Tuesday 11 May 2021

Minister says ‘no’ to all regulated marijuana production ideas

Justice minister Ivo Opstelten said on Thursday he remains opposed to any attempts to regulate marijuana production, despite mounting local authority pressure for change.

Opstelten said he has received various proposals for council-run production but that he has not changed his view that controlled growing is in conflict with international treaties.

In total, 25 plans have been submitted to the minister. These include the setting up of growers clubs as well as more formal production proposals.

Export

Opstelten said 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.

At the moment it is illegal to grow marijuana. This means there is a grey area between the official policy of turning a blind eye towards possessing small amounts of marijuana and the supply to cannabis cafes, known as coffee shops

The cabinet’s priority remains cracking down on organised growing and keeping tourists out of cafes where small amounts of cannabis can be sold, he said.

Grey area

Many councils are highly critical of official government policy on marijuana and say legalised production would remove organised crime from the equation.

‘Marijuana does not fall from the sky,’ Heerlen mayor Paul Depla told Trouw earlier this year. ‘If the minister wants to tackle illegal plantations, then the government has to take over growing marijuana itself.’

In November, RTL said the D66 Liberal party is drawing up draft legislation for the regulated production of marijuana.

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