Netherlands to Start Legal Marijuana Pilot Program in December

Starting in December the Dutch government will launch its long-awaited marijuana pilot program in Breda and Tilburg.

The new pilot program will allow for marijuana to be cultivated and distributed to adults. The program will start with two cultivators supplying two shops, but it is expected to grow to 10 cultivators supplying a couple dozen shops.

The pilot program was first announced in 2020. Although marijuana sales have occurred in the Netherlands through marijuana-style cafes and through street dealers for years, this is the first legal marijuana program fully sanctioned by the government. If successful, it will likely lead to a permanent law change.

“The cabinet has decided that the (startup) phase of the closed coffee shop chain experiment will start on December 15, 2023,” said the government in a public statement. “The most recent planning shows that two legal growers are expected to be ready for delivery to coffee shops in the fourth quarter of 2023. This is sufficient to start the (initial) phase of the experiment in Breda and Tilburg.”

They say that “It is expected that all participating municipalities will be able to start the transition phase at the earliest at the end of the first quarter of 2024,”.

Breda has a population of a little under 200,000, while Tilburg has a little over 200,000. The neighboring cities are in the southern Netherlands.

The pilot program is expected to last six months.

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