The cabinet on Friday will discuss plans to classify strong marijuana as a hard drug which falls under the opium act, sources have told the Telegraaf.
The ruling would apply to marijuana with a THC percentage of more than 15%. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana, which gives it its distinctive high.
At the moment, people are allowed to have up to five grammes of marijuana for their personal use, without prosecution.
Earlier this year, a government commission recommended making the change. It said strong marijuana is so dangerous it should be classed alongside heroin and cocaine. The risks include addiction and psychotic reactions, the commission said.
Some 75% of the marijuana sold in the country’s cannabis cafes is grown in the Netherlands. According to the Parool, the THC content of Dutch-grown marijuana is between 15% and 18%.
Last year, Leeuwarden’s mayor called for a ban on the production of ‘too-strong’ marijuana.
The government is also planning to turn the country’s cannabis cafes, or coffee shops, into member-only clubs in an effort to curb drug tourism. Only people officially living in the Netherlands would be able to join.
Criticism of the plan to make strong marijuana a class A drug has come from all quarters. Coffee shop owners say it will be unworkable.
‘They are imposing something on us which we cannot control,’ said Marc Josemans of the national coffee shop association Landelijk Overleg Coffeeshopbonden.
He supports the ban but only if regulation is done ‘via the back door’ – a reference to the fact that the commercial production of marijuana is illegal. ‘We welcome quality controls but we need to have the opportunity to control it,’ he is quoted as saying in the Volkskrant.
D66 MPs have also urged the government to regulate the production side, and set up laboratories where the strength of the drug can be tested.