Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The backdoor remains ajar, and the regulations deregulated.

The backdoor remains ajar, and the regulations deregulated.

By Steve Fly

'...regulate so that crops are under the control of the Dutch Food Safety Authority state'

"who regulates the regulators?"--Anonymous.

     The ongoing debate surrounding Dutch coffeeshops, as you might expect has ignited in 2017, an election year in Holland. This article attempts to summarise, and make sense of the different questions, and the various different answers proposed by politicians, regulators and coffeeshop owners, in unbiased and fair language. Cough cough.

There are a number of recurring themes and buzz words used in the debate, often stylized and sexed up by different reporters and various news outlets. These include, but are not limited to different degrees of regulation on both the cultivation of the cannabis sold in coffeeshops, and the so called 'back door' paradox, whereby it is technically illegal to bring cannabis into the coffeeshop. Technically. Technically?

Currently the Dutch authorities, in different municipalities exorcise various degrees of tolerance toward coffeeshops and the activities they engage in. This tolerance is difficult to describe, like Zen, or a meme, and to understand can be a real pain in the butt for those from other countries and cultures and, i think, makes up for a large part of the confusion often associated with coffeeshops and their legality. Add to this the coalition model that makes up the Dutch parliamentary system, and you can begin to see the complexity of the puzzle. M.C. Escher could see it, and share the vision.

The main points of debate, however, can be broken down into binary terms, i hesitate to say. For example. new laws to regulate cultivation, or for it to remain unregulated without laws? And new laws to regulate the 'backdoor supply chain', or, for it to remain an unregulated enigma? Another binary debate concerns the more general question of keeping coffeeshops open, or closing them all. And by extension to this question, should coffeeshops become private members clubs requiring a 'weed pass' or continue to be open to anybody with I.D proving they are over 18 years old, and, so long as long as the coffeeshops abide by the strict controls enforced on them by the authorities. Lots of questions.

The successful experiment with cannabis coffeeshops in Holland, successful based on a fall in 'hard drugs consumption' and 'drugs related crime' in Holland, leads by example in this debate. 'If it’s not broke why fix it' is a common argument here, based upon comparing statistics with surrounding countries, who still enforce the laws on scheduled substances that include cannabis, yet show higher rates of serious drug addiction and drug related crime.

There are those who wish to close all coffeeshops and those who wish to keep them open, and those who want to allow new coffeeshops to open. Those who wish to increase regulations but keep them open, and those who wish to impose regulations as a stepping stone to the closure of all of them. Those who want to legalize recreational use in separate municipalities, and those who wish to legalize country wise, and those who wish to re-criminalize, increase the punishments associated with cannabis. And each of the individuals putting forward these various positions has their own nuance and methods for strengthening their argument, and weakening that of their political opponents. This kind of dialectic has come to define political debate all over the place, and due to the coalition government in Holland the bong water can seem to be getting murkier and murkier. Free the weed!

I hope these quotes help shed some light. Forgive my opinionated introduction. I felt it best to write what i thought without much editing

--Steve Fly

'Vera Bergkamp sees the bill as a step toward legalization, she told Steven Kompier Cannabis News Network. Bergkamp: "We're going to get it right, with a baseline, see how that goes. And when we can show that it is better for public health, public order and security, then the step to possibly legalize, although that step right now is a very big one.'https://www.rollingstoned.nl/na-de-wietwet-wat-gebeurt-er-met-thuisteelt/

The mayor will have an important role not only determines who is allowed to grow, but also what the maximum stock of a coffee shop and "may also designate one or more repositories for storing the stock market." The Minister of Justice decides whether formal or professional breeder tolerated and is not prosecuted as long as the criteria are met. The law will be evaluated after periods of three and five years. -- https://www.rollingstoned.nl/na-de-wietwet-wat-gebeurt-er-met-thuisteelt/

'And no, he says, it is not just a semantic difference. Under regulation, the municipality would have to grant a license stating that the weed grower is relieved of the Opium Act, and is therefore not punishable. By tolerating, the producer remains punishable but, he avoids prosecution if he meets the conditions of the tolerance decision. "It's the same tolerance construction already applied to the front door, so parties can be hard against it. Unless they are also against tolerating coffee shops. "--https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2017/02/13/nederlandse-oplossing-voor-een-nederlands-probleem-6677476-a1545886

'There Bergkamp hopes on the support of the VVD, which already has shifted sharply in recent years, mainly driven by Southern VVD and youth organization JOVD.
There was nothing about adapting the policy on cannabis cultivation in the draft election program of the VVD. But a motion was adopted at the party congress in November to adjust the program. Now does it say that the VVD wants to put an end to the "strange situation" that the sale of cannabis is tolerated indeed, and not purchasing. That the VVD says, we have "smarter regulation".--https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2017/02/13/nederlandse-oplossing-voor-een-nederlands-probleem-6677476-a1545886

'Or as Hauptabteilung writes: "Departments themselves are free to decide whether they themselves also test products in the coffee shops." http://www.geenstijl.nl/mt/archieven/2017/01/democratisch_stoned_worden_van.html

'VVD, CDA, SGP, Christian Union and the PVV, which Wednesday stayed away from the debate, are against the toleration of cannabis cultivation.--http://www.rd.nl/vandaag/politiek/wietwet-nog-voor-verkiezingen-door-kamer-1.1372236

'patrons may soon only be able to buy weed in legitimate businesses that are allowed to grow. However, this provision is not immediately going to enter into the force of the Law. D66 wants to include a transition period in the law; while stocks of legally grown cannabis are grown, as of now, they can continue to buy from illegal growers. "The back door remains ajar," noted CU MP Segers "But for how long then?" http://www.rd.nl/vandaag/politiek/wietwet-nog-voor-verkiezingen-door-kamer-1.1372236

'The big question now is: what will happen to the home cultivation ?!--https://www.rollingstoned.nl/na-de-wietwet-wat-gebeurt-er-met-thuisteelt/
In the explanation writes Van Tongeren: "The petitioner believes that certain patients should be allowed by law to cultivate your own medicinal cannabis under strict conditions. More and more countries (including Australia and Germany) and Dutch municipalities (including Tilburg and Vlissingen) allow this, but medical home cultivation of cannabis regularly leads to evictions by landlords. An explicit legal basis to prevent this type of misunderstanding and enshrine the right to access to cannabis products.

'A majority of MPs now seem likely to back draft legislation from the Liberal democratic party D66 which would regulate legalised marijuana cultivation under government control. The bill, drawn up by MP Vera Bergkamp, was backed by Labour, GroenLinks, the Socialist and pro-animal PvdD. But now two MPs who left the anti-Islam PVV to form a breakaway right-wing party have said they too will support the measure, the AD said on Friday. Bergkamp hopes that introducing licenced marijuana production will remove the grey area between illegal cultivation and licenced cannabis cafes or coffee shops, where small amounts of marijuana can be bought for personal use. -- The Netherlands comes a step closer to legalised marijuana cultivation - http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2016/09/the-netherlands-comes-a-step-closer-to-legalised-marijuana-cultivation/

'The municipality of Amsterdam took away on January 1st of eight coffee shops the grace statement because they sold within a radius of 250 meters from a high school - http://revu.nl/nieuws/reportage-amsterdam-vs-de-coffeeshops/

The most pronounced is the Pirate Party. The Pirates are not only for the regulation of the back door, but also carry home cultivation and industrial uses of hemp, a warm heart. They also believe that the government should no longer blinded by the THC percentage and more attention should have for the relationship between cannabinoids. It is clear that experts here have participated. - https://tk2017.piratenpartij.nl/2016/12/20/piratenpartij-denk-populair-cannabisliefhebber/

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