Cabinet moves to ban super-strong cannabis
9 April 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The Dutch cabinet decided on Thursday to ban the sale of super-strong homegrown cannabis if a commissioned study reveals that the soft drug has become too powerful.
9 April 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch cabinet decided on Thursday to ban the sale of super-strong homegrown cannabis if a commissioned study reveals that the soft drug has become too powerful.
Ministers also decided to ask municipal councils to restrict as much as possible the sale of cannabis from coffeeshops near schools and political borders.
But opposition party Labour PvdA said the cabinet plan was "unwise" and that soft drugs should remain controllable. A spokesman said if soft drugs became illegal, authorities would lose supervision of their trade and use.
Research by the Trimbos Institute for Addiction indicates that the THC level — the workable agent in cannabis and hash — has increased significantly over the years, meaning that Dutch-grown marijuana, Nederwiet, could now be considered a hard drug.
Nederwiet is an extra-strong variant of marijuana. It is grown in professionally-equipped greenhouses and is often referred to as skunk. It is much in demand in Dutch coffeeshops.
And in its annual Drugs Monitor report, the institute said last month that the THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) level in Nederwiet has increased to 15 percent compared with 9 percent in 1999. The increase is due to professional growing techniques.
Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner, Interior Minister Johan Remkes and Health Minister Hans Hoogervorst urged the cabinet to conduct further research into THC levels and investigate a possible ban on the sale of strong cannabis.
Deputy Prime Minister Gerrit Zalm — who spoke on behalf of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, who was on a State visit to China this week — said the cabinet's cannabis legislative proposal will be presented to Parliament next week, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.
The legislation proposes further research into the health effects of strong cannabis and toughening jail terms for large-scale cannabis cultivation from four to five years.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news