Wednesday 22 March 2023

Utrecht draws up marijuana cultivation plan, minister says no

Utrecht city council wants to set up its own marijuana growing service to supply the city’s cannabis cafes, the NRC reports.

While selling small amounts of marijuana is tolerated, large-scale cultivation is illegal, creating a grey area between demand and supply.
In addition, there is no quality control with the current system and a risk of contamination, council officials say.
Grow your own
So the city wants to experiment with a new sort of coffee shop – the name for cannabis cafes – which would be members only and grow its own plants.
By law, the police turn a blind eye if people have up to five plants for personal use. So if each member of the coffee shop grows those five plants in the same greenhouse, the problem would be solved, the council argues.
The fine details still have to be worked out, but the city has said it will not operate the coffee shop or be in charge of weed production.
Minister opposed
However, the likelihood of winning government approval for the plan would appear to be small.
The cabinet is currently cracking down hard on coffee shops and says it wants to make them all members only clubs in order to stop drugs tourism. The big cities say this will only encourage street dealing.
Justice minister Ivo Opstelten told the NRC the Utrecht plan ‘is not going to happen’.
‘I take it Utrecht council will get in touch with me about this,’ he said. ‘Under no circumstances will there be legalise cultivation and there will be no deviation from that position. There will be no experiments.’

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