Experimentation with legal cannabis will begin in October 2023 in the Netherlands

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While the full experiment is suffering delay after delay and is not expected to be launched before 2024, the Dutch Minister of Health, Ernst Kuipers, announced on Wednesday February 22 that a pilot start-up phase would be launched during the last quarter of 2023. in the towns of Tilberg and Breda.

It should start with three growers who will be able to supply products to coffeeshops in these cities.

A total of ten towns are involved in the experiment. Other municipalities should join them, and Amsterdam announced last Tuesday its wish to join the experiment of the legal production of cannabis for the coffeeshops of one of its seven districts.

Three producers will therefore take part in the initial phase and supply all licensed coffeeshops in the cities of Tilberg and Breda. Each establishment will only be able to have in stock a maximum of 500 grams of “legal” weed, but will be able to continue to source from its former illegal producers.

There ” wietexperiment was first approved by the Dutch Senate in 2019 after several years, and has since been blocked for various reasons.

The goal of the break-in period is to “train with all processes and systems”, said Health Minister Ernst Kuipers. The minister told MPs that the initial period would last six months and that he hoped then that other cities would join the project.

The objective of the experiment is to remove the gray area in which the production of cannabis for coffeeshops takes place, which is still illegal, while reducing nuisance and crime.

Banking difficulties

Ten growers were originally selected for the trial, but one has since lost his license and only one of the remaining is ready to start.

In particular, growers find it difficult to obtain a bank account due to banks’ concerns about potential money laundering.

Justice Minister Dilan Yesilgöz told MPs that it is up to the banks themselves to decide who they open accounts for, but that they should be clearer about the conditions they require for acceptance .

The mayors of Tilburg and Breda both welcomed the news of the launch of the experiment.

“We can finally take the first steps towards the legalization of soft drugs,” said Tilburg Mayor Theo Weterings.

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