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Calling Dutch Growers: Government Tenders Up For Grabs

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It sounds like a dream job, right? Grow cannabis (legally) in Holland.

Here is the good news: The Dutch government is opening up ten slots for aspiring cultivators between July 1 and 28. Like Willy Wonka factory tour tickets, this has been a cherished (and long-secret) process that has been in various stages of “strategic leaking” for at least the last year.

Just to put this into perspective, the last kind of tender held by the government was on the medical side (for two lots and which closed a year ago last week).

This time, ten municipalities will participate in a government-led experiment to better regulate the Dutch cannabis industry better, generally. The entire vertical has long been a grey zone, although for the last decade, a remarkably if more gradually regulated and legit one.

A total of 26 municipalities signed up for the experiment, although the larger cities (including Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague) refrained from participating based on conflicts between existing city policies and the procedure of the new “experiment.” Indeed, based on the flourishing of the industry in particularly Amsterdam, it is curious if not a clearly politically sticky wicket in an already strange world. 

Regardless, the federal plan is proceeding and, despite COVID, on schedule (which is more than can be said about the German distribution tender which has now been delayed for the third time). Conditions, regulations and requirements for the entire value chain of growers, owners, municipalities, packagers have been produced by the government over the last months. 

Here is the interesting news. Unlike the German cultivation bid for medical cannabis, this application requires that successful applicants are Dutch residents, with a business that already exists and a certificate of good conduct. Application forms can be found here (all in Dutch).

The experiment will undoubtedly begin to regulate a complex supply chain nationally. This will also put undoubted pressure on the larger cities to at least cooperate. Given the looming spectre of recreational reform in at least one if not two European countries outside Holland in the next few years (beyond Switzerland), there is zero way the federal government will put this on a slow burner. 

The lower house of the Dutch parliament (the Tweede Kamer) approved the plan for a test of regulating the Dutch cannabis market in January 2019.

For more up to date information on the European cannabis industry, be sure to attend the International Cannabis Business Conference’s Berlin conference when it returns to Europe.