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Dutch Smoking Ban Could Improve Marijuana Quality

Submitted by smorgan on
Rumors of a smoking ban in the Netherlands have long threatened Amsterdam's popular coffeeshop scene, where customers can openly buy and smoke marijuana. In a bizarre turn, however, it looks like they've come up with an interesting compromise:

New laws similar to those which took effect in England last summer, will ban the smoking of tobacco - but not cannabis - in enclosed public places in the Netherlands from July 1.

Critics say the change will encourage users to turn to much stronger forms of the drug.

Users will still be able to light up joints filled with pure cannabis but technically banned from mixing in tobacco. [The Telegraph]

I just don't even know what to say about this. Common sense ought to dictate that businesses be allowed to choose what environment to offer their customers, but if you're gonna have a smoking ban, the marijuana exemption certainly takes the teeth out of it.

For the hardcore marijuana enthusiasts among us, a friend sends this interesting assesment of the smoking ban's potential impact on Dutch marijuana culture:

The popularity of mixing tobacco into joints is due in part to the widespread use of chemical fertilizers used when growing the commercial cannabis that is typically available in Dutch coffeeshops. "Chemmy" pot doesn't burn properly without tobacco, thus we may soon face an epidemic of joints that won’t stay lit.

Lacking the tobacco option, coffeeshop customers may soon find themselves craving properly-grown organic cannabis, currently a rare find at most Dutch coffeeshops. If, to any extent, this change in the law results in increased use of more conscientious cultivation practices, the long term impact on the quality of Dutch cannabis could be substantial.

Organic cannabis is more flavorful, softer on the lungs, and produces a more satisfying high. Moreover, proper organic methods can achieve the same yields as the destructive chemical/hydroponic technique that many growers believe is necessary to produce a sizable harvest. Experts such as Jason King have long lamented the poor quality of commercial cannabis available in Amsterdam and this new law may have the unintended effect of pushing things back in the right direction.

Really? Well that sounds logical enough to me, I guess. You won't find that kind of analysis in The Telegraph, that's for sure.

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