The Dutch are known for their windmills, canals and of course “coffee shops.” These establishments, where tourists may join Dutch citizens in conversation or partake in smoking a joint, have been a hallmark of the country since the 1970’s. The sale and consumption of cannabis are already legal and regulated in the Netherlands, but growing cannabis is illegal at the commercial level. Currently, it is illegal to cultivate more than five cannabis plants at once for recreational use.
The Dutch police are regularly discovering and destroying large commercial-scale cannabis growing operations.
These illegal enterprises continue to pop up due to the current five plant restriction. An increase in tourist demand means business owners need more cannabis cultivation in the Netherlands. Many agree that the best way to restrict the black market is through targeted cannabis policy reform. Policy flexibility is key when it comes to the ever evolving cannabis laws around the world. California’s legislature recently introduced a bill that would lower cannabis taxes in the state in order to minimize the economic impact of the cannabis black market.
Limiting The Impact Of The Cannabis Black Market
The primary purpose of this proposal, which is still in its infancy, is to limit the impact of cannabis growers in the black market. This proposal would allow anywhere from six to ten cities in the Netherlands to legally grow and sell cannabis for an experimental four year period. This would likely create a multi-million industry headed by licensed cannabis growers. This would severely hamper the black market and allow business owners to meet up with increased demand.
Currently, many shops, including the well known de Baron coffee shop in the city of Breda, rely on the black market cannabis growing industry to meet supply needs. Hendrik Brand, who runs de Baron, believes this need for cannabis forces shops to have, “One foot on the legal side and the other foot somewhere else.
This problem seems to be uniquely Dutch. Most cities, states, and countries legalize commercial cannabis cultivation when they legalize consumption and sale of cannabis products. The growing limit has been in place for the entirety of cannabis’ legality in the Netherlands. This has forced authorities to deal with black market grow operations, which means a high consumption of valuable law enforcement resources. There is also a presumed loss of tax revenue due to a thriving black market. A legalized commercial cannabis cultivation industry in the Netherlands should help resolve these issues.