Hits 5765 | Created 2007-05-29 | Modified 2007-05-29
I met a strange man a few nights ago in a downtown bar - strange mainly because he seemed to be wearing home-made clothes and make-up. During the course of our chit-chat conversation I happened to ask him what he did for a living. 'I grow grass.' He said.
'Oh, really?' I replied and drifted off, thinking about sunny fields of cannabis waving gently in the breeze. I was brought back to earth by a nagging doubt that came to the front of my consciousness. 'Did you say blow glass?' I asked, as a guess.
He had. I was thankful that I hadn't launched into a discussion of cultivation techniques and seed sources with him. It seemed that he was an artist, which at least explained the home-made clothes.
Strangely enough though, he told me later, last summer he had worked as a 'harvester' on a grass growing enterprise somewhere 'up north' where huge, sunny fields of cannabis waved gently in the breeze, and large sums of money could be made by people reckless enough to be employed collecting the stuff. It had all ended in tears - he had been amongst the plants harvesting, pruning shears poised for a cut, when he heard voices on the other side of a nearby hedgerow - police voices. There was a large van full of cops and they were discussing where to search first. He ran as fast as he could to grab his things and then headed straight back 'down south'. The next night, he watched police walking though his field on the TV news. He didn't make any money that year.
The conversation turned around to hash after a while and he told me that he made his own, during the winter. Interested, I asked him how he did it. He had an unusual method involving snow, a shovel and an industrial sized dustbin. I gave him my email address and urged him to send me with the details, he promised he would, but never did.
I have always been interested in the production of hashish, and this method was a pretty novel one for me. I told him how they made hashish in Morocco in return - information furnished by a friend of mine who stayed on a grass-ranch out there some years ago. He had arrived in Morocco, green, young and pretty and had been instantly surrounded by dodgy looking locals who would grab his arm and pull him into doorways, saying things like, 'My friend, do not be paranoid, but that man over there is an undercover policeman. If you want hashish, you must come with me.' Frightened, he would take his leave, only to be grabbed by the undercover 'policeman', who would say, 'My friend, do not be paranoid, but that man you were just talking to is an undercover policeman...' And so on.
After a month of this kind of nonsense, he finally met up with a 'legitimate' hashish dealer who invited him to his friend's grass farm, out in 'the country'. The drive to the farm took in hours of deserted wilderness, armed police and army checkpoints - his driver explained, 'The police and army are paid by my friend to protect his interests.'
Introduced to the owner of the farm, they got along like old friends and soon he was staying in a luxury apartment, smoking 'pollen press' hashish, which, he was told, was only available to growers and their friends. He told me it was amazing stuff. Whilst he was a guest on the farm he was shown the hashish making process, which he described to me like this: 'They take the female plant and smash it through this really fine mesh, and what they get out is pressed and is called first grade. They then take the old plants and smash them through another mesh, this time a little coarser. The results they take and press, and this is called second grade. Then they take the plants and bash them through another, really coarse mesh which they call third grade. Then, what's left over they either throw away or press into blocks and send to England.'
A few months ago I met a man who was telling this exact same story at a party, to a group of girls, with minor differences about the beating techniques and locations. He told the story about a 'friend of a friend.' - the story seems to have made it to urban legend status. The person that told me the story was flesh and blood though (as an aside, the same friend once was convicted in an English court for cannabis offences and sentenced to ninety days in jail, at which point he telephoned his parents and told them that he was going to Europe for a few months).
This story inspired me to try and create my own 'pollen press', and I had the chance a while ago, when my household decided to grow its own grass (tired of the expense of purchasing blocks of wax and henna). I rooted through my books and found a 1980's guide to grass growing, which I had downloaded from an illegal BBS service way back when. It gave precise wattages, light types, timings over the months, pruning instructions - the full monty. The plants grew like rockets in a cupboard under the stairs that we had painted white (better light reflection than silver) and installed lights in.
We chose the cupboard, rather than in the loft, because we had heard that the police in our town would fly over the houses during the night in a helicopter equipped with an infra-red camera, and note down the addresses of any houses with strangely hot roofs. The next day the suspect's house would receive a visit from an officer or two to inspect the premises. We didn't know if this story was true or not, but we could hear the helicopters all right, so took no chances.
After a few weeks we took out all the males and my friend began to destroy them. 'No! Wait!' I cried, and rescued one for my pollen project.
My male grew to the height of my room and had leaves ten inches long. It would frighten visitors. In due time it sprouted all over with little flowers and I would daily dust the pollen off them all into a little pot. Over a few weeks I collected about a camera-film-case full of the little flowers and fine powder. My friend would grumble and tell me to keep my door shut lest my nasty pollen should find its way into the female cupboard.
We didn't know how to make hash, but my friend could make cannabis oil, which he would carry around in a tiny bottle, spread it on cigarette papers, let it dry, and then roll cigarettes which produced dizzying highs.
In the end, the females were a success and the oil a phenomenon. If only we could make hash, we thought. Well, we finally decided to try out my pollen-press. Perhaps press is a little misleading - it seemed to be impossible to press a camera film container full of flowers and powder into anything other than, well, flat flowers and powder. In frustration we rolled it all up into a big joint, flowers and all, and smoked it - pollen billowing out of the end like a bizarre, restless flower.
It was terrible. Even Moroccan English-grade was better.