Amsterdam, March 3 – The new Dutch growshop law is only active for a couple of days, but already there is great confusion about what is prohibited and what is not. Multiple media outlets talk about banning growshops, Minister Opstelten of Security and Justice himself said in the debate in the Senate: “It’s about preparing the occupational and professional cannabis cultivation or production of large quantities. (…) A simple ban on growshops would not work. ”

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Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant reports on the new growshop law. Picture: VOC Nederland
Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant reports on the new growshop law. Picture: VOC Nederland

But that is not what Minister Opstelten (VVD) of Security and Justice on the amendment has declared to the Senate, according to dutch legalization organization VOC Nederland.

Right now, supplying (even water cans and regular soil) and preparations (electrical construction for example) is illegal and punishable, depending on the size and personal or commercial grows, by jail sentences up to 3 years.

Depending on your local municipality and local police officer growing up to 5 plants can still be tolerated however, again pointing out the hypocrisy of the Dutch laws.

Through passing this law, the amount of Dutch citizens with potential criminal penalties has now grown disproportionally. It remains to be seen how this will play out in court, as legal experts have expressed serious doubts on the burden of proof.

[quote_right]Chief Prosecutor: “(..)Soft drugs make users miserable. It is organized criminality, seriously society debilitating crime and also very harmful to human health.” [/quote_right]

The law already made its first victims. After 20 years, “De Groene Oogst” in Tilburg already had to close their doors earlier this week. “18 employees have lost their job”, according to owner Arjan Theuns in dutch newspaper de Volkskrant. “Thanks to Minister of Security and Justice, I could literally cry right now. All of them now require social benefits.”

Rightly so, the newspaper notes that “marijuana growers can buy their materials everywhere: farmers, home depot, amazon.com and regular gardening stores”. You get the idea.

In an interview with dutch newspaper NRC, Chief Prosecutor Bart Nieuwenhuizen said earlier this week he wants to completely eradicate cannabis cultivation.

[quote_box_center]”We really need to get away from the romantic image of the happy hashish smoker. Soft drugs make users miserable. It is organized criminality, seriously society debilitating crime and also very harmful to human health.”[/quote_box_center]

VOC Nederland concludes:

[quote_box_center]”This would be the right time for parliament to introduce a motion, clarifying the new growshop law does not prohibit growshops and is not intended for home cultivators who grow up to five plants for personal use.”[/quote_box_center]