“New”Dutch Drugs Policy: No Major upsets…

Well, the dutch Cabinet, the Ministers Council, will allow coffeeshops to stay open, as usual. The pass system will not be applied in general, only Maastricht will start an experiment, which will surely fail.
Amsterdam’s Mayor, Cohen, does not want to ban tourists, he thinks the status of tourism in A’dam is not causing problems.

Our Goofy looking Justice Minister, Ernst Hirsch-Ball-in states that banning tourists from coffeeshops may be activated some day, but he does not know when, the retard…

So, buying, rolling, bonging, vaping and smoking cannabis will continue as usual in Dutch coffeeshops, except maybe for Maastricht.

A lot of time and money wasted on nothing, again.

Cohen is disappointed that the supply matter was not mentioned, he suggested licensed growers for coffeeshops earlier. The A’dam Mayor will take up this issue with the Justice Department, the City Council and the Police Department. Seems the present Dutch government is not able to make a step forward, maybe because our religious leaders are a tit backward?

Keep on coming, even the Cannabis Cup will survive!!

Posted in Cannabis for a living. | 1 Comment

The price level of cannabis in coffeeshops: How and Why.


This article is almost like a request write up, because the price level of hash and weed in Dutch coffeeshops is a hot topic amongst our customers, but also for our staff and those working in other coffeeshops.

During the last evaluation talks with our staff, one question came up a few times from several members of our staff. They asked me if we could offer cheaper bud on sale… Sure, I said, get me some cheaper marihuana, and I will offer it cheaper on the menu.

I fully understand why they came up with this question, our dealers are the ones listening to complaints about high cannabis prices from our customers. They did not know how to explain the level of prices as they are, and believe me, Haarlem coffeeshops are cheap compared to the Amsterdam prices for bud and resin. Of course our customers blame us for upholding the prices the way they are, but that is not so, on the contrary, we have no say in the prices at all!

In the good old days a coffeeshop had its own group of growers/suppliers, which meant the coffeeshopowner  had influence over the strains their growers produced, and we knew how the cannabis was grown. The prices were the same all over the Netherlands, just because there were no other takers in our line of business. Sure, some people would buy a kilo to take abroad, or even some more, but they bought from coffeeshops, not from the growers.  There was a raise in prices during and after the holiday season, for two reasons: Growers take holidays too, when they do, they cannot grow, so they lose production time, like half a harvest.  Another reason is the heat of summer, marihuana plants are pretty easy to grow, but when the temperature in a growroom goes above 27 degrees centigrade, the growth stuns. Many Dutch growers don’t even start growing in July and August, after they had bad summer crops. This meant coffeeshops had to stock up in Spring, to keep themselves supplied during and after the summer. All in all, the situation was easy to oversee, and growers went to coffeeshops to offer their products, where else?

Things changed when the UK started craving for Nederweed, triggered by a more tolerant stance towards cannabis consumption in England around 2001. Flocks of British buyers started to move in on our market and growers, buying marihuana left and right, to make up a bulk transport for their clients across The Channel. The only way to get their hands on the  merchandise was to outbid the market, in other words, the coffeeshops. Growers are not bound to coffeeshops by contract, they will sell to the highest bidder, so the UK buyers started to offer higher prices to assure themselves of their merchandise. Cannabis prices in England went up to 8-9 pounds per gram, which meant 12-14 euro’s per gram. We were taken by surprise, growers we were reckoning with did not show up anymore, they already sold to some guy offering them 400 euro’s per kilo more than the going price in coffeeshops. We, some of my close colleagues and me, started running short on weed, so we called each other for an eventual coffeeshop to coffeeshop deal, meaning helping each other by selling some of your stock to a colleague. All of us were facing the same problem, weed was becoming scarce, and prices were soaring. Normally, we would get cannabis offered, a sample bag with a price and  a phone number, you would call the numbers with the right weed, quality and price attached. Now, we had to hit the streets again, to buy ourselves weed wherever we could, but only if we wanted to pay the price, the same or a bit more than the UK export price. If you do not want to pay their price, no deal, no weed. So, coffeeshops pay the price, what else?

In the meanwhile, the Netherlands changed governments, the political compass went from liberal to conservative, and eventually to very conservative. The past three governments and the present one were and are dominated by religious groups which pretend to be political parties. These political pilgrims do not like cannabis, nor the people that smoke cannabis, grow cannabis and sell cannabis, so they use every trick in the book to get rid of coffeeshops, their  visitors and their suppliers.

So, another trick was set up to make people stop growing cannabis in their homes, because if you cut the supply, the coffeeshops might run dry and lose their customers. Politicians, like chess players, should be looking a few steps ahead, their clever scheme did not foresee that it would effectively eliminate a lot of the true homegrowers, but it did not dry up the coffeeshops, so the customers keep on coming and smoking. The people that kept/keep on growing were not intimidated by the eviction rule, they grow in some warehouse or basement, the lease is not in their own name, so they cannot be kicked out of their homes. These big growers used to supply the export market, the smaller growers used to supply the coffeeshops. Now, coffeeshops or their suppliers  have to turn to big growers to buy cannabis, because the few small growers left cannot take care of the coffeeshop market. The homegrowers used to sell their merchandise for reasonable prices, the big boys keep their prices on the export level. I hope this makes people understand that coffeeshops have absolutely no influence on the market/buying price of cannabis, I wish we had!

This is only the first half of the story, this was about the buying price. Explaining how we go from the buyers price to the consumers price is the other half of the story.

Although it is theoretically forbidden to buy cannabis in quantities bigger than 5 grams, coffeeshops or their suppliers by hash and weed by the kilo, and stash those batches somewhere to be able to supply the coffeeshops from there. These stashes are illegal, but as soon as a cannabis products moves from a stash to a coffeeshop it becomes legal, and taxes have to be paid over the sales of these products. The Tax people tell us what the consumer price is: we have to sell our cannabis products for the buying price + 100 %, or more than 100 %, NOT less! This means we can no longer sell cannabis with discount, the Taxman taxes us for the full price, so discounts are no longer allowed.

It also means that coffeeshops have to sell a gram of cannabis they bought for 4 Euro’s for 8 euro’s, cannabis bought for 5 euro’s for 10 euro’s etc…

As you can see, the taxman sets the consumer price, there is nothing we can do about that, if we do not pay our taxes as prescribed, we will lose our businesses.

I took the time to explain this hot topic the best possible way I can, because I want the consumer to know why the price level of cannabis has gone up since the introduction of the euro currency. I want to ask the consumers to realize all this when they buy cannabis in a Dutch coffeeshop, the dealer serving you cannot be blamed for the prices of bud….  This article is also meant for the many smokers criticizing the prices in coffeeshops on forums around the world, calling my colleagues and me ‘greedy bastards’ and other insulting names connected to our profession.  I took and take accusations like this personal, because I am a Dutch coffeeshopowner, and proud of it!


Nol van Schaik.

Willie Wortel Coffeeshops,

Haarlem, the Netherlands.

Posted in Nolumns. (No shit columns) | 2 Comments

The backdoor of a coffeeshop is not just an emergency exit.

There has been long time confusion about how coffeeshops supply themselves with good quality marihuana and hash, so I think it is about time to explain the ins and outs as I have experienced them in the old situation, and in the new style of supply. Do keep in mind this is my experience with the ‘backdoor’, I do not represent a group of CS owners, although I am a member of the BCD. (Cannabis Retailers Union). I do know how some of my colleagues go about with the ‘backdoor’, so I can point out the differences in approach of this complex situation.

All coffeeshops used to work with a stash (a secret hiding place) or stashes, where they would either have all their cannabis in one place, or have their hash stashed in one place and the marihuana in one or several other places, because of the volume of dried cannabis buds.  The people ‘sitting’ on a coffeeshop stash were paid in cannabis or cash. Having to work with different stashes made things more complicated, the supplier of the shop had to go to several places to pick up gear to re-supply the shop a couple of times a day. To make sure everyone understands why supplying a coffeeshop is complicated I will explain the restrictions causing the hassle. Licensed ‘hashcoffeeshops’ can only have a work supply of 500 grams on the premises. Most coffeeshops try to maintain an extensive menu, which leads to even more complications, more stashes and more small, illegal, cannabis-transports.

This is how it works in practice, it’s all just a matter of calculating weights, incoming vs. outgoing. Let’s take a coffeeshop with 12 different kinds of cannabis on the menu as an example. Besides 12 kinds of hash and marihuana on the menu, a coffeeshop usually sells pre-rolled joints and reefers, the weight of these products have to be taken into consideration as well. Let’s say this coffeeshop has 100 grams in joints, meaning the weight of the cannabis, not the eventual tobacco. That leaves a 400 gram space for 5 kinds of hash and 7 kinds of marihuana. With 30 grams of each kind in a plastic container in case of ‘sales over the scale’, it adds up to 100+360= 460 grams total. That leaves a 40 gram gap, we use that to keep one refill of our best selling marihuana on hand. Working with a computer connected scale makes this easy to maintain, the computer will tell the dealer when he goes over the 500 gram limit when weighing in a refill. Having only 30 grams of each kind available means that one kind of cannabis can be sold out after 6 customers buying the max limit of 5 grams. This means the ‘refill-man’ has to be informed, so he can bring over 30 grams of the product that just sold out. The weird thing about the 500 gram limit is the fact that a coffeeshop can sell more than 500 grams per day, as long as the supply stays under the limit and sales are no more than 5 grams per client. This shop would have to have at least 17 refills a day if they would sell 500 grams daily, while staying with a -500 grams supply.


Marihuana, hash and pre-rolled joints.

I know a few shops in Amsterdam that have almost 40 kinds of cannabis on the menu, it is hard to avoid not witnessing a refill there, some kinds have 7 gram refills! One can imagine how much running around and administration is involved in maintaining a proper menu for a coffeeshop.  How about the hassle for the people doing this job for a salary, with the risk of being robbed of a few small bags of hash and weed every time they shift cannabis from stash/wholesaler to the coffeeshop involved. Where does a coffeeshop owner complain when one of his stashes is robbed, or when one of his refill people is beaten up over a few 7 gram refills, again?

All the previous made a part of my colleagues, including myself, turn to an alternative way of supplying our coffeeshops, to avoid having to have stashes, with crooks, cops, and the tax-office preying on them. The alternative that came up was buying a complete menu from one single supplier, who takes care of the buying, stashing and the weighing of 30 grams refills. This way we take a lot of pressure from our refill guy, and we have far less risky things on our hands. Of course we get samples offered before deciding to put a new strain or hash on the menu, we still have influence on what we offer our customers for sale. It is a major step forward in dealing with the backdoor, although our supplier still has to deal with all the dangers of arrest for possession and confiscation of cannabis products.

The paradox stays, however, some coffeeshops in the border areas and Amsterdam sell several to dozens of kilo’s of cannabis per day, paying a high tax on every gram sold. The 500 gram restriction is a hoax, kept intact by this and past hypocritical governments, while some countries in the world are loosening up on their restrictive cannabis-laws. Maybe because they looked at the Dutch society dealing with cannabis and the low percentage in cannabis consumers?

Still confused? This is the way it is…

Nol van Schaik, coffeeshop entrepreneur.

Posted in Nolumns. (No shit columns) | 1 Comment

Welcome to my cannabis inspired weblog!

Welcome to a part of my life!

This blog is about my personal life, about what I am involved in today, and about my plans and projects for the future.


My life is a bit out of the ordinary, some may call me a drug dealer, some call me a Ganja Guru or a pot professor, I always introduce myself as a cannabisnessman. My business is cannabis, legal under the Dutch Tolerance policy for licensed hash-coffeeshops. Together with a long time friend we exploit two licensed hash-coffeeshops in Haarlem, a mid-sized town in the Netherlands, 15 kms west of Amsterdam. We call our businesses cannabisshops, by the way, which is more realistic than coffeeshop, we thrive on selling cannabis products, coffee is just a side product. I started smoking hash in 1985, at the age of 31, by accident, as a matter of speaking, but I liked the spacious, mellowing effects instantly, I maintain the same mind expanding relation with cannabis until today.

I started growing cannabis the ‘Sinsemilla’ way in 1987, in my grandmothers garden, with seeds I bought in Positronics, Holland’s first cannabis growshop, the strain was Northern Lights.

In 1990 we, a couple of good friends and myself, started the Willie Wortel Workshop project, meant to become an activity-club for the creative minded part of society, while enjoying a few joints to keep the inspiration flowing. The WWW more or less stumbled into being a coffeeshop, with a permit to sell cannabis on the premises. We can not deny we did not want go that way, but the police and the city gave us a great push forward, since 1991 we were registered on the list of 22 tolerated cannabis outlets in Haarlem.

After a smooth take off, it became a real struggle to stay open and in business, Haarlem decided to allow no more than 15 coffeeshops, so 7 coffeeshops were to be closed, one way or another. The local authorities came up with a local coffeeshop policy, in which they included rules and regulations, any violation of those rules would lead to the closure of the involved coffeeshop. We managed to stay open, in spite of conflicts with the landlord, the city, the tax-office and the police, with the help of our loyal group of visitors and a few colleagues.

In 1996 we joined the Mediweed project, which meant we started to supply ill people with cannabis, for the buyer’s price, which meant a 50 % discount on the regular price on the coffeeshop-menu. Mediweed was initiated by Wernard Bruining, Holland’s #1 Cannabis Pioneer, also the man involved in starting the first coffeeshop in Amsterdam, the Mellow Yellow, and the founder of the Positronics growshop I mentioned above.

After years of visiting cannabis fairs in the Netherlands and a few more European countries we gathered a nice collection of hemp based products and paraphernalia, which made us start a shop that combined the sales of hemp-products, grow-equipment and paraphernalia opposite the Haarlem train station. The sales in the shop were sufficient to pay most of the bills, but the constant presence of police cars across the street, parked their so the officers could serve their paperwork to the Courthouse in the Station complex, did not inspire growers to from us.

We cancelled the contract on the shop, and moved to a huge place in the city centre, at the Spaarne River side. We opened the Global Hemp Museum there, a combination of the former shop and a huge museum area were we exposed our growing collections of hemp-based products and paraphernalia. Add up Wernard Bruining’s complete collection of items from his history in seed production, the coming up of the Sinsemilla Guerrilla, some interior of the Mellow Yellow coffeeshop and the history, and you have an interesting museum.

The museum started slowly, but it became a cannabis hotspot, informing people from around the world about the multifunctionality of the plant as a whole, not just about smoking the dried flowers, but ‘hemp from rope to dope’, as we presented it. We did tours with the local police, the national police, local and regional political parties and even the Israeli police, followed by Israeli state officials, informing themselves about the medicinal possibilities of marihuana!

Because of the nature of the museum, we eventually got into a conflict with yet another landlord, who took us to court, to ask for our eviction. We lost the first court case, so we were thrown out immediately, so, although we won the appeal later, we had to close up the place we had built up from an old storage to an ongoing cannabis exposition with live plants and all.

In the meanwhile, Willie Wortel had expanded by two more outlets through takeovers of coffeeshops with license to sell (cannabis). All three are still open today, I am a co-owner in two of them, the other one us now owned by my children, my ex-wife and a former partner.

A couple of years ago we went looking for a new place to live, not in Holland, but in the south of Spain, where the sun shines as often as it rains in our country. We wanted to get away from the cannabis scene for a while, get rid of all the tension after years of stress about the business we are in. We decided to rent a nice house for a year for our sabbatical, to enjoy sun, sea and great food, and huge dessert- joints.

We ended up in the middle of Spain’s cannabis scene, after walking into a growshop for rolling papers. The owner had visited our coffeeshops and the Global Hempmuseum a few years ago, we were invited to food, bud and beverages right away.

After two years we found ourselves a place we wanted to buy, a nice private old farmhouse (finca) on a plot of 66.000 square meters, in a beautiful rural area.

The idea was to turn it into a small resort for cannabis fans, a place to un-stress and recharge mentally and physically, the ideal get together for those who really want to relax in peace and quiet.

We are working on the renovation and extensions of the finca for 3 years now, ongoing, at the point of opening for clients. This blog contains images of people handling and smoking cannabis buds and resin, if you do not like that, do not look at it….

Nol van Schaik en Maruska de Blaauw.

Posted in Cannabis for a living. | 2 Comments