Dutch marijuana growing experiment runs into more delays
Dutch marijuana growing experiment runs into more delays the NRC reported that marijuana farmers who have been chosen to participate in the government’s controlled cultivation experiments have informed the cabinet that they won’t be ready to start early next year as the government wants. According to the NRC, nine out of ten companies have written to ministers about the difficulties and some have talked to the media directly about them.
The experiment will now start in the second quarter of 2023 instead of the original 2021 start date. However, according to the growers, the end of next year is a more plausible timeframe. The project, which was started five years ago, aims to close the gap between legal cannabis cafes and illegal production. The initiative, which lawmakers believed would lessen organized crime’s influence in the soft drugs market, was especially well-liked by the coalition party D66. Since then, though, there have been numerous issues with the experiment, not the least of which was that none of the main five cities agreed to participate in the four-year study.
Ten cities and municipalities — Arnhem, Almere, Breda, Groningen, Heerlen, Hellevoetsluis, Maastricht, Nijmegen, Tilburg, and Zaanstad — eventually came to an agreement, and ten farmers have agreed to supply a variety of cannabis products.
The government’s plan to experiment with regulated marijuana production faces several problems and won’t start before 2023 in any event, Justice Minister Dylan Yesirgoz told lawmakers. The aim of this project when it started was to eliminate the gray zone between licensed cannabis cafes and coffee shops and illegal cultivation. The coalition’s D66 is particularly enthusiastic about the plan, he says, and the MP will reduce the role of organized crime in the soft drug cycle.
Since then, however, the experiment has been plagued with problems. It is a big deal that at least one of his five cities refused to participate in his four-year experiment. “Unfortunately, it has turned out that a 2022 start is no longer realistic,” Yesirgoz and Health Minister Ernst Kuipers told parliamentarians at a briefing. The second quarter of 2023 is the earliest possible date, ministers said.
Moreover, authorities have so far been unable to identify enough producers to participate. Found 8, but the process needs 10. Additionally, producers who agreed to participate had difficulty finding locations or opening bank accounts. Banks, in particular, are reluctant to support producers.
“Their legal responsibility is to fight money laundering and terrorist financing,” the ministers said. Local governments that have applied to participate have also been disappointed by the delay. Breda Mayor Paul Depra said, “It’s clear that everyone who supports cannabis experiments is disappointed. ‘We have to move forward,’ Depra told AD.”How much time will we lose? Perhaps given the number of countries that have experience with legalizing marijuana cultivation, we should just go ahead and legalize it.”
Some of the growers have thus far been prevented from opening bank accounts because to bank worries about money laundering and assisting illicit activity. High energy costs, supply-side delays, and issues with the track-and-trace system that will track where marijuana products are sold are all contributing factors to the challenges. In response, ministers informed the NRC that they are discussing bank accounts with banks and that they do not share any worries over the tracking system. In December, more details regarding the trial will be released.
In a move that might set a precedent for the rest of Europe, Germany has revealed plans to legalize cannabis for recreational use. According to Germany’s health minister Karl Lauterbach, the Dutch approach to legalizing marijuana is preferable because growing and selling marijuana is still technically illegal in Germany. He claimed that the Dutch model “combined two drawbacks: broad use but no controlled market.” The Guardian quotes him as saying, “What we have learnt from the Dutch experience is that we don’t want to do it that way.”
“We want to dominate the market as a whole.” A year ago, over 40 mayors of Dutch cities, mostly in the south of the country, signed a manifesto urging the government to legalize soft drugs as part of an effort to combat organized crime and the drug dealers‘ infiltration of respectable businesses and organizations.