The Netherlands wants to take action against laughing gas

Fed up with party companies renting out nitrous tanks and providing balloons and other gear, leaders in the Netherlands are taking action.

The high caused by nitrous oxide – also known as laughing gas or whiplash – will no longer be tolerated in the Netherlands under a recently proposed law. Until recently, Dutch party hosts could call a nitrous oxide company and rent equipment as if they were renting a photo booth.

In a November 14 briefing to MPs, Dutch Health Minister Bruno Bruins cited a bill that would force retailers and wholesalers to invoke a voluntary age limit for selling nitrous oxide canisters (whips) and reduce the number of canisters Limiting people can buy.

“Recreational use of nitrous oxide leads to enormous health risks,” said Secretary of State Van Ooijen (VWS) in the briefing translated on Google. “Furthermore, the safety of non-users is also at stake. We’ve seen enough reports on the news that terrible accidents have happened because road users used nitrous oxide. In recent years there has been a societal call to ban the recreational use of nitrous oxide. I am pleased that we can implement this ban from January 1, 2023.”

Last June, The Volkskrant reported that dozens of companies selling and supplying nitrous oxide as a party drug have sprung up in the Netherlands – reportedly with names like Partygas and Nitrous Oxide Express. The companies provide the gas tanks as well as the balloons used to store bursts of gas.

“The nitrous oxide ban helps the police enormously in enforcement. With the ban, carrying laughing gas – possession – itself becomes a criminal offense,” said Minister Yeşilgöz-Zegerius (JenV). “This way the police can act earlier. This is now only possible if someone uses nitrous oxide and thus causes annoyance or dangerous situations on the road. With the ban, the police will soon be able to intervene immediately if someone does not have professional laughing gas and has balloons with gas bottles in the car. Hopefully we can prevent accidents this way.”

nitrous oxide for recreational purposes

Get a load of this: According to High Times writer Nico Escondido, High Times founder Thomas King Forçade came up with the idea for Top Pot magazine with a group of friends over a bottle of nitrous oxide. Since Amsterdam was the birthplace of the Cannabis Cup, these tanks were likely to be present at early events.

However, those responsible hope that the move will make the roads in the Netherlands safer. According to the road safety monitor TeamAlert, nitrous oxide has played a role in 1,800 accidents in the Netherlands over the past three years. “Almost two a day, numbers that really shocked us,” TeamAlert’s Maartje Oosterink told AD newspaper earlier this month.

The dangers are legitimate to the ignorant. Unlike weed, too much nitrous oxide can actually kill you.

People who use nitrous oxide for technical purposes and as a food additive are exempt from the ban. However, the purchase, sale, possession and supply of nitrous oxide in gas cylinders to private individuals will be prohibited from January 1, 2023.

Producers and wholesalers of medicinal nitrous oxide in the Netherlands must apply for an opium exemption based on Articles 6 and 8 of the Opium Act. The small nitrous oxide ampoules for whipped cream that are customary in gastronomy remain permitted, but may not be resold to third parties.

The final details of the ban will be ironed out in the coming weeks.

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