Thirty years ago, marijuana users smoked cannabis seeds, stems, male flowers and female flowers.
In Holland, they smoked hashish mixed with tobacco; “regular” marijuana was very hard to find.
And then, two men thought up bright ideas that changed the world of cannabis forever.
One of them was a 20-something Amsterdam college student named Wernard Bruining.
He and his hippie friends decided to camp out in an abandoned Amsterdam bakery, because they had nowhere else to live.
They bought hashish and shared it with friends and neighbors. They made tea and food. They played music and talked about politics.
Soon enough, they gave their cozy space a name: “Mellow Yellow.” They also created a sophisticated marijuana dealing regime that became the precursor for the entire Dutch coffeeshop system that followed.
By the time Mellow Yellow closed several years later, it had many imitators. Wernard then traveled to America to meet with California’s best cannabis growers. He met a man named “Old Ed” who was experimenting with a technique that involved frustrating the sexual desires of the marijuana plant by preventing male pollen from reaching female flowers.
The unfertilized flowers grew bigger and more resiny than their fertilized counterparts. They produced more saleable weight of marijuana. Suddenly, you didn’t have to smoke seeds anymore.
The unfertilized cannabis flowers were called “sinsemilla,” which is a Spanish word meaning “without seeds.”
Wernard and Old Ed went to Holland and showed Dutch growers how to grow their own sinsemilla. The Dutch coffeeshop industry could now offer a potent new product along with its already impressive menu of hashish varieties and Nigerian weed. It was the beginning of the future.
Today, the Dutch “soft drugs” policy is famous worldwide. Dozens of types of marijuana are easily available in Dutch coffeeshops, but the Dutch people are not known for being drug addicts, abusers or losers. Instead, their rate of marijuana use per capita is far below the rates seen in countries that put people in prison for marijuana. The Dutch policy works, and is being copied, modified or considered by countries like Canada, Spain, and Switzerland.
Nol Van Schaik is a Dutch marijuana entrepreneur who owns three marijuana lauded coffeeshops in the Dutch heritage town of Haarlem, Holland, which is located 15 minutes by train from Amsterdam.
Last year, he tried to export Holland’s potshop system to England. British authorities responded by arresting Nol and his British business partner, and throwing people in prison.
In the aftermath of that tragedy, Van Schaik looked around and realized that nobody was much honoring the Dutch system or its founders- they were just making a lot of money off of it, or they were persecuting it.
He found out that Wernard Bruining had been robbed by unscrupulous pot business partners, that Old Ed was really old and was ailing in California, and that the 30th anniversary of the founding of Mellow Yellow was passing without notice.
Van Schaik decided to organize an event to raise money for Bruining, honor the early cannabis heroes, while also educating the world about the Dutch potshop business. The event, which is slated to take place in Haarlem during the last days of November, will feature live music, DJ’s, parties, awards, and a cannabis competition that is professionally conducted, with marijuana from competing coffeeshops across Holland.
But the big three day party in Haarlem wasn’t enough for Nol. He decided that somebody needed to write a book about the inside story of Dutch coffeeshops. He tried to get a professional writer to do it for him, but he soon realized that only a Dutch pot pioneer could write the inside story of Dutch pot.
So, he wrote it himself.
After interviewing Wernard, other coffeeshop founders, and doing tons of research, Van Schaik sat down with his computer and started writing.
Two months later, with his hands numb, his face covered in beard, his eyes sunken, his skin gone pale, Van Schaik emerged from his author’s cocoon with a 324 page book in English with a hundred unique photos and images.
The book, called “The Dutch Experience,” is hilarious, insightful, astounding, and honest. The author and many of the characters therein confess to crimes. They tell how they outsmarted police and stood up to international pressure. They tell how a few guys helped Holland have the best marijuana laws in the world.
Van Schaik will debut the book during his Haarlem event on 11-29-02.
For people who love marijuana and want to have a front row seat at the unveiling and honoring of its recent history, visiting Haarlem at the end of November is imperative. Van Schaik knows how to throw a party, and for a small daily fee, visitors will get to smoke the best Dutch hash and pot while also meeting growers, vaporizer heads, pot politicians, and cannabis connoisseurs from all over the world.
Intelligent, civilized visitors and tourists are encouraged to stay at a classy hotel named Joops, which is located directly across from the historic church and town square that helps make Haarlem so enchanting.
Joops has a variety of newly-renovated rooms to fit any budget, provides tasty breakfasts and Internet computers, has a cute, friendly staff including hot babes and guys, and is located in the heart of pedestrian-only streets and an enchanting dining/shopping district that features gourmet restaurants, smart shops, museums, picturesque canals, windmills, saunas, and Van Schaik’s coffeeshops.
Haarlem is a sweet, beautiful, quiet, exciting town that provides a perfect complement for the more urban Amsterdam scene. Haarlem is located only a few minutes from the international airport, a beach, and Amsterdam, and is surrounded by parks, canals, and history.
For more info about the November Haarlem happenings and Van Schaik’s excellent literary work:
; www.realdealpublishing.com; Telephone in Holland: 011-31-235-349-939 or 011-31-653-666-921 or 011-31-618-499-064. Via email contact: [email protected]. Contact JOOPS via phone at 011-31-23-532-2008 or via email: [email protected]. Or visit their website at www.hotelinformation.com. Please note that all phone prefixes listed (011-31) are for callers from North America. Please consult your long distance operator for dialing instructions.
Upcoming issues of Cannabis Culture will feature exclusive coverage of the book and the 30th anniversary celebration.