The Dutch government’s experiment with regulated marijuana is unlikely to start before the end of 2019 at the earliest and will run for five years and two months, the Volkskrant reported on Tuesday.
In addition, the trials will go hand in hand with a publicity campaign warning people about the risks associated with smoking marijuana and coffee shops which sell the ‘legal’ drug will have to actively inform their clients about potential health problems, the paper said.
The Volkskrant bases its claims on a draft of the law legalising regulated cultivation which has been sent out to consultation to various organisations, including the police, public prosecution department and local authority association.
Although the experiment was included in the government’s coalition agreement, the law making it possible still has to be approved by the lower and upper houses of parliament.
Once approved, the preparations can begin. Dozens of local authorities have already come forward to take part in the trials, but the draft law makes it clear six to 10 will be selected. Growers will be asked to go through a public tender process for the contracts and will have to fulfill strict conditions.
For example, they will have to meet centrally-agreed rules on packaging (which will include a health warning similar to tobacco) and must guarantee that the drug will not end up in the illegal marijuana circuit. A special commission will advise the government on the price.
The aim of the experiment is to try to remove the grey area between the sale of small amounts of cannabis at licenced coffee shops and marijuana cultivation which is illegal.