Products in grocery stores have labels listing their ingredients, but anyone who purchases marijuana in the Netherlands has no idea what exactly is in it. That is why Rinus Beintema is opening a lab in Leeuwarden to analyse your weed.
Translation by Traci White
Dagblad van het Noorden reports that the Highlab, which is set to open in January, is officially illegal: testing marijuana intended for recreational use is not allowed in the Nehterlands. The only strain of marijuana that can legally be tested is for medical use and is produced by Bedrocan in Veendaam.
But Beinterma, the founder of the Social Club in Leeuwarden and Friesland, is still planning to move forward with analyzing recreational-use marijuana to make sure users know what they are putting into their bodies. The Social Clubs, which themselves are also technically illegal, provide cannabis oil to around 15,000 members, many of whom have medical conditions such as MS, cancer and seizures who use the oil as part of their treatment.
Beintema says that the cannabis oil sold through the Social Clubs is also tested at the Highlab for quality assurance. The main substances that the Highlab checks for are pesticides which are used to keep small insects from eating the marijuana, and they are very common.
Research conducted by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and Environment found that 23 of 25 tested varieties contained pesticides, albeit in trace amounts comparable to what you find on produce. Ferry de Boer, a member of the Cannabis Retailers Association, says that part of the issue is that users typically smoke marijuana, and it is unclear what the impact of the pesticides is when they are ingested in that manner.
Beintema’s focus is not just on the northern provinces: he encourages coffee shop owners across the country to have their marijuana tested at his lab. Several similar facilities exist elsewhere in the Netherlands, and the police typically turn a blind eye to their activities. A nationwide experiment is being developed which will more strictly regulate the quality of weed cultivation in the country, which could eventually include independent quality control and analysis of marijuana for recreational use.