Source: Times of India
Sunday 09 Oct 2011
AMSTERDAM: Coffee shops in the Netherlands were left wondering on
Saturday how to comply with restrictions announced by the Dutch
government on the sale of “strong” cannabis, saying enforcement would
be difficult given the laws on production.
The Netherlands is famous for its liberal soft drugs policies. A Dutch
citizen can grow a maximum of five cannabis plants at home for
personal use but large-scale production and transport is a crime.
On Friday, the coalition government said it would seek to ban what it
considered to be highly potent forms of cannabis – known as “skunk” –
placing them in the same category as hard drugs such as heroin or
But the industry said the guidelines were not clear enough.
“Commercial cannabis growers are already breaking the law so how can
testing be legal? It’s not clear what coffee shops need to do,” said
Maurice Veldman, a lawyer from the Dutch cannabis retailers
association who represents coffee shops in court.
A pioneer of liberal drug policies, the Netherlands has backtracked on
its tolerance in the last few years, announcing plans in May to ban
tourists from coffee shops, which are popular attractions in cities
such as Amsterdam.
The government said it would now outlaw the sale of cannabis whose
concentration of THC, seen as the main psychoactive substance, exceeds
The average THC concentration in cannabis sold by Dutch coffee shops
is between 16 and 18 percent, according to the Trimbos Institute.
“All this will do is lead to people smoking more joints and me selling
more grams. But as it’s used with tobacco it will damage their health
more,” said Marc Josemans, who owns a coffee shop in the city of