A lot has been said and discussed about the drug policy of the Netherlands and in our previous article about the Netherlands, it is clear that some things don’t really make sense. But the city of Utrecht, the fourth largest city of the Netherlands, has decided to try to take some steps forward.
The Dutch Office for Medicinal Cannabis (OMC), which is a government agency, will team up with the city government of Utrecht in an experiment with medical marijuana. The OMC will provide specially produced cannabis to about a hundred people with mental disorders such as psychosis and insomnia. According to the OMC, this cannabis is supposed to decrease psychotic attacks and insomnia opposed to other cannabis varieties that provoke these symptoms.
Utrecht has about 80 addicts with chronic psychosis walking the streets and the city claims that they are having a hard time treating them as their symptoms get worse because of the weed they smoke. The experiment will start this autumn and will first be done with a small group of addicts. The Amsterdam Medical Centre will monitor the experiment to see if providing the patients with the hash will have a positive effect.
A second experiment initiated by the government of Utrecht is the establishment of the first Social Cannabis Club in the Netherlands. At the moment, it is allowed for any adult to buy up to 5 grams of cannabis at a registered cannabis café, and it is being tolerated to grow 5 cannabis plants at home, as long as no professional methods are being used. And even though the sale of pot seeds is allowed, mass production of cannabis is strictly illegal. As a direct result of this policy, the weed that is being sold in the more than 600 cannabis café’s hosted in the Netherlands is now being done by criminal organizations.
Victor Everhardt, a council alderman of Utrecht, is behind the plan of the Social Cannabis Club. With this initiative he plans to get permission to grow cannabis for 100 individuals. This would be the first time that growing cannabis would be done in such a regulated and legal form. The Social Cannabis Club Domstad (SCCD) has been established a few months ago and is currently awaiting permission from the Ministry of Health.
Ivo Opstelten, the Minister of Justice responsible for the disastrous weedpass plans last year, thinks the plan is not going to work and hopes the SCCD will not get permission. Even so, other cities in the Netherlands have shown interest in the plans and are planning to follow Utrecht if it all works out.