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Topic: Why screw with a good thing? Return to archive
05-29-03 12:30 PM
Dutch Potheads Decry New No-Smoking Law
Thursday, May 29, 2003

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — 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 it 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.


Shit ain't right

05-29-03 12:32 PM

< ---- Excellent Howard Carter like find Nanky !

Agreed little buddy ! You are much loved by the Joey !

Jacky Boy !
05-29-03 12:36 PM
steel driving hammer That does suck but there's plenty of outside patios, decks, balconys, tables to enjoy.

Strange the Dutch would be in favor of that law...
05-29-03 04:32 PM
LadyJane 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.

Can I still keep my US citizenship if I move to Amsterdam?

05-29-03 10:18 PM
littleredrooster I think the Amsterdam Arena show will be special,INDEED!
I can't wait till August!!!
05-30-03 11:13 AM
egon sometimes our little country just goes too far.

am sure the law will pass, but then we will still "allow" it.

like is the case with bying/selling/smoking softdrugs itself!
05-30-03 11:38 AM
Brown Sugar

05-30-03 03:56 PM
Moonisup A friend of mine gave me 15 grams of that shit today, hahaha 1 problem, I don't smoke that shit, shall I burn it, and make an evil dance around it?
05-30-03 04:02 PM
nankerphelge Hell no!

Send it to me!

05-30-03 04:06 PM
Moonisup I doubt if it would get through, hehe, the dogs would smell it!

haha, well I'd like to send it to you, but I think the US customs, don't like the dutch that much, hahah, we have a 'certain name' when it comes to drugs
[Edited by Moonisup]
05-30-03 06:07 PM
steel driving hammer For every action, there is a reaction...

Potent Absinthe Mix Stirs Up Controversy
Fri May 30,10:20 AM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - Absinthe, the fiery tipple with purported hallucinogenic properties, has stirred up fresh controversy in Britain where it will go on sale in nightclubs and bars next month packaged to be mixed with beer.

"Deco" comes with a small bottle of Kronenbourg lager with a shot of absinthe attached. The idea is to down the 45 percent-strong absinthe and drink the five-percent strength lager as a chaser.

Popularly held responsible for painter Vincent Van Gogh's mutilation of his own ear, absinthe has been banned in many countries but was never outlawed in Britain.

Campaigners for sensible drinking attacked manufacturer Scottish Courage for launching the potent tipple, the latest in a long line of so-called designer drinks.

Charity Alcohol Concern said it was concerned "Deco" would add to the problem of binge drinking among young people.

Scottish Courage said it encouraged the product to be consumed sensibly and said it would not be available off the shelf in supermarkets.

"The actual alcohol content in a Deco is 2.5 units," said David Jones, a company spokesman. "This is actually slightly less than the 2.8 units in a pint of Kronenbourg or lager of similar strength."

Taken with ice water and a lump of sugar, the bitter drink became popular in 19th century Europe. It was distilled with a blend of herbs and was nicknamed "the green fairy" because of its emerald hue.

But many countries banned it after an outcry by the temperance movement amid fears it caused insanity.

Irish writer Oscar Wilde described its devastating kick.

"After the first glass you see things as you wish they were," absinthe lover Wilde wrote. "After the second, you see things as they are not."

"Finally you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world," Wilde concluded.

05-31-03 07:13 PM
Brown Sugar

05-31-03 08:13 PM
Highwire Rob Absinthe! yeah, I've wanted to try that stuff ever since reading The Sun Also Rises -- Hemingway (and his characters) were knocking it back in the Spanish bullfighting towns.
05-31-03 08:50 PM
Prodigal Son Well, all the chibafaced posters here should know that in Canada, they are debating and in the process of decriminalizing marijuana. Which means, if you get caught with it, you get a mere fine rather than go to jail. That is unless you're caught selling it or taking it before or while driving or moving along. But, I think, you can grow it. It ain't legal, but it ain't a crime no more, folks! Well, if they go through with it. Though I don't smoke it, I think this is a good idea.
But all the nervous nellies think it will be bad for it to be high times in Canada. Promoting use they say! Look, the decision to try it is still the same for all kids out there. Rarely do people go, "Oh, well I'd like to, but I could get in big trouble. Jail time perhaps" so it's not as if they'll be going "Sure, because it's not illegal to have it and use it anymore." Well, if you're caught, it's your boss/school's/parents decision how to deal with it, rather than the law. It changes little in how many people will use it. Just some food, or in this case munchies, for thought.
06-01-03 07:23 AM
nankerphelge O Canada!!

Two of the US's closest allies -- the UK and Canada loosening up on the hallucinogens!! Things are looking up!

Hemingway...what a neat idea....
06-01-03 10:15 AM
Highwire Rob wrote:
Absinthe! yeah, I've wanted to try that stuff ever since reading The Sun Also Rises -- Hemingway (and his characters) were knocking it back in the Spanish bullfighting towns.

I can't speak for old Ernest, but from my own personal experience (a long time ago) Absinthe is definitely worth a try!! Very unusual, very intense buzz!!


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