Breda, Tilburg among 10 municipalities to participate in regulated weed experiment: report

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

A total of 10 municipalities will participate in the Dutch government's experiment with regulated cannabis cultivation and Tilburg, Almere and Breda are among them, NOS reports based in information from sources. The intention is for the experiment to start in 2021, according to the broadcaster. The committee that helped set up the experiment will give advice on the full list of participants on Thursday.

Currently it is illegal to cultivate cannabis in the Netherlands and deliver it to Dutch coffeeshops. The sale of weed by coffeeshops is tolerated. This experiment, which was included in the Rutte III coalition agreement thanks to the D66's insistence, was designed for six to ten municipalities. According to NOS, the government went for the maximum number of municipalities. 

The goal of the experiment is to investigate whether and how quality-controlled cannabis can be supplied to coffeeshops. The effects of regulated cannabis on crime, safety, nuisance and public health will be examined. The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, approved the law that regulates the experiment early this year. The Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate, must still vote on it. 

Which other municipalities will participate is not yet clear. A total of 26 municipalities signed up to take part. It won't be any of the four large cities - Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague all pulled out of the experiment. Their main complaint was that all coffeeshops in participating municipalities must cooperate with the experiment. Amsterdam, for example, has nearly 170 coffeeshops. Mayor Femke Halsema called it dangerous for all those coffeeshops to dispose of their illegal suppliers in one go. "It is not imaginary that problems with 'the back door' will arise at that moment", she said in October last year. 

Earlier this week the police said that legalizing the production and use of cannabis does not lead to an immediate reduction in drug crime. The police came to this conclusion after a working visit to Canada, where cannabis was legalized in October. According to the police, the main problem is that the price of cannabis is much lower on the black market, because criminals do not have to pay taxes.

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