Weed Bill Legalizing Growth Gains Momentum in Dutch Parliament

  • The Netherlands decriminalized the use of weed in 1976
  • Political party seeks bill approval before March elections

Marijuana growth in the Netherlands may get a boost from lawmakers as a proposal to legalize production of the plant gains momentum.

A majority in the Dutch lower house of parliament is likely to vote in favor of a bill from the political party Democrats ’66 that would legalize and have the government regulate the growth of hemp, according to a statement from the group.

“This is a breakthrough,” Vera Bergkamp, a member of D66, said in the statement, adding that the bill is ready to be discussed among lawmakers. “After mayors, municipalities and a large part of the Dutch people, now a majority in parliament also wants the growth of weed to be regulated.”

Bergkamp is seeking to have the law approved in parliament before the general election in March. A majority in parliament is in sight after the governing Labor Party and the Party for the Netherlands spoke out positively about the proposal, according to the statement.

The Dutch cabinet hasn’t made up its mind yet on the bill, Justice Minister Ard van der Steur told reporters in The Hague.

The Netherlands decriminalized the use of weed in 1976, though it stopped short of fully legalizing the drug. The Dutch government allows so-called coffee shops, under certain conditions, to sell weed and hashish. Sellers won’t be prosecuted though officially it remains punishable.

This proposal would regulate the “back door of the coffee shops and will end the dual policy of tolerance,” Bergkamp said, adding that the legal certainty for coffee shop owners would be improved.

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