Dutch cannabis activist and coffeeshop guru Nol Van Schaik, who owns three quality potshops in Haarlem, Holland near Amsterdam, is imprisoned in France on a 15-year-old hashish smuggling charge.
The outspoken founder of the famed Willie Wortels potshops escaped from French authorities who tried to arrest him in 1989 at the Spanish-French border during a Moroccan hash smuggling operation. When French agents tried to arrest him, he fought them off, ran away, and jumped over the edge of a cliff to escape.
The French government previously tried to extradite Van Schaik from Holland, where his three highly-ranked Willie Wortels cannashops are open in the heritage town of Haarlem. The Dutch justice minister stopped the extradition, but when Van Schaik flew to Spain in May, the Spanish government was on heightened alert due to a royal wedding and terrorist attacks. Spanish officials imprisoned Van Schaik after they discovered the French warrant. He was held from mid-May until early July in a Spanish prison, and then abruptly transferred to France.
The Haarlem hempster, one of few Dutch coffeeshop owners who engages in marijuana activism, told Cannabis Culture he is being kept in an extremely overcrowded prison.
“I am locked in my cell 22 hours a day,” he said. “I am not given adequate food. The cell is designed for one person but it houses three. I sleep on the floor. I do not know exactly how long they will keep me here, but it could be years.”
Van Schaik reports that receiving correspondence from the cannabis community, as well as assistance in lobbying the French government for his release, along with the steadfast support of his partner Maruska and his coffeeshop co-managers and employees, has helped him endure “being in a cage.”
Correspondence for Van Schaik should be addressed to:
Nol Van Schaik
For updates on his situation, visit www.hempcity.net, and also read issues 51 and 52 of Cannabis Culture magazine, due to come out soon.
For info on the campaign to free Van Schaik, contact Dutch coffeeshop pioneer and coffeeshop guide/author Wernard Bruining at [email protected]