The Netherlands is legalizing cannabis in two cities through a trial period which may lead to full legalization throughout the country.
The Netherlands have decided to undergo a trial period regarding cannabis legalization in two Dutch cities (1). If the trial goes well, cannabis legalization may become fully enacted throughout the entire country.
Ernst Kuipers, Netherlands health minister, announced that this was a “Historic moment” (1). Although a popular area for cannabis consumers to mingle, cannabis is currently not legalized fully in the country. The Guardian (1) reported that “the drug exists in a legal grey area, which the government hopes to stub out with the four-year trial starting in Breda and nearby Tilburg.” Consuming cannabis in small amounts is not legal in the Netherlands but law enforcement does not penalize consumers because of a “tolerance” policy that has been around since the 1970s (1).
One of the aspirations from this trial period in Breda and Tilburg is to see a decrease or end to petty crime and gang activity (1). “Criminal organizations took over that criminal market and therefore coffee shop owners were depending on the criminal market and that had to stop,” Paul Depla, mayor of Breda, discussed with Agence France-Presse (1).
The cannabis products going to these cities will be produced in limited quantities and under close watch before they reach coffee shop businesses (1). The Guardian (1), mentioned how “Consumers would be guaranteed a high-quality product, whereas before it was impossible to know where the cannabis came from, or whether it had been altered.”
“The product will be clean, tested, pesticide-free,” Ashwin Matai (1), cultivation director at Holland High farm. This cultivation facility will begin providing cannabis products starting in February 2024.
“From a public health perspective, we had no oversight of the process, we could not do any checks on any potential contamination of the products. Now we can do all that,” Kuipers explained (1). Cannabis consumers will now know more specifics on what cannabis products are available in the marketplace. According to The Guardian (1), independent researchers will be overseeing how the trial is going to see if legalizing cannabis for the entire country should be their next move.
Hopefully, the trial period will be successful, and cannabis can be fully legalized in the Netherlands in the future to come.