Limited Legal Cannabis Sales Expected To Launch In The Netherlands This December
A long-awaited cannabis public policy experiment is reportedly set to launch on December 15th in two different municipalities in the Netherlands. Limited cannabis sales will be permitted at certain coffee shops in both Tilburg and Breda this winter according to the nation’s cabinet.
Health Minister Kuipers previously announced back in February that Tilburg and Breda would likely be the first of what will eventually be ten municipalities to participate in what is essentially an adult-use cannabis commerce pilot program, similar to what is already underway at the local level in Switzerland.
Germany is also expected to incorporate regional pilot programs into its legalization model. It’s a concept that is gaining in popularity in many European countries that are ramping up cannabis policy modernization efforts.
In theory, permitting local adult-use sales will provide government policymakers and regulators data to examine in order to be better suited to craft eventual national cannabis policies and industry rules and regulations. The concept is in line with continental and international agreements.
The launch of pilot programs in the Netherlands comes after a series of delays, and it wasn’t until the recent announcement that the nation’s government appeared to have backed off of its hardline stance that pilots could not begin until there were at least three cultivators.
Currently, only two cultivators are ready to supply the coffee shops in Tilburg and Breda, yet an exception was made to prevent further delays. Two more licensed cultivators are expected to start providing cannabis to the nation’s pilot program in February 2024. If everything goes as expected with the pilots in Tilburg and Breda, at least eight more municipalities will also launch pilot programs.
Additionally, at least one district in Amsterdam is expected to also become part of the cannabis public policy experiment which will permit coffee shop owners to sell a limited amount of cannabis to adults, although during the ‘start-up phase’ coffee shops are also allowed to sell ‘tolerated products’ from their unregulated suppliers.
Officials in the Netherlands have the authority to shut down the cannabis public policy experiment at any time if ‘abuses’ are found, which is a subjective measure. However, the cultivation facilities and outlets will be watched closely and local officials are optimistic that the experiment will succeed.
“With this start-up phase in Brabant we can gain first experiences, detect teething problems and gather the knowledge to perfect the experiment. In this way, we can make a flying start with the large-scale experiment.” stated Breda Mayor Dr. Paul Depla back in February (translated from Dutch to English).