Weed Rules in Amsterdam and the netherlands
26 juni 2020

Do you know our Dutch Weed Law?

The Netherlands is a forward striving country. Making use of rules and regulations, the Dutch have established one of the most decent societies to live in till this day. With logic and economics in mind, rule givers try to shape the country into a more pleasant iteration every day. Although the Dutch trail of thought stems from economics and logic, some laws implemented are a bit odd and don’t seem clear to some visitors or locals.

tweede kamer coffeeshops cannabis regulations

In the eyes of a foreigner, Amsterdam seems like a lawless party zone where you can do whatever you want wherever you want. This is obviously false. There are strict rules and regulations in place for the consumption of alcohol, not allowed to be consumed on the streets, and the acquisition of cannabis which can be exclusively bought at the coffeeshop. Here we try to shine some light on a decent way to consume and buy cannabis in Amsterdam. So, if there are rules and regulations for cannabis, what are they?

Smoking weed at the park

Smoking on the streets

If you have visited Amsterdam, you must have seen people smoke weed, surely not an uncommon sight. There are three types of ban assigned by local municipality, catering the residents of the region. You have: no ban, local ban and full ban. Amsterdam uses the local ban policy. Banning public use of hard drugs and alcohol but not of cannabis. A few places, Mercatorplein in Amsterdam for example, received the full ban treatment, namely no consumption of effect inducing drugs.  verbodsborden cannabis en alcoholExperts proclaim this to be a better solution than banning the city of smoking in public entirely. The full ban policy holds ground in about 60% of public space within the whole of the Netherlands. Even though it is authorized to smoke on the streets of the capital, we want to urge people to pick a location that is of as little disturbance as possible to non-smokers and locals. The freedom to smoke cannabis is one of the great perks of the city, and we’d like to keep it that way. Stay decent!

rules on carrying cannabis

Carrying and buying

Buying and carrying cannabis is often perceived as “legal” while it is not. The right term would be “tolerated” or “gedoogd” in Dutch. This toleration policy can be explained in the following manner. Selling from a coffee shop is tolerated, while buying as a coffee shop is considered criminal. A coffee shop may hold up to a maximum of 500 grams of cannabis product on premise at any time. If stocks pass the 500 gram mark, the business is considered criminal. One may carry and buy up to 5 grams of cannabis per person, if again this limit is exceeded, it is considered an offence. Until these limits are exceeded, law enforcement will turn a blind eye to users of the soft drug. Sentences vary depending on the scale of offence committed by the individual. For a smaller crime like carrying 5 to 30 grams you will get a substantial money fee. For carrying more than 30 grams you will get time in prison, again depending on the scale of offence.


Growing weed

While the production of cannabis is certainly possible, you still need to be careful. As soon as the judge thinks you are growing to sell, you will be fined massively and will most likely get jail time. There is a list of criteria one has to follow to prove and seem like one is a hobby grower. Written in law, there two overarching criteria; scale and professionalism. Scale is

grow your  own

simply the amount of plants grown. Professionalism is measured by the use of lamps, ventilation systems, water systems, nets, SCROG, SOG, fertilizers, and on goes the list.

Scale can show that you are growing to much for a singular person, so the assumption is a person is growing to sell. The same goes for professionalism, if the setup used to grow marijuana is to advanced and expensive, the assumption is it’s meant for commercial- instead of personal use. These rules are obviously crooked and thus in practice, sentences tend to be different from what is established by law. Even though scale counts just as much as professionalism, in court judges tend to be lenient towards the level of professionalism practiced. Every clear headed judge can see that two plants grown professionally are not likely to be sold to a coffeeshop or on the street. However, if we flip the two, fifteen plants grown unprofessionally most likely will be used for commercial purposes. In the end it is easy to explain it this way; five plants in the open sun are legal, the police may take them away, but they cannot sentence you. As soon as you grow indoors with a lamp, it turns criminal. When you introduce a lamp to your growing process, you will need ventilation and fertilizer as well, exceeding the amateur mark.

Dutch coalition testing controlled cannabis cultivation

All in all, the Netherlands is a country where the use of weed is possible. But it’s hard to know and learn how to do it properly. Most popular dutch political parties are opposed to weed, a good reason why it is still not legal but “tolerated”. Hopefully the future will give us rules and regulation that make a bit more sense.

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Written by
Peije Steinz