A bill that would legalize cannabis cultivation in the Netherlands has narrowly passed the lower house of Dutch Parliament and will next move to the First Chamber for consideration, according to a report from The Telegraph. It’s not clear whether the bill has enough support in the upper house, but if it does it would be a huge step in normalizing the coffee shop culture in The Netherlands. Although famous for its Amsterdam coffee shops, there is currently no way for those businesses to legally obtain their products.
If the votes in the First Chamber follow the same party lines as the lower house, the bill would not pass, the report says, citing Dutch broadcaster NOS. If that ends up the case, the issue could become a bargaining chip for lawmakers after March’s lower house election.
“It is good news for the coffee shop industry because it will finally — if it passes the First Chamber — put an end to a lot of stuff we can’t organize in a normal and transparent way,” Joachim Helms, chairman of the Coffee Shop Union, said in the report.
Alexander Pechtold, Parliamentary Leader of the Democrats 66 party, who drafted the legislation, called the lower house approval “a historic breakthrough.” He said the measure would implement taxes on the industry, and allow product inspections, while freeing up law enforcement resources currently utilized to stem the grows.