Legalization supporters in the U.S. have been abuzz (excuse the pun) in recent weeks, ever since Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. So it's safe to say that heading west is a good call these days if you're planning on toking up. But heading east to our friends in Europe isn't such a bad idea, either. For example, despite the recent tourist drug ban in the Netherlands, tourists and locals alike can continue to openly smoke in Amsterdam's cafes. And numerous neighboring countries where weed is decriminalized have loose policies when it comes to the drug's recreational use. So we've come up with a list -- here are some of the best spots to smoke weed in Europe.
Though recent steps within government policies have made it seem like the Netherlands will become less tolerant towards marijuana use, Amsterdam's mayor has promised that the city's over 200 coffee shops will continue to serve locals and tourists. After all, many of the city's 1.5 million tourists visit Amsterdam solely because of its lenient policies. Marijuana use is officially decriminalized in the Netherlands, and laws banning its use are rarely enforced.
Where to Stay: The Dylan Amsterdam
The Dylan is a stylish, upscale boutique centrally located in the Canal Ring. The 41 rooms are split into six different styles, ranging from lofts with cathedral ceilings to all-white rooms to Asian-inspired spaces. All rooms have high-end amenities including Bose sound systems, stocked minibars, and Zenology toiletries. A cozy lounge, two bars, a brasserie, and a lovely courtyard with heat lamps are all draws, but the real highlight here is the Michelin-star Vinkeles restaurant, which serves contemporary French cuisine in an exclusive space with just a handful of tables. Talk about a swanky spot to cure the munchies!
Though buying and selling marijuana is a criminal offense in Spain, smoking it and/or growing it in a private space is considered a constitutional right. We'll drink smoke to that!
Where to Stay: ME Madrid Hotel
Location is definitely a big draw for the ME Madrid -- it's in Plaza de Santa Ana, the heart of the city's basically everything (eating, shopping, clubbing -- and finding some friendly folks to buy from, hint hint). But there's more to this hotel than its whereabouts. It also features some uber cool features -- 192 stylish contemporary rooms with upscale amenities, a rooftop bar with gorgeous views, a high-end spa and fitness center (next door), sexy and sleek design, a trendy restaurant and bar, and an undeniably hip clientele.
The possession of marijuana is decriminalized throughout Switzerland, but laws on its sale, transport, and cultivation vary by area (although harsh punishments are rarely enforced). The laws in Geneva are some of the most lax: In January, Geneva (as well as three other Swiss cantons) passed a law allowing the cultivation of up to four plants per person.
Where to Stay: Hotel d'Angleterre
Hotel d’Angleterre is one of Geneva’s grand dames, popular among diplomats and well-heeled travelers for its gorgeous views and opulent accommodations. It offers a convenient location right on the shores of Lake Geneva -- near shopping, dining, attractions and public transportation -- and high-end amenities such as in-room spa treatments, an acclaimed bar, and a wonderful restaurant with superb views and a popular afternoon tea service. Its 39 luxurious rooms and nine suites all feature pillow menus, iPod docks, interactive TVs, free Wi-Fi, and original artworks. And some offer stunning lake and mountain views that'll be easy enough to wax poetic about -- especially after a visit to a friend's "garden."