Cannabis sold in The Netherlands next year will be in plain, “unattractive” packaging, according to an NLTimes report. The packaging changes are the start of a regulated cannabis experiment set to roll out in 10 Dutch municipalities in 2021.
The trial is expected to last four years, during which the government will license cultivators to provide cannabis to so-called coffee shops. The plan was first announced last year after a broad legalization proposal failed to pass Dutch Parliament. Under current Dutch law, cannabis is not legal in The Netherlands – contrary to popular belief – but rather tolerated. The nation’s drug policy prosecution guidelines allow individuals to possess up to 5 grams and grow up to five plants, while coffee shops can store up to 500 grams at a time.
The government has not yet announced who will grow the cannabis for the approved retailers. The new rules give cultivators two wrapping options: transparent or opaque packaging. The labels are not allowed to make any claims about the effects of cannabis but must contain health warnings and must cover at least 30 percent of the packaging — only black Helvetica font can be used. Cultivators are not allowed to change the packaging during the four-year trial.
According to the NLTimes, the trial is being conducted in Breda, Tilburg, Almere, Groningen, Maastricht, Nijmegen, Arnhem, Zaanstad, Heerlen, and Hellevoetsluis. Retailers in Breda, Maastricht, and Heerlen will not be permitted to sell cannabis to foreigners due to their status as “border municipalities;” the government hopes to prevent cannabis tourism.
Amsterdam did not sign up to participate since they are home to about 170 coffee shops and the trial requires that all sellers cooperate with the experiment.