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Parliamentary Vote On Regulation Supply Chain

Four decades after the decriminalization of marijuana in the Netherlands, the Dutch parliament today finally voted on policy to regulate the weed supply chain.

The back door supply chain has been a point of debate between coffeeshops and the government for 40 years. Although coffeeshops are licensed to sell small amounts of cannabis under strict guidelines, the manufacture and delivery of the product is strictly illegal, with risk of punishment.

Under new back-door regulation policies, the coffeeshops can operate without such fear of prosecution. .also. quality control ..

It all sounds like good news but we can question the value of this vote as two weeks from now the Dutch national elections will take place and major power shifts are on Holland’s political horizon. Looking at the polls, a reshuffled parliament (and the following government) may not be able to reach the same majority needed to accualy change policy in the following term.

Proposal To Change Dutch Pot Policy

A fresh proposal from the Dutch social-liberal party, D66, wants to customize the policy on cannabis. With these proposed changes, the cultivation and supply of cannabis will be regulated together with coffeeshop retail, and become part of a closed supply chain.

Growers would require a tolerance decision from the Minister of Health. The production of cannabis would remain illegal, but no longer punishable. Growers would also become taxable, and at long last the production of marijuana and hashish can be held to account regarding public health standards.

Hash and weed would be delivered to the coffeeshop sealed inside labelled packages containing up to 5 grams. This way coffeeshops can be supplied in a responsible manner, and consumers know exactly what they’re getting.

How to impliment this new policy on the ground would be largly left up to the municipalities.

 

Cannabis Liberation Day 2016

CANNABIS BEVRIJDINGSDAG: June 12th – 2016

Sprekers: Rick Simpson, Noll Van Shaik, Has Cornelissen.

Muziek: Will and the People (UK) Armand Tribute, Van Piekeren, Dramali, Iris Penning, United Sounds, Rupelsoldaten (B), DJ Skunkstar, Covenant Soundsystem
The eighth edition of the “protestival” Cannabis Liberation Day again drew hundreds of 420 enthusiasts to Flevopark in Amsterdam.

The revelers protested against the 40 year old policy of the tolerance of marijuana in the Netherlands, and called for all-out legalisation. Recent plans by the city of Amsterdam to start local experiments with regulated weed, grown and distributed under the watchful eye of City Hall, were met with healthy skepticism on the festival grounds. Organizer Derrick Bergman: “We are against ‘municipality weed’. We are all for regulation, we need more control, more clean weed without pesticides. But not from the goverment”

In the tradition of the annual Cannabis Liberation Day, the festival included a hemp market , a number of speakers, musical performances and the annual Cannabis Film Festival.

The scent of quality cannabis hovered above the crowd as an abundance of weed and hashish went up in vapor and smoke.

Dutch Mayors Call For Saner Marijuana Policy

February 2014 – “It takes courage to refrain from doing what, to some people, seems logical on the drawing board.”

This was the astounding reply of Ivo Opstelten, the Dutch Minister of Security and Justice, to the Dutch mayors who stand for the regulation of the cannabis supply chain. The 35 mayors recently joined forces to convince the minister to regulate the cultivation of cannabis needed to supply coffeeshops across the country.

Many involved experts, backed by the Mayors of 35 Dutch towns and cities, including Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht, argue that the current laws only allow the sale but not the cultivation of marijuana. Dutch coffeeshops, which are allowed to sell hash and weed, cannot buy their stock legally. This encourages organized crime and wastes police time, according to the mayors.

Ahmed Aboutaleb, the mayor of Rotterdam, told local press that cannabis cafes had to rely on “murky worlds”, and that the current situation in Holland was unsustainable.

The Mayors recently offered the minister a manifest titled “Joint Regulation”, calling for long overdue policy change. Quoting from the manifest:

“This manifest is a plea to the cabinet – in particular to the under-minister of the Department of Health and to the minister of the Department of Security and Justice – and the members of parliament to turn their ears to the cities and change coarse. A coarse that can make a change in the way these problems are dealt with. Our call: implement, together with us, a nation-wide system of certification and regulation for the cultivation of cannabis. Only then a solution may be possible.”

However, the Dutch government won’t budge and argues that any change in the law would not be welcomed by neighboring countries. Minister Opstelten said after a cabinet meeting in response to the Joint Regulation weed manifesto that the mayors signed in Utrecht, he will tour the ‘country’ in order to discuss the prevention of crime and nuisance weed plantations, with mayors and municipalities.

In spite of Hollands progressive history, the recent global trend of cannabis legislation shows the Dutch policies falling behind.

The international tide is turning as the world becomes more weed friendly. Many countries in Europe have decriminalized marijuana. The United States has legalized cannabis shops in Colorado with Washington State set to follow, while in South America, Uruguay became the first nation to fully legalize cannabis.

From the 1970’s Holland has been one of the few countries in the world where you can have a joint without worrying about getting busted and cities such as Amsterdam have since been celebrated by cannabis connoisseurs and freedom hungry travelers from around the globe.

The ‘weed pass law’ (restrcting foreigners from coffeeshops) was due to be introduced nationally on January 1st 2013 but in November 2012 it was repealed. Although municipalities are now still able to regulate the sale of marijuana, It leaves the issue of regulating the supply untouched.

Weed Pass Scrapped With Immediate Effect!

Dutch Justice minister Ivo Opstelten announced that the controversial ‘weed pass’ is to be scrapped with immediate effect.

In a letter to parliament he also said it would be up to municipalities to determine and enforce the regulations governing coffeeshops in their area.

The so-called weed pass was introduced in the south of the Netherlands last May. It was initially designed to stop ‘drug tourists’ from Germany, Belgium and France from crossing the Dutch border to buy cannabis. Yet, the new regulations meant that coffeeshops in the region became closed clubs, admitting only Dutch residents who had to register for a special pass.

The mesure was due to take effect in the rest of the Netherlands at the beginning of 2013. However, the introduction of the pass saw an immediate increase in illegal street dealing and other drug-related problems in the southern province.  As a result, the mayors of many Dutch cities have been urging the government to reconsider so that people will not have to register to buy cannabis.

Officially customers still have to show ID to prove they are Dutch citizens, but the authorities in large cities such as Amsterdam are not expected to enforce this rule.

source: rnw.nl

The 35th Anniversary Of Cannabis Decriminalization

The idea of ‘coffeeshops’ was introduced in the 1970s for the explicit purpose of keeping hard and soft drugs separated. This idea was put in effect in 1976 with an amendment to the Dutch Opium Act that made a clear distinction between the two categories.

With regard to the category soft drugs a gedoogbeleid (tolerance policy) applies. An official set of guidelines tells public prosecutors under which circumstances offenders should not be prosecuted. It is a more official version of the common practice in other countries, in which law enforcement sets priorities as to which offenses are important enough to spend limited resources on. An often used argument is that alcohol, which is a hard drug, is legal and a soft drug such as cannabis can’t be more dangerous to society.

Cannabis remains illegal in the Netherlands and both possession and production for personal use are still misdemeanors, technically punishable by fine,. However, a policy of non-enforcement has led to a situation where reliance upon non-enforcement has become common, and because of this the courts have ruled against the government when individual cases were prosecuted.

Coffeeshops (in Dutch written as one word) are also technically illegal according to the statutes but under the drug policy, the sale of cannabis products in small quantities is allowed by ‘licensed’ coffeeshops. The majority of these establishments also serve drinks and food, but it is not allowed for a coffeeshop to serve alcohol anymore.

In the Netherlands, 105 of the 443 municipalities have at least one coffeeshop. Many at the borders sell mostly to foreigners (mostly from Belgium, Germany and France), who can also buy marijuana in their own countries, but prefer the legality and higher product quality of Dutch coffeeshops.

In 2010 a bill is proposed banning sale to foreigners; however, the local government of Amsterdam and other municipalities oppose the bill, because of the expected increase of illegal street trade.

Cannabis Liberation Day 2010

May 8 2010, 12-10pm, Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam
(see map: http://tinyurl.com/y8b6dt7)

Live Music, Speakers, Hemp Market and Cannabis Film Festival.
Cannabis Liberation Day is an initiative of the alliance of Dutch cannabis organizations (VOC)
and the Dutch cannabis consumers organization (VvCC).

“Prohibition Is No Solution!”

FREE ADMISSION

Coffeeshops Legal or Permitted?

Amsterdam is known to be a liberal city. Although many people exaggerate the freedom here, the Amsterdammers and Dutch in general do have a few liberties that are unique in the world. Still, whenever you visit a city in a foreign country it is always a good idea to inform yourself about the local laws and rules. In Amsterdam’s case this can be a difficult task, therefore this article will try to inform you about the basics of the Dutch legislation and specific things you should know about Amsterdam and its Coffeeshops.

In the Netherlands we distinguish between two types of drugs: soft and hard drugs. By law both of them are illegal, but the use and possession of small amounts of soft drugs is decriminalized and regulated. This led the Dutch to having a unique drugs policy in the world. Although the use of addictives in general is discouraged, the Dutch politics reasoned that cannabis does not have physically addictive qualities, and are not more harmful than, say, alcohol. Therefore the Netherlands allow limited forms of possession and trade in soft-drugs.

The specific rules are as follows:
• You are allowed to purchase and possess up to five grams of cannabis. Possessing more is interpreted as if you want to trade it, which is illegal.
• Only specially permitted “Coffeeshops” are allowed to sell soft drugs, and never more than five grams per person per day. You have to be 18 or over to access a Coffeeshop.

The paradox in the Dutch drugs policy is that the growing and trading of large amounts of soft drugs is illegal and not allowed, yet Coffeeshops still need to buy their stock. This phenomenon is referred to as the “back door/ front door” paradox: Coffeeshops are allowed to sell (and pay taxes for it), but can not legally buy stock.

It is not illegal to smoke outside the Coffeeshop, but things have changed over the past few years, and it is no longer acceptable to smoke cannabis just everywhere.

Restricted areas around Central Station and the Red Light District have a “zero tolerance” policy. In other areas in Amsterdam where it is forbidden to smoke Marijuana, official “no-pot-smoking” street signs will indicate this clearly.

Although you are not expected to know local regulations, you might very well risk a fine when smoking in these areas.

UN Cannabis Usage Report

According to a study called the ‘World Drug Report’ performed by the U.N (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) cannabis use was reported in 172 countries and territories world wide, with more than a million European consumers in the last month.

The Danish are way ahead of other European countries when it concerns Cannabis use. From the age of 15 to 34 some 50% have tried Cannabis at a certain point in their lives. This is quite the difference compared to the 30 percent European average. Other European countries with higher than average use are France, Spain and the UK. Canada (at 58.6%), and the United States (at 49%) are the leaders when it comes to the world wide consumption of cannabis.

The Netherlands does not occur in this list of top users, according to researchers, this could have to do with the fact that Cannabis is freely available to those 18 years and older in the Netherlands. The report also showed that the prices have been stable or dropped since 1996. With Spain being the cheapest and Norway being the most expensive when it concerns retail prices. The highest concentration of THC (Tetra-Hydro-Cannabinol) – the active ingredient in cannabis – seems to be in the Netherlands at a little over 20%. Portugal and Italy scrape the bottom of the bag at less than three percent.

The report shows a quite divergent regulatory landscape in the EU, with decriminalization trends in Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg but toughening regulations in Denmark, Italy and surprisingly, the big example, the Netherlands.

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/WDR-2008.html