Dutch breeding company prohibited from trading in cannabis seedlings

In the Netherlands, a judge has ruled that a breeding company cannot market cannabis seedlings. The breeding company received a three-year permit in 2018 to have cannabis to research improved cultivation methods. But, it is not allowed to continue selling this improved material to exemption holders.

The Westland company, which has an ornamental plant branch too, had filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport. The company saw room in the law, highlighting a passage of exemption text that would allow for trading.

They argued that the waiver states that one may stock Opium Law drugs by purchasing from exemption holders. Thus, one could conclude that it includes exemption holders trading in cannabis.

The judge disagreed, referring to an earlier 2021 ruling in another case. There, trading in buds was not allowed because there was no ministerial contract. Direct market delivery was not the intention. An appeal is still pending in that case.

On May 10, the Rotterdam District Court ruled that, in the Westland company's case, trading is prohibited. The Bureau for Medicinal Cannabis (BMC) has the sole right to trade cannabis. When growers need cannabis material, they can purchase it from the BMC.

The ministry admits that there seems to be leeway in the law. According to the judge, however, that does not mean the ministry must "keep repeating mistakes flowing from that." The standard phrase pointed out by the breeding company refers to Opium Law drugs other than cannabis.

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