THE HAGUE, 20/12/08 – People with five cannabis plants in their home will not be prosecuted, no matter how much cannabis the plants produce, the appeal court in Den Bosch has ruled.
The police have for years maintained a policy of not considering five plants at home an offence, because they can be seen as ornamental plants or for personal use of cannabis and not for commercial cultivation. The Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) did not consider those criteria relevant in this case because 6,712 grams of cannabis was found in the home of the suspects, a couple from Uden.
The policy of toleration, created by jurisprudence and OM directives, also specifies that someone may not have more than 30 grams of cannabis at home, as well as the five-plant limit. According to the appeal court, however, it says nowhere that there is a limit to the size of the harvest of the five tolerated cannabis plants. A citizen can therefore rely on the possession of five plants not leading to prosecution.
A lower court earlier also rejected the OM’s case. The OM appealed against the decision and again demanded a fine, of 350 euros, but primarily wanted clarification of how the policy of tolerance should be interpreted in future cases. The OM is now considering fighting the appeal court ruling at the Supreme Court.