Many weedheads have made November journeys to Holland to attend the High Times Cannabis Cup.
The Cup is happening again this year, but there is now an alternative marijuana evaluation and celebration event that sponsors believe will rival and even exceed the HT Cup.
Haarlem hempster Nol Van Schaik, the coffee shop owner and pot activist whose shops in Haarlem near Amsterdam are among the most lauded in Holland, has created an event that celebrates the thirty year history of the Dutch marijuana experiment. He intends for this to be the first year of an annual harvest celebration that will set higher standards for marijuana testing and entertainment events.
“We have scheduled a weekend of events to take place directly after the Cannabis Cup,” says Van Schaik. “Part of these events will honor Wernard Bruining, Henk De Vries, and other early pioneers who first created coffee shops and the weed business in Holland all those years ago. We will also be running a Holland-wide weed and hash competition that will include shops and growers who have not participated in the Cup, many of them from outside Amsterdam.”
Van Schaik says that while he respects the good in the High Times event, he wanted to design a cannabis judging situation that better reflected the evaluations of a larger audience who first test the products in their home coffee shops across Holland.
“We have the commitment from many shops that they will have their customers voting on cannabis products, and then they will bring their best to our competition in Haarlem at the end of November, and we will have a blind judging situation that cannot be influenced by anything other than the quality of the products,” the ganja guru explained. “We believe we will have a more broad range of products than has been available at any other cannabis competition, and we are excited about the prospect of making this event more international and scientific, with participation from America and Amsterdam as in the High Times event, but also from many more places and people.”
Many people do not yet know about Haarlem, Holland, but they should know. It is only 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam, but is a far more charming and scenic city than its bigger neighbor. It is surrounded by canals, forests, a national park, and beaches. Van Schaik has three primo shops in Haarlem, and there are other potshops, museums, gourmet restaurants to make the town exciting for people of all age groups.
The Haarlem November event will feature an awards ceremony that brings together the early pot pioneers, including the famous American named “Old Ed” who first brought the idea of seedless, all-female marijuana to Holland.
For Van Schaik, who has recently seen his friends held hostage in English prisons during an attempt to create a Holland-style coffee shop there, the November cannabis contest and banquet may be his last public work before he retires from full-time activism.
“We have done almost everything we wanted to do in this industry, and it is a good time for us to relax a bit and take it easy for a while,” Van Schaik said while supervising the mailing of 4000 invitations to his event. “We have been fighting hard for this cause for ten years, at a big risk to us, with sometimes a lot of pain. There are always going to be battles to fight and cannabis to celebrate, and I am not intending to go away completely, but I want to see other people making the public stand for cannabis, to make it more legal in Europe, and to improve the quality of the products and experiences for our customers. So many millions use cannabis, but not enough of them are willing to work to make it more available and to change the laws. This is probably the last big party I am going to do here, and I would like to see all the friends of cannabis come to celebrate peace and pot in this crazy world.”