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The problem of illicitly grown marijuana being supplied to coffee shops in Eindhoven, Netherlands has been met with the simple yet elegant solution of local cannabis growing.
The city’s mayor, Rob van Gijzel, described last Wednesday in a written press release addressed to the Dutch Prime Minister the details of the decision in which the city’s judicial authorities had finally allowed the supervised growth of cannabis.
In the statement, the mayor outlined the decision’s strategic value, including the blow to illicit and underground marijuana cultivators that have been increasingly supplying to the city’s dispensaries.
Federally, the growth and sale of marijuana is still illegal, but enforcement is light and enacted with an atmosphere of ease.
Aside from progressing decriminalization of cannabis, the Netherlands continue to hold their position against anti-cannabis groups, striking down a law that would require citizens to register information in a database whenever they purchased from a coffee shop, as well as entirely banning non-citizens from the shops.
Though the law was strict, its trashing gave the freedom of cannabis cultivation control to the cities of the Netherlands.
The Prime Minister, hoping to indirectly target large scale illicit marijuana operations, went to councils for aid on smaller scale operations early February.
Eindhoven’s mayor’s response was succinct and well-informed. He described the high concentration of organized crime in the city’s South, and the organized, high-income marijuana operations that were part of it.
He described the common occurrence of threats, intimidation, fraud, and even violence, noting the way the problem forcibly dragged local coffee shop owners into criminally involved business. The policy on such shops at this time, he says, is outright ineffective.
Gijzel and his city will grow and control growth of legal cannabis in its limits, hoping to fight organized marijuana crime and help coffee shop business owners. His plan is for the growth to continue and feel out its place for the coming 3 years.
In addition to Gijzel, numerous other officials from other Dutch cities spoke and gave solutions for small scale operations, according to Job van de Sande of the Justice Ministry. But the final solution will only come in the moderate future.
Van de Sande also brings up the point that the local laws of Eindhoven contradict the federal laws of the Netherlands, similar to medical marijuana in some US states contradicting federal law. Although federal enforcement has been light at this point, cannabis cultivation remains technically illegal.
He reports that the mayor is still in the process of making a final decision.
Cannabis culture has been and will always be a staple of the Netherlands, for its local citizens and tourist coming from abroad. Its 670+ coffee shops distribute cannabis to recreational users nation wide.
Though even possession is also still federally illegal in the Netherlands, the offense has been decriminalized for some time. In 1976, both possession and sale of quantities under 5 grams carry light penalties.