Last year’s MTV Europe Music Awards were a complete snoozefest. With acts like Eminem, Ron Burgundy, Robin Thicke AND Miley Cyrus, you’d expect a little controversy at least. But nothing really happened. Most controversial act of the night? No, not Red Fuu’s undeniably bad hosting, but Miley lighting up what may or may not have been a joint on stage.1 In Amsterdam. Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands and once the place known for being able to smoke weed without consequences. But Cyrus’ smoking on stage lead to some procedure changes at the Ziggo Dome, the venue that hosted the EMA.

Even though Amsterdam is known for the Red Light District and coffee shops where you can get everything but coffee,2 it is illegal to smoke in a work environment. Ziggo Dome, in this case the employer, should provide a smoke-free workplace to its employees and visitors. The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority has pointed this out to Ziggo Dome’s management. As a reaction to this, Ziggo Dome will ask it’s visitors and performing artists more explicitly to smoke in the designated areas in the future. Nothing spectacular, just like the EMA itself. I am all for a smoke-free workplace.

No spliffs allowed

But here’s the good stuff: the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority can’t impose a fine on the Ziggo Dome because it’s illegal to smoke tobacco in a workplace, but it is NOT illegal to smoke pure weed. Go ahead, read that again. You can’t smoke a cigarette, but you can smoke weed as long as there isn’t any tobacco in your joint. Now all Ziggo Dome needs to do is make sure that upcoming acts like Drake, Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé and -yes, Miley Cyrus- smoke joints and no spliffs.

Welcome to the Netherlands.

  1. If you live in America, you might have missed this moment: it was edited out.
  2. Besides Van Gogh, mills, cheese, apartheid and wooden shoes, of course.


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