Marijuana Ranks Third on Dutch Export Product List, Says Police
Mon, May 05, 2008
Amsterdam - Marijuana is one of the most popular Dutch export products, it was reported on Monday.
Speaking on the current affairs television programme Reporter, Dutch police commissioner Max Daniel said 'Dutch marijuana ranks second or third after the cucumber and the tomato on the list of best-selling Dutch export products.'
The sale of so-called soft drugs - marijuana - is legal in the Netherlands, but growing cannabis, which is used to make marijuana, is prohibited in the Netherlands.
In recent months, the Dutch government has been making an effort to close sites where cannabis is being grown. Last year alone, some 5,500 sites - 15 per day - were closed by the police.
Dutch-grown cannabis is much stronger than the traditional cannabis grown in Morocco, Lebanon and Pakistan. The present soft drugs market relies increasingly on Dutch-grown cannabis.
Last year, the 730 co-called Dutch 'coffee shops' sold some 265,000 kilogrammes of soft drugs, mostly grown in the Netherlands. Police estimate however that only 20 to 40 per cent of the Dutch marijuana is sold locally; the majority is exported.
The Dutch tax authority receives some 400 million euros (617 million dollars) on value added tax (VAT) originating from the sale of the soft drugs sold in local coffeeshops.
Total turnover in the soft drugs business is around 2 billion euros (3.2 billion dollars), a figure comparable to the turnover of Dutch public transport.
Depending on the quality, coffee shop owners pay between 3,500 and 5,500 euros per kilo to cannabis growers.