The Queen and Prince Charles should have their invitations by now. The interior of the building leased by UK pot activist Colin Davies has been refurbished with a fresh coat of paint and authentic decorations from coffee shops owned by Dutch cannalegend Nol Van Schaik. Volunteers are weighing and packaging sticky green medicine- Jack Herer, BioHaze, Shalom, Skunk #1- in secret locations. The world’s media, following the lead of Cannabis Culture magazine which was the first to report on the Davies-Van Schaik endeavor, are salivating at the prospect of covering the opening of the first public European marijuana shop outside Holland.
In Stockport, England near Manchester, Davies is working around the clock with Van Schaik’s long-time business partner Marcel Dekker, who has managed coffee shops for a decade. Davies, a medical marijuana user and grower who made headlines by giving marijuana to members of England’s royal family, appreciates Dekker’s expert advice. Davies is calling his new shop “The Dutch Experience,” and Dekker is helping him make it authentic.
Davies’ project has been a litmus test for those who claim to be marijuana activists in the UK. Many so-called activists who privately said they would give their lives for marijuana are now afraid to help Davies, fearing that the police will arrest them at the coffee shop’s opening press conference on Friday, September 14th.
“We’ve found out who has courage,” Davies quips. “Some of them are calling up asking if I’m crazy or want to get arrested. They hear some rumor about what the police might have said, then they scurry around acting worried on my behalf. What everyone should be focusing on are the patients- the people in wheelchairs and such- who are coming to this opening and who expect their medicine to be easily available in England from now on. I’ve been in contact with the police. They are very reasonable people. They’re not like the police in America. They don’t enjoy harming harmless people. They don’t shoot people. They know that what we’re doing is a service to the community. I’m not a betting man, but right now, I’d wager that The Dutch Experience is going to be a success.”
Across the channel in Haarlem, Holland, Nol Van Schaik is busy running his three coffee shops and Global Hemp Museum. Van Schaik intends to travel to England for the grand opening- a risky proposition since the French government still wants to extradite him on a hash smuggling charge that he literally ran away from ten years ago.
“Some Dutch government officials called to set an appointment because they like to bring dignitaries from other countries to my shops so they can see that the Dutch model of marijuana tolerance works better than the American prohibition regime,” he said. “I told them that I’d appreciate it if they’d keep the French from messing with me, because I am exporting Holland’s successful policy to other countries. The official responded that the Dutch government is proud of its policy, and they are glad that the rest of Europe is finally admitting that our way works best. We’re going to have an international gathering of marijuana activists at this event, including Wernard Bruining, the guy who created the first Netherlands potshop.”
Cannabis Culture will be an integral part of the historic opening of The Dutch Experience. By Saturday, the world will know whether the United Kingdom has officially joined Holland as a country with progressive, intelligent marijuana policies.
“We’re all very excited to see this finally ready to happen,” said a tired Davies by phone from Northern England. “Our British ancestors grew and used marijuana in England and elsewhere for centuries. You only have to look at the number of our towns called ‘Hempstead’ or something similar. It’s part of our culture. We’re proud to be bringing this miracle plant back out into the light of day in the UK where it belongs.”