This cozy little, American owned shop in the center of the city is tricky to find. The shop holds about 20 and that's plenty. Push the door closed when you come in. Grey Area is completely decorated with stickers from all over the world. It must also be the only shop that has 420 ALL DAY LONG. Check the clock.
You can get your smoke at the bar just ask for the menu. They have a nice collection of weed and hash. ALL killer! You can get your (American style) 8ths, "pre-rolled" joints and un-pressed THC crystal (Kif).
Music played here is chill tunes and or rock. As an American it might feel like your dealers living room. They have a nice bong selection and the guy behind the counter is most likely one of the owners. I'm sure that they'll still have free coffee refills but don't setup camp. :)
Shop is open from; about 12.00pm till about 08.00pm.
Where are you from?
I'm from Rhode Island, in the States.
How long have you been in Amsterdam?
I've been living here for about eight years now.
What's the meaning of Grey Area?
Grey Area actually comes from the law books where they stated the supply for the coffeeshops is in the "Grey Area". That it's a tolerated policy...
Hi, may I have a gram of the 'Yellow Cab'?
How long has this shop been here?
Eh... we've been existing for about 7 years now.
What is your best selling weed and hash? and which do you prefer?
Well the hash, one of our house specialties is the "Grey Mist Crystal" that's the un-pressed Dutch hash. It's been a winner with Cannabis Cup and that's just the un-pressed "trichombes". That's a really strong hash and then you have for grass eh...The most popular one is the "Double Bubblegum" that's the organic "Bubble gum" we started with in Holland in 1995.
I would smoke the bubblegum. It's like a really smooth grass, not too sleepy but it still has a nice high effect to it and a good taste and because it's organic it's a smooth smoke.
What will you be entering the Cannabis Cup this year?
Well we're checking on a couple of different varieties at this time but eh.. one possibility is the "Grey Haze" which is a new sativa that were thinking of entering and eh... an other possibility is from "Sagarmatha" seeds is the "Yumbolt" which was also a cup winner
As a tourist what are the three things I have to do before I leave Amsterdam?
Smoke it, Toke it, Joke it, Just don't choke it, "MonkeyMan" is here to stay.
How do you get your weed and or hash?
Most of our weeds are supplied by smaller growers who eh.... grow covertly in Amsterdam and we're a smaller shop so we candle handle more hobby type growers. That leads to a benefit in the quality of the weed. Meaning that small growers usually take more care with the plants than more commercial growers and you have also people come by offering weed and also people who deal different varieties of grass.
Have you had any famous people come to your shop?
Yes we've had several celebrities type figures We know a lot of people in music crews and performing artists so eh.. as word to mouth spreads we get a few famous people. For example B real/ Cypress Hill, we been with him before. Chris Robbinson/ Black Crowes always comes and hangs out at Grey Area. Also Willy Nelson famous Grey Area alumni, Flavor Flav/ Public Enemy and of course the list goes on and on. What do you think makes your shop special? Well, were an American run coffeeshop and we've been involved with High Times/ Cannabis Cup over the years so we've developed a clientele of mostly English speakers also European tourists, Americans, British citizens etc, and we are small shop that focuses on the quality of the weed and that is one aspect that makes it a nice shop and the other is the atmosphere that forms through the interaction of the people who do come here and a lot of times you have people meeting each other who know somebody in common a lot of people meet each other here for the first time and make some contacts which can be fun and or useful in the future.
Do you like the work?
Yeah, It's an interesting position it's like uh... same as working in a bar but it's with better atmosphere because you don't have the effects of alcohol and eh…that it always impressed me that you meat a lot of smokers from all around the world and the people from all different walks of live and different ages and different countries that they all appreciate cannabis and that it's something that's world wide.
What are the questions you here the most in your shop?
Often how we came to be in the shop and of course what kind of weed is the best and if we tried the vaporizer. Where do we get the weed from. Those kinda questions.
What is your opinion on the new regulations for coffeeshops and what is the newest thing going on right now?
The newest thing happening is uh.. from a few years ago when they issued the coffeeshop licenses that it's a restricted policy on coffeeshops that allows only the existing shops to be here and that no new shops can be formed and they do controls with the shops and try and weed out the less desirable shops.
The regulations and the licenses I think was a beneficial thing because it actually gave some legitimacy to the shop to where as before they were just existing in the "Grey Area" and it was uncontrolled and the rules that they put down for the shops are pretty much basic rules that are easy to follow for example, not to serve people under eighteen. You have to have limited amount of Cannabis in the shop at any one time. Not to sell more than 5 grams and not to be involved in any hard drugs or stolen goods or anything else that's on the shady side of things so I think the rules are pretty easy to follow and that it does benefit the community because it helps to bring coffeeshops a better came where as traditionally they've been viewed as a shady atmosphere.
What is the funniest thing that happened in your shop?
Um....... I'm not sure on that, I'm really not sure on that. there's been a lot of funny incidents but one which is a little bit of an unfortunate accident but stands out in my mind is pretty much hilarious was when a gentleman had actually overdosed himself after flying all night and not eating and what not and he passed out in the shops but when he came up he almost knocked his friend out by throwing punches, passed out again, went outside and then passed out for the second time when he woke up this time he incidentally knocked over about ten crates of glass bottles and smashed them all over the front when running down the street to get away in a fog of course 2 seconds down the shop were two police officers which he saw and just kept running and they didn't do anything either but it most have been a shock for him and it certainly has provided a humorous memories for me.
What do you miss about the U.S.?
Well, in the states you have more of a natural atmosphere I guess. I like to live in the city but I also like the natural atmosphere... In Holland, because it's mostly a small country and also one that's comprised of a lot of regained land that is been very much humanly manipulated, it's hard, really, you know, to get to a space where there's a lot of good nature and a lot of space like that. Yeah you have of course more variety of things in the states you know here's a little more smaller a little more limited atmosphere yeah that's about it........
Thanks John! (and Steve) CHIEFS!!
Grey Area Interview
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Note: This story has been restored from 09-12-2001 by P.T. Dante.