NL: Cannabis experiment to start with delivery from two growers

On December 15, 2023, the first delivery from two growers in the closed coffeeshop chain experiment will start after all. This is the so-called 'start-up phase' of the experiment, which has been repeatedly delayed.

The latest planning shows that in the fourth quarter of 2023, two legal growers are expected to be ready to supply coffee shops. That, according to the ministers concerned, is enough to start the start-up phase of the experiment in Breda and Tilburg. During this phase, participating coffee shops from these municipalities will be allowed to offer both legally grown and tolerated products. The next two growers are expected to be able to start supplying coffee shops in Breda and Tilburg in February 2024.

The start-up initiative was introduced by the mayors of Breda and Tilburg and embraced by Minister Ernst Kuipers of Public Health, Welfare and Sport and Minister Yeşilgöz-Zegerius of Justice and Security as an opportunity to start the experiment around a legalized production and sales chain on a small scale. This will allow experience to be gained with the closed chain and all the processes involved. Developments during the start-up phase will be monitored. If public order or safety are seriously compromised, the start-up phase will be terminated prematurely. The insights will be shared with all participating municipalities and used to improve processes and systems for a smooth transition phase.

Start of the transition phase
The aim is for the start-up phase to last a maximum of six months. This will be followed by a transition phase. It is expected that all participating municipalities will not be able to start the transition phase until the end of the first quarter of 2024 at the earliest. During this transition phase, coffee shops in the participating municipalities will be allowed to offer regulated products alongside tolerated products. The growers' planning is currently too uncertain to give more clarity on the actual start of the transition phase. Of the 10 growers, some have not even started to realize a cultivation facility. Ministers Kuipers and Yeşilgöz-Zegerius will inform the Lower House about the transition phase at a later date.

Six weeks after the start of the transitional phase is the start of the actual experimental phase. Participating coffee shop owners will only be allowed to sell the regulated cannabis from then on.

Participation district of Amsterdam
Earlier, the possibility of an eleventh municipality participating in the experiment was discussed. Mayor Halsema of Amsterdam nominated the Oost district for this purpose. The ministries of VWS and JenV are examining this nomination and holding talks to flesh it out. To make the participation of the eleventh city possible, the Act and the Decree on Experiment Closed Coffeeshop Chains must be amended. The bill for this is in the House of Representatives for consideration.

Source: Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport

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