Amsterdam denied inclusion in Dutch cannabis experiment

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The lower house of Parliament in the Netherlands rejected the addition of Amsterdam to the country’s cannabis cultivation and distribution experiment, meaning the number of cities set to take part when the pilot fully launches this summer will remain at 10.

Parliament also rejected a motion to put the entire project on hold.

In the experiment, the Dutch government is licensing legal adult-use cannabis cultivation and distribution for the first time.

“The experiment will not make access to drugs easier for young people. It just means that the production and distribution will be removed from criminals” Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema told the publication NL Times in a statement.

“This actually protects public health and facilitates enforcement policy. If you want to control cannabis use better, you must also check the ‘back door.'”

For decades, the country’s cannabis stores, known as coffee shops, have operated in a system where sales have been legally tolerated but cultivation was prohibited.

That meant the stores had to procure cannabis products that were produced illegally.

The experiment’s startup phase, called “aanloopfase” in Dutch, began in December in the cities Breda and Tilburg, where about 19 participating coffee shops began offering both legally grown cannabis and unregulated products.

Six months into the experiment, in approximately mid-June, all participating coffee shops will have a transition period of about six weeks.

After that, the participating shops will be allowed to sell only legal products.

The Dutch government isn’t releasing the names of the cultivators chosen to supply the stores, though some companies have volunteered that information on their own.

Reached for comment by MJBizDaily, a Ministry of Health official said the government doesn’t have data regarding the sale of fully legal products, which suggests the government might not have a window into the value of the cannabis being sold.

The eight other cities set to take part in the experiment are:

  • Almere.
  • Arnhem.
  • Groningen.
  • Heerlen.
  • Maastricht.
  • Nijmegen.
  • Voorne aan Zee (formerly named Hellevoetsluis).
  • Zaanstad.