Smoking allowed, with a bong or vaporizer

That was the headline on the frontpage of a major Dutch newspaper.

"Smoking tobacco in coffeeshops is now forbidden, but smoking pure weed or hashish is not."

The smoking ban in public places, which goes into effect on the first of July, forces coffeeshop owners to create a separate space where people can smoke tobacco so the rest of the shop will be smokefree. But some coffeeshops are too small to create such a division.

For some time it seemed the smoking ban would not apply to coffeeshops. A majority of the Dutch government felt that the ban should not apply to places that were already meant for smoking.

But Minister of Health Ab Klink (known from the proposal to ban shrooms) stuck to his guns. Smoking tobacco in a coffeeshop is now forbidden. Right, tobacco. Smoking pure weed or hashish is still allowed. Several coffeeshop owners say they will provide bongs and other smoking paraphernalia to their customers. They are expecting that the Vaporizer will become a hit: a device which fills balloons with the vapor of weed. Nothing is burnt, making this vapor 'cleaner' than smoke. The coffeeshop owners want to put such a device on every table of their shop.

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