Dutch Weed Test Sets Out to Fight Cannabis Crime

Many people think that cannabis is completely legal in the Netherlands due to the cultural ubiquity of Dutch coffee shops that allow cannabis consumption on-site, which have been considered exemplars of how legal cannabis can work for decades. But cannabis legality is a lot more nuanced in the Netherlands than most would think. 

It’s legal for coffee shops in places like Amsterdam to sell cannabis and for customers to purchase it. However, it isn’t legal to grow or produce cannabis in the Netherlands. Doing so can lans growers with a huge fine. Criminals, recognizing this as a perfect business opportunity, have been taking advantage of the industry. As a result, the Netherlands’ (and Europe’s) illegal cannabis market is flourishing.

Dutch officials are trying to combat this problem by experimenting with allowing a number of approved cannabis growers to produce and supply marijuana to local coffee shops. Those growers will be the sole source of legal cannabis for both consumers and coffee shops. However, the cannabis will also have to be tested by local laboratories and include their THC levels on the packaging before being made available for sale. 

Interestingly, this experiment won’t take place in big cities like Amsterdam as some would assume, but in medium-sized cities big enough to support cannabis coffee shops but just small enough to limit any ill effects and make enforcement easier. 

Officials are in the process of finalizing details as well as searching for and approving local growers. Locals may be able to enjoy legal cannabis in the Netherlands as soon as 2021. 

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