As more and more countries embrace cannabis legalization, it’s important not to forget the vital role the Netherlands has played over the last five decades by providing a safe haven both for cannabis plants and for cannabis people.
Throughout a long dark age of near total global oppression, the mere existence of Amsterdam’s coffeeshops provided reformers all over the world with an irreplaceable living model to point to when arguing for an alternative to prohibition.
For anyone who simply longed to get high in peace, those wonderful shops sent out a green beacon of hope, even if you were never fortunate enough to actually visit one in person.
And that’s not the only significant way the Netherlands changed the world of cannabis.
In the 1970s, Dutch seed banks began producing and distributing untold millions of high quality cannabis seeds. As a result, the Netherlands became the ultimate cannabis melting pot, a literal breeding ground where strains from Afghanistan and Morocco were crossed with strains from Thailand and Mexico, with the best of these hybrids going on to become international sensations once their seeds reached underground growers operating in every corner of the globe.
In short, it’s the story of how kind bud became a thing.
But why the Netherlands? What made it the one country to tolerate cannabis when nobody else would? And how did that tolerance forever change the way the rest of us grow, sell, and consume this plant?
The short answer is that it all started with a provocation.
A Rather Sizable Loophole
Starting in 1964, the Dutch Provo movement (short for “provocateurs”) used a mix of street performances, subversive art, and impromptu political demonstrations to take on a system run by “despicable plastic people,” and push for a series of progressive reforms that included immediate cannabis legalization.
To prove that the