What are coffeeshops and how are they born?

Image credits: I. Rachidi.

One of the most commonly used terms in the world when referring to premises or places where a person can stock up on cannabis is the term "coffeeshop". But...what are coffeeshops in reality and what is their history??

Coffeeshops are establishments in the Netherlands where the sale and consumption of small amounts of cannabis is permitted under certain conditions. These places offer a variety of cannabis products, such as weed, hashish and cannabis edibles, and usually have a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

How are coffeeshops different from regular coffee shops?

It is important to note that coffeeshops are not the same as traditional coffee shops, although the name may suggest otherwise. Coffeeshops do not serve coffee or alcohol, and the sale and consumption of other drugs is prohibited. It is also important to note that coffeeshops can only sell to persons over 18 years of age and that smoking is not allowed in public places, such as on the street or in parks.Image credits: I. Rachidi.

How are coffeeshops allowed in Amsterdam?

In 1972, the Netherlands established a policy known as "....gedoogbeleid"which stands for "tolerance policy". This means that possession and consumption of cannabis is allowed in small quantities, but sale and production remain illegal. However, the Dutch government decided not to enforce the law in Amsterdam's famous "coffeeshops" that sell cannabis, as long as these places meet certain requirements, such as not selling to minors and not selling other drugs.

Coffeeshops have become an important part of the culture and economy of Amsterdam and the Netherlands in general, and attract many tourists from all over the world. However, it is important to follow local laws and regulations and to respect the local culture and people.

What does the future hold for coffeeshops in Amsterdam?

Public opinion in Amsterdam on coffeeshops and marijuana tolerance policy is diverse and complex. Some residents and political groups support the current policy and consider coffeeshops to be an important tourist attraction that brings economic benefits and reduces the harm associated with drug use, while others oppose the presence of coffeeshops and argue that they may have negative effects on public health and safety.

In recent years, there has been a debate on the tolerance policy towards marijuana in the Netherlands and the possibility that the current policy will be changed. Some argue that the number of coffeeshops should be reduced or even eliminated altogether, while others argue that the current policy should be maintained and strengthened.

In any case, public opinion on coffeeshops in Amsterdam and the Netherlands in general is complex and varies according to each person's perspective. What you should be clear about is that as of May 2023, we will see a new application of the rules regulating the presence of these premises, which may mark the way forward in other European cities with respect to policies on cannabis and its consumption.

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