DEN HAGUE – The cannabis sold in the Netherlands is sold in coffee shops or hash bars dotted around Holland in cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam. These coffee shops act as in-site consumption lounges. Despite this, cannabis cultivation is illegal in Holland. That means it’s difficult for these coffee shop retailers to find product to sell.
To remedy this anomaly and regulate their market, the Dutch government launched a new program called Closed Coffee Chain Experiment. The program, a test initially, creates regulated cannabis cultivation for the coffee shops. be sold in “unattractive” and plain packaging. This is to make sure that people “who weren’t planning” to use cannabis aren’t tempted into trying it by interesting colorful wrappers, like some colorfully packaged gummy brands in North America. This information was released by the Dutch Ministry of Health proposal that contains the rules for the experiment.
The regulated cannabis experiment is set to start in March 2021. During the four-year experiment, all the coffeeshops in designated municipalities will be allowed only to sell cannabis that had been cultivated by designated growers in accordance to strict regulations. Including whether the grower is a person of integrity. Exactly who will grow the cannabis, is not yet clear. As cannabis cultivation is currently prohibited in the Netherlands, there are no companies that have experience with legal and regulated cultivation.
The rules in the proposal regarding packaging are as clear as cellophane. Growers can choose between transparent wrappers, or wrappers that are one opaque color. The labels are only allowed to use one font – Helvetica Bold – and labels must cover at least 30 percent of the packaging. The labels are not allowed to say anything about the effects of using cannabis, but must contain health warnings. And the packaging is not allowed to change during the four years of the experiment.
Consultation on this proposal started on Tuesday. In the coming period, citizens, businesses and organizations can comment on the content, according to the reporting for the NL Times.