The legal cultivation of cannabis divides municipalities in the Netherlands | Society

The consumption of five grams of marijuana per person, from the age of 18, in a coffeeshop, It is legal in Holland since 1976. Cultivation, however, is prohibited. The owner of the premises is therefore forced to buy a product on the black market that he then offers without problems. No government has managed to close this legal loophole because its intention was to reduce demand and risks in the street, so the police only act if the coffeeshop stores more than 500 grams daily, the limit allowed. The last attempt to straighten out the situation does not seem to take off either.

Congress approved in January a trial proposed in 2017 for a dozen municipalities to cultivate legally, for four years, the drug that must reach the customer. However, the mayors do not agree. They complain that the test will not eradicate the traffickers who handle the illegal part of the sale, and ask what will happen to crops that will become illegal if it fails.

In 2017 there were 567 in the country coffeeshops distributed in 103 City Councils. That same year, the Dutch Executive estimated that about 80% of its turnover comes from the sale of marijuana (leaves and crushed flowers) of indigenous culture. For the traffickers who provide it to these places, it supposes some 600 million euros a year that literally disappear through the back door.

Hashish (obtained from the resin of the cannabis plant) is usually imported [igualmente sin licencia] from Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan or Morocco, where there are large plantations. During the experiment, which will not take effect until the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020, the owners of a coffeeshop they can only acquire the drug controlled by the Government. Then, they will have six months to return to the purchase in the illegal circuit, because the results will take time to be ready. The premises located on the border with another country (Germany, Belgium) They will not be able to sell to tourists.

Under these conditions, the Association of Municipalities fears "that the initial support will be reduced because the coffeeshop They do not want to go back and forth between legal and illegal purchases, "say their spokespersons. coffeeshop It will mean leaving a form of illegal procurement, but today tolerated, and embrace a temporary legality. Four years later, I should return to the pursued circuit with greater uncertainty than ever. At the moment, Amsterdam and Rotterdam remain on the sidelines. Femke Halsema, mayor of the capital, says that "the plan is doomed to failure." Ahmed Aboutaleb, first mayor, of the port city, wants "more trials, and more diverse, in a greater number of locations."

What do the coffeeshops? The organization that gathers them prefers to wait to see how many are targeted. They fear, that yes, that the consumer travels to other municipalities to take control of the legal marijuana, with the consequent danger that the other ends dispatched on the street. Without forgetting that the Government wants to also reduce the concentration of tetrahydrocannabiol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient of the drug. If it exceeds 15% it is considered hard and dangerous for health, but it has become an export product that is difficult to control.

The legal cultivation project is now in the Senate, although its passage through Congress has not been easy. The center-right coalition in power consists of four parties, with different ideas. Thus, while the left liberals promote the experiment, Christian Democrats and the Christian Union (of Protestant inspiration) are against it. The right-wing liberals, Prime Minister's group, Mark Rutte, have doubts, but all ended up closing ranks because "an agreement is an agreement," said Madeleine van Toorenburg, on January 22, before the vote.


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