On 21 February the Dutch House of Representatives approved a so-called “weed law” with a 77-72 majority. This means that in the future the growing of cannabis can be regulated by the government. Good news, although the Senate still has to approve the law and there are serious doubts if this will happen. Even so, this is a historical step in the right direction.
End of a typical Dutch invention
The proposal should end a typical Dutch situation called “gedoogbeleid”. The past 40 years coffee shops were able to sell cannabis even though it was illegal for them to purchase or grow it. In a new situation the government will supervise the production of cannabis. Coffee shops will then be able to buy legal cannabis from controlled growers.
D66, the liberal party which proposed the law, envisions a number of classic benefits. Criminals will lose their share of the cannabis industry. It should also ensure a steady flow of tax as both coffee shops and growers will be taxed. Another advantage concerns public health. With governmental control, standards and quality control can be applied so users will know exactly what they consume.
The Dutch elections in March should give a better picture on how this law will implemented. But the feeling in The Netherlands is that there can be no way back.