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NL: Adult-use cannabis experiment will not be expanded to Amsterdam-East

The Dutch cabinet plan to extend the cannabis trial to Amsterdam East has failed. A majority of the Lower House voted against this amendment to the Closed Coffeeshop Chain Experiment Act on Tuesday. They included PVV, NSC, BBB, CDA, ChristenUnie, SGP, Denk and Forum voor Democratie. The PVV motion to put the entire cannabis experiment 'on hold' did not make it through.

Setback spared
This has spared the participating municipalities and growers a major setback, as they have invested a lot of time, money, and effort in the much-discussed experiment to supply coffee shops with legally grown cannabis. The continuation of the trial would have become uncertain if the Lower House had voted in favor of the request. Last week, Medical Care Minister Pia Dijkstra (D66) 'strongly' advised against the motion, saying she expected growers to file 'damage claims of millions'. 'As a reliable government, we cannot force them to stop their operations indefinitely.'

VVD stands alone
But where the NSC and BBB left it unclear last week whether they would vote for or against the PVV motion, it emerged on Tuesday that they were against it. They did, however, also vote against extending the weed trial to Amsterdam East district. That wanted to be added to the experiment as the 11th 'municipality.' The vote showed that the VVD, as an advocate of the weed trial, will come alone if the party forms a coalition with PVV, NSC, and BBB. In fact, none of these parties was in favor of expansion. And the PVV even thinks the cannabis experiment should stop altogether.

Incorrect sentiment
Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema called it "disturbing" that a majority of the Lower House was "guided by incorrect sentiment" in voting on the cannabis trial. 'The experiment will not increase young people's access to drugs at all, only take distribution and production out of the hands of criminals. This actually protects public health and facilitates enforcement policies. If you want to be able to better control cannabis use, then you should also control the "back door," Halsema argues in a written statement.

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