The new cabinet is to sanction experiments with legal marijuana production which would then be sold in cannabis cafes, RTL news said at the weekend.
Details are still sketchy but sources told the broadcaster between six and 10 local authority areas will be singled out for the experiment, which will lead to council-licenced growers producing marijuana for sale in their own locality. Breda and Eindhoven are among the cities which have already come forward.
While officials turn a blind eye to the sale of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, how the drug ends up in licenced coffee shops remains a grey area. Dozens of local authorities have for years argued for licenced production to remove drugs gangs from the entire chain.
The local authorities association VNG also recommended regulated production in 2015.
The VVD and CDA had always been against experimenting with licenced growing, but last year the VVD’s annual conference voted in favour of experimentation and in February, parliament voted in favour of a D66 plan for official regulation.
Research by Radboud University in 2015 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.
The police dismantled 5,856 marijuana plantations in 2015, or nearly 16 a day, according to the latest available figures. However, police estimate this is only one fifth of the total.