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Netherlands Launches Pilot Program for Legal Sale of Adult-Use Cannabis

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In a significant development for the cannabis landscape, the Netherlands is set to officially commence its pilot program to legalize the sale of adult-use cannabis on December 15. The initiative, which garnered Senate approval in 2019 but faced delays, will initially involve the cities of Breda and Tilburg. Selected coffee shops in these municipalities will be authorized to sell both legally grown and ‘tolerated' cannabis products. Contrary to popular belief, the Netherlands has never fully legalized cannabis but implemented a tolerance policy since the 1970s, allowing for the operation of cannabis businesses without fear of prosecution. In the initial phase, coffee shops will transition from illegal market suppliers to official cannabis growers, with the program set to expand to ten Dutch cities after a four-year evaluation period. The move marks the Netherlands as the second European country, after Switzerland, to embark on a pilot program for the legal sale of adult-use cannabis, holding potential implications for the local industry and offering insights for other European nations exploring similar paths.