Netherlands to Ban Strong Marijuana Strains from Cannabis Cafes
By Ewan Palmer | November 22, 2012 4:45 AM EST
The Netherlands is planning to ban the sale of high-strength marijuana in its famous coffee shops and changing the classification of the "skunk" strain to a Class A.
Justice minister Ivo Opstelten told the Dutch parliament about plans for the country to only allow the sale of marijuana which contains less than 15 per cent of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC - the naturally occurring psychoactive drug in cannabis.
Opstelten referred to a study by the Trimbos Institute, a Dutch mental health charity, which claimed that THC was so dangerous it should be classed alongside heroin and cocaine.
He told MPs: "Hard drugs have no place in the coffee shops and in the future they will only be able to offer cannabis with a THC level of below 15 percent."
The proposal has been met with opposition from owners of the 700 cafes across the country. Around 80 percent of the marijuana sold in the Netherlands has a THC content of between 15 and 18 percent.
Mark Josemans, the spokesman for the Maastricht Coffee Shop Owners Association, said the move would lead to more drugs being sold on the street.
He told the Volkskrant newspaper: "Weak weed in the coffee shops, strong weed on the streets - then the choice is pretty clear."
Opstelten also officially dropped the so-called "weed pass", which would have banned foreigners from smoking cannabis at in Dutch cafes.
As part of the plans known as the "cannabis card" law, local users would have had to produce ID and register in a database to smoke in the cafes.
Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan had strongly criticised the plan, saying it would have "undone the advantages of Amsterdam's coffee shop system and drive away tourists".
Opstelten said: "Local authorities can [now] determine their policies on coffee shops and ensure its implementation."
Amsterdam is heavily reliant on its 220 cannabis cafes as a tourist attraction. Around a third of the city's total number of tourists are thought to be cannabis users.
While it is not strictly legal to use cannabis in the Netherlands, its use is tolerated. Possession of small amounts was decriminalised in the 1970s.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Real Life ‘Frozen’: Snow Overwhelms The US, Kills 7; More To Come (Pictures)
- Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt in Sydney for ‘Unbroken’ Red Carpet Premiere [PHOTOS]
- ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 5, Episode 8 Spoilers: Daryl Dixon Is Set To Burn The Place Down in ‘Coda’
- G20 Summit Awkward Moments: Putin Yawns, Mystery Bubbles Appear, F18 Drama Ensues
Join the Conversation
- ISIS War to Last For 4 Years; US Military Shows Videos of Airstrikes Hitting Militant Base [VIDEO]
- Australia's Chance Of El Niño Rises To 70%; Heatwaves And Drought To Persist
- Australia Joins Global Effort to Stop Russian Website From Illegally Streaming Web Cam Feeds
- Woman Gets Killed After Falling Off Cliff During Expedition Near Mermaid Pool
- ‘Drunk Girl in Public' Actress Apologises; Actor Tells Dr. Drew He Thought It Was Comedy Skit
- Walmart Early Price Matching Special Event On Nov. 21, 2014 Matches Its Competitors' Black Friday 2014 Prices And Includes Exclusive Deals For Samsung LED HDTVs And iPad Air 2 [WATCH VIDEO]
- US Plane Flying Over Russian Skies Spotted; Vladimir Putin Ready For 'Practical Cooperation' With US
- Alleged 'Microsoft Lumia 1030' Front Panel Leaked With Capacitive Buttons; 'Xbox One' Owners To Get Free Goodies On Anniversary
- Nexus 6 Release Date And Price Under AT&T, T-Mobile And Sprint Listed
- Walmart Pre-Black Friday 2014 Sale On Nov. 21, 2014 Includes Discounts On The 'NBA 2K15' For PS4 And The 'Skylanders Trap Team’ Starter Kit [WATCH VIDEO]
- Black Friday 2014 Sale: Top Deals On Game Consoles Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Wii U And More
- Cold War 2: Russia, China And North Korea’s Blacklisted Company Fortify Alliance -- Reports