So, is this where the United States is headed? With the relaxed stance of many in this country regarding the use of marijuana, I wouldn’t doubt it.
Amsterdam this week became the first city in the Netherlands to ban students from smoking marijuana at school.
The city’s mayor Eberhard van der Laan introduced the law after school chiefs complained about pupils turning up to classes high after rolling up outside the grounds.
Marijuana is widely available in Holland as, although it is technically illegal, police can’t prosecute people for possession of small amounts.
The Netherlands’ relaxed drug policy means some youngsters are turning up to classes stoned, prompting a ban of its use near schools
But it has also had the unwanted side effect that Dutch children are frequently exposed to the drug in public areas.
City spokeswoman Iris Reshef says schools have always forbidden pot, but found it difficult to enforce the policy when students smoked on or near campus and challenged administrators to do anything about it.
‘It’s not really what you have in mind as an educator, that children would be turning up for class stoned, or drunk either for that matter,’ she said.
‘But it has been a problem for some schools.’
Amsterdam is known for its ‘coffee shops’, where marijuana can be purchased and smoked
After a change in national law, the city will now be able to declare as of January 1 ‘no toking zones’ – areas like schools and playgrounds where weed-smoking is forbidden by law.
The move is closely paired with a decision by the new government to ditch plans for a national ‘weed pass’ that would have blocked tourists from buying marijuana.
That was a measure years in the making, and greatly desired by southern cities such as Maastricht that have been flooded with dealers from Belgium and Germany who drive across the border to buy weed in bulk.
Marijuana has been tolerated in Holland for decades, attracting many tourists who travel there to enjoy the drug
But the weed pass was opposed by Amsterdam, where drug tourists are not generally seen as causing many problems.
Last month, Van der Laan proclaimed that coffee shops would stay open for tourists after all.
In a letter Wednesday, he noted that one in three tourists who come to Amsterdam try marijuana while they’re here, more than previously estimated.
Attribution: Sam Webb