Now that the new German government has announced that it wants to regulate cannabis for recreational use, the question arises whether the Netherlands will fade into the background as a cannabis country.

With us it is tolerated, but it has not yet been completely removed from crime.

According to cannabis experts, there are opportunities in Germany for Dutch cannabis entrepreneurs.

Germany could soon be the first European country to fully legalize the sale of recreational cannabis.

It is not clear whether that also means that cultivation will be legalized, but there is a good chance.

In the Netherlands, the sale of weed is tolerated, but the purchase and cultivation is still illegal for the time being.

When Canada and a few US states legalized the cultivation of cannabis plants a few years ago, most experts agreed that the Netherlands was lagging behind and would be overtaken.

In the meantime, it turns out that it's okay.

"The Netherlands is still doing better in terms of distribution," says drug researcher Nicole Maalsté.

"In Canada, most people still buy their weed on the black market, while this is much less the case with us."

This is confirmed by Peter Tas, director of the Legal Cannabis Coalition.

"With its coffee shops, the Netherlands has a sales network that works. You can't say that about most other countries."

'Dutch suppliers can sell their goods in Germany'

According to the experts, the fact that Germany is now also reporting on the cannabis market should not immediately ring alarm bells.

After all, the plans still have to be made concrete, after which they also have to be molded into laws and regulations.

"Germany will really not overtake us anymore", Maalsté thinks.

Tas even sees opportunities for Dutch entrepreneurs.

"Weed suppliers and growers, who now partly operate on the black market, have gained a lot of knowledge in recent years about cannabis varieties and optimization of cultivation. They can sell their seeds in Germany and spread their knowledge there."

These entrepreneurs earn money from this, which later partly ends up in the Dutch treasury in the form of taxes.

Cannabis industry is a multi-billion dollar business

That weed is a multi-billion dollar business, according to figures from Canada, among others.

Since the legalization in 2018, more than 6 billion euros worth of cannabis products have been sold there.

This turnover is expected to grow to 9 billion euros in the next ten years.

In Germany, the only publicly traded cannabis company, SynBiotic, is worth more than 100 million euros since the announcement by the German government.

It is difficult to determine the size of the Dutch cannabis industry, but Statistics Netherlands (CBS) regularly estimates the size of the illegal economy.

According to the latest figures from 2015, which were revised upwards in 2018, the entire illegal economy is worth about 5 billion euros.

Cannabis cultivation takes 3 billion euros of this.

Those figures are measured on the basis of police raids, so in reality it is probably even more money.

However, it does give an indication of the size of cannabis cultivation in our country.

In the second half of next year, a trial will start in the Netherlands to see whether weed can be grown legally.

Seven growers have been designated who are allowed to legally grow weed and hash for coffee shops in ten participating municipalities.

The coffee shops are only allowed to sell the cannabis from those growers during the four years that the trial has been running.

If the result is positive, it is then cast into laws.

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