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If every drug were removed from the planet, humans would probably grab the nearest hard object and bang themselves on the head to escape reality. The savvy Dutch realised this in 1976, when hash and marijuana were decriminalised - but never technically made legal. Sound confusing? That's because it is.
Though Amsterdam's coffeeshops - and there are some 250 of them - were legalised in 1980, they're never quite on safe territory, and are under constant watch by the law. Unlike elsewhere in the Netherlands, it's not necessary to provide proof of Dutch residency to enter coffeeshops here, but there are stringent rules relating to their location (basically: well away from schools and playgrounds) which continue to tighten as Amsterdam positions itself as a destination for high culture rather than, well, the other kind of high culture.
But what to do when you actually get through the door of a coffeeshop? To help you enjoy Amsterdam to the fullest, beyond the city’s best things to do and delightful restaurants and cafés, here are Time Out's top tips for navigating Amsterdam's cannabis cafés...