Marijuana and hashish which is considered to be too strong could soon be banned in Leeuwarden, if local mayor Ferd Crone has his way, the Volkskrant reports on Monday.
Crone has submitted a proposal to the city council which would see coffee shops eventually lose their licence if they sell marijuana with more than an agreed level of the active ingredient THC.
The THC level in marijuana and hashish has doubled over the past few years – from 10% to around 20%. But some samples tested by Trimbos institute have turned up a THC level of 64.8%, the paper says.
‘The only thing which still has to be determined is the official limit,’ Crone said. In addition, he said, it was not clear if implementing the change would require national legislation.
‘We have a policy of turning a blind eye to soft drug use so we can regulate and monitor it,’ he said. ‘But that does not work anymore. The level of THC has been going up for years and I am increasingly reading about the damage caused to people by soft drugs usage who have psychotic episodes because of smoking. That is why I want to have this discussion.’
Leeuwarden cannabis cafe owner Gerrit-Jan ten Bloemendal told the paper the plan was well meant but impossible to enforce. There is no evidence stronger levels of THC are worse for health, he said. ‘If you know something is strong, you smoke less,’ he told the paper.
Neverthess, from a consumer’s point of view it would be useful to be able to add THC percentage to the product information, as happens with alcohol, Ten Bloemendal said.
The Netherlands turns an official blind eye to the possession of up to five grams of marijuana for personal use. Cannabis cafes, known as coffee shops, are allowed to have up to 500 grams on their premises.