Legal cannabis cultivation in Netherlands to test organized crime impact

General discussion about cannabis and coffeeshops.
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notsofasteddie
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Legal cannabis cultivation in Netherlands to test organized crime impact

Post by notsofasteddie » Mon 9th Oct 2017 04:02 pm

Legal cannabis cultivation in Netherlands to test organized crime impact

By Janene Pieters on October 9, 2017



Cannabis plants

Image
Impression of a cannabis plantation. (Cannabis Training University/ Wikimedia)


The new Dutch government is planning an experiment with regulated cannabis cultivation, to see if this legal cultivation will decrease organized crime and increase the safety of cannabis in the country. In the experiment, the government will give one organization a government license to grow cannabis, which will be distributed in six to 10 municipalities, RTL Nieuws reports.

Which organization will grow the government cannabis, and how exactly will be handled, is not yet clear. Municipalities can sign up for the experiment. The intention is that mainly large and medium sized municipalities take part.

Under current Dutch law, it is legal for coffeeshops to sell cannabis, but it is illegal to buy and cultivate the drugs, according to RTL. In practice it means that coffeeshops buy their supply through criminals, which presents a lot of danger and problems.

In addition to decreasing organized crime, the new government also hopes that this legally cultivated weed will have benefits for public health. Illegally grown cannabis may contain harmful substances, as no one regulates it.

This experiment can be considered a breakthrough. Dutch municipalities have long been advocating for experimenting with regulated cannabis cultivation. The four parties in the government formation process are divided on the issue. The D66 has always been for regulating this. The VVD always spoke out against it in parliament, though a majority of VVD members voted for regulated cultivation at the party congress last year. The two Christian parties - CDA and ChristenUnie - are against it, saying that the government must do everything in its power to keep addictive substances out of society, according to RTL.


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Re: Legal cannabis cultivation in Netherlands to test organized crime impact

Post by Fat_old_dwarf » Mon 9th Oct 2017 07:55 pm

notsofasteddie wrote:
Mon 9th Oct 2017 04:02 pm
In addition to decreasing organized crime, the new government also hopes that this legally cultivated weed will have benefits for public health. Illegally grown cannabis may contain harmful substances, as no one regulates it.
No shit, Sherlock.

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Pierre von Mondragon
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Re: Legal cannabis cultivation in Netherlands to test organized crime impact

Post by Pierre von Mondragon » Tue 10th Oct 2017 09:32 pm

I thought everything would go to fuck if the bloody Christians got in, so bizarre to see that they are even testing going legit. The pragmatic streak won't let the Dutch fall behind the US and Canada in global weed market leadership, or something remarkably sane, anyway

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Re: Legal cannabis cultivation in Netherlands to test organized crime impact

Post by Marok21 » Sat 14th Oct 2017 11:22 pm

Well that sounds pretty good but there are a few things that are still unclear:

Will they make a THC limit? like only weed with less than 15%...
Will they give licenses for growing to big companies or to small growers...?
Will there only be a few strains available?
What will happen to the imported hashes?
Will tourists be still allowed to buy cannabis, too?
and well there are more questions :lol:

I mean it is a step in the right direction but if they really want to regulate the cannabis market they have to be carefull
that things are not done halfway otherwise it will make only other problems... like a black market for stronger weed (when they
would make a limit for THC content).

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Re: Legal cannabis cultivation in Netherlands to test organized crime impact

Post by notsofasteddie » Thu 2nd Nov 2017 12:00 pm

Rotterdam may experiment with "municipal weed" in new cannabis policy

By Janene Pieters
November 2, 2017

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Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb


Rotterdam plans to soon start growing its own "municipal weed", mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said on Wednesday. The Rotterdam mayor already spoke to new Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus about participating in the new government's regulated cannabis cultivation experiment. "I was one of the first mayors to talk to Minister of Justice Grapperhaus. We would love to be the first test municipality", he said when announcing Rotterdam's new cannabis policy in the city hall, AD reports.

Aboutaleb's "municipal weed" plan has been ready for some time, according to AD. But Rotterdam was unable to implement it, because - until now - the national government was always against regulated cannabis cultivation.

If it is up to the Rotterdam mayor, not only the production of cannabis will change in his city, but also the distribution. According to him, it is not at all obvious that coffeeshops will continue to be the main distribution point for cannabis. "The question is whether the phenomenon coffeeshop will still be needed in the future", he said in the Rotterdam city hall on Wednesday. He thinks other forms of distribution will be better. "Order online, and then get it delivered by bona fide package deliverers. Or through a vending machine."

In this way, the mayor hopes to be better able to guarantee the quality of cannabis. "With coffeeshops it is often not pure coffee", he said, according to the newspaper.



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Re: Legal cannabis cultivation in Netherlands to test organized crime impact

Post by redeyezman » Sat 4th Nov 2017 07:57 pm

Shells sink. Dreams float.

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Re: Legal cannabis cultivation in Netherlands to test organized crime impact

Post by notsofasteddie » Wed 8th Nov 2017 12:24 am

Dutch councils queue up for regulated marijuana project

November 7, 2017


Image


So far 25 of the Netherlands’ 380 local authorities have come forward to say they wish to take part in trials to regulate marijuana production, broadcaster NOS said on Tuesday.

The new government plans to set up experiments to grow marijuana in eight to 10 places in the coming years.

While officials turn a blind eye to the sale of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, how the drug ends up in licenced coffee shops remains a grey area.

Dozens of local authorities have for years argued for licenced production to remove drugs gangs from the entire chain. The local authorities association VNG also recommended regulated production in 2015.

Among those councils which have come forward are Breda, the Noord-Brabant town of Cuijk, and Rotterdam, where mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb wants the experiment to cover distribution as well.

Breda mayor Paul Depla told NOS he hopes that the government will opt for as many different sorts of production plan as possible ‘so we can choose the best one for regulated growing,’ he said.

Bankrupt

Depla has long campaigned for formalised marijuana growing. ‘Everyone can see that the current policy is bankrupt,’ he told NOS radio. ‘You can buy and sell but how it gets into the cafes is a mystery. And that does not make sense.’

The government is expected to announce where the trials will take place next year.

The police dismantled 5,856 marijuana plantations in 2015, or nearly 16 a day, according to the latest available figures. However, police estimate this is only one fifth of the total.

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Re: Legal cannabis cultivation in Netherlands to test organized crime impact

Post by notsofasteddie » Wed 8th Nov 2017 12:37 am

Dutch municipalities rushing to join regulated cannabis experiment

By Janene Pieters
November 7, 2017


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Cannabis / Wikipedia


A total of 25 municipalities have signed up so far to take part in the Rutte III government's experiment with regulated cannabis cultivation, NOS reports. The government wants to start the experiment next year by letting eight to ten municipalities regulate the marijuana cultivation for their regions.

Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb already stated that he was one of the first mayors to talk to Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security about taking part in the experiment. Rotterdam has a 'municipal weed' plan ready to go, which does not only change how cannabis is produced, but also how it is distributed. "The question is whether the phenomenon coffeeshop will still be needed in the future", Aboutaleb said earlier this month. He thinks other forms of distribution will be better. "Order online, and then get it delivered by bona fide package deliverers. Or through a vending machine."

The D66 in Cuijk also hopes that the Noord-Brabant town will be one of the participants, though there is still opposition from the local CDA faction, D66 councilor Rolf Asbroek said to NOS. If it is up to him, there will soon be a large cannabis complex next to the A73. "I want to put everything there. From research to production and from packaging to distribution", he said, also acknowledging that this plan is "more of a dot on the horizon".

Mayor Paul Depla of Breda is pleased that so many municipalities are showing interest in the experiment, even though there's only limited space, he said according to broadcaster NOS. Depla was one of the initiators of the "weed manifesto" in 2014. Dozens of municipalities signed the document, which stated that cultivated production is the solution to the problems with the Netherlands' soft drugs policy.

"Everyone can see that the current policy is bankrupt. Buying and selling is allowed, but how it comes to the coffeeshops is a mystery", Depla said, according to NOS. He calls it dangerous, not knowing how the cannabis is cultivated. "We do not know how the stuff in our coffeeshops is made. That's a big probem."

He is therefore happy that the experiment will easily fill its available spots. "I want to experiment with as many models as possible, so we can choose which one is best for regulated weed cultivation."

Which municipalities will be chosen for the experiment, will be announced in the course of next year.


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Re: Legal cannabis cultivation in Netherlands to test organized crime impact

Post by notsofasteddie » Wed 27th Dec 2017 08:38 pm

Dutch councils vie to produce cannabis in bid to cut out criminals

Netherlands trial is designed to stop gangs from supplying cannabis-selling coffee shops


Image
Dutch coffee shops are allowed to sell small amounts of the drug to customers but production is illegal.
Photograph: Hoogte/Rex/Shutterstock


Daniel Boffey in Breda
Wed 27 Dec ‘17


At least 30 companies want to get into the legal mass production of cannabis in the Netherlands, according to the mayor of the southern city of Breda, whose council is among two dozen vying to take part in government-backed trials designed to cut criminals out of supplying cannabis-selling coffee shops.

Dutch coffee shops are allowed to sell small amounts of the drug to over-18s, yet production is illegal, leaving an opportunity for gangs also involved in harder drugs to prosper.

The police dismantled 5,856 marijuana plantations in 2015, nearly 16 a day, according to the latest available figures.

The new Dutch government led by Mark Rutte has, however, sanctioned a series of trials in 2018 to be conducted by six to 10 councils which will regulate production in their areas and report to the outcome to central governmen.

Four models are being proposed. One would lead to mass production from companies or medical institutions, which would supply the coffee shops.

A second concept, proposed by the mayor of Rotterdam, would eliminate the need for coffee shops by allowing licensed producers to directly supply customers ordering online.

A further suggestion is that the production would be done by individuals enrolled in a social cannabis club. Finally, it is suggested the coffee shops could be responsible for producing everything they sell.

Paul Depla, the mayor of Breda, near the Belgian border in the south-westof the Netherlands, proposes a joint model with fellow frontier authorities Eindhoven and Limburg to license a small number of companies to mass produce the cannabis, which would be sold in the coffee shops.

Depla told the Guardian: “A lot of companies have tried to contact and have said they are capable of producing the cannabis to be sold in the coffee shop. I have had offers from 25, 30, companies telling me that they are capable to produce on a legal and safe basis the cannabis.

“Some involved in agriculture or linked with big companies with a lot of spare heat. Producing cannabis costs you a lot in electricity.”

Asked for the names of the firms, Depla said they were being careful not to come forward until the government had formally launched the trials because of the danger of a public relations misstep.

“They want to be in the market, but it has to be sure that the government will allow this,” he said. “When the government says they are starting, they will come forward. For the shareholders they don’t want the publicity for them it is very difficult.”

Breda has eight coffee shops frequented by 8% of the city’s adult population, equating to about 2,000 customers every week.

Depla said the current system was “bankrupt”. “This is all about the problem of the back door of the coffee shops,” he said. “Production now is dominated by organised crime syndicates. We have got a bankrupt system.

Image
Smokey coffee shop in Rembrandtplein, Amsterdam, where marijuana consumption is legal. Photograph:
Paul Brown/Rex/Shutterstock

“In the front door, it is working well. Back door, all sorts of problems because it is encouraging criminality and the small production in fields in houses and there are fires because of electricity problems.

“Though it is not nice that people are using cannabis it is a fact of life. People go to places now where there is a bit of control and it is not being transferred to the streets or going underground. But you have to complete the system and allow them to produce.”

Only coffee shops in Amsterdam are allowed to sell to people who do not live in the Netherlands, and Depla said it was important to keep the system closed to ensure neighbouring countries were not unduly affected.

The firms involved in the trial would ideally produce 14-15 types of cannabis to satisfy customers, he said, and the prices would be regulated to ensure they did not drop too low and encourage use, or too far above the price of the drug’s street value.

He said: “You can control from the seed of the cannabis flower to the final item bought in the coffee shop. With eight coffee shops we have to work together, and there needs to be some sort of scale of production for quality and variety to be competitive.

“If the scale of production is too small, the different qualities of cannabis won’t be there and it is possible the street market will compete with you and instead of getting rid of the criminal organisations a new street market appears.

“With the Rotterdam model it is difficult to get control of the consumers. It is possible for people under 18 to order all kinds of cannabis. The controlled system of the coffee shop will disappear. But it plays an important part in the whole system.

“What is very important is the public safety of the cannabis production.”




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Re: Legal cannabis cultivation in Netherlands to test organized crime impact

Post by notsofasteddie » Mon 12th Mar 2018 11:37 pm

Ministers to decide on marijuana cultivation trials by the summer


Society
March 12, 2018


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Photo: wollertz


Ministers will publish their proposals for the planned experiment with legal marijuana cultivation by the summer, justice minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus has told parliament in a briefing.

The new government pledged to experiment with cultivating marijuana in an effort to remove the grey area between illegal supply and licenced cannabis cafes or coffee shops, where small amounts of marijuana can be bought for personal use.

A specialist commission is due to report on how the experiment should be carried out by May 31, allowing Grapperhaus and health minister Bruno Bruins to take a final decision on what form it should take.

The experiment itself will run for four years in six to 10 local authority areas. After that, the trial will be wound down and within six months the situation will be as it was before the trials. Independent experts will then evaluate the results, Grapperhaus said.

By November last year, 25 of the Netherlands’ 380 local authorities had come forward to say they wish to take part in trials to regulate marijuana production.

They include Breda, the Noord-Brabant town of Cuijk, and Rotterdam, where mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb wants the experiment to cover distribution as well.

Breda mayor Paul Depla told NOS last year he hopes that the government will opt for as many different sorts of production plan as possible ‘so we can choose the best one for regulated growing,’ he said.




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Re: Legal cannabis cultivation in Netherlands to test organized crime impact

Post by notsofasteddie » Mon 26th Mar 2018 04:04 pm

Solving the Dutch Pot Paradox: Legal to Buy, but Not to Grow


By CHRISTOPHER F. SCHUETZE
MARCH 25, 2018


BREDA, Netherlands — Acting on an anonymous tip about marijuana growers, Dutch police officers last month raided a basement laboratory in Best, a small village about 15 miles from the Belgian border.

The officers found 539 plants in four growing rooms equipped with sophisticated equipment like a programmable irrigation system. The operation would bring in about $66,000 every 10 weeks, according to the police report.

While the news of a marijuana raid in the Netherlands may have been surprising to the throngs of tourists who visit the famous coffee shops in Amsterdam or Rotterdam, it is illegal to grow more than five cannabis plants for recreational use in what has long been seen as Europe’s marijuana capital. And the Dutch national police actively seek out and shut down hundreds of operations a year.

While licensed coffee shops have the right to sell small amounts of recreational cannabis and hash to buyers older than 18, they have to rely on the black market to acquire their wares in bulk.

Image
Customers smoking cannabis inside the de Baron coffee shop in Breda, the Netherlands.
Credit Jasper Juinen for The New York Times

“Right now, you are allowed to buy the milk, but you can’t know anything about the cow,” said Vera Bergkamp, a lawmaker with D66, a center-left party in the governing coalition that supports a bill that would test decriminalizing cannabis.

While the coffee shop business can be lucrative, owners say, current laws complicate their business and raise costs.

“It forces us to legal splits,” said Hendrik Brand, who has run the popular de Baron coffee shop in the southern city of Breda for decades. “One foot on the legal side and the other foot somewhere else.”

Stocking his shelves (or, in the case of de Baron, an old wooden drawer under a counter), is technically illegal, if tolerated by the police.

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From top left clockwise: Young people smoking cannabis in the de Baron coffee shop in Breda; bags of cannabis on sale there; a customer rolling a cannabis joint; and pre-rolled joints on sale.
Credit Jasper Juinen for The New York Times

The government is taking steps to address the situation. It has proposed a pilot program to explore the effects of legalizing, standardizing and taxing the sort of professional-grade marijuana operation that was broken up in Best.

“To make the system logical again is to also tolerate the production of the cannabis,” said Paul Depla, the mayor of Breda and an outspoken proponent of legalization.

Supporters of the test hope decriminalization will help assure that users have access to safer marijuana.

Mr. Brand said years of raids on small growers, whom he called “hippies,” has left him struggling for suppliers he knows and trusts. “We do everything we can to protect the health of our customers,” he said, adding that before purchasing the cannabis for his shop, he puts samples under a microscope to see whether they are laced with anything impure or appear otherwise unhealthy.

Image
Paul Depla, the mayor or Breda, is a proponent of revamping marijuana laws in the Netherlands. “To make the system logical again is to also tolerate the production of the cannabis,” he said. Credit Jasper Juinen for The New York Times

Backers of the pilot program also hope it will remove organized gangs from the supply chain.

Last month, the national police union, Politie Bond, released a stinging report warning of the growth of organized crime in the country, fueled by the drug trade.

“The Netherlands fulfills many characteristics of a narco-state. Detectives see a parallel economy emerging,” the report stated, noting that while crime over all had decreased, those producing and trafficking drugs were becoming ever more sophisticated.

“We have to be honest about the current situation, where organized crime has taken over marijuana growing situations,” said Arno Rutte, a lawmaker with the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, or VVD, a liberal party currently in the four-party governing coalition.

The proposal, which is being shaped in committee and is scheduled for a vote in Parliament in the summer, would allow six to 10 Dutch cities to legally produce and sell cannabis for four years.

Although only the rough outline of the proposal is known so far, the law would most likely license official growers, who will then be allowed to grow specific strains, similar to how medical marijuana is handled in the Netherlands.

Whatever final shape the pilot project takes, it is likely to create a multimillion-dollar industry, and stakeholders — from corporate greenhouse suppliers to coffee shop owners — are vying for a say.

“We ask to be part of making the rules,” said Nicole Maalsté, an activist who helps represent nearly half the 567 Dutch coffee shops nationwide. “We want to be partners in this.”

The coffee shops are a fixture of neighborhood life in many Dutch cities. Close to the picturesque center of Breda, de Baron is typical — as far as the term can be used in an industry that prides itself on individuality. Clientele of various ages hang out, smoke joints or play cards, often for hours.

If it were not for the penetrating smell of cannabis, it could pass for a cafe anywhere. (In another quirk of Dutch law, those who prefer to smoke their hash with tobacco have to leave the premises, as the laws do not allow tobacco smoking in such public rooms.)

A shared fear among those connected to the current coffee shop scene is that a fully open and commercial system would squeeze out the smaller growers they have come to count on.

But others see such a shake-up as an inevitable part of commercialization.

“Whether you like it or not, the consumption is so widespread that you have to organize the production,” said Mr. Depla, the mayor of Breda.

Meteor Systems, a major manufacturer of horticultural systems based in Breda, hopes to be one of the beneficiaries of the revamped law. It produces everything from the irrigation systems used by Dutch tomato growers to the suspension and support systems for commercial flower growers in California.

Since the proposed legalization of cannabis in Canada and several American states, the company has also seen demand increase for its products from legal marijuana growers there. For instance, it is helping to equip greenhouses in British Columbia for the company Canopy Growth. When finished, they will house three million square feet of growing surfaces.

The company hopes to leverage the commercial know-how gained in North American markets to score big in the Netherlands when cannabis production becomes legalized here.

For all the legal challenges around marijuana, growing the plant with professional equipment is much less demanding than a number of other crops, according to Peter Lexmond, Meteor’s commercial director.

“Everyone who can grow a tomato, can grow a pot plant,” he said.



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