Seriously, they’re like the cannabis angels sent to help those living in European prohibitionist countries.)

What they offer:

·      They are a full headshop – Water pipes, vaporizers, how-to books, grinders, hemp food, etc. Again, they sell EVERTHING.

·      CBD shop – This was very refreshing to see. This is perfect for those who use cannabis strictly for its medicinal purposes. Because the THC content is so low, it is completely legal to buy and sell these CBD-only products. This shop is very valuable to those suffering from cancer, epilepsy, or the countless other ailments CBD has been proven to alleviate or even treat.

·      Shroom shop – From magic truffles to the popular ready-to-grow kinds.

·      Smartshop – Salvia, ayahuasca, peyote, and even aphrodisiacs. (Did I mention the freakin’ ayahuasca?)

·      Discreet shipping – They ship all over the Netherlands and to the EU and Great Britain, as well.

Zamnesia’s shipping packages.

For many travelers with their eyes set on Amsterdam as the number-one stoner destination, they might be just slightly disappointed. Even though Amsterdam is still the European grandfather (if you will) of cannabis culture, for now, things aren’t the same as they were in the go-go ’70s. I hope to one day live in a world where cannabis and other soft drugs (as they are labeled in the Netherlands) will be legal to obtain, a world where you can go down to your local café and order an ashtray and some rolling papers the same way you order a beer in a cool glass—but until then, trailblazers like will be there to make the process just a little safer and easier for those living in Europe.