Lower House approves controlled cannabis cultivation
• Dutch MPs voted to approve controlled cannabis cultivation
• A slim majority in the lower house of the Dutch parliament agreed on Tuesday to pass the D66 proposal, which would regulate the cultivation of cannabis
• The sale of cannabis in the Netherlands is not technically legal, but it is tolerated, contrary to popular belief
The Dutch Lower House has voted to pass a bill which would allow Dutch citizens and businesses to cultivate cannabis, instead of illegally importing it.
77 out of 150 MPs voted in favor of the proposal brought forward by centrist party D66, meaning the bill passed with a tiny majority of 4.
The slender majority means the bill can progress to the Dutch Senate (Eerste Kamer). However, it is not known which way the Senate will vote.
Centrist party, D66, introduced the bill to help reduce crime around cannabis cultivation, which is still illegal, contrary to popular belief. The party hopes that the bill will make it easier to tax coffee-shops and boost local economies.
D66’s stance on cannabis is a fairly rational one. The party believes that regulating cannabis cultivation will be better for the health of their citizens.
If the bill is approved by the Senate, cannabis would only be able to be cultivated on government controlled farms. Coffee-shops will then buy their cannabis from those farms, instead of importing it illegally.
While cannabis remains illegal, and imported by those who only have profit in mind, buyers have no idea of what their strain contains. By legalising, regulating and controlling cultivation, the government can ensure that the consumer gets exactly what they need in a safer manner.
D66 has previously argued that it is completely impossible, and impractical, to completely ban cannabis. They view it as the government’s responsibility to ensure that ‘unhealthy products’ are used as safely as possible, and controlling a product seems like the most rational way to achieve this.
D66 MP, and author of the bill, Vera Bergkamp, heralded the victory as a step in the right direction: “This is an important step to end a stalemate that has lasted far too long.
“Cannabis cultivation [involves] many criminal organisations. If [we] take no course of resistance, nothing will change.”
The Dutch MP also made statements about the facile nature of prohibition: “We have to be realistic. There is [cannabis] also being exported. The approach will thereby be required by law enforcement.”
Bergkamp responded to the parties who tried to fight the motion, claiming that cannabis should be entirely criminalised: “Whether you like it or not, drugs are part of our society.”
Will the Dutch Senate follow the will of the people and pass the motion? Only time will tell.