Amsterdam ‘No Toking’ Signs Being Pilfered

Speaking of Blunts, I find this amusing as I prepare to fly to Holland next week: People are stealing Amsterdam’s “no toking” signs.

Photo A sign prohibiting the smoking of marijuana on the street is seen on the right as a man on a bicycle passes through an underpass in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Friday Feb. 3, 2006. The signs, created as part of an experimental ban on smoking marijuana in the streets of one of Amsterdam's poorer neighborhoods, are now being sold by the City of Amsterdam after being stolen as collector's items. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong) If you can’t beat ’em … joint ’em? The City of Amsterdam has begun selling recently introduced “no toking” signs to prevent the official ones from being stolen as collector’s items, a spokesman said Friday.

The signs were created as part of an experimental ban on smoking marijuana on the street in “De Baarsjes,” one of the city’s poorer neighborhoods. The measure, which went into effect Feb. 1, was intended to reduce loitering and petty crime. “On Wednesday we placed the first sign, and it was gone the next morning,” said Wim de Graaf. “We put up a new one Thursday, and it was taken the same night as well. That’s when the idea came to us to just sell them.”

The signs show two fingers holding a cone-shaped cigarette, with small white marijuana leaves on a black background — all enclosed within a red circle.

The city is selling them for 90 euros each (around US$110), and plans to donate the proceeds to charity. “We’re selling them at not much more than they cost, so we expect profits will be modest,” De Graaf said. But he added that the city has already had many requests for the signs, some from outside the city.

Marijuana is technically illegal in the Netherlands, but police don’t bother prosecuting possession of small amounts. It is openly sold in designated cafes known euphemistically as “coffee shops.” But people who smoke marijuana outside in De Baarsjes risk a euro50 (US$60) fine.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.