Maximum of 10 Dutch municipalities to test regulated cannabis: report

Dutch police inspect a cannabis plantation in a house (Stock Photo: Politie)Dutch police inspect a cannabis plantation in a house (Stock Photo: Politie)

Between six and 10 Dutch municipalities will experiment with regulated cannabis cultivation and sale, according to a bill sent to the police, the Public Prosecutor and the Association of Dutch municipalities, among others, the Volkskrant reports.

The experiment will last for five years and two months, one year of which will be used on preparation. Cannabis cultivators will be recruited through a tender. For the period of the experiment, they will only be allowed to grow weed for the experiment, and not for other sales.

Not all coffeeshops in the participating municipalities will take part in the experiment. As long as the experiment lasts, these coffeeshops will only be allowed to sell weed under the conditions set in the experiment. After it is over, the coffeeshops can sell as they did before the experiment, while it is carefully evaluated. Only after this evaluation will a decision be made on whether to introduce regulated cannabis cultivation and sale nationwide. 

The bill also contains strict requirements for packaging and transport of the regulated cannabis. In this way the government wants to prevent the drugs ending up in illegal trade. The packaging will contain health warnings, similar to those on cigarettes.

The composition and price of the regulated weed are still uncertain. The government is getting information on those fronts from a committee of experts. 

The government also plans to launch an campaign warning people of the health risks of using cannabis at the same time the bill is implemented. This is to prevent people from thinking cannabis use is normal, according to the newspaper.

The bill still has to pass through the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate. So it is not yet clear when it will be implemented and when the experiment will start.