How many grams of weed can you have in your pocket?
A well-known myth about Dutch drug policy is that weed and hashish are legal. Although in principle you can buy it in a coffee shop without any problems and you can smoke it in public, strictly speaking this is not the case. According to the law, the sale of soft drugs, which includes cannabis, is still prohibited. If you have more than the permitted amount in your pocket, you run the risk of being prosecuted for it. What exactly is the situation with cannabis policy in the Netherlands, and how much weed can you carry on the street?
The Netherlands has a unique policy when it comes to soft drugs, i.e. weed and hashish. It is allowed to have weed or hash with you in limited quantities for personal use. This amount is set at 5 grams per person. If you have more cannabis in your pocket, it can be seen as an indication for sale, also known as a dealer indication. In that case, there is drug trafficking, which is illegal. So if you stay within the allowed maximum of 5 grams, you don't have to worry about being penalized. The only thing that can happen if the police know you have 5 grams or less in your pocket is that you have to hand it over. You will not receive a ticket or other punishment. This policy, also known as the tolerance policy, was established in the 70s and has been one of the reasons why cannabis culture and coffee shops were able to arise and flourish in the Netherlands.
So the sale of soft drugs is illegal, but what about coffee shops? A special policy also applies here, which means that coffee shops are allowed to sell weed and hashish under strict conditions. One of those conditions has to do with the quantity that can be sold to a customer. The coffee shop must adhere to a maximum of 5 grams per customer per day. In addition, the coffee shop is allowed to have a trading stock of 500 grams in the shop. Together with a number of other strict conditions, such as an alcohol and advertising ban, the sale of cannabis in the Netherlands is allowed, or rather 'tolerated'.