Great change in the Dutch medicinal cannabis policy

The Netherlands will change its medicinal cannabis policy drastically. Among the expected changes is the removal of the current export cap that limits Bedrocan’s products’ availability abroad. With the cap gone, the Dutch Office of Medicinal Cannabis (OMC) can meet more international requests for Bedrocan’s pharmaceutical-quality cannabis. In March 2023, the Dutch health minister Ernst Kuipers proposed the changes and has given a green light for further implementation.

 Growing international demand

Currently, the OMC cannot meet all requests from abroad due to the export cap. This cap is part of an export guideline in force since 2012. Since then, the international medicinal cannabis market has developed. Many countries have legalised the medicinal use of cannabis but cannot supply their internal markets. Not only due to a lack of domestic cultivation capacity but often due to the difficulty of cultivating at a pharmaceutical quality level. As Bedrocan is known for its high-quality cannabis, there is a growing international demand for Bedrocan products. This demand is what most motivated the change.

No more production capacity limitation

Currently, there is also a limitation imposed on Bedrocan’s production capacity. The limitation will now also be removed from the policy and the current tender procedure. This means there will be room for production expansions that can help meet international demand even further.

Cannabis policy, the next steps

The cannabis policy changes are expected to take effect still in 2023. However, the pace at which the changes will be implemented must still be outlined by the OMC and the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate (IGJ). Additionally, as supply orders are usually placed much in advance, availability abroad can take a bit longer to increase.

‘Closed’ chain remains

The supply chain overseen and controlled by the OMC will remain. In this “closed” chain, only parties the OMC has contracted via tender can operate. This way, the Dutch government keeps control of the cannabis trade and respects the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This means international requests for Bedrocan’s products still need to be sent to the OMC after the policy amendment.

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