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Coffeeshop Fever


amsterdam marijuana cafeBy John Knetemann

I have coffeeshop fever. I have spent the past week in Amsterdam with 3 days left to go, and I have absolutely fallen in love with every coffeeshop I have stepped into. In case you didn’t know, a coffeeshop is a location in the Netherlands where you can purchase, consume, and enjoy cannabis. Basically, it is like a bar for bud, and just like bars, all coffeeshops have their own distinct atmosphere and attitude.

Right now I am sitting in a coffeeshop called “Easy Times” that has a sleek, modern look. Like many coffeeshops, it has a large sitting area full of couches, chairs, beanie bags, and anything you can put your ass into. At the front is a bar area that sells different strands of bud, along with a wide array of snacks and sodas for when the munchies kick in. In the sitting area, there is normally television, music, bands, or some kind of entertainment going on, which generally attracts the attention of the entire stoned audience.

At pretty much every coffeeshop you will get about 7-10 strands to choose from. You can then choose if you want pre-rolled joints or just a baggie, which pre-rolled is really expensive and not worth it. Once you order your weed, you will generally also get a soda or a coffee, and then enjoy yourself with your friends and family. Pretty simple and stoned fun.All coffeeshops are very different, though. Some are more techno leaning (like most things in Amsterdam), some are more rock, and others are more reggae. There are calm vibes with soft cushy couches, and there are club vibes with loud music and dancing. There is a coffeeshop for just about anyone, and luckily there is a coffeeshop at about every street corner.

However, there is something odd about coffeeshops, and odd about all of Amsterdam. As I glance around the room, and the entire city, I see everyone rolling spliffs. At my table someone is mixing bud and tobacco. The same goes for the table next to mine, and the same goes for the table next to theirs. As I walked the streets, there were spliffs as far as the eye could see. Yet there were no bongs, bubblers, vape pens, or pieces to be smoked anywhere. Not to mention, it is very rare for people here to roll a straight joint. Everyone seems to love rolling spliffs, exclusively, but there are still options for people that are 100% anti-tobacco.

I must tell you that I am absolutely mystified by this experience. I take a keen interest in markets and exchange, and this is one of the most amazing markets I have ever seen. The amount of people that come in and out of different coffeeshops and converse and exchange with others is fascinating. Money is passed along quickly, and pot is passed along quicker. It is a system we should strive for across the globe. Just like bars and alcohol, there should be marijuana alternatives for anyone, anywhere that prefers to partake in pot. The moment a coffeeshop or anything like it is opened up in the United States, I will be there.


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Johnny Green


  1. I enjoyed the article. Thanks .
    I have wondered about the situation in Amsterdam regarding the live music in the coffee shops .
    We are a band that caters big time to people who enjoy a joint and listening to tasteful electronic music Rock and reggae originals. We are planning a tour of Colorado and Washington specifically to find suitable venues for us to present our style of music specifically to people who choose to smoke and enjoy. Are there many coffee shops in Colorado or Washington who have already developed the Amsterdam approach to the businesses. Weed Coffee and great live music .

  2. Uncle Arthur: Thanks! I’ll put up a post on the blog next time I see you in here. It’s great they put this article up just in time. Have a great September, Take care.

  3. The first time you see Switzerland’s Alp’s will make you forget about Colorado. And the hashish in Switzerland is as fantastic as their mountains. Don’t get so hung up on cannabis laws in Europe.. Europeans aren’t. It’s so very American.

  4. I’m flying into Amsterdam tomorrow. I have family in Switzerland and been there many times but have never been to Holland. I’m looking forward to it immensely.

  5. heck with Amsterdam. I can just get into my car and drive to CO within a day :) far cheaper and totally legal by state standards. Why mess with Amsterdam where its not really legal even though the cops there pretty much look the other way.

  6. Scott Ellenwood on

    Great! Now… if you know any ladies looking for a broken-down American, just have them send airfare. ;) (It’s the only way *I’ll* ever get there…)

  7. In some parts of the Netherlands like near the border areas that may be true, but many other cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Leiden and others welcome all tourists in the coffee shops. I went to Amsterdam early this year and was able to visit the coffee shops. I cherish Amsterdam.

  8. To each their own, I suppose. But personally, I absolutely hate inhaling tobacco smoke. Maybe 2 or 3 times a year I’ll smoke a nice cigar, and perhaps that sounds contradictory to my previous sentence, but I don’t really think it is. And that’s as close to tobacco as I ever want to be. The smell of cigarette smoke makes me nauseous. And as for cannabis, a small pinch in a one-hit bong or small pipe is my preference. Then repeat as desired. Simple and trouble free. For me, mixing in tobacco is simply not an option. Plus, it would just ruin the taste and aromatics of a quality bud – IMHO.

  9. I remain unconvinced by your comments. Tobacco is addicting and it kills. As for your second point, dealing with the unevenness of a joint’s burning is a minor inconvenience at worst. BTW, I live in Mexico so don’t get on my case about Yanks telling others how to do things.

  10. Scott Ellenwood on

    I was under the impression that ‘Foreigners’ were no longer able to purchase Cannabis in the Coffee Shops. Has this changed or was Mr. Knetemann just visiting without smoking? Just curious

  11. There are also shops that have a “weed only” area where the bar is, so you dont have any tobacco smoke where visitors come in and another smoking area in the back/basement/upper floor where you can smoke with tobacco. There’re also many stores that have Vapes and Bongs you can borrow to smoke there. I love Amsterdam and the lifestyle over there. Good thing it’s only a 2-3hour drive :D

  12. indianstreamrepublic on

    There are a few different reasons people mix tobacco in with their weed here in Europe. One of them is to regulate the strength of the joint, and the other is to make the joint burn evenly and slower (In europe most people don’t have different words for joints with and without tobacco, most people just call everything “joint”, or use some local-slang term that means the same thing). Regarding the first point, you can regulate the strength of the joint in the same way you regulate the strength of a mixed drink. If you want a mild joint, then just put a small amount of weed and mostly tobacco. Change the tobacco/weed ratio to change the strength of the joint.

    Another benefit is to make the joint burn slower and more evenly. Tobacco burns slower than weed does, which makes the joint burn slower, which enables you to relaxe and smoke it slowly. In my experience, joints without tobacco also always burn unevenly. Whenever I smoke a joint without tobacco I’m constantly having to put saliva on one side of the joint that’s burning faster than the other.

  13. Lived in Canada 5 years. Not a lot of glass up there, either. Just joints, mostly. Their tobacco sux, so most Canadians just roll str8 herb. I with lower price weed, people don’t bother with pipes as much. Learned a lot about oil up in Nanaimo, B.C. Love that Kingbud:)

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