In 1987, cannabis entrepreneur Ben Dronkers, together with his friend Ed Rosenthal, opened the Cannabis Info Museum in Amsterdam’s red light district. They wanted to share their personal cannabis collection and a passion for the plant, but the Dutch minister of Justice thought the museum was promoting illegal activities and closed it on day one after the official opening. However, Ben Dronkers successfully challenged the closure and reopened the museum the next day. The museum, later baptised into the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, has been there ever since.
“There is no plant that is so versatile, has such a wonderful history and so much potential for the future. I have been involved with cannabis all my life and the plant keeps surprising me. There are many misconceptions, inaccurate information and even blatant lies. Terrible propaganda against a plant! Through the stories behind the unique objects in our collection people can form their own opinion.”
The Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum confers the Cannabis Culture Awards to people who have taken a place at the frontline of the struggle for acceptance of cannabis in all its forms. Winners in previous years include former Dutch prime minister Dries van Agt; ‘godfather of vapor’ Eagle Bill; activist Fernanda de la Figuera; psychiatrist Lester Grinspoon; activist Jack Herer; and poet Simon Vinkenoog.
Sensi Seeds, founded in 1985, pioneered the cannabis seed industry. Today, the company is the world’s largest cannabis seedbank with over 500 cannabis varieties, and four shops in Amsterdam and Barcelona. These genetics and the brand name have become true classics in the cannabis community. The Dutch government chose Sensi Seeds genetics to develop the medicinal cannabis supplied by pharmacies.
Not content to merely talk about the wonderful things that hemp is capable of; in 1994 Ben Dronkers founded HempFlax, a company in the north of the Netherlands dedicated to growing and processing industrial hemp. In 2015, HempFlax opened a second factory in Romania. The company is leading the international hemp revival, and is continuously developing new products, from construction and animal care to nutraceuticals or industrial applications.