The Dutch government is experimenting with licensing and regulating cannabis cultivators, and one organization has already received a cultivation license, according to RTL News. The pilot program will help the government determine if regulated cultivation increases or decreases crime. Cannabis consumers who shop in the Netherlands have been waiting over 40 years for the supply chain to be formalized.
The Netherlands stopped prosecuting those who are caught with less than five grams of cannabis in 1976, but the supply chain behind Amsterdam’s beloved coffee shops has never been clearly defined. In fact, cannabis cultivation has never been legal in the Netherlands, although the government allows coffee shops to operate and receive supplies to a degree. Past policies allowed cultivators to grow up to five plants without fear of prosecution, but given the fact that leading coffee shops in Amsterdam sell tourists up to 12 kilograms (26.45 pounds) per day, it appears that some of the supply is likely coming from the black market.
The latest changes would formally allow cultivation operations. “An experiment with legal cultivation can be called a breakthrough,” political reporter Fons Lambie told. RTL News. “It has been talking about decades for years to come. It is remarkable that, on the one hand, D66 wants to legalize [cannabis] and, on the other hand, the Christian parties such as Christian Union and CDA have always been against it.” D66 or Democraten 66 is the liberal party of the Netherlands.
Last February, legislation to approve cannabis cultivation scraped by the Netherlands’ lower house with a 77 to 72 vote on February 1. The bill was introduced by Vera Bergkamp of D66.
Lawmakers in the Netherlands reportedly feel the pressure to update the nation’s laws to catch up with nations like Uruguay or the United States. The Netherlands was once a safe haven of soft drug laws and Amsterdam was once the capital of cannabis.