The Dutch government agreement reached by the new coalition today, means a somewhat limited but nevertheless fundamental step in the right direction for cannabis policy and the Dutch coffeeshops.

Experiments to start with regulated cannabis for Dutch coffeeshops

The Union for Abolition of Cannabis Prohibition (VOC Nederland) Foundation welcomes in their press release the announced experiments, but emphasizes the importance of variety and diversity and clear regulation for small-scale home growing for personal consumption.

an end in sight of the large-scale crime-causing paradox between permitted sales and illicit cultivation

Today the Rutte III cabinet has presented its plans, which finally include an end in sight of the large-scale crime-causing paradox between permitted sales and illicit cultivation.

By regulating cannabis cultivation for the Dutch coffeeshops, approximately 800.000 Dutch consumers finally get a glimpse of clean cannabis, with reliable product information.

The VOC foundation regrets the fact that the small home grower does not appear in the cabinet plans. Almost daily, police are raiding adults who grow a small number of plants for their own use. Housing associations and mayors put small home growers routinely, and without the court’s intervention, out of their house.

Because of the coalition between several parties, a trade-off had to be made. The initiative introduced in 2015 to regulate cannabis for the Dutch coffeeshops, which is stuck in the Senate, will not be discussed in the Senate.

The agreement reads:

Er komt wet- en regelgeving ten behoeve van uniforme experimenten met het gedoogd telen van wiet voor recreatief gebruik. Het kabinet komt daartoe zo mogelijk binnen zes maanden met wetgeving. Deze experimenten wordt uitgevoerd in een aantal (middel)grote gemeenten (zes á tien). Doel van de experimenten is om te bezien of en hoe op kwaliteit gecontroleerde wiet gedecriminaliseerd aan de coffeeshops toegeleverd kan worden (gesloten coffeeshopketen) en wat de effecten hiervan zijn. De experimenten worden onafhankelijk geëvalueerd, waarna het kabinet beziet wat het te doen staat.”

Which translates to: 

“There will come laws and regulations for uniform experiments on the tolerance of cultivation of cannabis for recreational use. The government will, if possible, implement legislation within six months. These experiments are conducted in a number of (medium) large municipalities (six to ten) The purpose of the experiments is to see whether and how quality controlled cannabis can be decriminalized at the coffeeshops (closed-coffeeshop-chain) and what its effects are. The experiments are evaluated independently, after which the cabinet sees what it takes to do.”