Coffeeshops are establishments in the Netherlands where the sale of cannabis for personal consumption by the public is tolerated by the local authorities (in Dutch called: gedoogbeleid) Under the drug policy of the Netherlands, the sale of cannabis products in small quantities is allowed by 'licensed' coffeeshops.
The majority of these "coffeeshops" (in Dutch written as one word) also serve drinks and food. Not to be confused with Dutch coffee houses which are not serving marijuana are called koffiehuis (literally "coffee house"), while a café is the equivalent of a bar. coffeeshops are not allowed to serve alcohol or other drugs, and risk closure if they are found to be selling soft drugs to minors (under 18 years), hard drugs or selling alcohol without a license.
The idea of coffeeshops was introduced in the 1970s for the explicit purpose of keeping hard and soft drugs separated.The Dutch government announced in October 2011 that coffeeshops will be banned from selling “strong” cannabis, in which the active ingredient THC is higher than 15 percent.