Let’s first get the biggest mistake made immediately straight:
Lots of people think cannabis is legal within The Netherlands. Well, it’s really not…
In The Netherlands the substances which are commonly seen as ‘illegal drugs’ are divided by law into 2 groups: harddrugs (List I) and softdrugs (List II).
Cannabis is seen as a softdrug. Within the Netherlands there is no active prosecution against the individual users of softdrugs, but the substances itself maintain illegal.
The Dutch created for this their own official ‘Policy of Tolerance’ (in Dutch: ‘Gedoogbeleid’). The government formulates it way more difficult, but in streetterms you can just explain it as an official ‘closing of the eyes’.
This Policy of Tolerance does have its limits: - It's not allowed to possess more then 5 grams of cannabis in a public area or 30 grams in a private area. - For cultivation you may not exceed the amount of 5 plants.
When you exceed these limits the tolerance stops and there will be some legal charges against you, when busted of course. So if you just follow these limits above you won’t have to worry about legal troubles at all.
Update December, 2010
New drug policy for Amsterdam? In December 2010 the freshly installed Dutch government announced their plan to make coffeeshops for Dutch people only by introducing so-called 'weed passes'. With no doubt, this will have an enormous impact on the city of Amsterdam as we all know it. But don't panic yet... At this moment it's still a plan and nothing more and it will be real difficult to make it a reality. There's nothing known yet about a time schedule for this plan. Of course we will keep you up to date when something changes. For now, come join the party!