STORY: The Netherlands are actually considered a paradise for potheads. The sale of small quantities of cannabis has been tolerated here for decades, and the so-called coffee shops are legendary. What many do not know, however, is that the cultivation and wholesale of cannabis is prohibited by law here. As a result, the coffee shops have to resort to productions from illegal sources. Good business for criminals and not always good for the health of consumers. Rick Brand, Coffee Shop Owner “It’s very difficult for me to explain how cannabis is currently produced because it’s illegal. I don’t even know. I don’t know. People offer me a sample but I don’t know where it comes from, I don’t know where it’s made.” Tests are now to be carried out in ten municipalities across the country to see how state-controlled harvesting of marijuana will affect the market and life in the Netherlands. The city of Breda, in the south of the Netherlands, will take part in the test. Paul Depla, Mayor of Breda: “The most important thing for us is that we can eliminate the illegal market, which is dominated by criminals. It is also very important for us that cannabis users know what they are getting in a coffee shop buy and how it’s produced. And what impact it has on public health. Those are the two most important things for us as local mayors. But on the other hand, we also see that the economic benefits of the cannabis industry are huge.” So the state wants to make a profit from the business with the stoners. The first legally grown cannabis is expected to be sold from October 2023. “It wouldn’t matter too much to me because nine times out of ten I get it from people I know who grow it themselves. But if you can get it from a coffee shop then it would be better to legalize it, so you know where it’s coming from.” The test aims to provide clues as to the impact of legalizing cultivation on crime, safety and public health. Then it should be considered whether a full legalization of cannabis in the Netherlands makes sense.