Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Site Notices
9/19/2017 7:27:10 PM
Posted: 5/29/2003 11:51:44 AM EDT
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (May 29) - The latest news from the mecca of marijuana users is a real mindblower. Under a new ban on smoking in public places, Dutch coffee shops would be allowed to continue selling joints, but customers would have to go outside to smoke them. To the chagrin of the owners of the country's popular marijuana smoking establishments, broad national health guidelines due to take effect next January seem to have inadvertently struck at the heart of the liberal Dutch drug policy. The law to ban smoking in public places is targeted at tobacco users, not marijuana smokers, and has met fierce resistance from eating and drinking establishments. Those businesses argued the tobacco smoking prohibition would result in the loss of 50,000 jobs and $1.5 billion in revenues annually. So the industry - as well as coffee shops which sell marijuana - has been granted a one-year extension until January 2005. Regardless, opponents say the ban will drive smoking customers at regular bars and cafes - about one in three of the Dutch smoke tobacco - across the borders to Germany and Belgium where it would still be allowed. The first coffee shop selling marijuana and hashish opened in the Netherlands in 1972 and they now number more than 800 countrywide. Growers and sellers compete in annual taste-testing competitions in Amsterdam, where millions of tourists a year sample the vast varieties advertised on menus. Besides selling small quantities of what the Dutch call ``soft-drugs,'' many coffee shops also offer patrons comfortable couches, fresh fruit juices and board games. Alcohol is generally forbidden. Reactions in Dutch coffee shops ranged from utter amazement to concern about what will happen to the three-decade-old tradition in Amsterdam of social pot smoking. ``They've got to be out of their minds,'' laughed Annemiek van Royan, a regular at the ``Kashmir Lounge'' coffee shop in West Amsterdam. Lighting up a joint of Dutch ``skunk weed,'' she said she comes every day to hang out and talk with other visitors who can lean back on colorful embroidered cushions and puff away. ``I bought a joint for now and a little more for later at home. The best part is coming here to relax. It makes my day,'' she said, asking the dealer jokingly if he was going to start selling hash cake. ``Cake is so strong, it's too dangerous. People never know how much to eat,'' said Johan de Vries, the bartender at the Kashmir Lounge. He suggested building a heated outdoor terrace to get around the new law. Health Ministry spokesman Bas Kuik said the law was not intended to target coffee shops, and - as in all public areas - they could have designated smoking areas. The sale of marijuana is officially illegal, but its use has been decriminalized. Authorities allow the coffee shops to operate under strict guidelines as a way of exerting some control over behavior that they argue would happen anyway. Studies show that use of such drugs is no greater in the Netherlands than in countries where its is banned. Even the head of the anti-smoking lobby Clean Air Now, Willem van den Oetelaar, conceded that banning pot smoking in coffee shops had not been the intended purpose of the campaign to stop public smoking. But he still backed the move. ``It's not our priority, but it is a good thing,'' he said. Van den Oetelaar said the organization's telephone hot line had received more than 2,000 complaints about smoking in public places since October - but not one complaint about a coffee shop. 05/29/03 07:49 EDT Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.[/url]
Link Posted: 5/30/2003 9:12:03 AM EDT
Cannibis is good, but tobacco is bad? What have these people been smoking? [ROFL] Why do you think they call it dope?
Link Posted: 5/31/2003 6:34:25 AM EDT
The never-ending unintended consequences of the do-gooders...
Link Posted: 5/31/2003 7:03:35 AM EDT
Sounds like Boulder.......
Top Top