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 second installment, Yalçin talks music, Turkish medicine, and why he wishes his mother would try cannabis.

Hometown: Ankara, Turkey

Age: 49

Cannabis preference: Sativas, each day a different kind.

Met at: Katsu

The People You Meet in Amsterdam Coffeeshops | Leafly
Yalçin poses for a portrait at Katsu coffeeshop in Amsterdam. (Karina Hof for Leafly)

Leafly: What do you do?

Yalçin: I work at Café de Paris, where I’m a manager. I’m in charge of overseeing everything, but actually it’s more like a bunch of shit-chores [laughs]. As hobbies, I really enjoy smoking and playing music.

What kind of music?

My main instruments are guitar and drum—the rest I’m still learning, and have been working at it for about two years. I really love reggae, and I also play blues, jazz, everything.

What effect does smoking have on you?

It brings me peace, spirit-wise, body-wise, pain-wise. It makes me more sociable than selfish. If I don’t smoke, I’m more selfish. I need to fill my wallet. I need to fill everything. Smoking lets me be a different way.

When did you begin smoking?

2010.

Did something in particular prompt that?

I was hooked on alcohol, hard drugs, meat, sex, money, fame, blah, blah, blah. But weed helped rid me of all those things I was hooked on, and it left me feeling at peace. I got rid of so many addictions. Thanks to weed, I became vegan. I see weed as something very positive. Very positive. My mother sees medicine as very positive. She has a bag with 50 different brands of medicine in it. I have one: weed.

Has your mother tried it?

No, unfortunately [laughs]. My mother ought to try cannabis oil. But if I offer it, my family will be done with me. They’ll say, “Yeah, you’re a junkie; now you’re going to turn your mother into a junkie.” I say, my mother is already a medicine junkie—she has that bag. Hey, in Turkey, on one street, you have 20 pharmacies; same story on the next street, and the next. So each street doesn’t have a coffeeshop, but it does have medicine shops.

Is general use of cannabis legal in Turkey?

No, they’ll put you in jail. They’re hard as nails. Real nice. A lot of money is made from drugs in Turkey, though you can’t do them there. And so here I am, sitting comfortably at Katsu. I make cool music, I work at Café de Paris, and live in Amsterdam. And to top it off, I’m Kurdish.

 

This interview has been translated from Dutch, condensed, and lightly edited for clarity.

Lead image: Karina Hof for Leafly.