Dutch Cannabis

Breaking down the progress being made to loosen the laws for cannabis...

In Today’s Issue:

  • → Legalizing Cannabis. 🇳🇱

  • → Military Performance. 🎖

  • → Cannabis vs Prescriptions. 🌿

Legal Cannabis In The Netherlands

The current cannabis laws in one of Europe’s most liberal nations…

The legality of cannabis in the Netherlands is extremely confusing.

In today’s edition of Four PM, we will be breaking down the history of cannabis in the region and the current obstacles the industry faces.

A brief history…

Cannabis was first criminalized in the Netherlands in 1913 & this remained the case for 59 years.

In 1972, the Dutch government decided it was time to reevaluate its previous policies and divided drugs into two categories.

  1. Less dangerous drugs.

  2. More dangerous drugs.

As part of this new policy, the possession of under 5 grams of cannabis was decriminalized in the Netherlands.

Along came coffeeshops…

In 1976, cannabis coffee shops began opening.

Currently, there are an estimated 570 coffee shops in the Netherlands, located across 102 of the Netherlands 352 different municipalities.

The primary cause for confusion today stems from the fact that while these shops are allowed to sell cannabis — it remains illegal to cultivate and produce the cannabis products these shops need to supply their customers.

A new solution…

The Netherlands is working on establishing a legal supply chain & on the 22nd January 2019, the House of Representatives adopted the controlled cannabis supply chain experiment bill.

In short, the experiment will supply legal cannabis to coffee shops in 10 municipalities, with adults not needing any qualifying conditions to purchase cannabis from these coffee shops.

10 cannabis producers will be eligible to receive licenses to produce cannabis.

One step forward…

Despite this clear progress, Amsterdam which is considered to be the cannabis capital of Europe is seemingly moving in a different direction.

In 2018 Amsterdam attracted over 20 million tourists, however, to intentionally decrease the number of tourists, the city is considering banning tourists from purchasing cannabis.

So far, the Amsterdam city council has reportedly banned 1/3 of all cannabis cafes operating in the city & store owners have emphasized that banning tourists from their stores would ruin their businesses.

Our Take

The Netherlands will legalize cannabis for adult-use purposes in the coming years, however, it won’t be the first European nation to do so.

With the country so close to legalizing cannabis for adult-use purposes, it would be very disappointing to see Amsterdam implement a policy that would cause such significant harm to the cannabis industry.

Cannabis In The U.S Military

Does consuming cannabis impact your ability to succeed in the military?

Per a new government funded analysis of U.S. Army recruits — having consumed cannabis has little impact on someone's success in the military.

The findings…

People with documented histories of consuming cannabis were just as likely to get promoted, and make sergeant in the military.

While these people were more likely to leave for “drug use” they were less likely to leave the army as the result of health or performance concerns.

It was not listed if this increase in people leaving for drug use was attributed to people consuming cannabis when they were in the military.

Why do they care?

Whereas once a small percentage of potential recruits consumed cannabis, this has changed significantly in the last decades.

Per Rand, historical rates for cannabis consumption amongst recruits was 0.2% in 2002, however, they estimate this has now increased to 33%.

“Without waivers, a failed drug test for marijuana would block the one third of American 18-year-olds who say they have used cannabis at least once in the past year,” a RAND official wrote.

Beating expectations…

There remains a stereotype that consuming cannabis makes you lazy, however, the report highlights that the recruits who reported to having previously consumed cannabis excelled in certain areas.

“In some cases, they are historically more likely to perform better.”

Our Take

With so many people choosing to consume cannabis, it would be foolish for any employer, whether that’s the military or otherwise, to exclude applicants on the basis that they consume cannabis.

Cannabis vs Prescriptions

Are patients ditching their prescription medications in favor of cannabis?

A common tale told in the cannabis industry today is that the pharmaceutical industry played a pivotal role in making cannabis illegal.

While this specific story lacks any real evidence, what has become clear is that more & more people are choosing plant-based medicines such as cannabis in favor of pharmaceutical formulations.

The data…

A new survey published in the journal of Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids examined the link between patients usage of cannabis, and how this impacted their usage of prescription medications.

Per the data collected from May 2019 to January 2020 in Florida — 65% of the patients surveyed had either reduced or eliminated at least one prescription medication courtesy of consuming cannabis.

Of the 165 patients surveyed, the following were the most common meditations reduced / replaced:

  • → Opioids: 20% reduction & 18% discontinued use.

  • → Anti Anxiety: 20% reduction & 18% discontinued use.

  • → Antidepressants: 7.3% reduction & 15% discontinued use.

  • → Muscle relaxants: 7.3% reduction & 8.6% discontinued use.

Interesting data points…

The survey also examined the relief patients were receiving from cannabis for specific symptoms.

Looking forward…

It becomes very difficult to debate the fact that cannabis has the potential to become a critical component of our medical system as we continue to gather more data that paints this exact picture.

With GW Pharmaceuticals being the largest acquisition in the history of cannabis for $7.2 billion USD it’s also very clear that there are strong financial incentives for companies to develop cannabinoid based medications.

Our Take

I don’t buy into the narrative that the pharmaceutical industry is seeking for the cannabis industry to fail, however, these latest figures certainly suggest that they should be taking a closer look at cannabinoids.

Looking forward, it makes sense that more established pharmaceutical companies would also focus on creating cannabinoid based medications.

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