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But can you still smoke in the brothels?

June 29, 2008

I wrote this blog a while ago on Kevin Godlington’s site, but I am re-posting it here, with slight changes, because: 1. The ban goes into effect next week, so it is actually more relevant now. 2. It’s new to you. 3. I spend all day, every day, with a 5 year old and, thus, crave any sort of adult thinking even if only in type. So, here ’tis.

The Nanny State mentality is one of my biggest pet peeves. I know, I know, bold statement! Examples of that slippery slope getting more and more obtuse cause me to begin frothing at the mouth and muttering to myself. Well, frothing and muttering even more, to be accurate. The worst one of late? All the smoking bans crap. Now, even Amsterdam, home to the Red Light district with its legalized prostitution and home of pot bars and legal “magic” mushrooms is in on the freedom-grabbing act.

“Coffee shops will be treated in the same manner as other catering businesses. They will be smoke-free,” Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende told NOS television. “It would have been wrong to move towards a smoke-free catering industry and then make an exception for coffee shops. People would not have understood that.”

“Employees should not have to work in an environment were they are constantly exposed to the harmful effects of smoking,” Balkenende said after the cabinet’s decision on Friday. Amsterdam’s renowned coffee shops, where marijuana can be smoked openly in a relaxed atmosphere, are one of the city’s big draws for tourists.”

First, doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of a pot bar? I’m no expert, but don’t you need to SMOKE reefer? Second, did anyone ask the employees if they need protection? If I worked at a coffee bar, I’d be desperate for some second hand spliff smoke after dealing with pretentious asses all day long. Not to mention to escape the debilitating depression caused by working said job.

Apparently, there isn’t one country left where you are treated like an adult able to make your own decisions without some “official” ass holding your hand and saving you from yourself. I just can’t believe it is happening in Amsterdam now, of all places. Amsterdam! Where it is OK to indulge your naughty bits with prostitutes freely and openly (not that there’s anything wrong with that. Whatever floats your boat), indulge in magic mushrooms when the mood strikes you or buy pot with your morning coffee, but for goodness sake don’t you dare smoke it in a private SMOKING establishment. That’s second hand smoke! It will kill us! Everyone says so! And if we repeat it often enough, it makes it true, doesn’t it? While we tax the life out of you while doing it, of course.

Speaking of the prostitution, does the smoking ban extend to the brothels? Those are also catering, service businesses, no? What about the oft-needed (hopefully, at least) post-coital smoke? Do you now have to scurry outside, thong or assless chaps around your ankles?

I blame America; it did start here. Who would have ever thought that bars, where you go to either a) abuse your liver and get falling down piss drunk or b) to pick up a sexually transmitted disease via a one night stand who appeared way hotter than they really were at the time, would become places of health consciousness? Please, stop killing my buzz. And now you’ve extended it to cannabis houses? Oh, the humanity.

Even worse, in New York City they’ve run the gamut on second hand smoke bans and have now moved onto cigarette SMELL bans. Yes, just the mere lingering scent of a cigarette is now cause for panic. And fines. Seriously. If a customer smells, merely smells, some remnant of cigarette smoke in a cab, they can complain to the Taxi and Limousine Commission and the offending cab driver will be fined.

Um, cigarette smoke is one of the better odors I’ve smelled in an NYC cab. In fact, I like it, as it helps mask the other malodorous scents like stale vomit and foul body odor. But I guess you can’t tax B.O. nor would it be politically correct to demonize people who stink. Or should I say people who are hygienically-challenged.

Anyhoo, so long Amsterdam of yore! Perhaps the genius elected officials will change their tune when the Tourist industry takes a hit. Or, rather, fewer hits.

P.S. If anyone says “It’s for the children! We must protect the children!” I may gouge my eyes out.

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