Will Amsterdam’s New Cannabis Smoking Ban Become a Trend?

Late last year New Zealand passed the world’s first ban on tobacco cigarette sales, prohibiting retailers from selling cigarettes to anyone born on or after January 1, 2009. Obviously, some people will still be able to purchase cigarettes in New Zealand, but eventually the ban will apply to everyone as the nation’s population ages.

The justification for the ban is public health concerns, and that, coupled with nuisance concerns related to smoke could result in similar policies spreading to other parts of the globe.

Being that cannabis is also smoked, in theory, similar policies like what is in Amsterdam could be pursued in other jurisdictions, as well as prohibited sales of smokable forms of cannabis potentially, akin to the prohibition on tobacco sales in New Zealand.

Smokeless Forms of Cannabis

Public cannabis consumption laws vary around the world, with most jurisdictions still treating such acts as crimes. Although, most of the charges that relate to public consumption crimes are based on the act of possession, not use.

As prohibition is replaced with legalization, public consumption bans will shift from being based on possession prohibitions to consumption prohibitions. The difference is nuanced, but very important from an enforcement logistics standpoint.

Even in jurisdictions where cannabis is currently legal for adult-use, public consumption is still prohibited, albeit usually a fine versus a crime. Nearly all of the time, the way public use is detected is via the smell of smoke, and to a lesser extent, vaping. And yet, inhaling cannabis is only one of the many ways to consume it.

These days in a growing number of jurisdictions a wide variety of cannabis products are legally available, including edibles, topicals, beverages, transdermal patches, and other emerging smokeless methods of consumption.

As those smokeless products increase in availability and popularity, concerns regarding cannabis smoke will become less prevalent. After all, would anyone in Amsterdam’s Red Light District care if someone was eating a cannabis-infused gummy or wearing a cannabis transdermal patch? How would anyone even know?

This article first appeared on Internationalcbc.com and is syndicated here with special permission.

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