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Would a Dutch Smoking Ban Mean the End of its Famous Coffee Shops?
There's plenty of reasons to visit Amsterdam -- the people, the culture, the beautiful, walkable city -- but let's get real: the place is famous for its coffee shops, where patrons come to sit back, relax, and smoke a couple doobies. But like other European countries, the Netherlands is considering a ban on smoking tobacco in restaurants, cafes and bars -- so will this signal the end for the country's pot-smoking tourist traffic?
The answer, in short, seems to be no. Namely, because the clientele at these establishments aren't actually smoking tobacco. Those who like to smoke their marijuana mixed with tobacco (a circumstance in which the ban probably would apply), will most likely get around the restriction simply by mixing their dope with something else. "You can bring parsley or old socks if you want, cut them here and smoke them, nobody will say anything," one Dutch politician and coffee shop owner told Reuters News.
A ban -- which could go into effect at the beginning of 2008 -- might even mean good news for the makers and distributors of marijuana smoking paraphernalia, such as pipes, bongs, or other oddball contraptions potheads have dreamed up for the sake of improving their high.
So don't worry, it looks Amsterdam's tourists will be getting stoned wherever they like for the foreseeable future.