AMSTERDAM - Marijuana growers gathered in Europe‘s pot-smoking capital on Sunday for a trade show that is taking on the trappings of a major industry fair, complete with scantily clad models, glossy brochures and, of course, samples.
But instead of posing next to muscle cars, the models explained the intricacies of hydroponics culture such as the "iGrow-box Intensive Irrigation System" and exhibitors showed off their bongs, grinders, rolling paper, reflective film, hemp-fabric apparel and how-to marijuana growing videos.
"This gives you an uplifting high, up in the mind, not in your body," marijuana cultivator Arjan Roskam said of his latest Cannabis Cup-winning strain, "Arjan‘s Haze #1".
Roskam, who says he has hosted celebrities such as 50 Cent and Eminem in his Amsterdam coffee shops, was selling his prize-winning plant seeds for 100 euros (69 pounds) alongside other strains such as the "Great White Shark" and "Hawaiian Snow".
Andre Beckers, the organiser of the International Highlife Hemp Fair, said he was expecting 15,000 to 20,000 visitors at the fair, held for the first time in Amsterdam instead of Utrecht, a smaller Dutch city to the southeast of the capital.
"This is part of the normalisation process," Beckers said. "People see this as a normal fair."
While Dutch "coffee shops" are allowed to sell small quantities of marijuana, growing and distribution of cannabis remain illegal in the Netherlands. Police were at the fair but did not appear to be taking action against the growers.