Heerlen mayor criticises government marijuana policy
Government policy on marijuana has created a monster whose tentacles are spreading throughout the country, the mayor of Heerlen told the Volkskrant on Monday.
Paul Depla, one of 35 mayors who want production of marijuana to be legalised, told the paper that government policy is making it far too easy for people to become criminals.
'Under the current policy, all you need is an attic and you can start growing marijuana,' Depla told the Volkskrant. 'This has created a monster with tentacles that reach everywhere.'
The mayors want the government to allow experiments with regulated marijuana production, but justice minister Ivo Opstelten says this would not solve the problems associated with marijuana and the cannabis cafes that sell it.
At the moment it is illegal to grow marijuana.
This means there is a grey area between the official policy of turning a blind eye towards possessing small amounts of marijuana and the supply to cannabis cafes, known as coffee shops.
The mayor said junior health minister Martijn van Rijn should also be involved in discussions about regulating marijuana production. 'This is a public health matter, just like alcohol. So where is Van Rijn?'
Regulation would allow the government to check the quality of the marijuana and ensure the THC content is not too high, he said.
In a response, Van Rijn told the Telegraaf he is working with Opstelten on a maximum for THC content.