Pot shops say Dutch tobacco ban hurts

July 1, 2008 at 11:22 AM

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, July 1 (UPI) -- Some Dutch coffee shop owners say new a law banning tobacco smoking is threatening their marijuana-smoking customer base.

That's because most customers of the coffee shops, which offer pot sales and smoking on the premises, like to mix their marijuana with tobacco to dilute its potency. But now inspectors trained to sniff out the differences between a pure cannabis cigarette and a pot-tobacco mix will be sent into shops with orders to ticket tobacco use, The Guardian reported Tuesday.

Coffee shop owners are objecting, saying the new law will shred the "social contract" that has allowed Amsterdam and other Dutch cities to do a booming pot tourism trade.

"It's a bit like saying to someone you can go into a cafe and you can buy a beer, but you can't drink it there -- you'll have to stick to whisky, rum and vodka," Paul Wilhelm, owner of De Tweede Kamer, a popular Amsterdam coffee shop, told the newspaper.

Other shop owners, however, say they'll adapt by using expensive vaporizers to dilute the strength of pure cannabis without employing tobacco, while others, the Guardian said, will up their use of pot brownies, also known as "space cakes."

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