Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Cigarette-Cannabis Cocktail Challenge

Contrary to accepted notions about the Dutch being enamored with cannabis, it is perhaps the only place in the world where smokers seek the cigarette in marijuana, rather than the marijuana in cigarettes. Traditionally, European and Dutch cannabis users mix the weed with tobacco, a kind of cocktail drawn up by Amsterdam's famed coffee shops; in a cone shaped inhaler called a vaporiser. An apt term for a high.

By July 1 however, the Dutch Government will implement a ban on cigarette smoking in bars, restaurants and coffee shops in compliance with European Union law. It is one of the last countries to implement the ban. But the ban covers only cigarettes, not marijuana. The Netherlands has adopted the position, based on research studies, that there is greater health risk in cigarette smoking than cannabis use. Coffee shops are thus placed in a dilemma of offering cannabis mixed with other herbs rather than tobacco, and they fear the absence of tobacco taste will cause a decline in patronage. This is a downer for the coffee shops.

Cannabis is illegal in the Netherlands, but the Dutch realize that people will smoke these anyway that it would be best to do it orderly. There are no prosecutions for possessing up to 5 grams, and coffee shops are licensed to have up to 500 grams in stock. This odd manner of implementing laws may appear eccentric, but the tolerance policies of the Netherlands is a result of its practice of social liberalism since 1848, when the dominance of liberal thought was enshrined in the country's constitution. Cannabis growers are arrested and prosecuted, since they possess more than the licensed 500 grams. However, the state has authorized an organization, the Cannabis Retailers Union, to obtain and distribute the merchandise legally. Thus, Cannabis planting is criminal, pushing is legal, and smoking is tolerated. This sounds like a bad joke.

There are apprehensions about non-compliance with the law, but closures as a result of violations and consequent revocation of licenses to operate, are expected to make it effective in eliminating nicotine addiction from the marijuana habit. Undoubtedly, a novel way of promoting health among the citizens from the Dutch perspective.

Tourists lament the end of an era and woefully express that "a little bit of Amsterdam will die". That "little bit" statement speaks a great truth. In making the Dutch healthier by nicotine reduction or elimination, pure cannabis intake will instead make them brain dead.



Kim said...

goodness Durano..
they certainly have some whacky regulations...
are they cutting off their noses...
I suppose one has to wait and see ...
have a wonderful Sunday :)

SheR. said...

I appreciate the freedom in the NL law concerning prostitution and canabis smoking. Doesn't matter if I smoke or not, with a government thinking like that it's truly one and only in the world.

Have been to Amsterdam once.. and there were plenty of pushers on the streets waiting to sell us a bag of grass. Thanks for letting me know they are illegal.. will look out for it!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hello Kim,

I think they are confused about how to implement all that liberal thinking, some overlap and contradict another.

It's a kind of upside down type of rule of law. Some laws are flagrantly violated then tolerated in an "orderly" manner. Even toleration is contradictory. If you tolerate, why come up with measures to instill order? Crazy.

But I guess this anything goes way of life is comfortable for the Netherlands. They have been used to it for centuries and see no contradiction.

Maybe we're just too organized? :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Sher,

Grass is tolerated up to 5 grams possession per person. So don't buy in excess of 5 grams in the streets. Its actually better to buy in coffee shops, especially now that it does not have a tobacco mix. It may even be cheaper.

The liberalism of the Netherlands is almost limitless, but there are funny distortions in the way these are practiced and implemented. :-) --Durano, done!

The Fitness Diva said...

Aw, man, now the Netherlands too?
I don't smoke, but always knowing in the back of my mind that in Amsterdam just about anything goes is a fun thought to hold on to.

I would certainly have a bit of the Mary Jane if I went to the Netherlands, though, just for fun. Hope they don't outlaw it completely! Heck, there needs to be at least ONE country in the world where you can party like a rock star without getting arrested! ;)

Zhu said...

The Dutch have their own health concerns :D

I have nothing against marijuana, just not a user myself. I wonder if smoking just the cannabis alone would be as good...

They had a other kind of issue in France when smoking tobacco was banned in public places earlier this year: the hookah bars, where the North African community liked to gather around a hookah.

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Fitness Diva,

Well actually in Los Angeles, you can have unlimited supply for as long as you have a prescription to use it for health purposes.

The prescriptions are easy to get by merely saying you have some chronic ache. They even invent the ache for you! The problem here is that their weeds are laced with some chemicals that make it deadly for some. There is no dosage prescribed too, and there are dispensers for you to make a purchase after office hours 24/7.

This removed street dealers effectively, but minors who can't get prescriptions get it from those who can, and are sold in schools. It is really a way of going around the law which abused the small window for those who are supposed to be suffering from painful or terminal illnesses.

The state gets tax money, the "clinics" do brisk business, and the youth are hooked. Sadly, no one looks out for long term effects on the young who are victimized by this method of distribution. :-( --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Zhu,

I have nothing against it myself, except those that are laced to make it more potent. The danger is in what they lace it with.

Also, the controlled distribution must not reach those who are minors.

The pure ones are the safest I think, and are actually medicinal to some degree. As in anything, abuse can be dangerous just like alcohol and even food. But who can prevent abuse once the habit takes root? Even the hooked person would not admit to any addiction.

I just hope it doesn't get to a point where they start advertising these things. Heaven forbid! :-) --Durano, done!

mikey777 said...

Sounds like a bunch of bass-ackwards laws to me!

The fact that cigarette smoking is now being outlawed because it poses more of a danger than cannabis is something that US lawmakers should look into. Of course, that won't happen because I've yet to see a cannabis lobbyist in Washington DC. Those tobacco guys wouldn't like that too well...LoL

We in the USA are just as bad though. Cannabis is illegal, but alcohol and tobacco, which kills millions every year, are sold in every supermarket. How's that for backwards thinking!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Mikey777,


As I mentioned to Fitness Diva, Cannabis is obtainable in LA, in about 250 dispensary clinics that even provide online application forms to diagnose your "illness".

A medical approval is given and a prescription follows without any dosage nor limit on the amount you can buy. There are several varieties to choose from based on a gentle high, something that floors you, etc., etc., ad nauseum.

But I agree with you, any lobbyist who attempts this in Washington may be eliminated by the people of the tobacco and alcohol companies - two industries that have already paid millions in settlements, causing millions of people to die are sold openly and legally and within anybody's reach.

I guess each country has its share of wonky laws with even wonkier interpretations and implementation. :-) --Durano, done!

andrew123 said...

I would certainly have a bit of the Mary Jane if I went to the Netherlands, though, just for fun.
Andrew William

Anonymous said...

Smoking or what we say smoke which leads to many health-related problems and give rise to many social stigma. To begin with, smoking or smoke gives you a strong nicotine addiction, which is harmful to your body. Few health related issue which smoker faces are breathing, losing sense of taste, tiredness etc, and such kind of physical problem.

Anonymous said...

There is now a new quit smoking drug available in the market. This latest breakthrough is known as Chantix. It is able to help smokers snub out their addiction by working on the brain.

Blogger said...

VistaVapors is the best electronic cigarettes supplier out there.