Set-up of first seven cannabis-growing farms for experiment has commenced

To date, the ‘closed coffee shop chain experiment’ – also known as the ‘weed experiment’ – has involved the designation of seven growers to legally produce hemp and hashish for sale in coffee shops in ten participating municipalities. These growers are now setting up their farms, after which they will start to grow hemp and hashish. The time that the farms and municipalities need for both will determine when the growers can start to supply coffee shops.

Ministers Grapperhaus (Justice and Security) and De Jonge (Health, Welfare and Sport) reported the above to the Lower House in a letter today. They will work with growers and the relevant mayors to establish a start date for delivery to coffee shops during the so-called transition phase of the experiment. The municipalities now need to join forces with the growers and the surrounding communities to decide on the most appropriate farm set-up and communication about it for the location in question.

Important planning factors

In the period ahead, several factors will be important for planning, such as the time needed to prepare the growing locations and obtain permits under the Environmental and Planning Act. There has to be enough hemp and hashish to supply the coffee shops, and the quality and diversity of the products has to be right too.

The transition phase

During the transition phase, the participating coffee shops will be able to sell the hemp products grown by the cannabis-growing farms – as part of the experiment – as well as any products they were already allowed to sell before. The weed-experiment phase will start after the transition phase and will continue for four years. During the experiment phase, participating coffee shops will only be allowed to sell hemp and hashish supplied by the designated growers as part of the closed coffee shop chain.

The aim is for the designated growers to meet the conditions applicable and for the transition phase to start at some point in the second half of 2022. Once the start date has been determined, ongoing monitoring will take place to see whether the planning is realistic and identify opportunities for acceleration.

Prospective growers

In the coming period, it will be possible to select a maximum of three growers to join the current seven designated growers in the weed experiment. This selection procedure is still ongoing. When designing the weed experiment, the government decided that a maximum of ten cannabis growing farms could participate, which would ensure that supply was efficient.