To this day, no Dutch bank is prepared to provide a bank account for Project C, a Dutch cannabis project that wants to partake in a government experiment called ‘Closed Coffeeshop chains’. Reason enough for the people behind Project C to file a lawsuit against the Dutch bank, ABN AMRO. “As soon as the word cannabis is mentioned, banks and insurance agencies stop listening”, the people at Project C say.
'The people at Project C' in this case are general practitioner Ronald Roothans, lawyer Peter Schouten and former member of the state Joep van Meel. The men fear that Project Cannabis will be dead in the water before it even gets a chance to start even though their goal is to cultivate cannabis transparently and legally. “With the lawsuit, we try to pressure ABN AMRO and the Dutch Government because now we can't even get an IBAN-number which causes delays in our preparations”.
Advance with own money
In 2017, the plan for a facility where 12.5 tons of cannabis a year could be produced started to form. Up until now, all of the costs, among which the finding of a cultivation location with a realtor, was paid out of their own pocket, but it can’t continue like that, the Project C members told the court.
"Now there are investors who have offered to pay the millions needed, specialists in the field of cultivation setup, security and transport are being called upon to help with writing down the business plan. However, the associated payment transactions are apparently not allowed to be paid transparently through a Dutch bank account.”
Stricter selection at the gate
The lawyers of the ABN AMRO explained yesterday that the bank was afraid of money laundering, especially now that the Dutch Bank pays extra attention to these kinds of mishaps due to the recent uncovering of some of them. That’s the reason why there is now a stricter selection at the gate, “especially if clients are from integrity-sensitive fields of work, such as the cannabis industry”, says lawyer Joost Achterberg.
Court decision on the 4th of November
Without the government’s permission, the bank will not change their opinion on the matter, says Achterberg. On the 4th of November, a court decision will follow.