There are several places in Europe where cannabis use is as much a part of the culture as French wine and Italian coffee.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a huge increase in weed – otherwise known as cannabis or marijuana – legalized for medical purposes across the board. CBD oil and hemp in particular have seen increasing popularity in markets ranging from skin care to wellness.
While the elements of cannabis have their benefits, the science isn’t working in favor of recreational co-smokers. The drug is strongly associated with mental and physical health problems, including psychosis and schizophrenia.
So why have some places decriminalized it?
Well, the point is, when it comes to psychotropic substances, weed is one of the softer drugs. It is believed to be on a par with alcohol (which is completely legal across the continent for those with legitimate ID). So rather than wasting the bills and time associated with criminal offenses, in some countries there is more of a ‘we would rather you don’t, but if you have to’ mentality.
Let’s find out where these places are.
Probably the cannabis capital of the world, Amsterdam is famous for a lot of things including tulips and tiered rooftops. But one thing that sets it apart from other European capitals is its additional associations with tabs and tokens.
It has been legal to smoke weed in coffee shops in Amsterdam for years, but growing the plant for personal leisure or as unregistered income is still considered a criminal offense.
While cannabis is a big draw to this city’s tourist scene, let’s not forget that it is also home to some of the greatest works of art in the world. Amsterdam is a maze of waterways, deep-rooted history, stunning architecture, and delicious food, including waffles and pancakes. If weed doesn’t create an appetite, growing certainly will.
Or more specifically, Freetown Christiania, the anarchist neighborhood that once housed an open cannabis business.
This part of town was taken over by hippies in the 1970s and has since grown to a population of 900 people living regardless of Danish government rules. It became known as the “Green Light District”, where people flocked to acquire all types of cannabis that were totally banned in other parts of Denmark.
Sadly, the community found itself at a crossroads when drug-related violence erupted in the area once too often. This put an end to all free trade, and Christiania has since become better known for its colorful street grounds, range of cafes and restaurants, and Christmas markets.
Barcelona is fast becoming the second cannabis capital in Europe. But like in most cities where cannabis is considered “okay,” it’s not technically legal.
You can use the substance in the privacy of your own home or at a licensed social club. Transportation, possession and consumption in public are still illegal.
Cannabis clubs are the approved places of consumption that can be found scattered across the city. Unlike cafes in Amsterdam, they require a subscription and are not allowed to advertise their services. But ultimately there are 300 in Spain’s second largest city and apparently membership is fairly easy to acquire.
Of course, tourists can also travel to Barcelona to absorb Gaudi’s incredible architectural feats, to taste local paella or Catalan cream.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is the ultimate destination for budget backpackers, and – although we aren’t making generalizations – often on the road to “ find themselves ” travelers are known to stumble upon the weird stuff which, ironically. , can help you forget your own name and potentially lose your wallet.
Again, the weed isn’t quite legal in Prague – but as long as you’re under 15 grams you should be good to go. No sign of exclusive Barcelona clubs or Amsterdam cafes here, but some bars will sell it over the counter.
Prague is best known for its historic architecture, a tribute to medieval Europe.