Cannabis & Industrial Hemp Opportunities in the Netherlands
The Netherlands’ liberal approach to industrial hemp and cannabis have influenced markets around the world, but its possession laws continue to evolve. Higher Yields Consulting can help you understand the most recent cannabis legislations in the Netherlands so you can position your business for success.
LEGALIZATION OF CANNABIS & INDUSTRIAL HEMP IN THE NETHERLANDS
Amsterdam has long been known as the epicenter of legal cannabis, thus leading to Holland’s becoming the destination for ganja-loving tourists from all over the world. But despite the country’s liberal approach to cannabis, industrial hemp is still strictly governed in the Netherlands.
A new controlled cannabis supply chain pilot program was created to grant permits for recreational cannabis to Dutch coffee shops and address gray areas when it comes to the supply of commercial cannabis. That said, only seven growers have been accepted, and so much of this law is subject to change.
Further, unlike medicinal cannabis programs in the United States, the Netherlands has a closed system that allows extremely limited access to medicinal cannabis.
Medicinal cannabis has been legal in the Netherlands since 2003, but as of April 2021, only one company, Bedrocan, is authorized to cultivate cannabis for medical use.
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THE HISTORY OF CANNABIS & INDUSTRIAL HEMP IN THE NETHERLANDS
The Netherlands is commonly associated with Amsterdam’s Red Light District and its coffee shops — which sell cannabis and industrial hemp, not coffee. But you may be surprised to learn that the country’s liberal approach to cannabis is not deeply ingrained in Dutch history.
In fact, it was not until after 1976 that cannabis was liberalized in response to issues with nationwide drug abuse. Before then, Holland took a very different approach to cannabis and strictly forbade its consumption.
It is believed that cannabis was first introduced in the Netherlands in the 1630s, when an Indonesian crew on an English merchant ship carried it with them on their travels.
After World War II, American soldiers returned home with cannabis, and around 2 million Americans used it in the years that followed. But it was not until another two decades had passed that one young U.S. Air Force veteran would bring cannabis culture to the American minds.
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CURRENT CANNABIS LEGISLATION IN THE NETHERLANDS
Holland’s acceptance of cannabis in society has influenced the advent and evolution of legal cannabis markets in other countries — such as North America. That being said, Holland’s cannabis possession laws are somewhat confusing and haphazardly enforced.
Perhaps the most surprising part of Dutch cannabis laws is that it is still technically illegal to possess, sell, or produce cannabis. The Netherlands does, however, have a Dutch policy on toleration that allows coffee shops to sell cannabis, which is considered a “soft drug,” under certain conditions.
In fact, the Dutch are so tolerant of the public possessing cannabis that a resident is more likely to receive a citation for drinking in public than for smoking cannabis in public.
But where does this leave the average green tourist seeking to visit the modern mecca of cannabis consumption? As of 2013, it is technically illegal for coffee shops to sell cannabis to non-residents of the Netherlands — whether or not the shops choose to follow that law is a different matter.
OPENING A COFFEE SHOP IN THE NETHERLANDS
Opening a Dutch coffee shop is not as easy to open as it is to open any other business in Holland. With the advent of the supply chain pilot program, which allows 10 cultivation businesses to enter the country’s recreational cannabis market, there are opportunities for those interested in recreational cannabis.
That said, on the retail end, the pilot program — which is currently under review with the Dutch Senate — would allow the Minister of Health to authorize the approved cultivators to supply only coffee shops within participating municipalities.
Supply issues aside, the rules and regulations for opening a coffee shop are tight. Restrictive zoning laws also mean that no more than five shops can open in any given area, unless the municipality in which the shop intends to be decides to grant additional permits.
Shop owners must be Dutch citizens, and in Amsterdam, owners must have been residents of the country for at least five years prior.
If you’re interested in opening a coffee shop in Holland, an experienced cannabis consultant at Higher Yields Consulting can work with you to ensure you meet all requirements before applying for your permits. Reach out to us to get started!
INVESTING IN CANNABIS IN THE NETHERLANDS
Cannabis and industrial hemp investment opportunities in the Netherlands are rising.
It is 100% legal to cultivate, import, and sell industrial hemp, so long as the hemp is intended for fiber production or seed production for fiber varieties. This is another great avenue for someone interested in the cannabis market to take advantage of the rising popularity in cannabis-related products.
If you’re interested in investing in the Dutch cannabis or industrial hemp market, contact our experts at Higher Yields Consulting. With decades of combined experience, Higher Yields Consulting can help guide your cannabis dreams into reality.
Last updated: July 2022
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