Traditionally, these cafes have sourced their extra product from small, local cannabis grows, but Dutch police regularly raid and shut down these illegal operations. In recent years local law enforcement have reported seeing organized crime gangs getting more and more involved in the cannabis black market. The report noted that “detectives see a parallel economy emerging,” where drug traffickers are becoming increasingly sophisticated even though overall crime rates in the country are dropping. “We have to be honest about the current situation, where organized crime has taken over marijuana growing situations,” advised Arno Rutte, a lawmaker with the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, one of the four parties currently governing the country.
In order to resolve the situation, legislators have proposed a pilot program that would legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis sales throughout the country. The program would only allow the production and sale of cannabis in ten or fewer Dutch cities, and would only legalize these operations for four years, in order to give the government an opportunity to consider the results before moving forward with further legislation.
In the meantime, activists are pushing hard for cannabis reform, with one activist going so far as to attempt suicide to bring attention to the issue. Nl/2018/03/23/attempted-suicide-dutch-parliament-note-found-facebook”>threw himself off the balcony of the Dutch Parliament during a debate on organized crime. Kamperman has been advocating for cannabis reform ever since being arrested for growing five pot plants in his garden, and had “been camping in front of the House of Representatives for four weeks … to draw attention to the legalization of soft drugs,” a witness reported to The Mirror. “Cannabis is criminalized while it can save the Earth and is a medicine for many people.