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Dutch Cannabis Bars Set Up Sector Organisation

nisnews.nl, 16th June 2006

Cannabis bars in the Rotterdam region have joined forces in a sector organisation. They want to lobby for a uniform national drugs policy.

The sector organisation represents all businesses with a licence to sell cannabis products. Growing shops (shops for growing equipment) and cannabis growers are excluded from membership.

Rotterdam region has around 70 tolerated sales outlets for cannabis products, better known as 'coffee shops.' Businesses in the sector see themselves as forced to set up their own organisation "because coffee shops have been subject in recent years to an extremely stringent government policy. The sector has as a result come to be seen in a negative light."

The association has set itself the aim of improving the image of coffee shops in its working area. The initiators are pushing for self-regulation, and especially for "uniform maintenance of regulations relating to coffee shops." Currently, different regimes apply in different municipalities regarding supervision and sanctions, and infringements such as selling to youngsters aged under 18.

The initiators consider "nuisance-causing home-growing of cannabis an undesirable social occurrence." For this reason, the sector organisation wants cannabis cultivation regulated at municipal level. A Lower House majority also wants this, as coffee shops are allowed to sell cannabis but not to purchase the drugs from growers.

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