I went to visit a friend in Amsterdam this weekend and to escape the rain we decided to stop by a few Coffeeshops. For those who do not know, you go to a Café for coffee and to a Coffeeshop for marijuana. So if you are traveling with your grandmother, looking to get in touch with your Dutch roots, I would suggest you remember this. Unless your grandmother gets down like that, then by all means.
Unlike the many bars that line the streets of different cities around the world, there wasn’t any commotion in or around these shops. Everyone just seemed to mind their own business as they casually smoked marijuana.
As I walked around the city, I wanted to get a better understanding of the local Coffeeshop scene. However, I could barely find anyone who actually went to them. From what I concluded, an overwhelming majority of the patrons were foreign visitors. They were people traveling from another country who wanted to have the cliché Amsterdam experience.
In 2012 the Netherlands introduced legislation that allowed each city to decide the fate of their Coffeeshops. In one example the city of Maastricht – among others – decided to ban foreigners from entering any establishment which sold marijuana products. The end result has been a loss of tourist dollars and the reemergence of street dealers. Foreigners still cross the border to purchase marijuana and either smoke it there or bring it back to their country of origin, the only difference is the country is missing out on the tax money.