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The weed files

Smoking weed in front of Dutch police

Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 2000 —

It may be somewhat juvenile — or touristic — but it is a pleasure in Holland to smoke weed in front of the cops.

It's officially tolerable in the Netherlands to possess a small amount of cannabis, and it is okay to smoke it in public, provided that this is done at a licensed "coffeeshop." Coffeeshops are so called because it is illegal to advertise, in text, that the business sells cannabis. (One will see the occasional characteristic leaf design painted on the window of some of the more garish establishments.)

"At a coffeeshop" can mean at the tables that sit out front, if such there are. At Coffeeshop The Rookies near Leidseplein, I had the pleasure of smoking a joint while a couple of the politie walked by. They didn't even look at me. I was minding my own business, and they theirs. Their business did not include concern for the fact that I was smoking weed.

For a person who is law-abiding in every other way, it feels good when you know that you're not interesting to the police.