Amsterdam has long been a place where cannabis is tolerated. But criminals are supplying the 420 friendly “coffee shops.” The Dutch government wants to halt that process and legally produce cannabis.
According to the mayor of the southern city of Breda, at least 30 companies are applying to legally produce Cannabis in the Netherlands. These government-backed trials are designed to cut criminals out of supplying the world-renowned coffee shops.
Coffee shops in Amsterdam are permitted to sell minimal amounts of marijuana to people over the age of 18. However, production is still illegal. This gives gangs who are also dealing harder drugs an avenue for profit. In 2015, the police took down 5,856 active marijuana grow-ops. But now the Dutch government is thinking more proactively.
A series of trials led by Mark Rutte will occur in 2018. It will be conducted by 6 to 10 councils which will regulate production in their designated areas. Then, these areas will report their findings to a central government.
Four Production Models Proposed
- Allow mass production from corporations and medical institutions to supply coffee shops
- Eliminate coffee shops by allowing licensed producers to sell directly to customers online
- Allow production to be handled by individuals involved in a social cannabis club
- Allow the coffee shops to produce everything they sell
Paul Depla, the mayor of Breda, proposes a joint model to license a select number of companies to mass produce cannabis. He says,
“I have had offers from 25, 30, companies telling me that they are capable to produce on a legal and safe basis.”
Depla went on to say that some companies are involved in agriculture or linked to organizations “with a lot of spare heat.” He would not release the names of the firms, as companies are concerned with backlash until the government officially passes the trials. Deplas says the current system is bankrupt, and something needs to change. He states,
“Production now is dominated by organised crime syndicates. We have got a bankrupt system.”
Depla says organizations selected for the trial would produce 14-15 different strains of marijuana to offer a wide selection. Prices would be regulated to ensure they did not encourage use by being too low, or overshoot the drug’s street value. Safety is of utmost importance.
“What is very important is the public safety of cannabis production.”