Regulated cannabis cultivation is on its way to be tested in the Netherlands, and we know that 10 municipalities will be participating in this experiment. However, the four big cities – Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and The Hague – will not be participating. The municipalities declined as all coffeeshops in the city will have to cooperate which might have a slight logistical problem.
Why is this experiment being run?
Well, there’s a loophole in the Dutch law where it is illegal to grow cannabis to sell to coffeeshops. However, selling of weed in coffeeshops is tolerated, the thing that most tourists visit the Netherlands for. Coincidence? I think not.
The government wants to see how regulating the growing and distribution of cannabis will help curb crime and improve safety. However, it is still a long way before this experiment will be run. The government wants to run it in 2021, and it is now clear that 10 municipalities will be participating. NOS reports that Tilburg, Almere, and Breda are going to be one of them. The full list of participating municipalities will be released on Thursday.
Will regulating the growing of cannabis curb crime and improve safety?
This one is out for debate. Earlier this month, a team from the Dutch police visited Canada, where cannabis has been legalized since October 2018. They saw that even though there were efforts put forward by the government for users to buy weed legally, they still opted to buy it on the black market mostly because it was cheaper.
De Volkskrant reported that “most police officers who spoke to the Dutch delegation are skeptical as to whether they will succeed in reducing the criminal world.” So should we hope for something different in the Netherlands? Probably not. The four major cities have already opted out of participating in this experiment, the cities which house the largest concentration of coffeeshops. We will have to see what other municipalities will be participating.
However, what is your perspective on this? I am a little bit in two minds about it mostly because it looks like legalization may not really help. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.