Amsterdam’s Cannabis College: Public Cannabis Education
The Cannabis College started out from humble beginnings, and is now an iconic place for the public to receive education about cannabis. Founded by Henk Poncin and funded by donations as well as by Sensi Seeds, the college has become a hub for public lectures, gatherings, and even cannabis strain release parties.
Since its opening in the late Nineties, the Cannabis College has delivered cannabis education to the public from its beautiful canal house setting in the heart of Amsterdam. From walk-in questions to tailored courses about cannabis botany, history, and therapeutic use, the Cannabis College offers a unique way to explore the world of cannabis.
The Cannabis College didn’t start without its challenges. At first the city government refused to issue it a sales permit and the college was forced to find investors to keep itself afloat. Just a few years after it opened, the rear of the college – the location of its library and information centre – was ravaged by a fire.
However, every time the Cannabis College confronts a challenge, political or economic, it stays true to its manifesto and remains a safe haven for public cannabis education.
Let’s have a look at the story of the Cannabis College and the wonderful things you can experience there.
About the Cannabis College
Founded in: 1997
Founded by: Henk Poncin and the members of the Green Prisoners Release activist group
Address: Oudezijds Achterburgwal 124, 1012 DT Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Cannabis College was founded by Henk Poncin, a Dutchman who was also a member of the Green Prisoners Release. This activist group lobbied for the release of those unjustly imprisoned for cannabis-related crimes. The group was especially active in the case of Les and Cheryl Mooring who sought refuge in The Netherlands after being arrested in the US for growing cannabis.
In 1997 Henk Poncin combined his activist background with his desire to deliver cannabis education to the public, and thus the Cannabis College was born.
The college offers all kinds of courses, from short to more in-depth courses, and even training for coffeeshop staff. The public can receive education about cannabis botany, cannabinoid science, and even the history of cannabis use and culture.
Admission to the college is free, and whether or not visitors are cannabis users, everyone is welcome. Recreational users can receive guidance on how to spot contaminated or dangerous cannabis, while medicinal users can receive education on the use of vaporizers instead of smoking.
The college even has its very own cannabis garden in the basement that – for a donation – the public can visit and take photos of!
Rough beginnings for the Cannabis College
The expected opening date for the Cannabis College was 1997. However, Amsterdam’s city government refused to give the Cannabis College a sales permit. This made it difficult for Poncin to continue funding the college, as renovations and preparations had drained the budget.
Eventually a generous investor by the name of Eddie, a contemporary of Ben Dronkers and one of the Netherlands’ other original seed breeders, donated what the Cannabis College required to keep operating. With this donation, the college was able to open its doors, start delivering classes, and generating an income to stay operational.
In the summer of 2002, the information centre of the Cannabis College was lost to a fire. This area had been a library and archive that visitors and staff could consult to find the answers to all kinds of cannabis questions. It took months of renovation to restore it, but the college finally reopened with a fresh look, a brand new cannabis garden, new merchandise, and a new website.
Education as activism
The primary manifesto of the Cannabis College is that education is activism. The next necessary step towards the evolution of cannabis legalization is public education. The Cannabis College prides itself on providing truthful, accurate, and up-to-date information about cannabis.
The Cannabis College has hosted training sessions, medical lectures for those in the public health sector, cannabis strain release parties, poetry readings, film premieres, and even university lectures. Public gatherings for the purpose of cannabis education is the most powerful way that the Cannabis College participates in cannabis activism in The Netherlands.
The Cannabis College aims to deliver enough information to the public to be able to make sound decisions when it comes to policy reform. With the correct education, the public can actively participate in cannabis policy reform of the future.
Visit, look, learn
There’s a lot to do at the Cannabis College, whether you’re a local or a tourist. Here are some of the things you can do at the Cannabis College:
Visit for free and check out the library
People are absolutely free to visit the Cannabis College just to have a walk around, ask questions, and check things out. For a small donation, they can also have a look at the cannabis garden, and take photos of the plants.
The Cannabis College hosts an open library area carrying a selection of literature and digital media about cannabis. Books are available in Dutch, French, Spanish, German, English, Italian, and even a few in Japanese, Hebrew, Polish, Russian and Norwegian. It’s a unique resource for everyone to enjoy and consult.
Take a day class or a long course
If you book in advance, you can take a day class or a long course at the Cannabis College. You can learn the ins and outs of different cannabis consumption methods, cannabinoid science, medicinal uses, and the culture and history of cannabis use. For cannabis businesses such as coffeeshops, staff training is available.
Whether you’re just curious or whether you want to work in the industry, the Cannabis College can give you up-to-date education.
Have a look at the calendar and attend an event
The Cannabis College regularly hosts events for the purpose of cannabis education. They might be lectures, film viewings, or even parties to celebrate the release of a new cannabis variety. It’s a great way to meet people in the industry and those who also have a passion for cannabis.
Get your cannabis tested
The Cannabis College also performs testing on cannabis samples for the general public. It’s one of the few places in the world that offer this service.
For €25 they’ll test for the six main cannabinoids (THC, THCV, CBD, CBN, CBC, and CBG). Whether you’ve got buds or a cannabis product such as extract, you can have its potency, and whether or not it’s contaminated, professionally checked. For €50, you can receive a full microscopic analysis of your product.
The Cannabis College is a hub for safe and effective cannabis information. It is one of the few places in the world that people can receive accurate, professional education about cannabis. Amsterdam’s Cannabis College is one of two in the whole world. The other is in California and is called Oaksterdam University, although it has no affiliation with the Cannabis College.
The Cannabis College reminds us that legalization doesn’t happen without education. This is something that is absolutely crucial for the future of cannabis. Visit the Cannabis College today for education, to check out the garden, or just to meet like-minded people.
If you visit, don’t forget to take a stroll around the corner to the Sensi Seeds Cornershop or over the canal to the original Sensi Seed Bank to invest in some cannabis seeds, then explore the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum for inspiration!