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Dutch News
MPs oppose smoking ban in coffeeshops 3/16/2007
AMSTERDAM – A majority in Parliament of the Labour PvdA, Socialist SP, Liberal VVD, and Green-left GroenLinks does not think that a smoking ban for the hospitality industry should apply to coffeeshops.

Coalition party PvdA says that CDA Public Health Minister Ab Klink should leave coffeeshops out of the plans for a smoking ban.

"Otherwise there will be a fundamental change to the soft drugs policy. People go to coffeeshops to smoke. The idea is that if they go there, there will be less nuisance for others elsewhere," says Labour MP Lea Bouwmeester.

GroenLinks MP Kees Vendrik wants a debate with Klink as soon as possible. By including the coffeeshops in the plan he says the CDA is trying to get rid of them and as a result the "foundation of the Dutch soft drug policy" is at stake.

"The idea is that you can buy the stuff at the coffeeshop, and smoke it there. If that is no longer possible, it will be pushed back into the illegal circuit. That is precisely what we do not want."

The VVD opposes the total smoking ban in the hospitality industry that Klink wants in a year''s time anyway. "But banning smoking in a smoking area, which is basically what a coffeeshop is, is absurd. That is like banning alcohol in bars," says Edith Schippers of the VVD.

A spokesperson for Minister Klink says that the minister has not yet spoken out on the applicability of a smoking ban. He is first awaiting the results of the second evaluation of the gradual plan agreed upon years ago with the hospitality sector. This evaluation will be presented this spring. The first evaluation showed that little had been achieved so far. After consultation with the sector Klink will make a decision before summer on a smoking ban.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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