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The experiment closed coffee shop chain - mr. Kaj Hollemans, KHLA

By: mr. Kaj Hollemans, KH Legal Advice

The experiment closed coffee shop chain in which soon we will only be able to sell weed grown in growers designated by the State in a maximum of 10 municipalities. All coffee shops in the participating municipalities will soon be obliged to participate in this test. If they do not want to participate, they will be closed.

The experiment was initially intended to last a maximum of 4 years, but this period may be extended by 1,5 years, as a note from amendment of the bill published earlier this week.

It appeared on 12 November 2018 Decision experiment closed coffee shop chain. The decision contains rules for municipalities, coffee shops and growers who want to participate in the experiment. For a detailed analysis of this decision you can contact contact KH Legal Advice. Until 24 December 2018 there is the possibility to respond to this decision.

More and more municipalities have indicated that they find the conditions of the experiment too strict. And more and more coffee shops are wondering if they want to participate in this test. A few pain points keep coming back:

1. After the test, everything must be as it was. Coffee shops must then take their weed from illegal growers and the license of the growers designated by the State will be withdrawn. Most parties agree that after the experiment you cannot actually return to the illegal situation. Nobody is waiting for that. Not the municipalities, not the coffee shops and certainly not the growers designated by the State. The question is whether the coffee shops will succeed in finding sufficient (illegal) suppliers after the experiment. It is also completely uncertain whether the growers designated by the State will, within the limited duration of the experiment, succeed in recouping the investments made by them.

2. As soon as the experiment starts, all coffee shops in the participating municipalities become completely dependent on growers designated by the State. The sale of foreign hashish is prohibited and coffee shops are only allowed to sell closed, pre-packaged units of weed supplied by these growers. If the weed cannot be delivered for whatever reason (such as in Canada), the coffee shop will no longer have any stock. This results in irreparable damage to consumer confidence.

3. During the experiment, the sale of products in which weed has been processed (such as space cake) is not allowed, because the coffee shops in the participating municipalities can only sell weed in sealed packaging. This is strange, certainly now that the State wants to discourage smoking (of tobacco) as much as possible.

4. There is a fear that there will soon be too few varieties of weed to meet demand, so that people no longer go to the coffee shop and prefer to buy their weed elsewhere. This leads to more street trading, more nuisance, more crime, etc.

The solution is obvious. It would be much better during the experiment to gradually add the weed of the growers designated by the State to the range of coffee shops in the participating municipalities. In this way you offer consumers the choice and you offer coffee shops the space. A gradual transition would be a lot more logical and also offer a solution to the problems identified.

It is better to introduce a new product within an existing market than to redesign the entire market. That way you take consumers seriously, you give the market room to set the pace and coffee shops can fall back on something, not only during but also after the experiment.

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