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Loophole for coffee shops as Netherlands cuts smoking

Loophole for coffee shops as Netherlands cuts smoking
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The Netherlands has joined the ranks of countries stubbing out cigarettes. From today, smoking is banned in bars, restaurants and theatres. Several places organised parties in the countdown to the ban, to let smokers have one last puff.

Amsterdam’s famous cannabis-selling coffee shops face big changes. They have survived many challenges over the years, but the government insists they too must accept the ban. But there is a major loophole: the law covers tobacco, not marijuana, which is technically illegal but tolerated in small quantities.

The new law is more relaxed than elsewhere in Europe. Bars and restaurants will be allowed to have closed-off areas where smokers can light up, but they will not be served there, to protect staff.