The Netherlands New Anti-Growshop Law

Thanks to another great new idea by the current Dutch Governments anti-cannabis Minister of Security and Justice, Ivo Opstelten, people who support cannabis growers in the Netherlands may now face prosecution and even imprisonment. The so-called Growshop Act will update the Dutch Opium Act, namely Article 11a, which came into force on March 1, 2015.


So according to the new Dutch growshop act*:

"He [who] prepares substances or articles, prepares, processes, offers for sale, sells, delivers, provides, transports, manufactures or has available conveyances, premises, funds or other payment on hand or data on hand which he knows or has serious reason to suspect that they are intended to commit any of the Article 11, 3rd and 5th paragraphs offenses established, shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine of the 5th category.

The Netherlands a No Grow Zone

Which means that under this new act, the government can if they choose, prosecute anyone who sells or provides, anything that could be knowingly be used to grow cannabis. This could in theory mean anyone from growshop staff , to the guy at the DIY store, to electricians and even landlords. How this law will actually be enforced in reality may be a very different situation though, as "knows or has serious grounds to suspect" leaves a lot of room for interpretation. 3 years is a long time in prison for someone who is just growing a few plants.


Hydroponic Tomatoes Yes, Hydroponic Weed No

However for a long time now growshops have mostly separated themselves from the cannabis industry. After all the same grow tent, light, fans and equipment you'd need to grow cannabis indoors, you'd also need to grow any other plant indoors! As for cannabis seed companies, most have had disclaimers on their packets for a long time stating they are for souvenir use only if it is illegal to germinate seeds or grow cannabis in that country. Growshops in other countries, including the UK have also been plagued by government attacks on growshops, they still operate, they just won't say the word cannabis.


So Ivo, Where Does Coffeeshop Weed Come From?

 So if its illegal to grow, and now illegal to sell growing equipment - exactly how do the coffeeshops in Amsterdam and throughout The Netherlands have jars full of weed? The government seems to allow the coffeeshop to operate in a magical grey area, without thinking the actual process through. They do however seem to be happy to collect the tax money the coffeeshops must charge on every bag of cannabis sold.


Let My People Grow!

Decriminalizing the growing and sale of cannabis would allow the coffeeshops to be supplied legally, with the ability to safely control the quality and consistency of the product as well as removing a massive source of income for the black market. The Netherlands could be, as it was, a leader in forward thinking policies towards cannabis - the present government though it seems is unwilling to open its eyes.


* Article 11a text taken and translated from Annoucement of the law can be found at