Bedrocan and the Dutch ‘weed experiment’
The Dutch government initiates an experiment involving the cultivation of cannabis for recreational use, the so-called ‘Controlled cannabis supply chain experiment’ or – popularly – ‘weed experiment’ (in Dutch: wietexperiment). The purpose of the experiment is to determine whether and how controlled cannabis can be legally supplied to coffee shops and its effects. As a supplier of medical cannabis to the Dutch Ministry of Health, we often receive the question: do you also participate in this experiment? That is a very understandable question. However, the answer is simple: No.
Bedrocan does not participate in the Controlled cannabis supply chain experiment. In fact, Bedrocan has informed the Ministry of Health from the beginning that it does not want to be directly or indirectly involved in any way. This also means we do not share knowledge for the benefit of the project or participate in any other way.
1. Why not?
Bedrocan believes in the strict separation of ‘medicinal cannabis’ from ‘cannabis for recreational use’. We are committed to providing a pharmaceutical product that is available on prescription for patients who benefit from it. We want to fully focus on this assignment. It is easy to predict that patients will become victims of the legalisation of recreational use. Not by the legalisation itself, but by the fact that producers could be tempted to plunge into this market. The quality requirements are lower, the rules easier, controls less strict, and yields (possibly) higher. Result: medical cannabis receives less (or no) attention, and patients will be left without a product. Or they are left with products that do not meet their requirements – standardised and of pharmaceutical quality. We want to prevent that at all costs. The quality requirements of recreational cannabis are different, which means we’re talking about a different product.
Moreover, it is true that the use of cannabis can indeed have adverse consequences. That is why we want our products to be available only to patients who use it on prescription and under the guidance of a pharmacist. We also want to use our years of knowledge and experience in the field of cannabis cultivation for this purpose.
2. Have you not been asked to participate or to provide information?
Yes, very often. Initially by the government itself and recently also very often by companies that want to engage in the experiment. The answer is and will always be ‘no’.
3. Isn’t that strange?
It might sound strange. But suppose the government does a trial with legal XTC pills, would a pharmaceutical company that now makes antidepressants or rheumatism drugs turn up there? Of course not. The same goes for us. Medicinal cannabis and cannabis for recreational use are two different products with a completely different target group. You shouldn’t mix them up.
4. Does the government see it that way?
Yes. The medical cannabis program and the Closed cannabis supply chain experiment are entirely separate within the national government.