- Category: News-wietpas
- Created on Wednesday, 06 March 2013 11:18
- Written by Amsterdam Herald
The municipality in Smallingerland hopes that by setting up a legal supply route it can reduce the criminality and disorder associated with drug dealing.
Councillors approved a proposal to open discussions with coffeeshop owners to regulate cannabis production at a meeting on Tuesday.
The municipality of 55,000 people, most of whom live in the town of Drachten, will first have to lobby justice minister Ivo Opstelten to change the law and gain the approval of the public prosecutor’s office (Openbare Ministerie).
Drachten, which lies 30 kilometres from the city of Leeuwarden, currently has two coffeeshops. Leeuwarden itself is said to be in favour of a similar scheme.
The council will also have to identify a suitable place and producer, though the multi-service agency Caparis, which is owned by eight Frisian councils, has been mentioned as a possible option. Some private sector involvement seems likely as the council has ruled out running the operation directly.
Labour (PvdA) councillor Roel Haverkort said: "We will now seek to work together with Leeuwarden, who want to do the same thing, and approach [justice minister] Opstelten.
"Setting up our own plantation directly would be too big a step. The municipality will not do the cultivation itself."
The Netherlands’ drug laws allow the sale and consumption of soft drugs such as cannabis under strictly controlled conditions.
However, production and wholesale remain illegal, meaning coffeeshop owners have to buy their wares on the black market.
Pro-cannabis campaigners have lobbied for years to end the anomalous situation whereby drugs are tolerated at the front counter but banned in the stockroom – the so-called “front door/ back door” approach.