The Netherlands will allow cannabis “coffee shops” to remain open under certain conditions, exempting the popular stores from measures forcing other shops to close their doors to fight the spread of coronavirus.
The Dutch cabinet originally ordered the cannabis stores to suspend operations, along with restaurants, bars and nightclubs, but the government quickly reversed course after mayors warned that such a move would cause the illicit market to flourish.
Customers are now allowed to buy and take away their cannabis, but they cannot stay at the shops.
Delivery is not allowed.
The cabinet noted that while sales of marijuana in Dutch coffee shops is a criminal offense, “the Public Prosecution Service does not prosecute coffee shops for (such sales.)”
The coffee shops must adhere to “toleration criteria,” establishing that they:
- Must not cause any nuisance.
- Are not permitted to sell hard drugs.
- Are not permitted to sell cannabis to minors.
- Are not permitted to advertise drugs.
- Are not permitted to sell large quantities (over 5 grams of cannabis) in a single transaction.
Municipalities may impose additional rules, such as restricting sales to nonresidents.
Production to supply coffee shops is completely illegal, and there are thousands of police raids on grow operations every year.
A limited-scope experiment that will allow legal supply of adult-use cannabis is in the works.
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