Amsterdam Shockingly Bans Pot in High Schools
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Schoolchildren in Amsterdam are about to face the cold, harsh reality of marijuana-free class time. The city's Mayor Eberhard van der Laan has announced a formal ban on students smoking pot on school grounds, making his city the first in the Netherlands to inflict such restrictions. Marijuana is technically illegal in the country, but a nationwide "tolerance" policy prevents police from arresting people for possession of small quantities. City spokeswoman Iris Reshef says that while most schools do officially prohibit weed, they've been unable to stop students toking up on school property before or after class. "It's not really what you have in mind as an educator, that children would be turning up for class stoned, or drunk either for that matter," she says. "But it has been a problem for some schools." From January 1, the city will declare "no toking zones" in schools and playgrounds—and transgressors will be fined. The new law is being dubbed a "typical Dutch compromise," in the wake of a recent government decision to abandon plans for a national "weed pass" that would have prevented tourists from buying marijuana in the country's famous "coffee" shops. The proposal was projected to cost Amsterdam an estimated 345 jobs and $41 million in lost revenue; opponents of the plan called it "tourist suicide" and claimed it would promote shady drug dealing instead. The incoming Dutch government has since ditched the proposal, and Mayor Van der Laan announced last month that Amsterdam's coffee shops could continue to sell pot to tourists.