THE Dutch city of Groningen looks set to open the Netherlands' first pharmacy totally dedicated to providing high quality cannabis for pain relief at affordable prices, it was reported today.

Although cannabis is readily available in Dutch coffee shops, the foundation for Medicinal Cannabis Netherlands, a support group for patients, intends launching a pharmacy in the northern Dutch city so people can have access to high-grade cannabis for medical use, the NRC Handelsblad newspaper said.

Groningen city council member Fleur Woudstra, who supports the cannabis pharmacy, told the paper that while pot may be cheaper in coffee shops - usually around E10 ($16.07) for the equivalent of 3 or 4 joints - quality often suffers.

The Office of Medicinal Cannabis, a Dutch government agency, and the community of Groningen as well as the local police back the idea and a site has been chosen.

It was not immediately clear just when the pharmacy would open for business.

Two more cannabis pharmacies are planned in the towns of Hoogezand and Assen, the paper said.