Magda Berndsen of Dutch Democrat party ‘D66’ has proposed perhaps the most progressive cannabis regulation ever seen in Europe. If accepted it will legalize the large-scale production, sale and distribution of cannabis in Holland. This would be a major blow to organised crime who currently enjoy tax-free revenues from industrial-scale unregulated cannabis farms.
The new proposal would allow special permits allowing large scale cannabis production for carefully approved companies which could guarantee top quality cannabis farming free of pesticides and other contaminants. It would also save the Dutch Government around €500 million. €200 million would be saved from police and court costs and a further €300 million would come from tax revenues which are currently not collected.
Further calls for more sensible Dutch cannabis policy have come from the Mayors of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague who are known as the ‘G4’ and led by the Mayor of Amsterdam Eberhaard van der Laan. Recently they wrote to the Health Secretary objecting to a proposal to limit cannabis strength to 15% or below. The ’15% rule’ would be a huge extra burden to police and judicial system. And it could be easily overcome simply by adding e.g. extra twigs to the buds. Whats more, there is no evidence that there will be any benefit to public health if cannabis potency is restricted to 15%.
There is also widespread opposition to the Dutch ‘Grow shop law’ which forbids the sale of grow room equipment to those intending to grow on a large or professional scale. One of the main consequences of this law has been to create a new tax-free black-market in grow room equipment. No doubt it will also generate extra revenues for equipment suppliers in neighbouring European countries, e.g. grow tent manufacturers etc. Several Dutch grow-shops have already been shut down as a result of this new law which became active on March 1st.
A recent major poll by Dutch Radio BNR showed that 67% of listeners agreed that entrepreneurs should be ‘allowed to cultivate cannabis legally’. Clearly there is a huge amount of support for a major rethink on Dutch cannabis laws, and the pressure is coming from all areas of Dutch society. The only solution is improved cannabis cultivation laws based on evidence and logic, and that is exactly what the D66 party is proposing with the legalisation of commercial growing. If accepted, the D66 proposal would be a major blow to criminal gangs who enjoy a tax-free monopoly courtesy of sub-standard Government policy.
The Dutch coffee shop model of cannabis distribution has been a model of cannabis tolerance for decades, yet it is far from perfect. The ‘front door’ of the coffeeshop deals with taxed and tolerated cannabis sales to customers and tourists. But the ‘back door’ of the coffee shop is still completely unregulated, meaning that the coffeeshops have to buy massive quantities of cannabis from a completely unregulated market. This has been going on for decades and is increasingly seen as a failure by politicians lacking the moral courage to deal with the situation. But this new proposal from the D66 party could change everything, as well as leading Europe to a more ‘American’ style system of cannabis production and regulation.
As well as creating an extra €500 million each year for the Dutch Government, there are other benefits.
Public health. A system of regulated and approved commercial cannabis growers will ensure cannabis is produced only to the highest quality standards, free from contaminants, pesticides, heavy metals and unwanted chemical residues. This will be a major improvement over the current situation where coffee shop owners are forced onto the black market to buy their cannabis and can never be absolutely certain what they are buying or how it has been produced. The new D66 proposal will allow each variety of cannabis on sale will be accompanied by a full scientific analysis of the cannabinoid content, allowing the consumer to know exactly what they are vapourising/smoking.
Job creation. By pulling cannabis production into a legal framework The Netherlands will see a new industry created with companies competing to produce high quality, high purity organic cannabis. These will be good jobs, well paid with pensions and taxes. Its a win-win for everyone involved.
Improved cannabis quality. Legalization of large scale cannabis production will make it easier to create and improve the quality of cannabis for the end customer. For example, CBD-rich medical varieties which are only just starting to appear in coffee shops will probably become much more popular and widespread. This will only benefit the medical users and medical cannabis tourists that visit the coffee shops. As well as CBD-rich varieties we expect that there will be cannabis varieties which will be selected for high levels of other cannabinoids such as THCV-rich, CBG-rich varieties. Many of these minor cannabinoids are attracting intense scientific interest for the medical benefits.
Improved Supply For Coffee Shops. Coffee shops are currently tolerated so long as they have less than 500g of cannabis on site. This often requires couriers delivering large amounts of cannabis through the ‘back door’ each day. This is not a sensible way of running any business, and the new D66 proposal will allow some flexibility and modernisation of old and inadequate rules. Larger coffee shops may be able to hold larger cannabis stocks
Allowing the Dutch to set an example for the rest of Europe. Much of Europe is still a long way behind the USA system. The USA has changed attitudes towards the use of medical & recreational cannabis in North/South America. If the Dutch Parliament do accept the proposal to legalize cannabis production it will set a new European benchmark for mature thinking on the cannabis issue. This is well overdue, and it will be a credit to the Dutch politicians if they can achieve this.
Dutch Passion fully support the proposal from the D66 party, we will keep you updated on the outcome. You can read more on the D66 proposal to regulate cannabis production hereMarch 6th 2015