Grow shops have had a tough time in The Netherlands over recent years. The notorious grow shop laws have made it difficult for grow stores to sell cannabis equipment even to small scale growers hoping to grow a plant or two at home for their own consumption. What makes Plantarium Grow Shop special is that it fought hard through the Netherlands Court system to establish itself as a fully legal, court-approved grow store in the Netherlands. This is the remarkable story of how it all came about.
When the Plantarium grow shop opened in Nijmegen in 1993 the aim was never to focus on the illegal commercial growers aiming to fill a warehouse with cannabis. Instead the focus was on the small scale domestic grower looking to be self sufficient in their cannabis supply. Tom from Plantarium prides himself on providing friendly expert advice on all areas of cannabis growing. Plantarium sell cannabis seeds, cannabis nutrients, grow lights, grow mediums and everything else needed to grow cannabis. So how come they don’t get closed down?
In 2015, the so-called ‘grow shop act’ was introduced to The Netherlands. This law stated that the sale of materials and products intended for professional cannabis cultivation is illegal. The real purpose of the law was to stop the large growers with dozens of lamps involved in serious commercial production of cannabis. Although this was the original intention of the law, the implementation was not done well. Instead, it made it easier for the Police to raid less important grow shops (‘easy targets’) a long way down the supply chain from the commercial growers. Many grow shops were raided by the police. Complete stocks were seized and the shop owners were arrested. The Dutch grow shop made little impact on the serious growers who simply bought their equipment and supplies in neighbouring countries instead.
Plantarium grow shop had never been involved with these large scale, professional weed growers. But despite that Plantarium was also raided. Over half of the inventory was confiscated and later destroyed.
Once a grow shop has been raided there are just two choices. To try to claim that the products were for growing other types of legal plants. Or to claim that the shop was there to serve cannabis growers, but only small scale growers. Plantarium appeared before the judge and pleaded their case honestly, explaining the type of customer they served and the service they offer only to small-scale home growers. The fact that their products were are just for small domestic growers was the basis of the Plantarium case.
Although many thought that the legal challenge from Plantarium was unlikely to succeed, the judge accepted that Plantarium was not concerned with commercial, professional cannabis cultivation. Incredibly, Planetarium grow shop won their case with the support of the judge. It was a victory for the small scale grower as well as Plantarium grow shop. With all their stock removed, Plantarium had to start again from scratch using the same premises and the same loyal customer base. Today, Plantarium is the only grow shop in The Netherlands with the court backing to sell cannabis seeds and grow equipment openly to cannabis growers.
After the acquittal of the case and victory for Plantarium the state decided to appeal. This went to the Court Of Appeal in Arnhem which upheld the original victory for Plantarium. The Appeal Court judges determined that Plantarium's conduct is entirely legal within Dutch law. That means that Plantarium are officially the first grow shop in the Netherlands able to legally sell all the necessary products for those who grow cannabis on a small scale at home. The full Court ruling is here for those interested!
As a result of the court case Plantarium can offer detailed advice on cannabis cultivation and sell the relevant products. You can visit to discuss any aspect of cannabis cultivation, from nutrients, lights, tents, extraction, carbon filters to harvesting and curing. As well as being a shop Plantarium are open about the fact that they are also a knowledge centre for home growers. You can buy complete grow kits with all the advice and support you need.
Because of this legal protection, customers feel reassured that they get open and honest advice from Plantarium whether they approach the store via email, facebook messenger or in person. Tom from Plantarium explains that sometimes innovation and progress needs friction. As Tom says in Dutch “ieder mens handelt naar zijn eer en geweten en doet wat hij/zij het beste lijkt” which means that every person acts according to his or her conscience and does what he / she seems best”
In The Netherlands it is decriminalised to buy up to 5g of cannabis so you can simply buy your own if you wish in a coffee shop. Despite the wide availability in coffee shops, lots of serious Dutch cannabis lovers strongly prefer to grow they own cannabis easily at home from or . Plantarium sell a full range of cannabis seeds, including and . Why? Because the quality of home grown can be far superior to that bought in a coffee shop. What’s more, you can grow cannabis organically at home. This means your cannabis will be free from residual pesticides and chemicals. Your cannabis will also be free of any artificial additives designed to make it weigh more or seem more sparkly/resinous. Growing your own cannabis is also the most affordable way to keep yourself supplied in recreational/medical cannabis.
These are the main reasons that many Dutch cannabis connoisseurs strongly prefer to grow their own cannabis. It’s no surprise that grow shops like Plantarium are always busy helping home growers establish their own successful grow room. When you grown your own cannabis from autoflower seeds or feminised seeds you know exactly what you are getting, which genetics were used and how it was grown.
Eventually The Netherlands needs to start treating cannabis the way the USA and Canada are approaching it. Legal cultivation and regulation will raise significant tax revenues. Currently the large scale cultivation of cannabis (e.g. for the back-door supply of the coffeeshops) is illegal, meaning that growers enjoy completely tax free earnings. That is slowly changing, and hopes are high for a at some point in the near future. The USA and Canada, by contrast are already seeing the cannabis industry raise $Billions for the government and generate literally tens of thousands of well paid new jobs with pensions and career prospects.
As politicians ponder the future shape of Europe’s cannabis industry, Plantarium grow shop are happy to help anyone that wants to visit them to start growing their own cannabis.