Amsterdam Feature



Only two decades after the Dutch government condoned the sale of marijuana and hash under the Opium Act of 1976, another "soft drug" came onto the scene: psilocybin. More commonly known as magic mushrooms, or paddos, psilocybin was legal until December 2008. The stuff was banned after some fatal accidents with visitors (even though paddo consumption was never proven). The ban still stands and smart shops can no longer sell the mushrooms, either fresh or dried. Smart shops are still allowed to sell a veritable salad of other "natural" high-producing substances—peyote, aphrodisiacal herbs and oils, and herbal XTC.

If you choose to take any of these products, use your own innate smarts: not only are many of them illegal if carried outside the Netherlands, they can produce strong—and not necessarily pleasant—judgment-impairing hallucinations.

Kokopelli. Dating from 1994, the city's first smart shop promotes "mind-body awareness." Besides the usual suspects of "natural" drugs," you'll find a selection of "harm reduction kits" said to speed up the recovery process after a hyperconscious weekend. In the back of the shop you can experiment under the safe guidance of the knowledgeable staff, accompanied by loungy beats. Warmoestraat 12, The Old City Center (Het Centrum), Amsterdam, 1012 JD. 020/421–7000.

Inner Space. "The only legal coke alternative" and liquid drops to produce "that real MDMA feeling" are among the products sold here. So are mushroom grow kits, marijuana seeds, and some good ol' vitamin C. Spuistraat 108, The Old City Center (Het Centrum), Amsterdam, 1012 VA. 020/624–3338. Staalstraat 5, 1011 JJ. 020/320–0064. Mon.-Sat. 11-9, Sun. 12-9.

Updated: 2013-11-20

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