Dutch Back Plan To Regulate Marijuana Farming

Dutch Back Plan To Regulate Marijuana Farming
Posted by CN Staff on December 02, 2005 at 07:54:50 PT
Sapa - AP
Source: Business Day
Amsterdam -- A coalition of Dutch political parties unveiled a plan on Friday for a pilot programme for regulated marijuana farming, and threatened a showdown in parliament if the government tries to block it. Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner opposes authorised cannabis cultivation because it would set the Netherlands another step apart from the rest of Europe.
“The minister’s opinion is that this plan is in conflict with Dutch and international law,” said spokesman Wibbe Alkema.Under current Dutch policy, marijuana and hashish are theoretically illegal but police don’t fine smokers for possession of less than 5 grams or prosecute for possession of less than 30 grams. Authorities look the other way at the open sale of cannabis in designated “coffee shops.” But growers are subject to raids and prosecution, giving rise to a contradictory system where shop owners have no legal way to purchase their best-selling product.Growers often operate from underground greenhouses in homes and garages. Critics say this leads to the theft of electricity in unsafe circumstances, causing fires and bringing criminality into residential neighborhoods.Under the test programme, to be conducted near the southern city of Maastricht, existing health and safety standards will apply to growers.Coffee shops would be required to provide consumers with information about the health hazards of smoking and about the chemical content of the weed they buy.Lawmaker Frans Weekers, whose conservative VVD party recently swung its support to the proposed programme, said the current policy is “hypocritical and leading to increasing problems.” “There comes a moment when you say, ’now we have to take the next step’,” Weekers told the Associated Press in a telephone interview. “If this pilot programme works, and we can show to everyone that it’s an improvement, then you have a good argument to take to foreign governments.” He added that there was no support at all for criminalizing marijuana among either politicians or Dutch society.After 30 years of tolerating marijuana, its rates in the Netherlands is in the middle of international norms. According to data from various governments compiled by Trimbos, the Netherlands’ Institute for Health and Addiction, Dutch rates are higher than those in Scandinavia but lower than those in the United States and Britain.Dutch mayors along the country’s borders have lobbied hardest for the change, facing problems from drugs tourists from Germany and Belgium who drive to the Netherlands to buy supplies.Supporters say regulation of production, would, like regulating tobacco, make smuggling large quantities across the border more difficult.“It will be possible to trace where cannabis is grown, and where it’s sold,” Weekers said.It also could open the door to outright legalisation and taxation of the industry.But Justice Ministry spokesman Alkema said in addition to questioning the legality of the plan, the minister doubts regulation would solve the problems.“On the contrary, this plan could have a sucking effect, where even more foreign drugs buyers and drugs tourists are drawn here,” he said.Weekers estimated the plan will be approved by two-thirds of the Dutch parliament, building consensus across the political spectrum, as happened before the adoption of other progressive Dutch policies such as legalising euthanasia and gay marriage.The next step is a major debate on drugs policy scheduled for later this month.Complete Title: Dutch Politicians Back Plan To Regulate Marijuana Farming Source: Business Day (South Africa)Published: Friday, December 02, 2005 Copyright: 2005 BDFM Publishers (Pty) Ltd.Contact:  bdonline Articles:Dutch Cannabis Users Turn To Home Growing Celebrate 30 Years of Legal Pot
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on December 02, 2005 at 16:36:32 PT
Spectator Online: Hookah Bars Go Up in Smoke
Hookah Bars Go Up in Smoke with Passing of Initiative 901By Rob La Gatta December 02, 2005 There is a social practice gaining popularity in Seattle that calls people of all ages together to converse through laughter and thick smoke. More friendly to your taste buds than cigarettes and more friendly to federal law than marijuana, the communal sharing of a hookah – the Middle Eastern manner of smoking flavored tobacco from a large water pipe – is achieving notoriety across the United States.Curious passersby and experienced smokers alike come together within the walls of Seattle’s hookah establishments, where lounging around an elaborate glass piece and talking between hits has become a common way to spend the evenings.Complete Article:
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on December 02, 2005 at 08:17:11 PT
Hemp Christmas Wrapping Paper
Do I hear a Ho Ho Ho!***Excerpt: Paporganics' line of hemp-blend wrap is made from 90 percent post consumer fiber with 10 percent hemp and comes in both holiday and traditional designs ($4.50 for 2 sheets of holly or snowflake wrap, Tree-free gift wrap made from hemp or flax fiber can be ordered from Granola Groovy ($1.99 Canadian per sheet; info, 250-477-0146). Very good Christmas Music.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on December 02, 2005 at 08:11:13 PT
Interesting phase of reform
This is an interesting step on the path to re-legalization.This proposal clears the muddied waters and exposes the prohibitionists' true motives. They WANT more money going to the criminal underworld. They WANT more crime. Who are their real friends and constituents? The only people that benefit from opposing this proposal are criminals. And maybe money launderers - like corrupt bankers. And, of course, the police. They need criminals to pull a paycheck. Where would they be without "crime"? At a job that pays a lot less, with harder work, and with less benefits and pension.  
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