…and how a global free spontaneous event becomes a marketing failure
It’s the morning of 420, as I live in Amsterdam since almost 2 years now I felt the impelling need to participate in full to the annual celebration that’s supposed to embrace the spirit of the cannabis community world wide.
I woke up early, get my choco-sugary breakfast and jumped on the net to find out the (supposedly) “amazing” program of the day, as soon as i queried google with a demi articulate sentence like “420 ams 2014” the horrible reality of the fact was ahead of the results: Amsterdam 420 is CANCELLED! With a mix of hateful rage and something like an “I knew it” feeling already building up, i clicked on the infamous link just to get some more info on why the cannabis capital of Europe was giving up on this worldwide event…
-Due to the health status of organiser P**** L***.
And the lack of motivation in the Dutch cannabisculture.-
And there we go, stoners lacks motivation! Big F*cking Deal!
In a Simpson’s episode, some 10 years ago, people of Springfield organized a referendum for legalization of cannabis but everyone was too stoned to remember to go vote… They loose the chance and eventually good ol’ chief wiggum burnt all the weed letting the city get stoned for the last time before adding some horse cr*p to the fire. Now that’s something very close to what’s happening here, only difference is that was sarcastic, this ain’t.
the official website of 420 Amsterdam announcing the 2014 event is cancelled…
I was already half way of my first weed joint of the day (beautiful terptasty Shoreline), I was in a quite inquisitive mood, I started digging for the story behind the story. In particular this piece information below get all my attention:
-There will be a friendly ‘Smoke in the park’ from about 15:00 - 17:00 at the Vondelpark location.
Out of respect for all the Dutch and foreign people who did! supported the AMS420 in the last few years.
I will be there, but there will be no big event and no parade.
Sorry and Greetz… -
No event, no parade, just a smoke-out in the park with whoever will be there… K, thought that’s enough and maybe I’ll peep in just to shoot some pics and get a nice afternoon smoke in the nature.
The “event” at this point sounded more like a private gathering of long time friends than a open public meeting/celebration. - “Dunno, maybe I’ll go maybe I’ll stay home…” -
In the search for more details, maybe I know someone who’s going, maybe there will be someone interesting to talk with etc etc… I headed for the FB page of the event,
Comments to a post in the FB group of 420Amsterdam advertising another event for the day on the same location is kindly unwelcome by the organizer of official 420… (I don’t like to give away private details so names and link are omitted, u can check it for urself here—https://www.facebook.com/groups/340045329393393/—)
What’s wrong here? That’s clear the organization has health problems, I’m sorry (and get well soon btw) but why don’t pass the ball then… why don’t let someone else do it, at least for the sake of the culture and the tradition.
Looks like there’s some kind of interest behind this supposedly free and open event dedicated to the sharing of the passion and culture about and around cannabis.
A post on the forum coffeshopdirect explain what how was the event in the past years. (—here—)
A 1sec Google search filled the void again, a post on a forum dedicated to the city’s coffeshops clarified the situation at least for me… Some replies underlined the fact that instead of a people driven event, during the last 2 years, this has been more a ego/sponsor-show where people had to pay 30 euro to get in and searched by the police… the whole thing was driven by a mixture of relevant local companies and some shops with an attitude to lead a cash-oriented movement. By the end of my (delightful shoreline) joint I was totally disgusted by what was going on.
- A separate event. Under a similar name was held a little way outside the town center that evening.
Tickets cost in the region of 30 euro each.
There was a search at the door where security attempted to confiscate any weed they could.
The whole thing was a bit of a chore really.
The venue was total shit. The drinks were too expensive.
It was a rush for cash. -
I was almost expecting this kind of outlook, it’s a hugely hyped event by the internet so why someone shouldn’t try to surf the wave and get some funky extra cash-flow? You know I’m not against capitalism and the possibility of a market for everything, is just that sometimes you expect the thing to be more spontaneous, I’d rather welcome stalls of homemade heady delicacies and homegrown weed, even some professional ethics peddlers could be welcome but this is more like a local fair of the stoned fleas in my romantic idea, more than a corporate event where everyone comes to adore some rusty hippy crying about the marvels of full market legalization. Their objective is clear, coffeshops are allowed to sell small amounts of marijuana and derivates and pay taxes on the revenue but banks won’t deal with this, nevertheless there’s no rule for the supply chain behind this, de-facto it’s illegal to grow a commercial crop in The Netherlands, shop owners and growers face criminal records every time they get caught and sometimes this means the end of the business.
Eventually, this all make sense, the effort of some people to improve their business didn’t match the expectation of the mass of smokers who felt they deserved a proper free-open event just to smoke some weeds in a good company and be happy with that, instead they got a stage with crying ego-leaders and a drug search for the price of 30euro.
All in all I’m happy this year we’ll not see anything like that and to me it’s pretty clear why this attempt to monetize and brand a world wide free event resulted in a failure. What really leave this bitter taste eventually is the fact that all this happened in Amsterdam, once, the weed capital of the world, nowadays no more than a market desperately struggling to float in a system that never changed or improved since 30 years or so.
Sorry but I’m going to have my fucking loud smelly and free 420 anyway officially or not…
Shoreline & Somari, my selection for a proper 420 celebration day - Shout to (Eerste Hulp Coffeshop - imho best in town!!)