30 September 2023, by Emily Proctor

Two Dutch cities could be allowed to start cultivating regulated cannabis plants before the end of 2023, the Dutch government has announced. Breda and Tilburg will be starting their experiment of the long-awaited regulated cannabis trial, where coffeeshops can buy legally-grown weed, cultivated by government-appointed producers.

Government wants to stop illegal cannabis import and cultivation

The aim of the experiment is for the Dutch government to find a suitable and sustainable alternative to the current illegal ways of obtaining marijuana. At the moment, while selling cannabis products from licenced coffeeshops is decriminalised, cultivating marijuana is not, therefore leaving a backdoor open for illegal smuggling operations and giving organised criminal gangs a foothold in the Netherlands

By regulating the cultivation of cannabis, the government hopes to stamp out the illegal networks, while retaining the ability to control weed that is produced and sold to coffeeshops in the Netherlands. The project has taken a long time to come to fruition as licencing and finding locations has been a tricky process for the government, according to ANP. 

Other municipalities could start trial from 2024

If the plans go smoothly in Breda and Tilburg, then other municipalities could be starting their leg of the experiment in 2024. In total, there are 10 municipalities taking part in the trial: Almere, Arnhem, Breda, Groningen, Heerlen, Voorne aan Zee, Maastricht, Nijmegen, Tilburg and Zaanstad.

Initially, the outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte was set to declare the issue as “controversial” and leave it to the next government to decide how to approach the project, however after parliament took the decision to remove the experiment from the list of controversial issues several weeks ago, the project is now set to go ahead before the end of 2023.

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