Tuesday 21 March 2023

Joint enterprise: public offered shares in wannabe legal weed grower

Photo: Depositphotos.com

A new cannabis company in the Netherlands is offering members of the public the chance to buy shares.

Project C Holding BV, based in Breda, is one of the first companies to be established for a national experiment to temporarily legalise and regulate weed growing in 10 different parts of the country.

The Dutch tolerate the sale of cannabis but growing it commercially is a criminal act – leading to a situation where coffee shops can only buy from criminals and the state turns a blind eye. As an attempt to move away from this situation, the Netherlands is trialling controlled growing from 2021.

One of the highest-profile wannabe growers is Project C Holding. But before it even started, the venture between a lawyer, politician and doctor, has had its obstacles: the company went to court in order to get a bank account from ABN Amro, and was unsuccessful in winning the first plot of land it wanted to use in nearby Drimmelen.

Now, though, the company is aiming to raise almost €5m with its first public offering of shares at a price of €25 per share. The company is requesting a government licence to produce 12 tonnes of cannabis per year to deliver to some of the 78 coffee shops in the experiment, and is planning to market ‘a minimum of ten cannabis varieties (weed and hash)’ by May 15, 2022.

According to its information document on the share offering, the company hopes to supply up to a quarter of the demand in the experiment, to be retailed at an average price of €4.30 per gram.

‘In its forecast for the first financial year of the experiment, the board of directors assumes a turnover of €31.6m by selling 7,353 kg of cannabis to the participating coffee shops that wish to purchase products from Project C Holding,’ it says.

People’s project

Peter Schouten, a criminal lawyer and one of the people behind the initiative, told DutchNews.nl he is in it for the public good. ‘We want to show everybody that we are the people’s project,’ he said.

‘As a criminal lawyer I think we make society safer when we regulate the soft drugs business. Without that, we aren’t dealing adequately with crime in cities and the war on drugs is totally failing. It’s totally schizophrenic that you have a place for criminals at the back door [supplying coffee shops] to sell to consumers at the front door.’

Schouten said that the shares will not actually be sold until the company has gained a government licence. Applications close on July 28.

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