Utrecht presses ahead with ‘legal’ cannabis experiments

Utrecht city council is pressing ahead with two projects involving cannabis: one based on a private cultivation club and one to supply marijuana to people with psychiatric problems.

The health ministry is to supply medicinal cannabis for an experiment which will deliver hashish to 80 people with psychiatric problems, the council said on Wednesday.

The experiment revolves around the type of cannabis which suppresses anxiety, insomnia and psychotic attacks, city alderman Victor Everhardt said in a statement.

This will be given to people who are not responding to treatment for their chronic problems which may be connected to their heavy cannabis use, Everhardt said.

Club

The other experiment involves setting up a ‘social cannabis club’ involving 100 adults who grow marijuana for their own use. The club, given the initials SCCD, is asking for official exemption from drugs laws so the growers cannot be punished.

Justice minister Ivo Opstelten has already said he will not approve the plan. However, Everhardt says the SCCD is approaching the health not the justice ministry.

‘This is because the club has been set up to combat the negative effects of cannabis use on health,’ the council official said. ‘The opium law has provisions to make exemptions on health grounds. The council expects a positive answer from the ministry.’

Utrecht came up with the idea of a cannabis club last year. Rotterdam is also working on similar plans while Eindhoven, Tilburg and Leeuwarden are looking at ways to stimulate legal marijuana production, nu.nl said.

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