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New agreement on “state weed”

No stock limit for coffeeshops and no THC limit for customers during the experiment. The test will even be extended if proven successful. But the end goal is still the creation of a nation-wide, closed supply chain which will only provide so-called ‘state weed’.

The Dutch coalition parties have reached an agreement about an experiment with legal, government controlled cannabis. As planned earlier, six to ten municipalities will be conducting trials, but an additional six to ten municipalities are used as a ‘control group’. Moreover, the test can be extended if it proves successful.

During the trial, the coffeeshops involved will be allowed to have a larger trade stock (of marijuana cultivated by the state) than the current maximum of 500 grams. There will be a choice of different types of weed for customers to choose from and there will be no limit to the amount of thc, the active substance in cannabis. Should the experiment be a success, it can be extended.

A control group has also been added to the experiment. It consists of tolerated coffeeshops in the vicinity of the municipalities involved. The same measurements are made at these shops. On the basis of this so-called zero measurement, it can then be concluded whether the test with state weed was successful.

The decision is politically sensitive. The two christian democratic parties that are part of the current coalition agreed with a limited variant, which ten municipalities would participate in. But a research committee headed by Professor André Knottnerus ruled that this group would be too small for a ‘sufficiently representative survey’. The government should keep the experiment in ‘considerably more’ municipalities than the coalition agreement says.

The Committee also concluded that if the trial is a success, a national introduction of ‘state cannabis’ should be considered. The Cabinet does not want to do so for the time being, but the possibility to extend the trial does leave the door open.

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.

 

Hope for Future of Coffeeshops After Collapse of Conservative Dutch Government

Since the 1970s, the Netherlands’ legendary cannabis coffeeshops have been officially ‘tolerated’ by the government, meaning that while technically illegal, they’ve nonetheless operated openly, with hundreds of locations in Amsterdam alone selling limited amounts of marijuana to the public.

Despite their being tightly regulated and contributing considerably to the nation’s tourism industry, however, the conservative government has been steadily working to curtail or eliminate the coffeeshops, specifically by proposing a ‘Weed Pass’ plan that would restrict access to only citizens of the Netherlands willing to register as a member of a private club, with each coffeeshop allowed just 2,000 members.

The Weed Pass plan was passed into law in 2011 and was set to take effect starting with several locations in the south of the Netherlands on May 1 of this year. But this week several important developments have thrown the future of the law into doubt. Most notably, the coalition forming the Dutch government dissolved on April 23, amid an internal argument over budgetary priorities.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his cabinet have since officially resigned in advance of national elections to be held in the near future, with the possibility of a new government taking power that’s opposed to the Weed Pass. While at the same time, a group of Dutch coffeeshop owners and their allies have been fighting the Weed Pass in court, charging that the proposed new restrictions are in violation of the nation’s constitution.

According to Arjan Roskam, head of the Green House Coffeeshop and a driving force behind the lawsuit, “Clause I of the Dutch constitution states that all that are in The Netherlands will be treated equally, and that discriminating based on religion, lifestyle, political views, race, or gender on any ground is not allowed. For this reason, the national ban on tourists visiting coffeeshops would violate our constitutional rights here in the Netherlands by discriminating against foreigners.”

A ruling on that lawsuit is expected this Friday, April 27, just a few days before the new policy is set to go into effect. Meanwhile, opponents of the Weed Pass may have gotten a huge boost to their cause last week, when the Netherlands’ College for the Protection of Personal Data weighed in on the issue by writing to the Minister of Security and Justice, who created the new law.

The Dutch government’s privacy watchdog’s sternly worded letter challenged the “necessity, proportionality and subsidiary of the verifiable membership list.” and suggested that by collecting personal information from proposed members, the coffeeshops will be forced to unduly violate their privacy.

In the meantime, please rest assured that the proposed new law will not impact the upcoming 25th Annual High Times Cannabis Cup, to be held this November 18-22, just weeks before the ‘Weed Pass’ would go into effect in Amsterdam.

Source: High Times