According to news published in the Netherlands last Thursday, the Dutch government is going ahead with plans to licence cannabis growers so they can officially supply coffee shops with their much needed cannabis.
The new plans are hoped to close up the grey loophole which ignores the fact that cannabis club cafes are forced to buy weed from the black market.
The new rules will theoretically close out black market supply and force coffee shops to use carefully-vetted, legal grow operations.
10 growers and no imports
In the new scheme 10 different growers will be obliged to grow at least 10 different types of cannabis. The weed must also be tested and have its THC and CBD content clearly labelled on its packaging before sale.
The proposed rules will also see imports banned. Menus will remain fixed with the ten approved strains. This means no more Cali weed or Moroccan Hash!
As well as this, there will be a minimum of six local authority councils taking part in the trials which are expected to last for at least four years, leaving the decision on state-grown cannabis up to the next incoming cabinet.
Two Christian coalition parties are opposing the experiment.
So far the plans have been criticised by members of the VNG, a local authority association that supports communities in the Netherlands. They say it will be difficult to find willing participants of the trial as it requires a complete cessation of black market deals.
A Tricky Changeover
A full change from illegal to legal in this way will make the changeover very difficult and almost impossible in some cases, such as in Amsterdam, where there are over 100 licensed coffees hops.
After comments in the consultation process, it has been agreed that the process of changing over to state-owned sales must take place over a longer period of time.
When the trail finishes, coffeeshops will still then have to revert back to the illegal market until decisions are made as to whether implement the scheme nationwide.
Coffeeshops that are located near borders with German and Belgium will remain banned from selling product to people who do not live permanently in the Netherlands.
Other measures are apparently going to be introduced to prevent ‘drug tourism’.
Experiment ‘not big enough’
The Council of State, the government’s highest advisory group, has also criticised the plans, stating that experiment should be a lot bigger in order to deliver any meaningful results.
They claim that many more councils should be involved than just 10.