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Is cannabis legal in the Netherlands?

2022-06-28
Is cannabis legal in the Netherlands?

For some people, going to the Netherlands is mainly associated with endless fun. And this is because it is easy to have access to drugs. One wonders, therefore, whether cannabis is legalised in this particular country and whether it can be smoked while walking down the street. Many tourists travel to the Netherlands because they can walk into the coffee shops there. There they can consume the cannabis plant, which is banned in so many countries. What is the law really like in the Netherlands? Is cannabis legal there? And what about CBD? This is what you will find out below.

Is cannabis legal in the Netherlands?

Many Europeans believe that cannabis can be smoked in the Netherlands without any problem. But what is it really like? This is because the country is characterised by the fact that recreational use of cannabis is tolerated. The Dutch government has ensured that the cultivation of no more than five cannabis plants will not be subject to the law. Cannabis in the Netherlands can also be sold in small quantities in special coffeshops, provided they meet the relevant requirements. In so-called coffeshops, cannabis plants are legally traded, but they must be for personal use only. They are ubiquitous in such places, yet food and drinks are also served in such cafés. However, they are not authorised to sell other drugs or alcohol as well.

Officially, it is illegal to sell cannabis in the Netherlands, but if you sell it in the aforementioned coffeshops, this will not be punishable, as long as they meet the following conditions:

  • it is not allowed to sell other alcohol
  • it is prohibited to sell to persons who are not yet of legal age
  • no advertising
  • order must not be disturbed
  • only five grams of cannabis may be sold per customer.

While it is true that no direct advertising is allowed, it is tolerated that the premises are discreetly marked. To this end, coffeshops hang Ethiopian flags in green, yellow, red or other recognisable Rastafarian symbols. The Dutch government mandated in 2008 that the distance from each coffeshop should be no less than 250 metres from school facilities. Also some municipalities, have banned tourists from visiting such places. Admittedly, if one comes into possession of 5 grams of cannabis for personal use, this should not be punishable, but during a police check, the police can confiscate and destroy even such a quantity.

CBD in the Netherlands - is it legal?

CBD products are made by extracting CBD from the hemp plant and in a further step reducing its concentration with a carrier oil, which could be, for example, coconut oil or hemp seed oil. This is why these products have become illegal in many countries, but only if they are specifically regulated. According to the Opium Act, CBD in the Netherlands has been recognised as a so-called soft drug. Although there is no direct mention of this preparation in the law, hemp-based products are included as narcotic substances.

The current situation in the Netherlands allows the purchase of CBD products without a prescription, in which the THC level does not exceed 0.05%. This amount is much lower than what is allowed for cannabis. What is the result? CBD oil producers have quite a problem, as they have to comply with the legal rules. For consumers of similar products, things are a little different, as they can easily find hemp oil or other CBD-containing products with a much higher THC content, even up to 0.2%, which can easily be obtained on the European market.

However, it is worth mentioning that CBD products have recently become quite a popular alternative to modern medicine. Many people are enthusiastic about CBD oil, as it can alleviate many ailments and diseases. For this reason, companies have started to advertise and sell CBD oil. People who are considering setting up a business in the Netherlands with this type of product must remember to comply with the regulations and rules that apply there. Otherwise, they may be accused of breaking criminal law.

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