Your latest cannabis business info from Europe

Your latest cannabis business info from Europe

2024-02-29

Netherlands: concerns about the expansion of cannabis trial

Netherlands: concerns about the expansion of cannabis trial

The expansion of the cannabis experiment in the Netherlands to include an eleventh municipality, Amsterdam (specifically the Oost district), is hanging by a thread. At least half of the Dutch House of Representatives is not in favour. During a debate on Wednesday evening, the PVV, NSC, CDA, CU, and SGP made it clear they oppose the expansion. This sentiment extends to the BBB party, absent from the debate, as party leader Caroline van der Plas confirmed to De Telegraaf.

Even before the trial, where coffeeshops in ten municipalities receive legal state-supplied cannabis, had begun, the now-caretaker Rutte-IV cabinet wanted to expand the experiment to a major city. The rationale behind this was the specific urban issues at play. However, with the composition of the new House of Representatives, it seems unlikely that the eleventh participating municipality will materialise. Parties, which previously endorsed the coalition agreement including the experiment’s expansion, are now distancing themselves from the plan. And they are not the only opponents.

“Only one district”

“We see no reason to add an eleventh municipality to the experiment”

NSC MP Daniëlle Jansen stated at the beginning of her speech. Her party has ‘serious concerns’, partly because it refers to ‘only one district’. NSC is already concerned about the experiment, she further stated. PVV, BBB, and SGP also see little merit in adding an eleventh municipality to the experiment. If Denk – absent from the debate like BBB but against drug use – also votes no, a majority of the House of Representatives opposes the expansion. Coffeeshop owners in Amsterdam-Oost themselves undermined the plan to add the district to the experiment in a letter to the Chamber on Wednesday. In the letter, obtained by De Telegraaf, they express their ‘disappointment’ with participating in the experiment. They argue they do not support it without the addition of Moroccan hashish to the trial. They consider tolerating it ‘necessary’ but also ‘an act of recognition and respect for Moroccan culture in the Netherlands’.

Fear of street market

By excluding this hashish, customers are ‘involuntarily’ forced to turn to the street market, they fear. Without the addition of Moroccan hashish to the trial, they see participation as ‘undesirable and even unviable for some of us’, they write. This would not meet a condition for the experiment, which stipulates that all coffeeshops in a participating municipality must participate. PVV wants to put the experiment ‘on hold’ altogether

The largest party in the House, the PVV, prefers to put the cannabis experiment on hold altogether. PVV member René Claassen announced that he would submit a motion to pause the entire experiment – the idea being that a new cabinet can then make a definitive decision on the trial. This pause plan does not seem to have a majority. Claassen’s initiative is supported by CDA, CU, and SGP.

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