Amsterdam As A Non-Smoker.

Yes, I came back. No, I do not smoke.

A little background, I’ve visited Amsterdam last year around the same time with my mum and uncle. We had spent about three days there with the intentions of going to Brussels after. Except there was a bombing in Brussels, making us stay in Amsterdam for another three days. After seeing all the museums, coffee shops, red light windows, canals, and bottles of Heineken you kind of run out of things to do. We did everything but smoke. Obviously.

But for for the first part of spring break this year I had decided to return to the city with friends. Friends who are… green smokers. To say the least it was a different experience than my last visit.

We were a loose group of seven between two Airbnb’s. We were in a cozy apartment above an new ice cream shop that had opened two days after our arrival. In order to access our apartment we had to go through the shop and enter what looked like a closet, but was a set of very narrow stairs up. The street was lined with countless cafes and restaurants that screamed aesthetic. This was a dream come true for me.

There’s a difference between a CoffeeShop and a Cafe or Coffee Shop. Coffee shops sell marijuana and other drugs that are tolerated by the government– it is not legalized. Cafes, sell coffee and you loiter for hours watching videos on Facebook. Either way both were pretty cool.

For someone who has never smoked weed in their life, you could imagine what it was like to be the only sober one in the smoke room.

Throughout our stay (Thursday to Monday) we stopped at various coffeeshops. All with their own atmosphere and crowd, but all had the same thing in common: weed and orange juice. We visited BullDog, Dolphin, Green House, and  420 Cafe, to name a few.

What I’ve learned about The Amsterdam marijuana community:

  • A joint at a coffeeshop is usually mixed with tobacco, also known as a spliff. A pure joint is well… pure marijuana.
  • You can buy weed by the gram or a pre rolled joint.
  • Coffeeshops have rolling paper and filters provided. If they don’t it’s a shitty coffeeshop.
  • As a non-smoker some coffeeshops require you to buy a drink in order to stay.
  • If you want a drink while your friends smoke, they have to buy marijuana with it. This is to prevent the use of another “company’s” weed at their shop.
  •  Edibles sold in deli’s and other gift shops are not genuine, therefore buying them would not be worth your time.
  • Orange juice can make one higher, hence all the freshly squeezed orange juice offerings. No this is not a brunch affair, sadly.
  • Smart Shops around the city are open for customers to bring in any drug and have them tested to see if it is genuine. The city rather have you safe and high rather than dead.
  • Smart Shops also sell shrooms, go figure.
  • Smoking on the streets is illegal, but not much is done to enforce this law.
  • Prostitution is legal, while weed is not.

I get asked on my thoughts of “green smoking” and what it’s like to be the sober one in a group of those who smoke. Personally, I don’t enjoy the smell but very much like the Amsterdam way, I tolerate it. Green smokers don’t bother me, I don’t have anything against one’s personal choice. It is just something that does not interest me.

I think it’s pretty cool how one common thing can bring so many people together in a social setting. Like a plate of cookies, except these cookies gets you high.

Im greatful to have friends who understand and respect my perspective and did not preassure me into doing something I’m not comfortable with. All while still including me in the experience.

My advice to those who want to try marijuana or smoke in general is to surround yourself with good people who can recognize boundaries as well as respect your choices. There will always be good times for you to be part of, no need to do something you aren’t comfortable with just because everyone else is doing it.

Other than not being high, all is swell.

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