Marijuana in Europe : 2009
Ethnocentric Americans believe that because something is illegal in the US, it's wrong everywhere. However, many Europeans believe that marijuana is a recreational drug to be enjoyed by adults — much like alcohol. Those interested in "going local" with respect to marijuana during their European travels have few ways to compare notes. Let this be a forum for discussion. Was it safe to smoke? Did you feel comfortable? Did it add to your travel experience? Any pitfalls to avoid?
Editor's note: This board is monitored closely for inappropriate postings. If you would like to post a message, please read the topic introduction and our Spraypainters' Guidelines carefully. Solicitations to buy or sell marijuana, and postings concerning trafficking marijuana across borders, will be deleted. This board is for tips only.
POT in AMS
I was recently in AMS, with my sister and an friend, and of course ventured into a coffee shop. Had a blast! I noticed the smell everywhere in the red light district, but when my sister decided to light up sitting outside our hotel(a street away from the RLD), the bartender came out and scolded her, even thought the chap at the front desk told her to "go ahead and enjoy yourself." It was funny to me that the bartender told her, "well, go ahead and finish it, but don't have any more..." So, I would suggest keeping it in the coffee shops.
oh USA Sun 12/06/2009
Just like the '60s!
THIS explains why so much of Montmartre smelled of marijuana last week! Seemed to be more of it per square meter there than in any of the other places we visited in Paris. Didn't actually mind it... reminded me of the '60s (even though I didn't use even then). We flew back to Boston the next day, and I was concerned that the drug-sniffing German Shepherds and Beagles at Logan might detect traces of second-hand smoke on my clothes. (But they didn't.)
Winchester, MA USA Mon 11/16/2009
7th sign of the Apocalypse!
OMG! Rick Steves actually goes to wineries while in Europe and has a "Beer" thread on his website? How HORRIBLE! Let alone having a thread on mary jane!
Except for the fact that wine, beer and (Yes!) marijuana are part of the fabric of European culture. The wine is exquisite, the beer is better than most available in the U.S. and they BOTH are very much a part of everyday life in Europe!
What's more Parisian than having a glass of wine in a sidewalk cafe? What's more German than hoisting a stein? And don't get me started about London or Prague! Besides! When most of us travel to Europe - it's a VACATION - time to let our hair down a bit!
If the Netherlands has decided they would prefer to tolerate the use of marijuana to remove the criminal element (it's STILL not technically legal, even in Amsterdam) - that is THEIR choice!
And yes, I've been to the wineries, breweries AND coffee shops in Europe and I have hurt absolutely no one. Although I did feel a little weird when the politzei wandered past the window of the coffee shop in AMS I was sitting in (joint in hand)...... they just smiled and moved on..........
Maybe those who disagree should just stay home instead of lecturing the rest of us on how we should enjoy our travels.
By the way..... I would recommend that anyone going to Amsterdam to inhale NOT consider crossing ANY borders with ANY paraphanelia or product - the hassle (if you get caught) is way too much to deal with..... Is it worth ruining a European vacation? No......
San Diego, CA USA Sun 09/20/2009
Wow, "Cindy" needs to get a life. She's obviously the product of an extremely strict, mega-conservative and probably ultra-religious upbringing.... which in itself is fine, that's her problem - but she has NO RIGHT to make it my problem (or anyone else on here). She is part of a very, very small minority. As far as I'm concerned, people are free to do whatever they want so long as it does not infringe on anyone else's space or rights. Rick is the BEST - I've been to Europe twice in the past 3 years with his books and tips, and never been steered wrong. Keep up the good work.
AZ USA Fri 09/18/2009
We are planning a spring 2010 trip to Europe. We might start in Amsterdam and drive, train and maybe fly around the EU. Is one stopped at borders between these countries when traveling by car or train? Are planes traveling between these EU countries subject to great scrutiny? Thanks in advance for your input
concord, ma USA Thu 09/17/2009
By no means should you attempt to get on any plane in Europe with marijuana. You will be in some deep shit if you get caught, seriously.
You should really be aware that most countries in Europe do not look positively upon posession.
Keep the weed in Amsterdam and enjoy your travels thru Europe. There is enough beer, wine , and women to appease your senses.
Philly, PA USA Thu 09/17/2009
Thanks for trying to enlighten Americans, Rick
I think it's great that this forum is here. Marijuana is legal in some European countries and illegal in others. As long as travelers are not breaking laws in the country they are in, then they are welcome to experiment if they choose. For those that are against this forum, Marijuana use is not a moral issue. It is not "wrong" and neither is alcohol consumption. It is a choice to be made by consenting adults, just as we in America have the choice of which religion to practice, what foods to eat, and whether or not to travel. Censorship is never a good idea. Don't condemn Rick Steves because he is open minded.
Westport, CT USA Sat 09/05/2009
Terrible That Cindy Reads About Marijuana (and Wine and Beer)
The great thing about the internet is that you don't have to return to sites whose content offend you or that you have no use for. Plenty of worldly travelers enjoy this site and rely on it for realistic information. Marijuana use is legal in some form in at least 13 states and tolerated world-wide (especially in the Netherlands). Wine and beer are legal, shockingly, almost everywhere. Some people really do need to travel more.
Cleveland, OH USA Sun 08/23/2009
Rick IS an Adult ....
Say what you will about marijuana (everyone has an opinion) but to berate Rick for drinking, having a "Beer" forum or touring a winery is way too judgmental. Alcohol is LEGAL for those of proper drinking age in their state. As far as your views on marijuana, you can say whatever you like. Even if you do sound shrill ...
St. Petersburg, FL USA Sat 08/22/2009
Terrible That you Talk About Marijuana
You talk about inappropriate comments; well don't you think that anything where you talk about smoking pot is inappropriate??? Even if it is legal in such and such country, just the fact that you would have a message board where people can say positive things about lighting up a joint is just terrible!! Your show and website sets a terrible example. It's bad enough you promote and glorify alcohol (you have a BEER thread, and today I saw a show where you toured a WINERY) and now this--having a thread where people tell about their pot experiences. Even if it is legal, that doesn't make it right and you know it. I just can't believe that you, Rick, as a grown adult and a father, would ever use alcohol or do anything like this, having a POT board. It is just terrible. Again, you say you monitor this thread for innappropriate comments like selling pot, etc. Yet the fact that you have a board discussing this subject at all is TOTALLY inappropriate!
Rock Island, IL USA Sun 08/16/2009
I just wanted to make a note about Sweden, as I have just moved here after a year of living in the Netherlands. (I am originally from Portland, Oregon). Marijuana is not tolerated here, and Sweden has the harshest anti-marijuana laws in the EU. It is illegal to have marijuana in your system and police have the right to force you to take a urine or blood test if they suspect you might be stoned, and the punishment can be 6 months in prison, although it's usually a fine. Though the cultivation and use of marijuana in Sweden has grown in recent years, many Swedes believe that marijuana is a hard drug, on par with meth, heroine and crack cocaine. Anti-drug campaigns here claim that people who have smoked pot are likely to have a psychotic episode at any moment and are liable to deceive and steal from those around them. In 2008 a woman with multiple sclerosis was given EXTRA time in prison for having used marijuana medically, as medical use is considered aggravated use. Just an example to show how severe the government is on this issue here in Sweden.
Portland/Stockholm, OR USA Tue 08/11/2009
In Amsterdam we checked out a "coffeeshop" a block from our houseboat. Three of the 4 of us wanted to sample the MaryJane.
I did not. I was the "designated escort", having been down this road decades ago. Two of them had been too.
The young man working the window walked us thru the whole experience with great aplomb. We were the oldest people there, and we were upfront about being tourists and not knowing what to do.
Everyone else in there ignored us. It was amazingly quiet, unlike almost every bar I've ever been in.
It was a fine experience and evidently the product was of high quality. It was smart to try a place only a block away. I could just imagine getting these 3 on a tram.
Since the coffeeshop was a block from our houseboat, we went back 2 more times just to use the free Internet.
And drink actual coffee, which was good too.
We experienced no problems, other than not being able to sign onto the wireless Internet.
However after watching the other people hanging out in the coffeeshop, I can say I'm glad I didn't spend the last 30 years partaking.
Portland, OR USA Sat 07/25/2009
I do not believe that argument behind illegalizing marijuana. The key flaw in this argument is as follows. Upon legalization, marijuana sales would generate a significant amount of tax income for any government, prosecuting smokers does no such thing.
With this kind of income, and that saved by not prosecuting, a large amount of productive employment would be created, creating infrastrucure, bettering other municipal or federal sevices.
Arguing that these manhours put into prosecuting is beneficial is ignoring several points, which city could not use more police patrolling, preventing real crimes in the worse neighbourhoods? Which of the law services are not inundated in cases, causing delays?
The reason it is illegal is entirely political, there are still a lot of people who are very much against it. Until this changes, the laws will not.
Toronto, ON Canada Tue 06/02/2009
I traveled in Europe a few years ago and greatly enjoyed Amsterdam and the coffeeshops there among many other things! We asked locals what it would be like to carry a small amount of cannabis to France (our next destination.) We were told that a small amount - no problem but not to our next destination - Morroco. And definately not home to the U.S.! Had read about hash and kif in Morrocco - found none! Even in Marrakesh - but did not look that hard.
Chicago, Il USA Thu 03/12/2009
the pot issue
Do not do drugs in Europe. Enforcement can be random, but if they want to prosecute you, they will, and it won't be pleasant. Students get sent home to the US regularly for smoking pot in the UK. So, why risk ruining your trip?
Laguna Niguel, CA USA Wed 02/18/2009
why it is so
"The EU cannot legalize marijuana without upsetting foreign relations. Watch the movie GRASS. It sheds some light on the issue. Personally, I heard that the US signed a pact with the EU not to legalize marijuana and if they did it would upset foreign relations among the countries."
That is all wrong. I mean no offense, a lot of people think this, and I can 100% see where you are coming from. The whole issue demands an explanation, and this one seems rational, at least.
But that isn't the reason pot is illegal. If you want to understand why pot is illegal..... all you have to do is this:
Go into a public place and light a joint next to some police men. Right? Crazy, I know, but, if you do as I say, you'll learn something. From this point forward, start counting the number of government employed man hours are spent on your case. Count the hours spent by the cops, the lawyers, the court clerks, the chemists who test the sample, the doctors who lecture, and every other person who is employed by the government to process your case.
Now add these hours up, and multiply by the hourly rate these folks get paid. Now multiply that figure by the amount of pot cases processed by the courts in your country. Bear in mind that a lot of them are lawyers. By now something should have occurred to you, and this is that your CRIME is keeping a whole lot of otherwise redundant folks in work.
Our western societies are not capitalistic 100%. We have market capitalism for those who can afford international companies, but for most folks the government is a major employer, basically a big business, employing a lot of people and spending a whole lot of tax dollars.
Anyone who understands how many people are employed by keeping pot criminal understands that it is political suicide to make it legal. I mean, you are talking about sacking a whole lot of police, and making a whole lot of lawyers redundant.
It was never great power politics that made pot illegal, and keeps it so. No way. There is no grand conspiracy.
The sad and mundane reality is that pot was made illegal because the people who wrote those laws were exactly the same people who owned the police unions, and who owned the law firms that had government contracts to process petty crime.
And now, a politician who proposes legalizing pot is taking on the police union, and the law firms who have government contracts to provide "free" legal aid to people who, frankly, can't afford to drink. Now I know most of us here smoke because we like it, but that isn't how pot smoking was seen when it was the blacks and there white friends who were smoking it, back in the days before organized police unions and government legal aid.
Do the math on how much political and economic power has a vested interest in the crime of smoking weed, and you begin to understand why it will always remain illegal in countries that have their legislative system as representative democracy, where the laws are made by the lobbyists for the lobbyists.
So the way I see it, pot smokers support our great society. Remember the next time the law uses you for an excuse to be a hero, to tell the man: "You don't need to thank me, dude. I know you wouldn't have a job if I didn't smoke weed, but that is OK. We all have our role to play. You're a hero, and I'm a villain. It is nothing personal. I get it."
Luzern, Obwald Switzerland Mon 01/26/2009