growing seeds north

It was prized and celebrated when it arrived from places like Nepal, Lebanon, and especially Afghanistan, where hashish had been cultivated for centuries. Illegal growing operations had begun to flourish in remote rural places around the nation, and as any gardener or farmer will tell you, the quality of the plant begins with the seed and the climate in which is grown. Pioneering growers were beginning to turn out better quality product, but were hindered since they did not have access to high quality, original cannabis seeds. Unfortunately, Amsterdam had turned sleazy by the time we arrived and I was promptly robbed by street thugs.

While walking on Stroeget, the walking street of Copenhagen, I was suddenly hoisted up into the air. Startled at first, I soon realized I’d been lifted by Otis Taylor, a dear old friend of mine from Denver, Colorado. Otis is a great blues performer who was later inducted into the Colorado Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. Otis had been living in Europe working on his music. He introduced me to the high end of Danish hip society—the musicians, the artists, shop owners and, of course, drug smugglers. We met Jim Manning who owned a leather store called the Bit Ov Sole. Jim invited us to visit his farm on Bornholm, a Danish island. A week later, my small family and I were living on Bornholm that is a 12-hour ferry ride from Malmo, Sweden.

During the next few months, we went back and forth between Bornholm and Denmark. We eventually parked the VW bus in Christiana, the free city inside Copenhagen where hippies had completely taken over the former military buildings. Their commune’s central authority allowed no police presence. Coffee houses, vegetarian restaurants and crash hostels occupied the buildings the commune had appropriated. It was complete harmony with hippies waving one hand free. Christiana was even more radical than my hometown of Boulder. While peddling my LSD in Denmark, I ended up at a house off Friedens Ark and Pusher Street where 12 people, mostly girls, lived. The house was the end point of a smuggling operation run by some Danes. Unloading their drugs from false-bottom suitcases and special-built vehicles, the traders unpacked, disassembled, and repackaged their psychedelic contents mostly for sale to locals, but some buyers came from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. At that house, I met Pimm, a Danish smuggler, who also kept a house in a small village outside of Mazār-i-Sharīf, Afghanistan. He was the typical smuggler that takes something of lesser value to a faraway place where it increases in value and creates a bigger profit. He would take apart walnuts in Afghanistan, replace the nut with a gram of hash, glue the shells back together, and export them to Denmark by the case. I appreciated his ingenuity, but I told him of a smuggling technique I had in mind that involved exotic animals and false-bottom cages. Five days later, Pimm and I flew to Kabul, Afghanistan where he had a vehicle and we drove north to Mazār-i-Sharīf. Two days later, we left his house for the Hindu Kush region near Pakistan. Pimm spoke Pashto and knew how to greet and pay baksheesh to the right tribal leader. We traveled unmolested through Afghanistan during that time with a photo of their leader on the dash of our car. We met some Mujahedeen and drank tea with them in their tents. Pimm bought hash from him and I traded my parka to the son for 10,000 Afghani Indica marijuana seeds. The Hindu Kush region compared to the high desert of Colorado—hot days, cool nights, and crisp air. The mountains seemed so like the Colorado Rockies that I came up with an idea to take the seeds back to my own hemisphere. The valleys of the Hindu Kush resembled the Paonia Valley on my side of the world. Taking the tea bag out of hot water is about my speed.

Even so, I helped Pimm design and manufacture the cages to hold both animals and hashish. Pimm shipped my seeds with his walnuts in the false bottoms of the cages to Denmark. I left him in Kabul to his adventures and departed to my own adventure in Nepal. Before I left, I went to the local market and bought a sheepskin coat and bags of spices.

I put about a hundred seeds in one cardamom spice bag.

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