AMSTERDAM’S COFFEESHOPS have a vaulted reputation. Travelers from around the world come to experience the cannabis-friendly coffeeshops that have made Amsterdam the marijuana capital of Europe. They’ve also, undoubtedly, caused more than a little confusion with people just looking for an espresso (while coffeeshops often have coffee and juice, “cafes” are the cannabis-free places for your caffeine fix). The Netherlands’ Dutch Drug and Coffee Shop Law opened the country up to selling marijuana to anyone over 18 in the 1980s, and there are now coffeeshops in every corner of the city.
Part of the appealing nature is that coffeeshops are where tourists and locals can mingle if you find a spot with the right vibe. But thanks to the sheer ubiquity of coffeeshops, few people — locals or tourists — know the ins and outs of the whole