Amsterdam To Go Smoke-Free?

Quick: When you read the word “Amsterdam,” what springs to mind?

Right! All those funny little glasses from which the Dutch drink beer. Those crazy Hollanders.

Those crazy Hollanders will soon be drinking their beer in smoke-free bars, after a smoking ban comes into effect in July 2008. The ban covers all restaurants and cafes — including the city’s 300+ coffee shops, those gezellig little haunts where people go specifically TO smoke.

So how does a business founded on providing an environment in which to smoke survive if said business must be smoke-free? Fortunately, the proprietors of pot will be allowed to set up a separate room or glass partition behind which people can smoke. Customers will not be served behind the partition. The government says this will protect staff from the effects of second-hand pot smoke.

Protect staff from the effects of second-hand pot smoke? Um, isn’t that why staff applied to work there in the first place?