Tuesday 27 October 2020

Senate poised to make helping marijuana growers a crime

police marijuanaThe upper house of parliament on Tuesday night came a step nearer to approving legislation which will make people who have helped illegal marijuana growers guilty of a criminal act.

The legislation will not only target ‘grow shops’, which sell seeds, lamps, fertiliser and other supplies, but transport firms, landlords and electricians who help with illegal marijuana production.

The new law states people who supply products and services which they can know can be used for marijuana production can be fined or jailed for up to three years.

Grey area

Senators had been concerned about the vague formulation of the legislation, which can be applied to anyone who has ‘serious reasons to suspect’ the goods have been bought to use for illegal growing.

Many were also concerned about the grey area between the sale of small amounts of marijuana in licenced ‘coffee shops’ and the supply side.

Justice minister Ivo Opstelten told senators he had given clear instructions to the public prosecution department. This means someone who innocently sells a set of lamps which are used in a plantation will not face charges, the minister is quoted as saying by broadcaster Nos.

Senators will vote on the legislation next week. A majority are in favour, Nos said.

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