Everybody can do as they please, as long as they don't bother anybody else.
That's why this part is called:

Free as a bird

Is it true?

Amsterdam has had, for quite some time now, the name to be a city where everything is possible.
There are, however, limits to what you can and can't do in this city, just like everywhere else. The line might seem quite thin at first, but once you've got to know our habits a little bit you'll find that not everything is tolerated.
True, to buy some hash or weed, all you have to do is go to the nearest coffeeshop and order the smoke of your choice. You wouldn't be allowed to buy more than 5 grams, though, and if the police would find hard drugs (ie. cocaine, heroin...) in that coffeeshop (for example in a customer's pocket), they would close it down. This example serves just to illustrate the thin line.
We don't propagate the use of any drug. If that would be the case, we would have started a coffeeshop instead of a hotel. On the other hand, we don't stick our heads in the sand either. We promised you we wouldn't spare the dark sides; well here is one of them (eventhough the problem isn't just confined to Holland).

So where do I stand?

That depends entirely on what you do. Safest option is to stay away from drugs altogether, that's as clear as a bell. Furthermore, all hard drugs are illegal. Possession is punishable, and potentially dangerous for staff and management of whichever establishment you might find yourself in, as they might have to close upon discovery of your drugs.
Soft drugs are not legal, yet tolerated. One is allowed to have upto five grams in possession. Anything more than that could be regarded as a dealer's possession, and be confiscated. Coffeeshops are allowed to have upto 500 grams in stock. That's the story in short.
Reality is that not too much control is exercised. In general the police know who they're looking for without having to randomly go through people's pocketses. Still, some people are just not as lucky as they thought they would be...

What should I look out for?

First of all, do not buy anything on the streets. There are plenty of people around the Central Station, Dam square, the red light area etc.., willing and eager to sell you anything your mother would have warned you about, had she known it existed. Besides spending your money on true and utter rubbish, there is a good chance you might get robbed in the process. Avoid shady propositions in bars for the same reason.
If you feel you want to smoke cannabis whilst you are over here, go to a coffeeshop with a bit of a
BCD
reputation, preferably a member of the Cannabis Retailers Union (BCD). They're recognised by the logo on their front window (as on the right), to show their commitment towards standard quality and good information towards the public.
Further, you should realise that the Dutch grass (Nederwiet) is very strong. It is sold under various names, such as Skunk, Northern Light, Purple Haze, Shiva Shanti etc.., and knocks unexperienced smokers right out! Hash made from Dutch grass is sold as "Skuff" and is equally effective.
The simple reason for the Dutch grass being so strong is that some years ago, a few Americans with botanical knowledge decided to do some genetic experimenting with cannabis plants in Holland, resulting in one of the highest THC (the stuff on the cannabisplant that causes the "stoned" effect) levels ever found on Marihuana plants before. Seeds were spread, and many people have been perfecting their crops since .
Be warned; people have been known to fall off their barstools before...

Where does the hotel stand?

The hotel stands nowhere. If we catch you with drugs, we will throw you out and inform the law if necessary.

Continue the Amsterdam tour




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