Tilburg, Breda to start selling regulated cannabis this fall as "start-up" to experiment
Coffeeshops in Tilburg and Breda could start selling regulated cannabis this autumn, Minister Ernst Kuipers (Public Health) announced in parliament. The Cabinet decided to go with a “start-up phase” to get the regulated cannabis experiment going, NOS reports. Eventually, ten municipalities will participate in the experiment.
The start-up phase will start when three growers are able to supply sufficient weed of the right quality, Kuipers said. He expects that to be around October. The coffeeshops will be allowed to have up to 500 grams of cannabis in-house. And they’ll be allowed to buy from the official legal growers, as well as their old, illegal suppliers.
The start-up phase in Tilburg and Breda should last six months, after which the government hopes to expand it to the other eight municipalities and possibly a district in Amsterdam, Kuipers said. The Dutch capital recently announced interest in participating in the trial.
The government also added a “stop button” to halt the experiment if serious problems arise. It is essential that the experiment does not lead to more nuisance than the police and judiciary can handle.
The invovled Ministers hope this start-up phase will create some wiggle room in the deadlocked weed experiment. The government originally wanted the experiment to be done early last year so that it could decide on the general legalization of cannabis sale and use. But the expriement still hasn’t gotten off the ground due to various circumstances.
One of the problems is that the growers who are legally allowed the produce weed - the Cabinet selected 10 in a lottery - are struggling to get going. Many entrepreneurs are having trouble getting a bank account, for example. So far, only one is actually ready to deliver cannabis to coffeeshops.
Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius of Justice and Security told parliament that banks are allowed to decide who they provide accounts for. She will, however, continue to urge banks to state more clearly what requirements cannabis growers must meet to get an account.
The weed experiment must close a strange gap in the Netherlands’ current tolerance policy on cannabis. Coffeeshops in the Netherlands are allowed to sell cannabis in user amounts but not to buy the soft drug. Coffeeshop owners are, therefore, dependent on illegal suppliers.