Dutch experiment in legal cannabis production faces further delays

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Cannabis growers who have been selected to take part in the controlled cannabis cultivation trials in the Netherlands have informed the Dutch government that they will not be ready to start early next year as the government had planned.

The experiment should have started in 2021. Designated producers now say late next year is a more likely date.

The goal of the project, launched five years ago, is to remove the gray area between coffee shops and illegal cultivation.

The coalition party D66 was particularly enthusiastic about this project, which MPs believed would reduce the role of organized crime in the soft drug circuit.

Ten cities – Arnhem, Almere, Breda, Groningen, Heerlen, Hellevoetsluis, Maastricht, Nijmegen, Tilburg and Zaanstad – eventually agreed and ten growers committed to supplying a wide range of cannabis products.

So far, some growers have been unable to obtain bank accounts, as banks fear money laundering and support for criminal behavior. High energy prices, supply delays and problems with the track-and-trace system that will control the destination and sale of cannabis products are also causing difficulties, according to the letter that the NRC media could consult.

The Dutch government reacted to NRC and clarified that they were discussing with the banks about the bank accounts, without however committing to unblock the subject, and that they did not share the concerns about the monitoring system which would be operational.

Further information on the continuation of the experiment will be published in December by the Dutch government.

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