Experiment on drug supply fails as the Dutch greenhouse plan triggers unrest among residents
After locals protested the location of one of the new installations, a Dutch experiment with government-regulated cannabis cultivation farms to supply coffee shops is in danger of being disrupted by an outbreak of nimbyism. Plans to take over greenhouses on the outskirts of Etten-Leur, a town near the Belgian border in northern Brabant, and to replace blackberries with cannabis plants provoked significant local protests and a request to block the project from the local mayor to the central government. The initiative’s board members, known as Project C, have now cautioned that the other projects would suffer a similar backlash once their locations become known, threatening the experiment’s progress. Joep van Meel, an IT expert and former member of Noord-provincial Brabant’s parliament who is one of four board members of Project C, said, “In the three years of preparation we made everything transparent, but when it became known where we were going to build our plant, many local residents protested. People said that friends of their children would not be allowed to come to the house to play because they lived near the plant. ”
Coffeeshops sell small quantities of cannabis to over-18s in the country.
Yet manufacturing is illegal, enabling organized drug crime to flourish. The Dutch government agreed in 2017 to initiate a “controlled cannabis supply chain experiment” to see whether a “quality-controlled” supply of the drug could be regulated. The Health Department received 147 applications from individuals who wanted to become regulated farmers, then picked 51 to be drawn earlier this month in a lottery. The 10 winners will now undergo a “integrity” review, which will be verified in February, excluding organizations that have illegally cultivated cannabis from the final list in the past.
Efficient applications must guarantee annual production of at least 6.5 tons of cannabis and a strong financial and security plan. Amsterdam to prohibit the purchasing of cannabis by international visitorsRead moreVan Meel said that its own advertisement was the victim of Project C. “We wanted to do everything in the public eye – we thought it was important that this trial be a success,” he said. “People are going to find out in the coming weeks that they’re going to have a cannabis facility near them, and they’re going to protest.” “A legal challenge would be very expensive,” Van Meel said. “We’re looking at all of our options. We think this is a very important project to improve the quality of cannabis and to take the supply out of the hands of criminals.”