The Netherlands - One in seven Dutch coffee shops will participate in an experiment in which cannabis cultivation must be legalized and regulated for the first time.
Minister of Justice Ferdinand Grapperhaus and Minister of Health Bruno Bruins appointed the ten districts on Thursday where all coffee shops participate in a four-year experiment aimed at controlling drug strength and reducing crime.
The four largest cities in the Netherlands, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, will not participate in the experiment because it was considered too difficult to include all their coffee shops - where cannabis is sold and smoked.
Instead, the trial will include Arnhem, Almere, Breda, Groningen, Heerlen, Hellevoetsluis, Maastricht, Nijmegen, Tilburg and Zaanstad.
The areas - which had submitted bids to participate in the trial - were lit green by a special committee for the 'closed-offer cannabis experiment'.
The government's coalition deal had outlined the process for four to 26 city councils and XNUMX areas indicated they were interested, though three withdrew.
A total of 79 coffee shops will be supplied by officially regulated cannabis growers from 2021 - 14% of the total number of shops in the Netherlands. However, Grapperhaus and Bruins told MPs in a briefing that the project is not aimed at more tolerance, but at better prevention.
"Protecting the health of consumers and vulnerable groups is a top priority, and the experiment will pay a lot of attention to prevention and provision of information," they wrote.
'We are currently working on a prevention-oriented approach.'
In the Netherlands, smoking a small amount of cannabis is currently tolerated, but cultivation and cultivation of cannabis is illegal - leaving coffee shops in a gray area where crime is the supplier.
However, the Dutch police academician Pieter Tops, who visited Canada in a police delegation to learn lessons from abroad, has warned that legalizing cannabis had not taken organized crime off the market.
The Dutch trial will run for four years, but cannot be extended after that, even if it is successful and coffee shops are not allowed to sell 'foreign' hash - which currently accounts for about a quarter of the turnover.