While the Netherlands has always been known as the Mecca for cannabis users, their drug policy has been under a lot of fire in the last year. But now that the whole weed-pass affair seems to have blown over and some cities are willing to take the next step in the right direction.
The Bureau for Medical Cannabis of the Ministry of Health is planning to provide cannabis for an experiment that will take place in Utrecht, one of the bigger cities of the Netherlands. The new and pretty much experimental program will provide special hashish to people suffering from psychosis and other mental disorders. The hash they will provide is supposed to tone down psychotic attacks and insomnia, while most cannabis varieties provoke these symptoms.
Utrecht has more than 80 addicts with mental disorders walking the streets. According to the city government, these addicts are not very easy to treat as the weed they smoke, provokes is provoking psychosis. A small group will partake in the experiment which will start this autumn.
Cannabis Social Club
Another experiment taking place in Utrecht is a Cannabis Social Club. The Social Cannabis Club Domstad (SCCD) has been established to grow weed for 100 individuals. In the Netherlands this would be the first Social Cannabis Club, as nobody ever thought it would be necessary to have them in a country that hosts more than 600 coffeeshops where any adult can buy marijuana.
The main problem in the Netherlands is that the production of marijuana is in the hands of organized criminals as large scale cultivation is still illegal in the Netherlands. It is allowed to buy cannabis seeds from a shop or of the internet and it is tolerated to have up to 5 plants for personal usage at home, but this is not a solution for the big amounts that are being sold in the coffeeshops every day. Some shops can sell over 10 kilos of marijuana on a good day.
The SCCD is requesting permission for growing weed for personal usage as the Opium Act does not allow this at the moment. Ivo Opstelten, the minister of Justice that was responsible for inventing the weed pass system a year ago, has announced not to be happy with the initiative and hopes the SCCD will not get the permission. Council alderman Victor Everhardt, who is behind the plan, is still confident about the proposal as the permission is being asked from the Ministry of Health and not of the Ministry of Justice.
Other cities might follow
SCCD Utrecht came up with the idea for their organization about a year ago, but in Rotterdam there are plans to do the same. Also the cities of Leeuwarden, Eindhoven and Tilburg are thinking of a good way to legalize and regulate the cultivation of marijuana.