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Europe: Dutch Marijuana Tax Revenues at $600 Million a Year, Crop Is Country's Third Largest Export

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #535)
Politics & Advocacy

Marijuana is big business in the Netherlands, if estimates from the Dutch TV program Reporter are to be believed -- and no one is challenging them. According to the news program, the Dutch government is raking in 400 million euros (a little more than $600 million) a year in taxes from the country's 730 marijuana-selling coffee shops.

downstairs of a coffee shop, Maastricht (courtesy Wikimedia)
Reporter estimated total sales at the coffee shops at 265,000 kilos of hashish and marijuana annually, with an annual gross revenue of about $3.2 billion.

In response, the Dutch Finance Ministry said it did not know how much tax revenue it collected from the coffee shops. According to department employees who asked for anonymity, "they do not want to know about it in The Hague, as it is all much too politically sensitive."

But the coffee shops account for at most 40% of the marijuana grown in Holland, with the rest being exported untaxed via the black market. Although Dutch police bust 15 marijuana grows a day, they have not been able to make a significant dent in domestic production. That means Dutch marijuana exports are also a significant economy activity.

"As export product, Dutch cannabis comes second or third after cucumbers and tomatoes. Germany and the United Kingdom are big customers," said police commissioner Max Daniel, head of the police unit responsible for tackling marijuana grows.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

If it ever gets legalized (as opposed to decriminalized) here in the US the taxing authorities will have a field day. Who knows how many new wars they can fund, how many more "public servants" they can hire to sit on their ass, how many more regulations they can makes me tired just thinking about it.

The source of revenue could become so important that growing it with out the proper permits would be right up there with crossing the IRS.

"No you can not grow that plant in your are threatening the tax life blodd of our oppressive regime"

Yes to decriminalization NO to legalization, regulation and taxation

Fri, 05/09/2008 - 3:40pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

this a big beef w/ Conyers & his letter to DEA;
you killing our tax revenue in CALLY.
knock it off
Cally needs this money it should break big soon

Sun, 05/11/2008 - 9:52am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

hard to tax personal growers (they might try) ; just like home made wine/beer
big war between fed/state taxes who knows where that will end.

Sun, 05/11/2008 - 9:56am Permalink
No name (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

It is not hard at all actually. Introducing a tax such as property tax or other similar taxes would help way in on the people who grow their own. At only 10$ a month per property owner rent payer and such it would more than make up for the losses.

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 2:44am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Like the article says" : 60% of liberal Dutch pot industry is black market product --and everybody there is a sweetheart= more than half of the production is pirate pot, 3 out of every 5 gramson a soft market is black market pot . A very easy climate of production & consumptionin the Netherlands has not eliminated the cannabis black market that the American stoners preach is the entire fault of prohibition

Thats why cannabis will never be legal in America...with so many guns smuggle tunnels and bad spirited players , even if pot was completely
leg l- we can see that at least >> 60% of any future legal American pot market would be black market- & likely even more than 60%

.. Pot is just too easy to grow. and distribute and there are just too many greedy pirate pot producers out there who won't go away

Prohibition has very little to do with it- a three generation culture of criminal underclass dealer cheaters has _everything to do with it

Mon, 05/12/2008 - 12:46am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

First thing in US would be to establish guidelines for production & distribution of medical cannabis....since 13 or so states have laws in place already, and then set up medical research programs with doctors, hospitals, & pharmaceutical R&D. Immediately implement study-programs addressing the urgent needs of patients with AIDS, cancers, suicidal Iraq War vets (with PTSD), Glaucoma, MS, etc etc

Next, move forward with industrial hemp production in US farming. It would be a shot in the arm to many financially strapped farmers in depressed rural regions. It could revolutionize paper, textiles, and wood products....making deforestation (cutting down more trees) obsolete. Easier to grow twice as much in a square acre than cotton, with more yield and less pesticides, and more cost-efficient than many other products now dependant on toxic processes to manufacture, such as wood-pulp paper and pressed wood (masonite, MD fibre board, etc).

Ethanol from high cellulose content male hemp could replace gasoline, and be less baneful to our global 'greenhouse' warming atmosphere.

It will take an act of Congress to get these two things, and likewise from the parliaments in European nations as well. Let's focus and work on these things which we have going in our Congress every year, and never let your US representative off the hook about these issues. There are 3 or 4 'House Bills' a year now, and every one is picking up momentum and support. E-mail your congress-persons every time one or the other comes up for a vote.

Issues like 'black-market', exporting (smuggling), etc just cloud the issue, and give starchy 'zero-tolerance' warriors fodder to support their argument: which is that to decrim/legalize it will make it MORE complicated and tangled.

Finally, lets conclude that the sales of medical cannabis in California since the medical exemption act passed raised over $100 million dollars in state sales taxes. The actual bulk sales price totals, minus the taxes, must be in the billions - an indication that there would be multi-billions a year in revenues for the economy if it ever was made legal and sold in stores.

Fri, 05/16/2008 - 3:10am Permalink Please help spread the word on your social networks. We need to stop this nonsense now, we're handing billions of dollars/pounds/euros etc over to non tax paying criminals. Globalweed smokersday on facebook.
Fri, 03/04/2011 - 8:00am Permalink
dogkony2013 (not verified)

In netherland, Marijuana is being legal but only 20% of population smoke compared to america where 40% of people smoke Marijuana illegally

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 8:46am Permalink

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