The Netherlands’ permissive approach to cannabis may be well-known, but the country’s coffeeshops (as cannabis cafés are called) have long grappled with a head-scratching contradiction.
While the coffeshops’ trade is perfectly legal, that’s not the case for growing and producing the cannabis products they sell. Those actions can be punished with stiff fines, forcing the industry underground and making it difficult for authorities to monitor the quality of products sold to consumers. Perhaps more importantly, it means that the growers who supply the products often, perhaps inevitably, have links to organized crime.
This autumn, however, 10 Dutch cities are trying out a possible solution: municipally approved weed.
Called the “weed test” locally, the experiment will work as follows. Each city will only permit the sale of cannabis products that come from officially approved cannabis growers within the Netherlands. The participating cities’ coffeeshops will thus only be allowed to stock weed that has been monitored and tested by officially designated local laboratories, and sold with accurate labelling of its levels of THC. [Read more at City Lab]