Mellow Yellow was the oldest cannabis coffee shop in Amsterdam, prior to its closure at the start of 2017.   The coffee shop was founded in 1972 by Wernard Bruinin in Weesperzijde, Amsterdam, on the premises of a former bakery. The shop is named after "Mellow Yellow", a song by Donovan which describes the singer trying to become intoxicated through smoking the peel of banana.
The intent of the shop is to sell cannabis, despite this being illegal at the time of its creation. Sales were originally disguised by drug dealers seated at the bar posing as customers. Mellow Yellow was unsuccessfully raided by police several times. Unpackaged cannabis, bought from wholesalers including drug lord Klaas Bruinsma, was hidden behind secret doors and shutters.
In 1975, the concept was adopted by a shop named Russia situated on the same street as Mellow Yellow and was followed by another coffee shop called The Bulldog. Now there are 223 such coffee shops in Amsterdam.
Bruining also runs Stichting Mediwiet (Medi Cannabis Foundation), a group that supports the legalization of growing marijuana for medicinal uses.
The shop was closed at the strike of the New Year in 2017, due to new legislation in Amsterdam requiring 28 coffeeshops located within 250 meters of schools to close. The owner protested that the school was a hairstyling academy with students generally over the age of 18, but the Amsterdam government still required its closure, in part to protect the remaining coffeeshops in Amsterdam from the wietpas requirements used in other parts of the Netherlands which ban foreigners from cannabis coffeeshops. The owner Johnny Petram stated his hope that he would be able to reopen Mellow Yellow at a new location.
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