Vice Squad
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Smoking Bans and Dutch Coffee Shops

Marijuana sales for recreational use are illegal in the Netherlands, like everywhere else (April 20, 2004), but they are tolerated, as is possession and consumption, in some 700 "coffee shops". But what happens when a public smoking ban, of the broad type that applies to bars and restaurants, comes into effect? Well, presumably the ban will apply only to tobacco smoking, so that marijuana smoking in the coffee shops will still be allowed. This is not to say that the shops will not be affected by a tobacco smoking ban -- it turns out, according to this linked story, that many customers (though not visiting Americans) like to mix their mj with tobacco when consuming it, and these customers might have to find a different means of consumption, or do their smoking at home. Americans, at least in the Amsterdam shop featured in the article that is owned by a "local conservative politician," prefer to use some sort of vaporizing mechanism that collects the smoke in a "balloon," from which it is then inhaled. In a reversal of what one might think is the usual European view, the owner/politician seems to appreciate a significant American presence: 'On good days, when the shop is full of Americans, we sell 100 or 200 of these balloons.'

Thanks to Alcohol and Drugs History Society for the pointer.

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