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Dusan Vranic/AP

New Dutch Law Bans Tobacco, But Not Marijuana

July 03, 2008 12:56 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A new ban on smoking tobacco in the Netherlands’ cafés may have the unintended effect of forcing more customers to smoke pure cannabis.

30-Second Summary

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The Netherlands’ iconic coffee shops are being forced to reinvent the wheel after a new ban on smoking tobacco in restaurants and cafés went into effect July 1.

The new law bans cigarette smoking but also says that customers can no longer smoke joints that contain a mix of marijuana and tobacco in Amsterdam’s coffee shops, where millions of people go to legally buy and smoke cannabis and hashish on the premises.

Now that milder joints that contain tobacco mixed with cannabis are outlawed, customers can smoke only potent joints filled with pure marijuana, which are not regulated under the ban.

Coffee shop owners are protesting that the law will put them out of business. “It’s absurd. In other countries they look to see whether you have marijuana in your cigarette, here they’ll look to see if you’ve got cigarette in your marijuana,” said Mark Jacobson, the chairman of a coffee shop owners’ association in The Guardian.

“It’s a bit like saying to someone you can go into a cafe and you can buy a beer, but you can’t drink it there—you’ll have to stick to whisky, rum and vodka,” said Paul Wilhelm, the owner of a popular Amsterdam coffee shop, to The Guardian.

The Netherlands is just the latest country to implement a smoking ban in recent years, as it follows in the footsteps of Turkey, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and parts of the United States.

Headline Links: ‘Cannabis Law Leaves Smokers Dazed and Confused’

Related Topics: Smoking bans and teens; other countries tackle public smoking

Reference: Amsterdam’s coffee shops, Netherlands travel guide

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