Dutch government clarifies the rules for growing cannabis

Published Aug 4, 2020 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Banphote Kamolsanei

Growing marijuana for legal tender in coffee shops in the Netherlands is part of an experiment that the Dutch government is conducting. The Netherland government wants to clarify some of the mysteries surrounding growing legal recreational cannabis. Do you produce enough of the marijuana plant to be part of the governmental experiment?

Marijuana growing is officially illegal here, but if you choose to grow a few plants in your yard for personal consumption, you will not be charged criminally. However, if the authorities suspect that you intend to sell your harvest and see two commercial operation signs, artificial lights or ventilation systems, timers, or such, charges can be laid.

Let’s clarify what is required when you’re growing marijuana per Dutch rules

Applicants must be able to demonstrate that growing marijuana for cultivation results in 14,330 pounds each year. Only those capable of delivering this amount of weed will be considered. However, the government has released documentation that indicates the amount of the marijuana plant needed may be lower.

  • There will be up to ten people selected for growing marijuana to supply the coffee shops.
  • The eight coffee shops that have been selected so far are located within ten municipalities, and the term of the contract will be for at least four years.
  • Each of the eighty coffee shops is turning over about 1 kilogram of the marijuana plant daily. These numbers include 20% of the business attributed to hashish sales.
  • During the experiment, the growers will not be obligated to produce over 14,000 pounds of the herb. There will also be no guarantee that each one will be able to sell any of the quantity.
  • The amount that the marijuana growers ultimately grow, and sell will depend on supply and demand.

Five phases of the selection process

  1. A background check that is based on the Public Administration Act

  2. The mayor of the jurisdiction that the marijuana plant is grown in must approve, and all cultivation planned must be followed by an opinion regarding public safety and order. If the mayor opposes the application, this could be grounds for a rejection of the application.

  3. If the numbers of successful applicants are over ten, then a draw will be initiated to determine the winners.

  4. A complete and correct application must be submitted that adheres to the compliance of fundamentals.

  5. The content of the documents submitted must fulfill the requirement in the regulations and laws. The material provided will be evaluated.

What else does growing marijuana for the legal coffee shops entail?

  • No application will be considered after July 28, 2020.
  • Electronic submissions or mail delivery are acceptable.
  • All applicants will be notified when the paperwork has been received. Each applicant will also be notified of rejection or if there is a draw in the application process. Each applicant will also be notified of the winner if that was to occur.
  • There is no point in submitting multiple applications that will be using the same financial source, as it will not increase the chances of you obtaining one of the licenses.
  • Management or shareholder changes will be allowed; however, permits are nontransferable. If changes are considered, new background checks could be warranted.
  • Agricultural experience and knowledge must be demonstrated.
  • There will be no requirement for a cannabis-specific experience.
  • With substantial restrictions, marijuana growing farmers will be able to purchase cuttings. The growers will also be able to buy starting materials from legal seed sellers.
  • If all requirements are met, then outdoor cultivation will be possible.
  • Coffee shops will e supplied edibles by the marijuana growers.
  • Mandatory use of a governmental track and trace software will be necessary.

Final thoughts

This experiment is part of the process in the Netherlands, which will ultimately lead to cannabis legalization for the first time in the country. The coffee shops in the Netherlands to date have been relying on illegal cannabis to fill the shelves.

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