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Corona Measures: Amsterdam Coffeeshops Open With Restrictions

A slight panic struck Amsterdam’s 420 community when, in the late afternoon of March 15th, the Dutch government announced measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. All establishments in the Netherlands, such as restaurants, bars and coffeeshops, were to be closed by 6 o’clock that evening, and were to remain closed for at least three weeks.

In a last-minute effort to secure some weed or hash in order to have something left to smoke during the impending ‘drought’, people formed long lines outside the city’s cannabis shops. In those queues, which sometimes stretched for tens of metres along the sidewalk and around corners, patrons were not keeping distance from each other. To make matters worse, at some coffeeshops the people waiting outside were being targeted by pushy street dealers who were handing out business cards and promoting their merchandise as the soon-to-be only available alternative. However, the local government took notice of that and quickly recognised the potentially harmful side-effects of a complete coffeeshop lockdown. After some deliberation, it was decided that in the course of following day the shops would be allowed to open again – be it with restrictions:

Takeaway only (no seats, no service, no toilet), everyone is to keep 1.5 metres distance from others and there is a limit on the number of customers that are allowed in the coffeeshop at one time for pickup.
On top of this, most reopened coffeeshops have added their own measures such as the placement of transparent screens on the dealer’s counter and distance markers on the floor.

Relaxing Measures

Prime Minister Mark Rutte recently announced the long awaited relaxation of most restrictions. In public buildings from June 1, a maximum of thirty people will be allowed per room. This means, for example, that movie theatres and concert halls can open again.

In addition, most establishments may also open on June 1st. There is no maximum number of people on the terraces but everyone should sit at a table and keep 1.5 meters apart.

Coffeeshops have to wait two months longer to fully open. They will be allowed to provide public access without capacity restrictions again from September 1st.

Exhibition ‘Cannabis Cuisine’ at Hash Museum Amsterdam

Everyone knows you can eat cannabis. Space cake from Amsterdam coffeeshops is world-famous, but did you know life expectancy of residents in the Chinese town of Bama Yao is well above 100? Scientists believe the secret behind this long lifespan has something to do with their diet, which contains a lot of hemp seeds.

Although the cannabis sativa is mainly known for its flowers, which can be smoked, it is also proving to be a versatile source of nutrition. Nowadays, hemp seeds are available at any supermarket and in recent years, CBD oil has been on the rise as a nutritional supplement. In the exhibition Cannabis Cuisine (1 December 2017 – 25 February 2018), the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum in Amsterdam explores the history of cannabis in nutrition, lists the healthy qualities of hemp and follows the latest trends in high cuisine.

Address: Oudezijds Achterburgwal 130, Amsterdam

Three Places In Amsterdam Where You Can Roll Up Besides Coffeeshops

In Amsterdam there are quite a few places that don’t sell weed yet allow you to roll up freely. Here you can enjoy a toke, and feast your senses on the delights these 420-friendly establishments have to offer.

1. Bars and Restaurants

Restaurants
There are coffeeshops in Amsterdam where top-notch breakfast, lunch or diner is served daily, but even more exclusive are the restaurants that don’t sell cannabis, but cater for smokers specifically. A great example is Munchies restaurant where meals are served along with a well packed vaporizer, if you so desire.

Bars
Beer and buds, whiskey and weed? It’s all possible at Amsterdam’s smoker-friendly bars. In these establishments you can’t buy weed, but they’ll let you roll up. Many bars even have complimentary papers available. For example: The Doors Palace, Batavia, The Wonder Bar, Barnies Uptown, Susie’s Salon, Cafe Soundgarden, Kashmir Lounge, and Lost In Amsterdam. (a word to the wise: keep your cigarettes out of sight in any bars or coffeeshop).

2. Clubs
Back in the day, most clubs and venues in Amsterdam would let you smoke on the dance floor, but after a new tobacco law took effect, tokers found themselves exiled to the smoking area, together with the cigarette fans. Smoking joints is generally fine in the smoking areas but if you have your doubts, just ask (or smell).

3. In Public
It may come as a surprise, but once you’re outdoors in Amsterdam you can smoke weed almost anywhere (with the exception of the Red Light District and Central Station). You can light up at a picnic in the park or during a stroll along the canal, there’s no rule against smoking in public albeit, with common courtesy.