Wednesday 28 July 2021

D66 plans to torpedo laughing gas ban, hopes for VVD support

A laughing gas seller in Amsterdam on Kings Day. Photo:

D66 MPs aim to torpedo the cabinet’s plans to ban the sale of laughing gas for use as a recreational drug, the AD said on Tuesday afternoon.

‘We have studied the proposal and decided to look at how we can stop this happening,’ MP Antje Diertens told reporters following a meeting of D66 parliamentarians. Diertens says the party hopes the VVD will also come on board.

Both parties say that there are alternatives to including nitrous oxide in the opium laws, and point out that local authorities are already introducing bylaws banning the sale of the gas.

D66 in particular says proper information about the effects on health would be more appropriate than criminalising its use. ‘D66 would rather have a realistic approach,’ Diertens said.

Junior health minister Paul Blokhuis announced the pending ban on Monday, catching MPs by surprise. He plans to have the gas included in the opium law B list alongside cannabis and qat. Users will not face criminal charges but possession, trade, production and import of B list drugs are illegal.

It is as yet unclear when a ban will come into effect and how it will be regulated but Blok said he thinks the legislation will be ready in about nine months.

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