Friday 14 May 2021

No jail or fines for ‘idealistic’ marijuana growing couple

A couple who grew marijuana ‘by the book’ and informed the tax office about their income have been found guilty of running an illegal plantation but will face no punishment.

The couple, aged 49 and 39, come from Bierum in Groningen province and have been arrested several times for marijuana production.

They say that by using legal electricity, paying tax and having no criminal connections show that marijuana can be grown without problems. The Netherlands turns a blind eye to the consumption of small amounts of marijuana sold through licenced coffee shops but production remains illegal.

Honesty

In its ruling, the court said the couple had always been honest in their dealings with police and justice ministry officials and had acted in the spirit of Dutch soft drugs legislation with regard to public health and public safety. In addition, they had only supplied local council licenced coffee shops.

‘The fact that the sale of soft drugs through coffee shops is turned a blind eye to implies that coffee shops are supplied and that [the marijuana] has to be grown,’ the court said. The official policy, the court continued, ‘does not address how this should happen.’

The public prosecution department said the verdict is ‘interesting’ and will study it further. It had called for community service sentences of 180 and 120 hours.

Justice minister Ivo Opstelten, who is opposed to legalised marijuana production, said the verdict was ‘surprising’ but made no further comment.

The couple have been growing marijuana since 2009 and have been busted several times. So far police have seized 2,500 plants, 900 cuttings and 8 kilos of marijuana from their plantations.

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