Tuesday 19 October 2021

Minister sets aside report on regulating cannabis cultivation

A potted cannabis seedling. Photo: Charlotte Lake via Depositphotos.com

A potted cannabis seedling. Photo: Charlotte Lake via Depositphotos.com

A report by Radboud University researchers which says legalising cannabis production would have benefits for public health and human rights, will not have an impact on government policy, justice minister Ard van der Steur has told MPs.

The report’s findings are no reason to change policy on cannabis cafes, known as coffee shops, the minister said in answer to questions from the Socialists and D66.

The study found that illegal cannabis production was linked to criminal violence, fires, environmental and noise pollution and the spread of legionella bacteria, the Volkskrant reported last month.

Legalising the process, they argued, would potentially improve health and safety and therefore be justified on human rights grounds. Local authorities would have more scope to reduce the harmful effects of cannabis, for example by limiting the level of the active ingredient THC in legally grown plants.

Van der Steur said the researchers had not proved that crime would be reduced with legalised cultivation and that it would also conflict with the official strategy to discourage youngsters from taking up the habit. In addition, a majority of MPs oppose experimenting with regulated production, he said.

The report was commissioned by 27 local councils who want the government to take action to remove the grey area between the licenced sale of small quantities of marijuana and the illegal supply.

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