Names of municipalities in regulated cannabis experiment leaked

The names of the ten municipalities that will participate in the Dutch government's experiment with regulated cannabis cultivation leaked on Wednesday evening. In addition to Breda, Tilburg and Almere, which were already known, the other municipalities are Groningen, Maastricht, Nijmegen, Arnhem, Zaanstad, Heerlen, and Hellevoetsluis, ANP reports. 

The committee that helped set up this experiment will officially recommend the above ten municipalities for participating on Thursday, according to the news wire. Ministers Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security and Bruno Bruins for Medical Care will accept the recommendation. 

Due to their location, Breda, Maastricht and Heerlen were designated as "border municipalities". This means that coffeeshops in these cities are not allowed to sell cannabis to foreigners. The government hopes that this will prevent drug tourism. 

There will also be a control group - municipalities in which cannabis cultivation is not regulated - that will be monitored, so that the results of both groups can be compared. The municipalities in this control group have not yet been chosen.

A total of 26 municipalities signed up for the experiment. The four large cities Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and The Hague did not sign up, citing problems with the way in which the experiment will be done. 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.