You are here
Home > News > Dutch Coffeeshops Doubt Quality and Success of Pending National Cannabis Trial

Dutch Coffeeshops Doubt Quality and Success of Pending National Cannabis Trial

The legal challenges of creating a market for cannabis in the U.S.A. and Canada are not without drama. However, Europe’s issues will be no less challenging.

The entire German debate, which is currently in deep freeze, has been dominated by various excuses. These include the continuing pandemic in Ukraine and the continued chatter about it’s inevitable. 

Right across the Schengen border, the Dutch, the inventors of the eponymous coffeeshop, are now going through their own “growing” pains when it comes to creating a legal, certified, national market.

Holland is attempting to certify its national industry

Coffeeshops in large cities will have uncertified cannabis cultivation. With the exception of those coffeeshops, however, the Dutch government created a national cannabis cultivation bid that would supply 10 cities with legalized cannabis. This is a trial program, which will also be studied to see how this entire idea works as well as its impact on the general population — including its ability to keep cannabis out of the hands of children and teenagers.

It is anticipated that the trial will start next year. The trial’s cannabis will then be sent to the participating coffee shops. Their permit will be revoked if they fail to comply. But, it does not necessarily mean that there will be a limit to the cultivator of any coffee shop.

Ten growers, who won the right to participate in a cultivation bid, will supply this market — although at this point there are only seven who have qualified to do so. Growers must prove that they do not have a “criminal” past, and that they can secure their cultivation facilities.

Coffeeshop owners at these coffeeshops are not as enthusiastic about standardization in the cannabis business. Many people doubt that the cannabis they will get from these cultivators is up to the quality that they previously produced — and will almost certainly limit the selection of the cannabis on offer. 

The government hasn’t taken this issue into account. The trial will give these coffeeshops six weeks to market any self-cultivated cannabis that they may have. The government will require them to then purchase the cannabis.

Shop owners would like more options. Many suggest that shop owners have the option to opt-in rather than being required.

However, the Dutch government isn’t giving them this option.

Many coffeeshops are afraid that this will lead to them losing customers to the black market.

Growing Pains

A national program was launched by the Dutch government to try to manage all aspects of cannabis production for recreational use in 2019. A legal tender was established to allow the selection of cannabis cultivators.

The four-year trial period is planned. 

This process was, predictably, hammered by multiple delays. These included NIMBY protests of municipalities that objected to the cultivation occurring in their localities and even a slap suit from a large Canadian manufacturer.

The experiment will include monitoring by researchers. Based on the findings of the experiment, the government will decide how best to implement long-term policies.

Dutch coffeeshops currently cultivate their cannabis and the process falls under the grey areas of law. The national trial will continue to be a part of this process. The larger cities can still have their own establishments.

The trial takes place against the backdrop of growing pressure on existing coffeeshops. This includes persistent threats by government authorities to bar tourists from dropping into these establishments.

What will happen if other European countries follow the Dutch example?

Much attention is being paid to how the Dutch trial outside of Holland will unfold. Germany is currently trying to figure out how it can make its recreational system work. While Germany is not likely to allow establishments like coffeeshops to operate, at least at first, they are likely to set up a similar system of controlled cultivation — if they do not mandate that the original three medical growers are the initial providers of the same.

However, Europe seems to be on the brink of accepting that marijuana isn’t going away.

It is now up to you to establish a legally regulated and governed market, which can both protect consumers as well as generate tax revenue.

This discussion is led by the Dutch as usual.