Hi, Evelyn! 👋

I'm from Washington State (where pot is legal but you still need a medical card) and I live in the Netherlands now, where cannabis is sold in coffee shops to anyone who is over 18 and wants it, within reason, meaning you can't buy more than 5g at a time. You're not supposed to have any more than that on your person either.

Coffee shops (which sometimes serve beverages as well, including coffee) are considered essential businesses, much like pharmacies. As a case in point, when all non-essential businesses closed down during the first 'rona outbreak, the coffee shops were swiftly re-opened by the government a few days later.


You can find out more about how it all works from the Dutch government website (it’s in English, too). The Dutch 'controlled cannabis supply chain experiment' is unique in Europe and a source of much fascination and, alas, misunderstanding. One thing for sure, embarrassment is never part of the deal here because cannabis use has been normalized and is very much part of local culture (and a draw for tourists).

Not everyone uses cannabis (it’s not cheap) but no one judges those who do.

Contrast this with my birth country, France, which has just tightened its zero tolerance policy and given cops the power to slap people with heavy fines on the spot for possessions in an effort to fight crime instead of decriminalizing… As the Netherlands have consistently shown, there’s another way for the government to create an income stream (coffee shops need a license, there are only so many available) and keep people safe. As a result, people know exactly what cannabis is and what it does.

Education, education, education.

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