If you like to mix your weed with a little tobacco for a smoother burn and an added kick, be careful when visiting Dutch coffeeshop this summer. Effective July 1, the Dutch Government will actively enforce its anti-tobacco laws that came into effect earlier this year in coffeeshops as well.
A ban on smoking indoors was already implemented in 2008, but at the time, an exception was made for smoking rooms — dedicated rooms in bars, restaurants concert venues, and coffeeshops where smoking tobacco is still allowed.
In September 2019, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled in favor of Clean Air Nederland, a Dutch anti-tobacco advocacy group fighting for the rights of non-smokers. The group demanded an immediate ban on smoking rooms.
Originally, that ban would have been enforced starting April 1, 2020, in all hospitality establishments, but the sudden rise of the COVID-19 pandemic was faster than the tobacco ban and shuttered all bars and coffeeshops before the ban could come into effect.
Now that coffeeshops are allowed to offer indoor seating again, smoke rooms are also opening up. Many coffeeshops have taken the necessary precautions and banned tobacco entirely from their premises.
Coffeeshop the Groene Gaper in Hoofddorp in North Holland announced on Facebook that it would no longer allow people to roll with tobacco or smoke any tobacco products in the coffeeshop.
Businesses that are found in violation of the new anti-tobacco law can be fined between 450 and 450.000 Euro, depending on the extent of the offense is and the size of the business.
According to the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), inspectors will start checking for businesses that don’t follow the new tobacco law soon.
Mixing weed and tobacco is relatively widespread in Europe, and many Dutch smokers will have to get used to the new rules. Groene Gaper stressed that it has a large selection of premium vaporizers available that can be used indoors with pure cannabis.
Dutch coffeeshops have been on pick-ups-only mode since March 15, when the government gave a 30-minute notice that all restaurants, bars, and coffeeshops had to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This resulted in thousands of people frantically flocking to the nearest coffeeshop to stock up on cannabis before the shut-down. Street dealers immediately saw their chance at making bank and flooded the streets, forcing the government to reopen coffeeshops just a day later, but allowing only take-away service and no more than one or two people inside the shops.
Many coffeeshops have used the forced downtime to renovate their smoke rooms and seating areas to comply with distancing rules and the anticipated changes regarding indoor smoking.
Keep in mind that not all coffeeshops are open for seating and indoor cannabis consumption since many shops are too small to enforce the 1.5-meter distance rules in place in the Netherlands.
These shops are still open for take-away until the sanctions hopefully get lifted in September, and they can fully reopen.
If you’ve already planned a trip to Amsterdam to visit your favorite coffeeshop, it’s best to get in touch and check what their policy for the next few months is.