New Rule in Dutch Cannabis Experiment

Stephen Andrews
05 Apr 2024

The Netherlands is through the first three months of its cannabis experiment, which saw the activation of legal retail of weed in two cities, Breda and Tilburg. The main problem in the early stage of the experiment was the restrictive limit on weed that legal shops could keep as trading stock, but now the rule has been changed.

Last month, the Dutch government changed the restrictive limit for legal cannabis that coffeeshops in the selected cities are allowed to keep in stock. The limit of 500 grams of weed (just little over 17 ounces) seemed to be a major obstacle

The 500-gram restriction was one of the rules introduced by the government for the start-up phase of its cannabis experiment.

How Is It Going with the Dutch Cannabis Experiment?

At present, recreational users in Breda and Tilburg can opt between four product options: dried flower, edibles, hash, and pre-rolls. 

The legal coffeeshops are supplied by three cultivators, though their names and locations remain unknown. 

With new rules as of last month, the mayors of Breda and Tilburg can change the trading stock limit for regulated cannabis when they think it’s necessary, including in the upcoming stages of the experiment. 

Breda’s Mayor Paul Depla was happy with the change. The trade limit was a concern voiced by the coffeeshop owners, he said. With the change, the sale of regulated weed products will be facilitated more easily, Depla told local reporters. 

The main goal of the start-up phase of the experiment is that Dutch authorities collect insights into how the legal cannabis market would work, before moving on with full-scale legalization. 

The start-up phase of the experiment was activated in December after some period of delay. The first months pointed out the potential weak points in the system. The biggest hurdle obviously was the harsh limit of only 500 grams in trade stock, which often caused coffeeshops to run out of weed, leaving customers to wait. 

Malfunctions were also reported with the track-and-trace system implemented for the program, though it quickly recovered in the first month. 

The initial phase of the experiment aims exactly that, to test all systems and processes used for the management of a closed cannabis supply chain, which for the first time in 50 years is overseen by the Dutch government. 

The transitional phase of the experiment is scheduled to start in June, and it will aim to prepare the ground for more extensive operations. After that, in the final phase, more legal coffeeshops in more cities are expected to join the market. 

By the end of 2024, if all goes well, the Netherlands might be ready to officially legalize cannabis for recreational use, and with that finally abandon its decades-old policy of tolerance. 

The Dutch government has still not disclosed any information on sales data for the first phase of the experiment, but it might still be too early. 

Also read on Soft Secrets:

- Legal Weed Arrives in Dutch Coffeeshops

- Cannabis Trials Are Also Underway in Switzerland

- Thailand Medical Weed Market to Double by 2032

Stephen Andrews