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Utrecht launches two legal cannabis experiments14 September 2013, by Elzi Lewis
This autumn, the city of Utrecht is hosting two experiments into cannabis usage. One hopes to promote social cannabis consumption, while the other will be investigating its medicinal benefits.
A happy club
The first case is concerned with "adult recreational use."
The Social Cannabis Club Domstad (SCCD) is a new foundation that lets its members grow and smoke their own cannabis on the premises and is currently applying for exemption from the prohibitions of the Opium Act. If the application is successful, the club and its 100 members will not be prosecuted for growing and consuming the drug.
Utrecht city councillor, Victor Everhardt, explains that, "this is a small-scale initiative in which members can grow cannabis for their own responsible, recreational use in a club."
Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten has declared open hostility to these plans. However, to evade criminal charges, the foundation has promised to monitor the health of its members and "avoid unnecessary health damage" (in keeping with Dutch drugs laws).
The second experiment explores how the drug might be used as a treatment for people with psychiatric problems.
Photo by Flickr user Miss Libertine
The programme takes a group of 80 people suffering from chronic psychiatric disorders that are not responding to traditional treatment. Researchers will examine whether supervised cannabis usage might reduce some of their psychiatric symptoms, such as insomnia and paranoia.
This study was devised by a team of academics who are researching addiction. The cannabis given to the participants will be a special strain, provided by the Ministry of Health's Office for Medicinal Cannabis.
Source: Gemeente Utrecht