Anyone who has ever been to Amsterdam seems to have a wonderful time regaling his or her American friends with stories of the city’s lax drug laws. Marijuana use is legal in Amsterdam’s bars and coffee houses that choose to offer such niceties. They even have a variety of bongs and pipes for sale or use. While Belgian law technically forbids the possession of cannabis, if an adult is carrying less than 3 grams for personal use, penalties are almost unheard of.
Stay Off The Midnight Express
It would not be wise, though, to try and travel through Europe with a baggie of pot on your person or in your luggage. With so much travel by rail, there are plenty of opportunities for the authorities to conduct searches. The French, in particular, are very tough on smuggling even tiny amounts of marijuana across their border. They practically prey on naive tourists. Most seasoned travelers would advise you that there is enough herb in each country to be had by all. Get it from the locals.
Merry Olde England, Indeed
Our old friends across the pond, the British, take a much more liberal view of recreational drug use than what we see here in the United States. Marijuana, in particular, has been listed as a Schedule C drug, not worthy of prosecution in a criminal court. This has allowed them to divert resources to more problematic drug use in society, such as heroin – which is also treated as more of a health issue, in individual cases, than it is here in the United States.
Still other countries (including 16 states in the USA) have kept their arcane cannabis laws on the books but have carved out exceptions for medical marijuana. The zero-tolerance types see this as an erosion of the stranglehold that law enforcement has held on casual drug users since 1937. At long last, those people may have a point.