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10 Amsterdam Drug Laws That You Should Know Before Visiting

Posted on: October 28, 2017

(This article was last updated on the 14th of November, 2018.)

The Most Important Amsterdam Drug Laws For Tourists

A solid understanding of Amsterdam drug laws before you make a visit is recommended (if you plan to take drugs). We made a top 10 with the most relevant information and answers to the most asked questions during our tours! Below you’ll find our Amsterdam drug laws for tourists 2018 overview.

1. What are the legal drugs in Amsterdam?

Cannabis in all its forms is legal in Amsterdam. Think of weed, hash and even different types of cannabis oils. Hallucinatory mushrooms are also legal in Amsterdam. In Dutch we call them “truffels” or “paddos” derived from the word “paddestoel” which is Dutch for mushroom. When in Amsterdam you’ll need to ask for “truffels” to get them. In the Netherlands, Paddos have been banned but replaced by truffels, which are basically the same thing only with a different name.

Amsterdam drug laws hard drugs XTC

2. At what age are soft drugs in Amsterdam legal?

Current Dutch drug laws don’t specify a minimum age for the use of soft drugs. However coffeeshops maintain a minimum age of 18 years for going inside and buying weed. There are of course many stories of kids who are younger than 18 getting weed. When cops see a 16 year old smoking cannabis they will talk to him or her about their usage, and if they follow procedure, confiscate the cannabis. But there are nog legal consequences.
Source: Jellinek 

3. How much weed or hash are you allowed to have on you in Amsterdam or the Netherlands?

The maximum amount of cannabis that you are allowed to have on you under current Amsterdam drug laws is 5 grams per person.

Amsterdam Drug Laws Cannabis Joint

4. Can you grow your own weed in the Netherlands?

Yes, you can grow your own cannabis in the Netherlands. Every person in the Netherlands over the age of 18 is allowed to grow (not more than) 5 cannabis plants. If you do this under the age of 18 you can be prosecuted. It is forbidden to sell the cannabis that you legally bought or that you’ve grown by yourself.

5. Do Amsterdam drug laws differ when it comes to soft- and hard drugs?

The current Dutch drug law has within it two lists. List one is for hard drugs. These drugs are considered to be more harmful to your health. List two contains drugs that are less harmful than hard drugs. Cannabis, sleeping pills, sedatives and Valium are all on list number two. Drugs on list two are not illegal.

Amsterdam Drug Laws Ecstasy

6. What happens in the Netherlands when you get caught with drugs?

Possession of hard drugs is illegal in the Netherlands but the Drug laws allow for the possession of small amounts without legal consequences. For hard drugs the maximum amounts are: half a gram of cocaine, speed/ amphetamine, MDMA, methamphetamine etc. 1 XTC pill and less than 5 ml. of GHB. When you get caught with these amounts the police can confiscate them, but you won’t get a fine. If you posses more you’ll get a fine. Depending on the amounts you carry you can even get a prison sentence.
Source: Jellinek

Amsterdam Drug Laws
Translated: “Ah mom, small users are no longer punished!”

7. After my drugs are confiscated in Amsterdam, can I still return to the party?

Most events in Amsterdam (or the Netherlands) have what we call “zero tolerance” policies. This means that even if you have less than the aforementioned amounts you’ll still be denied access to the party. However this can of course vary greatly between different types of events, locations or the person who finds out about your substances.

8. What are Dutch drug laws when it comes to taking drugs and driving?

In Netherlands there are legal limits to how much drugs you can have in your system whilst sitting behind the steering wheel. These limits apply to alcohol, cocaine, amphetamine, methamfetaimne, MDMA, MDEA, MDA, cannabis, heroine, morphine, GHB etc. Taking any of these drugs together whilst driving is a punishable offence. For alchohol the legal limit is a promillage of 0,5. Men reach this level by drinking around two beers/wines within one hour. Women reach the 0,5 level even sooner. Below you’ll find the legal amounts of drugs that you are allowed to have in your bloodstream whilst driving. Our advice: just dont do any drugs or alcohol before or during a car/ bicycle ride.

Substance Measurable Substance Behavioural limiting factor in Plasma (microgram/L) Behavioural limiting factor in blood (microgram/L)
Amfetamine Amfetamine 50 mg/L 50 mg/L
Methamfetaimne Methamfetaimne 50 mg/L 50 mg/L
MDMA MDMA 50 mg/L 50 mg/L
MDEA MDEA 50 mg/L 50 mg/L
MDA MDA 50 mg/L 50 mg/L
Cannabis THC 5,0 mg/L 3,0 mg/L
Cocaine Cocaine 50 mg/L 50 mg/L
Heroine Morfine 20 mg/L 20 mg/L
Morfine Morfine 20 mg/L  20 mg/L
GHB GHB 10 mg/L 10 mg/L

Source: Dutch senate report: Analytische grenswaarden voor drugs

Amsterdam Drug Laws Alcohol
Roadside alcohol test. For drugs they take a saliva sample. 

9. Amsterdam drug testing is legal at specialised locations. Why is that allowed even though the hard drugs are illegal?

Hard drugs are illegal but the Dutch government believes in the so called “harm reduction model”. People will use drugs anyway, so it’s best to provide proper information and testing to reduce the potential amount of harm to society as much as possible. In Amsterdam, everybody can get hard and soft drugs tested anonymously here. The hard drugs will be tested on the content (ingredients, size/amount, etc) by lab-analysts.

Amsterdam Drug Laws for tourists and locals

In Amsterdam, hard drugs (like Cocaine, XTC, Speed, Ketamine, etc) can be tested anonymously at the Jellinek or GGD drug testing service. Drugs that are submitted to the employees of these organisations are analysed, if necessary in their laboratory. For some pills such as XTC which can be matched to those in their database, there is a 50% chance that the result will be given on the same day or right away. The costs for these drug tests are 2,50 euro per sample.

For soft drugs it’s not necessary to test for the contents because usually the quality of cannabis in the Netherlands is good. If it’s not, someone could just go to another coffeeshop and legally buy cannabis from a different provider. That’s the benefit of coffeeshops: they all compete with each other and try to offer the best quality possible.
Source: Jellinek

Amsterdam drug laws Coffeeshops The famous Bulldog coffeeshop located in the heart of the Red Light District.

10. Under what conditions are coffeeshops in Amsterdam allowed to operate?

Amsterdam drug laws stipulate that coffeeshops are not allowed to advertise. They can’t sell hard drugs either. Coffeeshops can’t cause any public disturbances like noise nuisance or filthiness caused by loitering customers. No entrance or sale to youth under the age of 18. No sales larger than five grams. And no coffeeshops are allowed around schools in a radius of 200 meters or 250 meters walking distance.
Source: Union Of Coffee Shop Retailers

Would you like to learn more about the history of coffeeshops and legal drugs in Amsterdam? Our Red Light District walking tours are a fun way to get to know Holland’s capital and the Dutch culture!

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One Response to 10 Amsterdam Drug Laws That You Should Know Before Visiting

  1. Christopher ryan says:

    I went to a Dutch festival last year and got fined £2000 for the amount of drugs I had on me gave them my address for contact details,,, and sent a letter saying could I pay half the amount per month back and heard nothing,,, as think was given wrong postal adreees for the right government department,,, have received a letter today summoned me to court 26th of June but supposed to flying to Amsterdam on the 21st could they detain me in airport for court

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