Back in April, 2013 we already reported on multiple Dutch municipalities revealing their plans to start legally growing marijuana, which then can be sold to the coffeeshops. Cultivation and distribution is still illegal in the Netherlands. While Marijuana is decriminalized, up to 5 grams, coffeeshops still balance on the fine line between legal and illegal practices.
One month later in May, 2013, 3 mayors from the province of Limburg: Paul Depla (PvdA) in Heerlen, Peter Cammaert (CDA) in Roermond and Antoin Scholten (VVD) in Venlo said they were going to cooperate, resulting in a proposal on regulating the growth of marijuana.
In December, 2013 they proudly announced their “joint manifesto”, had now gained the support of the mayors of 25 municipalities, putting pressure on the Dutch government to allow experimenting with regulated cannabis cultivation.
The campaign, lead by mayor Van Gijzel (Eindhoven), alderman Everhardt (Utrecht) and mayor Depla (Heerlen), is a direct response to the rejection of regulated cannabis cultivation by Minister Ivo Opstelten (Security and Justice).
According to Van Gijzel, the municipalities have to cooperate to make the minister change his mind.
The current system doesn’t work, leaving the mayors worried about the health risks that come with illegally cultivated cannabis and how the current system stimulates the rapid development of the criminal circuit.
[quote_right]Opstelten: “We agree that crime and nuisance have to be fought, but we disagree on the right instrument” [/quote_right]
However, the Dutch government disagrees and argues that any change in the law would not be welcomed by neighboring countries, which could see Dutch grown weed in their own backyard.
“We agree that crime and nuisance have to be fought, but we disagree on the right instrument,” said Ivo Opstelten, the Security and Justice Minister as cited by The Independent.
According to Het Verbond voor Opheffing van het Cannabisverbod (VOC, translated: the Union for the abolition of cannabis prohibition), they believe the manifest ‘Joint Regulation‘ could potentially lead to proper regulated cannabis in the Netherlands. 35 municipalities already support the manifest, covering 428 of the 614 coffeeshops in the Netherlands, almost 70% of all the coffeeshops in the country.