Coffeeshops in Tilburg and Breda will probably be allowed to sell legally grown weed next fall. The cabinet has decided on a so-called ‘start-up phase’ in the weed experiment, Minister Kuipers (Public Health) announced in the House of Representatives. Ultimately, the intention is that even more municipalities will participate in the experiment. A total of 10 have been selected and almost certainly another city district in Amsterdam will be added.
According to Kuipers, the start-up phase will start when three growers are able to ensure a constant supply of sufficient weed of the right quality. He thinks that will be in the fourth quarter of this year, so from October. The coffee shops are allowed to have a maximum of 500 grams of this legally grown cannabis. In addition to official legal growers, they are also allowed to purchase from their old, illegal suppliers.
With the start-up phase, the ministers hope to loosen the deadlocked weed experiment. The proposal was already approved by the Senate in 2019, but its start was always postponed for various reasons. In order to get the test running smoothly, a start-up phase has been chosen “to practice with all the processes and systems involved”.
Kuipers said in the House of Representatives that the start-up phase in Tilburg and Breda should take six months and that he hopes that the experiment can then be expanded to the other eight municipalities, and perhaps also to a district in Amsterdam. The city council of the capital is interested in this.
An important condition for the weed experiment is that the nuisance remains limited and that it can be enforced by the police and the judiciary, says the cabinet. That is why there will also be a so-called ‘stop button’, so that the experiment can be stopped if serious problems arise, for example for public order.
Now coffee shops are allowed to sell weed, but at the same time purchasing is prohibited. Coffee shop owners are therefore dependent on illegal, often criminal suppliers. Many municipalities find this a strange situation, as do part of the House of Representatives, which is why the previous cabinet already decided to experiment to see whether that ‘back door’ can also be legalized.
Tilburg and Breda are happy with the cabinet’s decision. “Finally, we can now take the first steps towards legalizing soft drugs,” says Mayor Weterings of Tilburg. His colleague Depla van Breda: “With this preliminary phase in Brabant, we can gain first experiences, detect teething problems and gather the knowledge to perfect the experiment. In this way we can make a flying start with the large-scale experiment.”
No bank account
After a lottery, the cabinet has designated ten growers who are allowed to legally produce weed, one of which has now lost its permit. At the moment, only one is actually ready for delivery to coffee shops. Many cultivation initiatives have so far failed to get off the ground, for example because entrepreneurs are having trouble getting a bank account.
Minister Yesilgöz (Justice) said in the House of Representatives that the banks themselves are responsible for the question of who they provide an account or not. She does, however, continue to urge the banks to indicate more clearly what requirements cannabis growers must meet in order to receive an invoice. “They have to know where they stand,” Yesilgöz said.
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