Cities renew effort to cultivate marijuana; parliament still opposed

. Marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.) plant. Source:Wikimedia/United States Fish and Wildlife Service

The city of Utrecht, as well as the cities of Rotterdam, Nijmegen, Eindhoven, Heerlen and Tilburg, are still investigating whether cannabis cultivation can be regulated, Utrecht announced on Monday. The Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, is still opposed to the idea, saying that regulation does not contribute to the fight against organized crime and that it is contrary to international obligations.

Utrecht alderman Victor Everhardt has adopted a D66 motion calling for the increase of coffee shops' authorized cannabis trade stocks, which is currently up to 500 grams. He will bring up this motion in his discussions with Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice on the regulation of cannabis.

According to a recent survey by research firm Motivaction, 70 percent of Dutch people are for regulating cannabis cultivation or making it completely legal. A majority also feel that the police should not give tackling cannabis cultivation high priority.

"There comes a time when even the government must face reality", Anne Podt of the Utrecht D66 said. "There is no support for the current policy and it causes extra costs and safety concerns. It is time that we regard coffee shop owners as entrepreneurs, not as criminals."

Between 2010 and 2014 a total of 454 cannabis plantations were found in the city of Utrecht. Last year 111 plantations were found - almost double compared to the 66 found in 2012.