Design of cannabis cultivation experiment to be clarified in the course of 2018
The design of the 'Closed coffee shop chain experiment' will be clarified in the course of 2018. Minister of Justice and Security Grapperhaus and Minister for Medical Care Bruins have set out the steps that will be needed in a letter to the House of Representatives. First of all, an independent advisory committee chaired by Professor Knottnerus has been asked to advise on the design of the trial with cannabis cultivation for recreational use in the closed coffee shop chain by 31 May 2018 at the latest. Later this year the committee will also advise on which municipalities are to participate in the trial.
Ministers Grapperhaus and Bruins will finalise the design of the experiment before the summer following the Knottnerus Committee's recommendations. Municipalities will then be able to indicate if they wish to take part. In autumn 2018 the advisory committee will then nominate individual municipalities to participate in the experiment. As announced in the coalition agreement, the experiment with cannabis cultivation for recreational use will be conducted in the closed coffee shop chain in six to ten medium-sized and large municipalities.
A bill is currently being drafted to facilitate the cannabis cultivation experiment. This 'experiment legislation' will provide for a temporary deviation from the existing laws and regulations. The bill has now been presented for consultation to partners involved in the implementation, namely: the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG), the Public Prosecution Service (OM), the judiciary, the police, the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) and the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate (IGJ). The aim is to submit this bill to the House of Representatives before the summer recess, with observance of the necessary steps in the legislative process and exercising due care.
In addition, a general administrative order (AMvB) is required lay down parameters for the experiment, including the requirements governing hemp cultivation and its sale in coffee shops. The general administrative order will be drawn up after the Knottnerus Committee issues its recommendations at the end of May, and is expected to be finalised in the third or fourth quarter of 2018.
After the 'experiment legislation' and the general administrative order enter into force, the experiment will consist of three stages:
- Preparatory stage: grower(s) and municipalities will be designated and can subsequently prepare for participation in the experiment.
- Experiment stage: as soon as preparations are complete, the experiment can begin. During this stage, hemp may be produced, supplied to coffee shops located in the participating municipalities and sold there, within the framework of the experiment. The draft legislative text provides for a period of four years for the experimental stage.
- Phasing out stage: The situation as it existed before the experiment will be reinstated. A period of six months is provided for.
Measurement of effects and evaluation
The coalition agreement stipulates that the experiment is to be independently reviewed after completion. The Knottnerus Committee will advise on the review procedure. Measurements of the effects will be carried out by a research team that is still to be appointed, overseen by an independent supervisory committee. The latter committee will also be responsible for evaluation of the experiment.