Labour MP urges minister to back marijuana-growing trials

An MP for the ruling Labour party has called on justice minister Ivo Opstelten to allow experiments with the legal production of marijuana.

In an interview with the NRC, Marith Rebel says trials would show whether or not legalised marijuana growing could tackle the crime and nuisance associated with the country’s cannabis cafes, or coffee shops.

‘Turning a blind eye to the fact the cafes are selling marijuana but not recognising the fact they also have to buy it is helping criminals,’ Rebel told the paper.

Local councils

Last month Opstelten rejected calls from a number of local councils to allow regulated growing.

In total, 25 plans were submitted to the minister. These included setting up growers’ clubs as well as more formal production proposals.

Opstelten said at the time regulating marijuana production will do nothing to ease the problems facing local councils. Some 80% of marijuana currently grown in the Netherlands is for export and regulation would not help combat the involvement of organised crime, he said.

Meanwhile, a poll for television show EenVandaag shows that six out of 10 Dutch people think it would be a good idea if Dutch councils organised marijuana production themselves.

In particular, two-thirds of those who support Opstelten’s own party, the right-wing VVD Liberals, back government-controlled production.