In this marijuana cultivation, the Americans took the initiative. It is known that already in the 1950s there were establishments on the other side of the Atlantic dedicated to the sale of products for the cultivation of cannabis. But these types of stores, now so popular that they even already have their version online, they would not become truly famous internationally until the arrival of Wernard Bruining and his Positronics of Amsterdam.
An innovative concept around marijuana
Marijuana consumers have always existed and producers as well. Only that for a long time they had been separated by a rather large distance. The self-cultivation of marijuana is a relatively recent hobby, or at least the fact of being able to enjoy it with the necessary tools so that everything turns out perfectly.
Until a few decades ago, those who wanted to consume marijuana had to resort to practices even less legal than having the occasional plant at home for their own consumption. What’s more, even their own coffee shops Amsterdam, which began to open its doors in the 70s, had to bring the cannabis that was consumed in the establishments ‘through the back door’, as they say.
The marijuana that was smoked in these places came mainly from Colombia and Thailand while the hashish was imported mainly from Lebanon and Morocco. The fact is that this legal paradox present in the Netherlands (cannabis can be consumed but cannot be produced), has been maintained until today. With the emergence and proliferation of grow shops the concept of growing marijuana undergoes an interesting transformation and becomes closer to the user that, in addition to enjoying consuming it, you now have the option of producing it in small quantities for your own enjoyment.
Of the coffee shop al grow shop
The adventure of self-cultivation in Europe began in the 1970s with the appearance of the first coffee shop from Amsterdam, the Mellow Yellow. An old bakery occupation by some hippies in 1972 and turned into a place for the sale and consumption of yerba. One of the promoters of this cannabis project was Wernard Bruining, who knew how to make good use of the openness of the Dutch laws regarding soft drugs. This is how Mellow Yellow (which is still operating, despite the fact that it no longer belongs to any of the founding partners), became a benchmark for the city’s cannabis culture.
But selling marijuana from other parts of the world was something that did not quite convince this restless grower who from the beginning was clear that the best product that could be offered to the customer was his own product. It would take him many years to figure out how to implement a strategy to carry out his plan, but he would finally achieve it in 1984 with the founding of Positronics, the first grow shop of Europe.
With this store, Bruining wanted to free the habitual marijuana consumer from their dependence on importing foreign products and encourage them to produce their own cannabis at home. A concept that still today remains quite contradictory in many countries (including the Netherlands, despite its open policy on issues related to soft drugs) in which, although the consumption or possession of yerba up to certain amounts is not prohibited or decriminalized, production may be punishable by law in some cases.
What did Positronics bring to the world of marijuana growing?
Positronics was the first store in Europe to supply cannabis growers with the necessary material to grow marijuana crops at home: irrigation systems, lamps, extractors, additives, substrates and of course seeds.
Despite the fact that the history of marijuana has not done Bruining much justice (who unlike other cannabis advocates still does not have a seed variety that pays tribute to him) other than being one of the founders of the first coffee shop of history and of the first grow shop of Europe, He learned to grow cannabis with the best teachers in California and he had the great idea to start marketing marijuana seeds to make them available to all growers.
The success of Positronics was so great that it even founded an information magazine for the cultivation of marijuana, the Soft Secrets, a still existing headline (although it now belongs to another publisher), which from the beginning was a benchmark in the sector and is currently published in eight languages, being the most important cannabis magazine in the world.
The demise of Positronics and the rise of grows shops
It has been more than a decade since the first grow shop of Europe closed its doors. It happened in 1996, coinciding with the rise of this type of stores around the world. The sale of marijuana seeds, as it had been raised by Bruining, was beginning to be a profitable business.
Weed cannot be sold, it is illegal, but marijuana seeds are considered collectors’ items and are not offensive in the eyes of any European legislation (nor in many other countries of the world). So after the birth of Positronics these stores began to appear and in parallel the seed banks. Shortly after, Internet businesses emerged and today it is possible to access all kinds of cannabis varieties as well as the necessary tools for their cultivation from the comfort of home.
But without Bruining’s initiative and his conviction that things could be done differently, this business probably would not have been what it is today, or at least, its rise and proliferation would have been delayed for many more years.