By Mick Meaney
RINF Alternative News
A new Dutch law which comes into force in July 2008 will ban smoking in all Amsterdam coffee shops, the government decided on Friday.
Amsterdam is a hot spot for tourists as relaxed laws allow the possession of soft drugs, such as Cannabis. Although Cannabis is officially banned in the Netherlands, consumers are allowed to carry less than 5 grams in their possession.
Coffee shop owners believe the laws will not effect their business as it applies to tobacco and Cannabis can be smoked pure.
“Coffee shops will be treated in the same manner as other catering businesses. They will be smoke-free,” Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende told NOS television.
“It would have been wrong to move towards a smoke-free catering industry and then make an exception for coffee shops. People would not have understood that.”
“Employees should not have to work in an environment were they are constantly exposed to the harmful effects of smoking,” Balkenende said after the cabinet’s decision on Friday.
However customers will be allowed to smoke in separate rooms or glass partitions to protect staff from second hand smoke.