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Cannabis Pilot Trial Program Expands In The Netherlands

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Regional cannabis commerce pilot trials are popping up in Europe, including in the Netherlands where the official launch of more pilot trials occurred in several municipalities this week. Trials first launched in Breda and Tilburg back in December.

The municipalities of Groningen, Zaanstad, Almere, Arnhem, Nijmegen, Voorne aan Zee, Heerlen, and Maastricht were previously announced for pilot trial locations, and as of today, consumers registered as pilot participants can make legal purchases at 80 coffee shops in those jurisdictions.

The coffee shops are supplied by three domestic producers, with two more producers expected to enter the fold by September according to domestic reporting by Dutch News. Cannabis pilot trials were first proposed in the Netherlands in 2017 as part of a governing coalition agreement, but a series of delays prevented the program from launching until late 2023.

“The aim of the experiment is to ascertain whether or not it is possible to regulate a quality-controlled supply of cannabis to coffee shops and to study the effects of a regulated supply chain on crime, safety, public nuisance and public health. In order to allow the experiment to take place, special legislation must be adopted.” the Netherlands’ government stated when pilot programs were first proposed.

A proposal to expand the cannabis trials to the Amsterdam-Oost district was denied in March 2024 by members of the Netherlands Parliament. Amsterdam has long served as a top international cannabis destination.

According to a recent poll, a strong majority of residents in the Netherlands (60%) want to install regulations around the country’s cannabis industry. Regional cannabis commerce pilot trials are also operating in Switzerland, and pilot trials are expected to launch in Germany by the end of the year.

Adult-use legalization in Germany is already having a butterfly effect in the Netherlands. A survey of adults in Germany recently found that 7% reported having already purchased cannabis seeds, with another 11% indicating that they plan to in the future.

Seed banks in the Netherlands have reported significant upticks in seed orders since Germany legalized and home cultivation became permitted.

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