Dutch municipalities dissatisfied with regulated cannabis experiment
Many Dutch municipalities are dissatisfied with the current preliminary design of the government's experiment with regulated cannabis cultivation. Where municipalities queued to participate in the experiment when it was announced, the government will now have difficulty in finding 10 municipalities to participate, the association of Dutch municipalities VNG said to Trouw.
The VNG's main objection is that the experiment will not automatically be extended if it proves successful. That means that coffeeshop owners may have to return to illegal growers after the experiment. "That is immoral", mayor Paul Depla of Breda said to the newspaper.
Another issue is that the experiment states that all coffeeshops in a municipality must participate. Amsterdam previously raised concern about this as well. The Dutch capital counts 166 coffeeshops. "They'll have to dispose of their illegal suppliers in one go", Mayor Femke Halsema said. "It is not imaginary that problems with 'the back door' will arise at that moment." Depla would prefer if mayors were given more resources to deal with shop owners who do not want to participate.
The final point of criticism for the VNG is the so-called 'resident criterion' - coffeeshops can only sell to Dutch residents. This means, for example, that coffeeshops in Venlo will no longer be allowed to sell to German customers. This could lead to illegal drug tourism, the Dutch municipalities fear.
The VNG wants to meet with responsible Ministers Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security and Bruno Bruins of Medical Care to discuss these concerns.
The regulated cannabis experiment is intended to provide a solution for an issue in the Netherlands' tolerance policy. Cannabis can be legally sold, but not cultivated. This means that coffeeshop owners work on a semi-illegal construction.