BRUSSELS, 21/06/06 - European Commissioner Franco Frattini (Justice) has warned the Netherlands that legalisation of cannabis-growing is in conflict with EU rules. A Lower House majority wants to allow hemp growing under state supervision.

Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner is debating with the Lower House this week on plans to regulate cannabis cultivation. The conservatives (VVD), Labour (PvdA) and the centre-left (D66) want the government to start an experiment to permit controlled growing. In this way, the House wants to take cannabis cultivation out of criminal hands. Donner is against the proposal.

Legalisation according to Frattini infringes a decision of the EU countries in 2004, for which the Netherlands also voted. This banned the cultivation of cannabis plants, unless exclusively for personal use. This is not the case when it is grown for supply to the tolerated Dutch drugs bars, better known as coffee shops.

Frattini was in The Hague yesterday. He wants to try to remove the fears on the European Commission's plans to restrict the veto rights of the 25 EU countries in the area of justice and police cooperation. The Italian had talks with Donner, who is hesitant on Frattini's initiatives. He also spoke with the Lower House standing committees for justice and European affairs.