|Smoking to be banned in Amsterdam coffee shops|
Smoking is to be banned in Amsterdam's famous coffee shops where cannabis is sold without fear of prosecution.
Under a new public smoking ban, coffee shops will still be able to sell joints but customers may have to go outside to smoke them.
Holland's new national health guidelines, due to take effect from the start of next year, were aimed at second-hand smoke from tobacco, not marijuana.
But they are also threatening the liberal Dutch drugs policy which attracts tourists from all over the world.
"The whole point of going to a coffee shop is to smoke," complained Arjan Roskam, chairman of the Union for Cannabis Retailers.
The head of the Dutch anti-smoking lobby, Clean Air Now, conceded that banning smoking in coffee shops was not the goal.
But Willem van den Oetelaar still backed the move. "It's not our priority, but it is a good thing," he said.
The Netherlands boasts around 800 cannabis cafés, the first of which was opened in 1972. The sale of marijuana remains officially illegal in the Netherlands, but its use has been decriminalised.