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Cannabis Commerce Experiment In The Netherlands Will Not Include Amsterdam

Amsterdam the Netherlands

Cannabis trials, which permit consumers, growers, and retailers to participate in legal cannabis commerce for research purposes, were first proposed in the Netherlands in 2017 as part of a governing coalition agreement. The first trials officially launched in Breda and Tilburg in December 2023 after many delays.

Arnhem, Almere, Groningen, Heerlen, Hellevoetsluis, Maastricht, Nijmegen, and Zaanstad are other municipalities in the Netherlands selected for cannabis trials. However, a proposal to expand the cannabis trials to include the Amsterdam-Oost district was recently denied by members of the Netherlands Parliament.

Another set of motions, which would have either permanently ended cannabis trials in the Netherlands, or temporarily halted the public policy experiment, was also considered and denied by members of the Netherlands Parliament.

The set of motions was supported by members of the PVV, the largest party in the current governing coalition following recent elections. The proposal to permanently end cannabis pilot projects lost by a vote of 110-40, and the proposal to temporarily halt the pilot programs less than four months after they initially launched lost by a vote of 99-51.

Adult-use regional cannabis commerce pilot programs are already operating in multiple jurisdictions in Switzerland, and are also being proposed in Germany as part of the nation’s legalization model. German pilot programs are part of the ‘second pillar’ or phase of Germany’s legalization plan.

Such programs serve as a public policy experiment in which limited cannabis commerce is permitted to gather data and other information. In theory, the research gathered as part of an adult-use regional cannabis commerce pilot program can be used by lawmakers and regulators to be better suited when crafting national policies, rules, and regulations.

“The aim of the experiment is to ascertain whether or not it is possible to regulate a quality-controlled supply of cannabis to coffee shops and to study the effects of a regulated supply chain on crime, safety, public nuisance and public health. In order to allow the experiment to take place, special legislation must be adopted.” the Netherlands’ government stated when pilot programs were first proposed.

On January 22, 2019, the nation’s House of Representatives adopted a controlled cannabis supply chain experiment measure, followed by passage in the Senate on November 12, 2019. That afforded some of the estimated 570 cannabis-selling coffee shops in the country a path to participate in the eventual trials.

The initial timeline to launch the trials was 2021, however, that did not happen. The same was true for 2022, with the year coming and going and the Netherlands seeming to be no closer to achieving the full implementation of initial cannabis trials. The delays were reportedly due to a lack of legal supply at the time.

At one point in 2023, it appeared that the whole year would be lost to more delays, with the nation’s Health Minister Ernst Kuipers indicating that they did not want to roll out the trials in phases. A phased implementation was ultimately pursued. There appears to be no official timeline for the launch of additional pilot programs in the Netherlands.

amsterdam, the Netherlands