Dutch MPs vote in favour of regulated marijuana cultivation

Police dismantling a marijuana plantation in Amsterdam. Photo: DutchNews.nl

A narrow majority of MPs on Tuesday backed new legislation which would regulate marijuana cultivation under government control.

The vote, by 77 to 72, would allow cannabis cafe owners to buy their produce from licenced growers who produce the marijuana in a closed system.

The bill, drawn up by D66 MP Vera Bergkamp, was backed by Labour, GroenLinks, the Socialists and pro-animal PvdD as well as all the splinter parties. The VVD, PVV and three Christian parties in parliament voted against.




Bergkamp hopes that introducing licenced marijuana production will remove the grey area between illegal cultivation and licenced cannabis cafes or coffee shops, where small amounts of marijuana can be bought for personal use.

Councils

Dozens of local councils in the Netherlands have endorsed a manifesto calling for the cultivation of cannabis to be legalised and regulated, and 25 have applied to the minister of justice for permission to experiment with legal growth and supply.

The police dismantled 5,856 marijuana plantations in 2015, or nearly 16 a day, the NRC said in July. However, police estimate this is only one fifth of the total, the paper said.

However, despite support in the lower house of parliament, there is no guarantee the legislation will actually become law because it does not have majority backing in the upper house of parliament.

Crime

Research by Radboud University last year said legalising cannabis production would have benefits for public health and human rights. The study found that illegal cannabis production was linked to criminal violence, fires, environmental and noise pollution and the spread of legionella bacteria.

The public prosecution department opposes the move, saying it conflicts with international treaties.

In addition, it said, most of the marijuana grown in the Netherlands is destined for abroad, and regulated production will not have an impact on this.