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Is Marijuana Legal in the Netherlands?

Netherlands flag with a hand holding a marijuana infront of it

It is a common misconception that cannabis is legal in the Netherlands. The recreational use of marijuana is still very much illegal in this country.

However, its use has been decriminalized. Additionally, medical marijuana use has been legal in the Netherlands since 2003.

While recreational cannabis is illegal, it is tolerated by Dutch authorities, and possessing small quantities (fewer than five grams) is not prosecutable. This is also true in the cultivation of five or fewer hemp plants.

While the plants will be confiscated, their cultivation won’t be recognized as a crime as long as there is no evidence of selling and distributing.

The sale of recreational cannabis is tolerated in designated areas, such as Dutch coffee shops, but these vendors must meet AHOJ-G criteria.

This includes no hard drugs, underaged clientele, overt advertising, and large quantities. The supplying and cultivating of cannabis for these vendors remains illegal.

However, many coffee shop owners resort to illegal means, as there are few suppliers.

H2: What Are the Medical Marijuana Laws in the Netherlands?

The Dutch Opium Act distinguishes between the low risk of harm (soft drugs) and the high risk of harm (hard drugs).

Cannabis is listed as a soft drug, also known as Category II. This means that use, trade, and possession of it are forbidden by this Dutch law but tolerated under certain circumstances, such as medical use.

Current laws stipulate that to have access to medical marijuana, a prescription from a physician is required. From there, pharmacies throughout the Netherlands will supply cannabis for these individuals.

As mentioned, medical marijuana use has been legal since 2003 in the Netherlands. It is one of the longest-standing frameworks for medicinal cannabis use, but not without restrictions.

The regulation of medicinal cannabis is under the Dutch Office of Medicinal Cannabis (BMC) law. They also regulate the import, sale, and cultivation of medical marijuana.

Only one company in the Netherlands — Bedrocan — is authorized to cultivate medical marijuana. This is due to tight authorizations, and permissions are granted only in special circumstances.

The Dutch Medicines Act governs the marketing authorization of medical cannabis similarly. In almost all cases, marketing authorization is needed to bring a cannabis product to the market.

Bedrocan is allowed to have its products used medically without this authorization since its products meet all the regulatory requirements and are a trusted supplier.

How Much Cannabis Can I Possess in the Netherlands With An MMJ Card?

According to Bedrocan, the daily dose in the Netherlands is around 0.7 grams. Doses can be higher, although regulators have expressed worries about patients building a dependence.

How Do I Get Certified for Medical Cannabis in the Netherlands?

A doctor or specialist must write a prescription to get certified for medical cannabis. Most people obtain a prescription from their GP. Medical cannabis is covered for a range of conditions.

Is Telemedicine Allowed for Medical Cannabis Consultations in the Netherlands?

There has not been too much restriction or regulation around prescriptions for medical cannabis in the Netherlands.

For example, there are no set medical conditions treated with medical marijuana; instead, it is the physician’s call to whether it will be beneficial.

In this sense, telemedicine consultation is perfectly legal if it is a recognized medical practice in the Netherlands.

Are There Any Employment Laws Protecting Medical Cannabis Cardholders in the Netherlands?

Smoking marijuana is prohibited at work or any public space and is treated in many ways, like alcohol.

What Are the Medical Cannabis Product Testing Requirements in the Netherlands?

Since only one company is authorized to cultivate medical cannabis, no product testing requirements are laid out as it is not yet recreationally legal.

Dutch policy requires Bedrocan, the only licensed company, to test each harvest by an independent laboratory for contaminants, heavy metals, and pesticides.

Next, they test the THC and CBD levels to ensure they are consistent throughout all batches. Lastly, the batches are not sent out until fully approved.

As mentioned, there is currently only one company authorized to cultivate cannabis plants in the Netherlands.

There have been plans, however, to expand to two companies to meet the demands of the growing cannabis market. While still illegal, the growth of up to five plants is tolerated for recreational use so long as there is no evidence of distribution.

Tolerated, in this case, means that there are no punishments, and the plants will be confiscated.

Where Is It Safe to Purchase Cannabis in the Netherlands?

Apart from a prescription, the safest place to purchase cannabis is in coffee shops.

It is important to note that these coffee shops often outsource their weed from illegal suppliers, so be on the lookout for any reviews and certifications to confirm the quality.

Where Is It Safe to Consume Marijuana in the Netherlands?

The safest consumption of cannabis is through a prescription, as they have tightly controlled testing.

In the case of recreational use, coffee shops can be safe so long as there is a good reputation behind them, but again these methods are not always safe.