Hi, I'm Dzifa.
Welcome to Drugslab Extra. On Drugslab we test drugs
in the name of science. And on Drugslab Extra we answer
questions about the world of drugs… as there's so much more to tell.
If you have a question about a drug… or the world around it, let us know,
and we might investigate it for you. You wanted to know more about
the Dutch coffee shop policy. The Dutch are proud of
the coffee shops. You don't come here to drink coffee,
but to legally buy weed. We take buying cannabis for granted… but behind the sales of our green friend
lies an unusual and unique policy. Selling cannabis is officially forbidden
under the Opium Act… but if the coffee shops
meet certain strict conditions… the sale of cannabis is tolerated.
This raises many questions. I'm going to investigate
the Dutch coffee shop policy. There's no better place to do this
than in a coffee shop. What road does this cannabis follow
in order to get here? The current coffee shop policy
doesn't allow us to be transparent. But as you can see,
it was grown with much care. I can see that. It's strange,
it's here, but it appears here magically. Suddenly it's here,
and we're allowed to sell it legally… but growing and transporting cannabis
is still illegal. That's really strange.
-It's really crooked. So it arrives through the backdoor.
-That's the term we use. So procuring cannabis is illegal. What are the conditions coffee shops
have to meet to legally sell cannabis? Firstly, a coffee shop needs a license.
This allows us to stock 500 grams. This includes weed, hash and joints.
Each joint counts as half a gram. That limit is easily reached.
-It's not much. You have to be creative keeping stock
in order to offer diversity to customers. Furthermore, we're only allowed to sell
five grams a day to customers. Obviously, you have to be 18.
There's no alcohol allowed inside. We can't cause any nuisance.
We can't advertise. How about tourists?
Are they allowed to buy cannabis? It's allowed in Amsterdam,
but not in coffee shops near the border. There are so many rules
within your coffee shop… but doesn't the surrounding industry
have to follow any rules or regulations? That's all illegal. Coffee shops are
a grey area, because we can sell it. We currently have 433 grams in stock,
so if you had a bag with 30 grams… that would be illegal on the street,
but when you walk in here… and drop it behind the counter,
it becomes legal. It suddenly magically appeared.
-I should say tolerated, not legal. We say legal, because we're used to it,
but it's hard to explain to tourists. 'And where can I smoke it?'
Only at home. When I imagine a coffee shop's stock,
I see a dark room with piles of weed. Bags this size.
-But this is actually your entire stock. This is our entire stock and maybe
a little in the drawers, but that's it. What happens
when you receive the cannabis? We scan it and then it's stored
in one of these drawers. I have some Amazing Haze here.
I can use to replenish the stock. Strong, isn't it?
-It is. It's a really good weed.
-I'm already high. When I try to picture the growers,
I envision hardened criminals… and sinister characters,
but what are they really like? It could be anyone,
someone who loves to grow the plant… or an 80 year old man who has been
doing it successfully for years… but it could also be a young guy
who thinks… I know of guys who were arrested
and that the judge said: 'He works for a coffee shop,
so what can I do?' I often read that in the news. What can
they do? It's a hard decision for judges. Basically, he is punishable by law,
because he has too much on him… but he's just doing his job.
We knowingly allow coffee shops here… and they need to replenish their stock. Your stock cannot exceed 500 grams.
How do you manage it precisely? That's monitored very tightly.
We never exceed 480 grams. That's the maximum in our system. This is our total stock at the moment.
This is weed, hash and isolators. And this is pre-rolled joints
and space cakes. When I sell this top
that weighs 2.19 grams… the weight is subtracted from the stock
when I hit confirm. I'm surprised that everything
is so bound by regulations… while coffee shops are in a grey area. How and how often
do you get inspected? Every year, we're inspected
once or twice by the HIT Team. They come here
to weigh and check everything. What happens if your stock
exceeds 500 grams? If you have too much stock, they can
close your shop in the worst case. Whether it's permanent or temporary
is entirely up to the municipality. You can also get a penalty point. You can get three penalty points
before you have to close shop. The Netherlands was known as
a frontrunner in the cannabis industry… but we've been surpassed by America,
right? That's right. America and Canada
now have dispensaries… where you can buy weed
for recreational and medicinal use. In the Netherlands you can also buy
clean weed for medicinal use. The expertise and the knowhow
to set up the industry in America… was provided by people
from the Netherlands. They were brought in to set things up.
Not all of them, but quite a few. So basically we have the expertise,
but we don't use it. We have a great expertise,
but we work in attics and cellars… while they can set up
large-scale greenhouses. What needs to change in this country
so we can offer customers the same? For us as coffee shops it'd be great
to be able to purchase a wider variety. The best thing would be to set things up
yourself and grow your own stock. A 'brewery model' would also be nice. Just like breweries sell their own beer,
coffee shops would sell their own weed. This would offer customers
more diversity. I think more transparency,
openness and information… would be a step in the right direction. I don't know whether this is
the mysterious backdoor in question… but what I've learned today is that
our coffee shop policy is very vague. Certain things are legal,
while other things are illegal. This creates a very weird situation.
This was Drugslab Extra. If you have an interesting question
about the world of drugs… let us know in the comments
and we'll investigate it for you. Thanks for watching,
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