The People You Meet in Amsterdam Coffeeshops is a series of candid conversations with coffeeshop patrons about life, cannabis, and everything in between. In our ninth installment, Florence discusses societal differences in alcohol and cannabis, childhood memories, and creative carpentry.
Cannabis preference: Haze
Met at: Tweede Kamer
(Karina Hof for Leafly)
Leafly: You come here regularly, but do you also smoke elsewhere?
Florence: At parties we do it too, and at home. It depends on which people you are with. Most of our friends are drinkers, so most of the time we drink something with them if, say, we’re all going to a bar. But it’s not like we go to a coffeeshop and smoke a joint together.
Still, in Amsterdam, it’s not super regular to smoke weed. In society, alcohol is pretty accepted. It’s pretty normal to drink a lot, and it’s normal to do it at, say, 4 or even 12 in the afternoon, but smoking here is seen as a little bit bad. I think it’s better for your body to smoke weed than to drink alcohol. I don’t like to lose control—if I drink two beers or something, I’m pretty buzzed away and I act totally different. I don’t like that.
Have you convinced any of your friends to try weed?
No, I’ve tried to smoke some joints with friends. One of my best friends hadn’t smoked cigarettes, so she didn’t know how to inhale right and she didn’t get stoned or high from it. So for her, it was nothing; it was like, “Oh, is this it?” It’s harder to get people to smoke weed. We’ve smoked a joint with his father [points to tablemate].
What about your parents?
I remember from childhood home videos that my stepfather smoked weed. My real father is sick, so he doesn’t smoke weed and my mother really hates it. She bans alcohol, drugs, and weed—she’s pretty strict. But I was born next to a coffeeshop and I grew up in the city center, so my awareness of coffeeshops has always been there with the smell.
Do you remember the first time you became aware that you were beside a coffeeshop?
My mother took me to this fries place [points to shop across the street] one time. I was really young, and I read on the window that it was a “coffeeshop,” and I thought that meant you could drink coffee over here. So my memory of this place goes back to when I was five or something. But I started smoking weed regularly when I was 21.
What do you do when you’re not at Tweede Kamer?
I’m a carpenter—I’m studying to be one. I’m trying to build my own furniture. I’ve been to art school and I studied graphic design, so I expect I’ll make a living in the creative scene.
What do you think of these furnishings?
Really nice. They’ve just redone the place. It’s totally beautiful. I was totally amazed when I saw it [traces surface of wood paneling]. I was like, “Yes! This is how you do it.” We have a lot of touristy coffeeshops in Amsterdam that have neon lights and crazy stuff inside. This is done in an old style.
There are also really fun facts about this coffeeshop. For example, there are ashes in one of those containers [points to shelf above bar]. There was an American tourist who came here a lot and, as his last wish, he asked the bar people to put his ashes in one of those things. And they did that for him.
This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.
Lead image: Karina Hof for Leafly.