A Year Being Weird, and Where We Go From Here

Damn, can y’all believe we’ve been doing this WEIRDOS thing for a year already? It seems like just yesterday I was writing the introduction, and trying to convince my superiors that calling this new section ‘WEIRDOS’ made sense, inspired by an earlier, random submission I received that I wanted to create more space for.

Today we’ve generated over 1 million impressions to this section alone, and created a social coefficient that’s hard to measure. The conversations that have been generated around these topics were the goal of this initiative, and as more of you keep talking about these issues, the entire industry benefits from our collective understanding. That said, I didn’t expect as many of you to respond as quickly as you did, and it’s been a joy to keep all these conversations going with you all in real life, and on our social platforms.

But let me put that into perspective real quick. We post ~27 pieces a week to our .com, every week of the year. That’s over 1,400 pieces a year, of which this section totals just 52. The bulk of our content is news, and features on the individuals and brands that make our community great. That means that these rants account for less than 4% of our annual content, yet were alone responsible for a solid chunk of our digital and social reach over the past year. You see, these aren’t the same as our typical news pieces, which are boosted by SEO and news roundups. No, these are seen because YOU share them, and respond to them, and debate them. We thank you for that. Even if you come to object to the point we’re making, you’re fueling the conversation, and that’s what we’re looking for. We’re not right all the time, but we don’t get anywhere by standing in place. We’re willing to be wrong if it means moving forward, and I think there’s a freedom in that. As I said in the beginning, many of these issues don’t have clear answers, and the only way we’ll solve them is by talking this out. Together.

The First Wave

Over the past year we’ve begun to tackle some of the biggest issues facing our industry and culture today. From THC % being bullshit, to the sexism that still flourishes across our ‘inclusive’ space, there have been a lot of stakes thrown in the ground in this section already. We’ve had on-going discussions, like our Indica / Sativa debate, which was most recently addressed by legendary cultivator and High Times alum Todd McCormick, and tried to guide the industry through thought pieces like ‘Our Escape’s Gone Corporate’ and ‘Shit Talk’. At times we’ve straight up thrown stones, like Joe’s ‘Standards’ piece, or Jackie‘s ‘I’m Over Cannabis Brands That Don’t Like Cannabis Users’, which found that most of the community feels a similar way, despite what the brands that are making products for ‘us’ seem to think. We’ve asked important questions, and tried to defend the trap, but we’ve just started to scratch the surface…

Although, that makes it sound like kind of a drag… it wasn’t all serious! We’ve also welcomed comedians like Frank Castillo, Mike Glazer and Steve Furey into our fold, and heard their stories, ranging from a day in the life to what it’s like trying to score on the road. Mike even wrote us a short play about being online lately! Our Canadian friend Ben told us about the first time he took DMT, and Cody made up a fake study that not everyone understood was fake. Javi reminded us that we can’t do whatever we want. We’ve gone back and forth about including tobacco in your smoke, as well as what actually qualifies as a blunt. Jimi uncovered that microdosing is just a PR conspiracy, and Ellen even waxed on her love for eating hash

There’s been as many laughs as there have been arguments, but that’s kind of analogous to life, isn’t it? Peaks and valleys, man. It’s not all gravy, but it can be fun.

Falling Down The Weirdo Rabbit Hole

Now selfishly, I can’t believe how big my baby has grown. I knew this would work, but I wasn’t anticipating the support, or the amount of people who would want to participate. I didn’t expect the number of people to talk about it offline, or the stature of individuals it would reach. I honestly expected to have to work a little harder to get the community involved, but the sheer number of ideas that have been thrown my way for this column specifically is stunning, and it reminded me of the power of this brand, and its reach. It reminded me why I love this culture. The creativity, and off the wall ideas that pour out of our community is in my opinion the most vibrant in the world. I know a lot of people have already counted us out, or are praying for our downfall, but I’ve never been prouder of the work we’re doing. 

In that regard, we’ve already booked basically every Friday through the rest of the year. The schedule says we’re full, but there’s still so much more ground to cover! And this rabbit hole goes far deeper than it seems…

So, we’re going to start trying some more stuff. Some of it might suck, all of it will be weird, but we’ll see how you rock with it. We’ll start small. Over the next few months you’ll start seeing WEIRDOS on different days of the week. More creative pieces. Short stories, allegories. Sometimes even on the weekend. You’ll see some more rich media than you’re used to over here, and maybe even some live rants on Instagram. Maybe even some music. Who knows?

While we’re not jumping into an everyday feature or anything there are so many more opinions, and voices, we can’t wait to share with you. Some insane talent has volunteered to get involved, and we look forward to providing an even wider perspective on this culture we all love so dearly. From our highest highs, to our deepest lows.

This is far from over – in fact, we’re just getting started. We hope you’re enjoying the ride! 

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The Royal Highness of Hash Making

The swirl of excitement around developments in the cannabis industry is at an all-time high, with an endless parade of biz cons and trade shows trumpeting the latest innovations in genetics, technology, equipment, and extraction. The Dank Duchess cuts through the noise with her passion for traditional hash making and her mission to educate people about the subtleties and nuances of creating the most phenomenal melt in the world.

It’s a cool gray day in Far Rockaway in Queens, New York, when we meet via video call, and The Dank Duchess is in peaceful repose on a blanket on the beach as gulls cry and waves crash in the distance. She recently moved back to New York City, where she grew up as a first-generation Panamanian American.

“I moved away at 17,” she says. “And 26 years later, I’m home.”

Duchess speaks thoughtfully, with the slightly formal tone of an educator, as she unfurls the details of her life and career in cannabis. After graduating from Howard University in Washington D.C., where she studied mathematics and psychology, Duchess moved to Miami, where she smoked weed for the first time.

“I didn’t have my first puff of cannabis until I was out of college for two years,” she says. “And it was because I had this boyfriend, who I thought was pretty brilliant, but I didn’t understand why he smoked so much weed because weed was going to kill you. Right? Everyone knew that.”

Nevertheless, one day she felt the pull to try it when one of his glass pieces struck her as particularly beautiful.

High Times Magazine, November 2022

“It called me,” she says. “And I felt like anything that could be associated with it couldn’t be that bad. So I had my first puff, and yeah, it’s cliché, but my life changed. I suddenly went from a binary perspective, where everything was very black and white, to seeing all these different shades of gray—it was almost a visual opening up of doors. I was amazed.”

Very soon after that, Duchess started growing her own cannabis. But after a decade of growing in Miami, she wanted to shake off the stresses of living in a state where simple possession of a joint could land you in jail. She considered moving to Seattle, but “it was so gray it made me sad,” she laughs. So instead, she chose Oakland for its sunnier weather and because the city had passed an ordinance making adult cannabis offenses Oakland’s lowest law enforcement priority.

“I knew that I wasn’t ever gonna be worrying about any kind of legality—and that made me flourish,” Duchess says. “I took that opportunity to grow a good amount of weed on my roof.”

Duchess wanted to write about cannabis as well. She was an avid magazine reader and felt weed media, in particular, failed to include diverse voices and perspectives. Soon after landing in Oakland, she went to a HempCon event, where she spotted the industry pioneer and hash-making legend Frenchy Cannoli. She knew Frenchy was a contributor to Weed World Magazine, so she seized her chance and asked him to coffee, not suspecting that the meeting would transform her life.

They’d briefly met at a High Times Cannabis Cup in June of that year, where she remembers being dazzled by the superabundance of concentrates at that event: “BHO was flowing like a river.” She saw a huge crowd gathered around a booth and made her way to the front.

“I expected to see the most beautiful golden nuggets, dabs, crumble… and all I saw was chunks of chocolate. I was super disappointed because I don’t like chocolate.”

She said as much as she turned to leave, “and this little voice says, ‘This is not chocolate. This is hashish.’” It was Frenchy.

dank duchess
Courtesy The Dank Duchess

“So I got my first dab of hashish, and it was awesome,” Duchess says. “And I took a picture with this little French man and went about my business.”

A few weeks later, she moved to California. She knew that besides growing great weed, she could offer a writer’s perspective that was sorely lacking.

“In 2014, I felt like there was nobody writing for any of the cannabis magazines who really related to my situation,” Duchess says. “And I don’t feel like that’s changed much at all. Part of the issue is that there are cultural concerns we’d rather have addressed by people of that culture. You don’t see many Black and brown faces in cannabis media.”

As a longtime subscriber of Weed World, she was determined to write for the mag. Frenchy was an esteemed contributor, with highly regarded articles like “The Lost Art of the Hashishin” and multi-part series on the origins of concentrate and cannabis terroir. Duchess knew they’d have plenty in common, but she was surprised by just how much: “We were both web designers in the ’90s; Frenchy went on to do purse design in Japan, and I did landscape design, so we traded stories of being hardcore designers.”

Frenchy asked if she’d be interested in writing for Weed World—on one condition. She’d need to learn how to make hash. “I’m always honest about this,” Duchess says, shaking her head at the memory.

“I was disappointed that Frenchy felt that for me to write about hash, I’d have to learn to make hash because I didn’t care about that. I moved to California to contribute to cannabis media and to grow more weed. Hash did not appeal to me.”

However, she didn’t want to miss an opportunity, so a month later, Duchess found herself in Frenchy’s basement, making hash for the first time.

“It was Sept. 10, 2014. What we used to do back then was, after the hash was collected from the plant, we would air dry it. That took seven days. On the 17th, I pressed the hash. I celebrate Sept. 17 every year because, on that day, I knew that there was no way I wasn’t going to do this for the rest of my life. It was everything.”

Under the gray Far Rockaway sky, Duchess glows with the recollection, her voice warm.

“I fell into caressing the hash the way when I’m writing, I want to caress words about hash. Hash making is so visceral. And when done well, it’s so beautiful. The aesthetics are mind-blowing—and the effects. Whew!”

Thus began her hash career, as she learned the traditional art of hash making using a method called bottle tech, now colloquially known as “Frenchy tech,” in which a hot bottle of water is rolled over hash to both homogenize and partially decarboxylate it. Armed with newfound knowledge, Duchess started profiling hash makers for Weed World. She’d learn their backstories and methods and sample their melts. 

dank duchess
The Oakland rooftop grow.

“Every single hash maker I interviewed contributed to my hash-making style,” Duchess says, “and Frenchy’s foundation is a good 60 or 70%.”

She’s written over 100,000 words about dozens of hash makers, production, growing, and experiencing the wonders of hashish in all its forms. She’s posted much of her learning online, with “how-to” videos on YouTube and Instagram.

“People I’ve never met thank me for teaching them hash making through the internet,” Duchess says.

She also posts about how she integrates cannabis, hashish, and psychedelics into her everyday life.

“I’ve found that my approach has been key in reaching women who often feel mansplained to,” she says. “I’ve told stories about wins and losses, and my life journey is the background for exploring mind, body, and soul.”

Duchess found a second home in the cannabis community when she visited Barcelona in 2015.

“I was recognized in San Sebastian by one of my favorite hash makers—Edu, a.k.a. Blue Ice,” she says. “That set off a series of introductions that have proven immeasurably beneficial in my growth as a processor.”

Hash-loving Spain has been the perfect environment for Duchess to flourish in, both as a hash maker and a writer. It’s also the only place she’s ever run afoul of the law—in March 2017, she was arrested for hash possession and spent two days in solitary confinement.

Photo by Nate Hammer, Homegrown Cannabis Co.

“I was released with a warning to not get into any trouble in Spain,” she says.

But in September 2018, she was served by the U.S. Department of Justice with a notice that she was being charged with international drug trafficking and could face five years in prison.

“My tremendously good lawyer had that reduced to two years,” Duchess says. “I had the option of taking a two-year ban or returning to Spain to fight my case.”

After years of seeding her place in the Barcelona cannabis club ecosystem, she was reluctant to turn away, so she fought the case and was acquitted in February 2019.

Now that she’s back in her hometown, Duchess plans to continue teaching the traditional style of hash making as a consultant. She’s also considering collaborating with growers on limited offerings, rather than seeking a New York license for herself, she says: “I’d like to be able to touch resin all over the state.” In addition to her consulting and educational work, Duchess plans to build a content platform focused on high-quality concentrates and their makers and another focused on Black and brown women in cannabis. She also has a line of eyewear coming out in collaboration with Method Seven, called “The Duchess,” designed for indoor growers with a sense of style.

Duchess is also keeping her eye on regulators and lobbyists as legal weed comes online. 

“I feel like the future for New York is bright,” she says. “It’s such a huge market that opportunities for influence on the global scale are infinite. What happens here influences everything. And I feel like right here is where I need to be.”


This story was originally published in the November 2022 issue of High Times Magazine.

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Denmark’s Open Hash Trade Under Threat on ‘Pusher Street’

While open drug trade of cannabis, hash, and soft drugs is tolerated in Christiania, an autonomous region in Copenhagen, Denmark, that all could end if the area can’t clean up its act, the capital city’s mayor warned.

Copenhagen, Denmark Lord Mayor Sophie Hæstorp Andersen told local paper Ekstra Bladet that growing violence has to end or she will shut down cannabis and drug trade in Christiania.

The Guardian reports that Andersen threatened to close Pusher Street’s drug trade if the 1,000 or so people living in the Christiania commune comply with her plan.

Since the 1970s, Christiania or Freetown Christiania in the Christianshavn borough in Copenhagen has been the nation’s “Green Light” district. Think of it as mini Amsterdam, complete with comparable canals and architecture and open tolerance of soft drugs and cannabis. 

Bådsmandsstræde military base on the island of Amager was transformed into a commune in 1973 with an autonomous government. Hippies and anarchists established a Social Democratic government structure and made the area a permanent “social experiment.” The first thing you see when you enter Christiania is a mural of a fan leaf, as well as a fist smashing a hypodermic needle, signifying the area’s rule of no hard drugs. 

Since around 1980 or so, hash—Europe’s popular form of cannabis—has openly been sold on Pusher Street, which is why the area enforced a strict no photo rule. But organized crime sours the picture, and it’s not the utopia it used to be.

“The violence and crime around Pusher Street has now reached a level we neither can nor want to deal with,” Andersen told Ekstra Bladet. “In Copenhagen, I believe we must have room for Christiania. It is both skewed and alternative. It’s creative. But this harsh, organised violence must be written out of the future around Christiania.”

A 23-year-old man was shot and killed in Christiania on October 26, as a rash of violence was reported in the area. It reminds some about a grenade attack in 2009.  “We are afraid that the situation will develop into a gang war in Christiania,” the area’s spokeswoman Hulda Mader said. But keep in mind that Copenhagen at large is one of the safest cities in the world, and that crime is comparably lower than other parts of the world, adding to the reason they don’t want crime entering the picture.

Andersen warned that she’s not playing games anymore. “That is why my message is also that if the Christianites make it clear that they are ready to close Pusher Street and replace it with something else then we in the municipality of Copenhagen are ready to support putting together a plan to find out what should happen to the street.”

After the incident last October, Christiania’s hash trade moved from its original spot on Pusher Street up to near the area’s main entrance. “Enough is enough,” Mader said. “We have disclaimed responsibility for what goes on in Pusher Street. It is not something that we, as private individuals, can oppose. Now there have been repeated episodes of violence, and we simply think that it has become too dangerous for us.”

Christiania is currently run by the Foundation Fristaden Christiania, while the Housing and Social Affairs Agency owns the ramparts and runs the state’s Christiania Secretariat.

A joint dialogue will soon take place between the Foundation Fristaden Christiania, Copenhagen Municipality, Copenhagen Police, the Housing and Social Affairs Agency, and the Castles and Culture Agency. All groups meet regularly. The Technical and Environmental Management in the Municipality of Copenhagen will also work together with the Foundation Fristaden Christiania on the future public housing in Christiania.

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The MISHMASH FLÜT TÜLBOX Is a Gravity Bong Kit for Grown-Ups

I’m a hash-addled fiend who lives to inhale terps so when the good people over at High Times contacted me asking to review some of the new MISHMASH products, I shed one single thug tear of joy knowing deep down that I finally made it.

The package arrived during an actual blizzard that unexpectedly dumped about a foot of snow at my house where it almost never snows so opening the box felt like receiving an arms shipment in the heat of intense battle. The snow prevented me from driving anywhere and maybe an hour before the box showed up my Puffco stopped working and my torch ran out of butane so I was staring down the barrel of going without dabs on a snow day. That shit should be illegal so shout out to the FedEx guy who risked his entire life to deliver me the necessary supplies.

I brought up the Puffco for a reason and the MISHMASH people probably won’t like me comparing this to that but ignoring the elephant in the room is a good way to get brutally murdered by an elephant tusk through the ribs. The Peak and Peak Pro led the way in portable dab technology so to ignore the obvious comparison would be sinful. There are things I like and dislike about both products and we will get to that.

The MISHMASH FLÜT TÜLBOX is an all-inclusive kit for what is essentially an electric gravity vape bong. It’s not exactly a gravity bong but I say that because of the way the vapor feeds into the glass attachment and the way it hits. It has a circular plastic base with a generic 510 thread in the middle. The kit comes with two differently-shaped glass chambers, either of which can be placed on top of the base while the vapor feeds into the attachment and subsequently removed for consumption. One chamber looks like a rocket-themed coffee cup warmer that would have been used before the bombs dropped in Fallout 4. The other looks like a sippy cup with a silicone top. If you haven’t played Fallout 4 please consider getting your life together before reading on, it’s been out for like ten years you’ve had plenty of time. 

Courtesy FLÜT

It took me a while after unboxing everything to realize what this device was really capable of. Whereas a Puffco is meant to replicate the traditional experience of dabbing with a torch and nail, the FLÜT appears to be meant to improve upon the experience of a gravity bong and make it accessible to concentrates. If you’re only looking to smoke six-star hash and keep all that super terpy flavor, this probably isn’t the electric dab device for you because it can do many other things whereas Puffco products are geared toward specifically that but I think the FLÜT actually appeals to a larger portion of the consumer market than a Puffco might because a lot of people seem to like cartridges and with the FLÜT they can switch off between cartridges and anything else they want.

The 510 thread on the MISHMASH FLÜT can be used with any corresponding 510 attachment. For those who don’t know, 510 is what the overwhelming majority of vaping accessories use which basically opens a whole world of possibilities that previously were not available in gravity bong form. Not to shill my own work but if you happened to catch my article about the stackable vape technology which allows you to vape nicotine and cannabis simultaneously, you’ll know that the world of vape attachments is vast and they all use 510 threads so you can now take gravity bong rips a million different ways including but not limited to, a six-cartridge spliff vape combination (Yes, I am absolutely going to try it please pray for me).

It feels weird even calling it a gravity bong because when I say that I think of a socket wrench attachment being substituted for a bowl piece crudely stabbed into a melted milk carton cap. The milk carton, of course, has the bottom cut off and is being drawn upwards from a dirty 5-gallon work bucket filled with tap water, creating the deadliest milky yellow smoke from a one-gram bowl of the mids that invented mids. You take the rip, your soul leaves your body entirely and your lungs effectively cave in on themselves. Shortly thereafter you watch the I, Pet Goat II video on YouTube fried out of your tiny little 15-year-old gourd and never experience true happiness again. That’s a traditional gravity bong experience and I’ve only seen one other worthwhile modern take on gravity bongs so to receive one capable of making cartridges actually smoke well was an unexpected treat.

I’m not lying either! Cartridges don’t have to be a soft-ass experience anymore and let’s face it, they have been until now. I can’t stand cartridges because you can never get a decent rip out of them and they taste like shit. That said, a lot of people use them because they have to be discreet while they’re at work or around family so I can only imagine those people will be pleased to know there’s a tabletop vaporizer that will milk the absolute bejeezus out of any cartridge you have and give you a proper hit that for all intents and purposes should completely floor you. I have the tolerance of ten men and one full cup of cartridge vapor on the low heat setting is enough to keep me happily sedated for a couple of hours, which is saying something.

As for the shape of the attachments, I really like them both because it looks discreet but the shape also makes for a quick and potent rip. Honestly, if your boss is a complete dork who knows nothing about weed you could keep the whole thing on your desk and there’s a good to fair chance no one would ever ask you about it. It smokes well for what it is too. It heats up and stacks vapor in the glass for about 30 seconds which as dabbers know, is dangerously close to “stale smoke territory” but for hitting like a gravity bong, it’s actually pretty smooth. Like I said before, the atomizers it came with for traditional dabbing did not maintain the taste as well as I would have liked but given that you can attach anything to the 510 thread, I’m almost certain there’s another attachment available somewhere that would provide you with a better taste because the TÜLBOX is cool enough, in my opinion, to defend buying it anyway.

Courtesy FLÜT

I say that because people have their own preferences and almost every stoner friend I have who doesn’t work in cannabis is generally unable to smell like reefer all day long. They all smoke cartridges and they all have the same complaint: the carts don’t hit hard enough. Usually, I tell them to seek spiritual enlightenment through the magic of hourly half-gram full melt hash dabs but now, I’m gonna tell them to buy the MISHMASH FLÜT TÜLBOX. Keep it in your car, keep it in your desk drawer, keep it anywhere you might be able to sneak two fiscal minutes of privacy because that is genuinely all you need. Once you activate the device the cup is full of vapor in thirty seconds and it dissipates in another minute after consumption. Obviously, if you work inside an office, you can’t take fat rips inside but you’ll be pretty much undetectable anywhere with airflow. Hell, I’d say if no one bothers you for 15 minutes at a time you can probably smoke it inside but if you get fired it’s not my fault.

Another huge upside of this device is that it’s unbelievably easy to keep clean. As much as I love my original Peak, I have to clean it every two days to keep it from getting too gunked up to function and even then they still break sometimes because the parts are very delicate. The MISHMASH FLÜT base is super simple and durable. It’s made of plastic and silicone rather than glass. The glass chamber is dishwasher safe and can easily be cleaned by hand (a dishwasher may not hurt the piece itself but if you wash a piece covered in dab resin in your dishwasher you deserve all the clogged pipes and resin-covered cookware you end up with).

Overall, the MISHMASH FLÜT TÜLBOX was a pleasure to get familiar with and the usage of said device paired with a Lemon Cherry Gelato cartridge (or Runtz or whatever) inspired every word of this review. Go get you a MISHMASH FLÜT if you know what’s good for ya. Use my special discount code *HASHDAD for absolutely no discount whatsoever.

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Simplicity, Competition, Passion: The Art of Hashmaking

The word hash or “hashish” is a bit arbitrary like most cannabis terminology but it generally refers to ice water hash or “bubble” hash and hash rosin. It’s a concentrated form of cannabis made without the use of chemical solvents like butane and in its highest quality form it can be dabbed or vaporized for, in my opinion, the best possible experience the cannabis plant has to offer.

I’ve been smoking hash for several years and I actually don’t smoke flower much at all anymore. I’m a recovering benzodiazepine/opiate/anything else available addict and dabbing hash rosin is the only medicine I have tried which quells my anxiety without making it worse the next day. It has given me back a quality of life I thought I had lost forever, one that flower simply cannot produce for me. Maybe I’ve been smoking for too long, maybe it’s my biochemistry or maybe I’m just a basket case but whatever the case, when I smoke hash, I don’t want to use. When I smoke hash, I don’t have panic attacks. When I smoke hash, I feel more capable of being the person I believe I’m supposed to be.

In the process of learning about hash and learning how to make it so I could produce my own medicine without going bankrupt (cheap hash ain’t good, and good hash ain’t cheap) I have crossed paths with many hashmakers, though none moreso than my good buddy Cold Craft Hash Co. who taught me the vast majority of what I know about the modern art of hashmaking. To continue explaining this shit without crediting him would be sinful. For this article I also talked to Todd, owner of Resin Ranch Extraction and Bryan who processes rosin for Heritage Hash Co. Resin Ranch is a legacy brand that comes highly recommended by almost every hashmaker I know and Heritage Hash Co. just took home the gold for their Riddlez rosin at last year’s Ego Clash.

Hash does not envy or boast, it is not arrogant or rude. 

Courtesy: Cold Craft Hash Co.

The Wash

The process of hash-washing varies from person to person and country to country, but in general, it involves mixing ice water with cannabis and agitating the mixture, typically with a paddle, to separate the trichome heads from the plant matter. Trichome heads are microscopic resin glands found all over the cannabis flower which contain THC, cannabinoids, and probably a whole bunch of other yummy shit we have yet to identify.

Once the trichome heads have been separated from the plant matter into the ice water, the water is drained through several different size filters to collect different sizes of microscopic material. The larger micron sizes collect the plant matter and gunk you don’t want, the mid-range size filters tend to catch the higher grade hash that can be dabbed on a quartz nail and the material found in the smallest size filter bag is usually what is used to make edibles and such because it’s a lot of broken, chipped or smaller trichome heads which tend not to dab as well (though this is not a universal rule). In general, fresh and high-quality cannabis material that is processed properly will create workable amounts of high-quality hash. 

“One thing I always say about water hash is I can teach a monkey to make water hash, I can’t teach a monkey how to grow it. The hard work is done in the grow. The water hash, we’re just following steps A, B and C to give you a representation of what the farmer actually did,” Todd of Resin Ranch said.

There are other ways of processing hash including dry sift, which uses magnetism to separate impurities from dried material on screens, but in general, the easiest and most widely used method is to use ice water as described. The hash is then dried using either a freeze drier or traditional air drying techniques (which I have been sworn to absolute secrecy on under threat of castration and humiliation). Once dry, the hash can be consumed as is or pressed into hash rosin using basic heat and pressure either with fancy rosin plates or something as simple as a hair straightener. 

“Hash has been around for thousands of years. Water hash, the late 80’s, early 90’s. It’s really a simple process,” Todd of Resin Ranch said. “My motto is usually KISS: keep it simple stupid. Don’t overthink things. Obviously, machines are great for scaling up, but this is a process that you can pull off with no expensive equipment. The bags are probably going to be the most expensive thing that you have to invest in is a good set of bags, but you don’t necessarily need a cold room like everybody says. You can wash in the winter, cured material you can even do in the summer.”

Hash does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

The Hashmaking Community

I wanted to write this piece because hash culture has taken off in a very prolific way and it seemed important to acknowledge that somehow. More and more people are making great hash, more and more people are smoking great hash, and hash is inspiring more and more art than ever before. From the unbelievable innovations Puffco has been making with their Proxy device and all the super heady glass attachments available for it, to the art of Frank Lot, to the “I guess everyone makes hash now” hats by All My Hats Are Dead, hash culture has taken much of California and a lot of other legal states by storm. It is extremely important to me as a smoker and as a journalist to keep my finger on the pulse of that storm. 

“When you see the community that’s built around these jars of hash, it’s a pretty special thing,” Todd of Resin Ranch said. “You’re starting to see again, when you go to these events you feel that vibe, that hash community and everybody’s good, everybody’s nice to each other. You kind of just build a whole community.”

Part of what makes the community so tight-knit, at least in my opinion that nobody asked for, is that hash has healed or mended something in all or most who choose to regularly engage with it. For me personally, it was drug addiction which Todd also attested as something he struggled with many years ago as well. For Bryan of Heritage Hash, it was for chronic pain.

“My sophomore year I got ran over by a Jeep and cracked my head open and almost died and had a plate and pins in my head,” Bryan said. “It really helped with a lot of the headaches and the physical side of it. And personally, I deal with anxiety and stuff like that as well just as a person. Nobody’s perfect, we’re all living our lives and just living day to day but cannabis really kind of just, I wake up and feel like me when I’m on cannabis.”

Past that you have competitions like Ego Clash which just scream hash culture from the rooftops as loud as they can. Ego Clash is a death gauntlet style dab competition hosted by Brandon of 3rd Gen Family Farms in which the participants judge each other’s work, one after another to the tune of like 40 dabs in a row. It is not for the faint at heart and the bragging rights from a 1st place win take you further in the hash community than potentially any other niche on Earth because as a people, hashmakers tend to be extremely competitive.

“Ten people got booted from the table before it even started,” Bryan of Heritage said. “Once we made it through that, I knew we weren’t gonna get disqualified and then I was like, alright, let it ride.”

Courtesy: Cold Craft Hash Co.

Boy’s Club No More

I had to include a tribute to the lady hashmakers of the world because due to scheduling issues not to mention everyone and their mother going to Spannabis last month, I did not get to interview any women for this article but they have been making a splash in the hash community lately. From Alice of Wook Sauce Winery taking home an Ego Clash win in Spain to Frosty Nug Lady putting some of the best hashmakers in the world to shame with her batches to Cherry Blossom Belle, who apprenticed under the legendary Frenchy Cannoli and now makes hash for Heritage. Women have been absolutely killing the hash game.

“She is savage, like she really puts her heart and soul into this. You can tell Frenchy’s spirit is totally with her. It’s amazing,” Bryan of Heritage said.

It’s also worth noting that Cold Craft is extremely selective with whose work he speaks praise to in the hash community and he had nothing but good things to say about Cherry Blossom Belle so in general, it wouldn’t be right to have this article go up without acknowledging the work women have put in to not only be an integral part of the hash community but also dominate it. 

Hash bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Hash never ends.

I could go on for another thousand words about the different consistencies, curing methods and tricks of the hash trade but before I give my editors a word-count-induced embolism, to anyone thinking of getting into hash-washing or even just smoking more quality hash, I would suggest you just take Todd’s advice which was as follows: 

“I think what I would like to say about the whole process is just do with love and intention and everything else will work out,” Todd said. “There’s plenty of times that we will just not put a product out because it’s not good enough or we will fuck up and I don’t try to do anything shady to try and sell that product. It’s just nice to go out with the proper intention for me.”

That’s all. I love hash and hash loves you so go out there and make some or smoke more of it and remember: YOU CAN’T SMOKE HASH ALL DAY IF YOU DON’T START IN THE MORNING.

Good hash I’ve smoked recently that you should try if you can:

  • Z Cubed – Cold Craft Hash Co. and Trinity Healing Crops
  • Cranberry Zkittlez – Globert’s Trichome Collection
  • Z Head – Swollen Heads Hash Co.
  • Grape Gas – Masterball Melts
  • Superboof – Trichome Tortoise
  • Starburst 36 #40 – 710 Labs

The post Simplicity, Competition, Passion: The Art of Hashmaking appeared first on High Times.

Breeding for Dummies: How To Make Your Weed Plants Screw

So you want to play around with plant intercourse! That’s great. I’m here to help you with that, and I’ve enlisted the help of some of the finest weed wizards on planet Earth to assist me. It’s not exactly simple, but it’s easy enough to accomplish in the comfort of your own home if you’re dedicated enough. For the sake of simplicity and efficiency, I’m going to boil this down to some very rudimentary and basic options. Breeding is a complex art that has an unlimited complexity threshold, and as such, it would be insane to explain all of it in a short article such as this.

First thing’s first, you’re going to need space, at least 4×4 feet if not 4×8 or more, and a grow tent. I’d recommend at least a 4×8 but you can make it work with a 4×4. Vivosun makes superb grow tents and I’ve used my 4×4 for years. They also have a whole line of at-home grow equipment that works great, with the exception of the lights. I haven’t tried them myself but we all know by now you’re either running 1000 watt HPS light or fancy-pants LEDs and this isn’t a how-to-grow article so figure out your own damn equipment and nutrients and all that.

As with most living creatures, drugs or otherwise, you need male and female cannabis plants to make seeds. If you grow cannabis enough to want to learn breeding, you probably know how to weed out male plants from female plants but to briefly summarize: in the little node under the branch of the cannabis plant are the plant’s sex organs. Male plants have actual balls or “pollen sacs” and female plants have “pistils” which look like wispy little hairs. 

If male plants are allowed to pollinate the female plant, the female will grow seeds within the buds that you would normally smoke. Every seed will grow into a unique “phenotype” of whatever the “strain” is. So if you cross a DoSiDo plant with a Chemdawg plant and they produce 100 seeds, all the female seeds would grow up into unique combined versions of both the parent strains, each exhibiting slightly different flavor, smell, and effect profiles. That, dear reader, is where the fun part starts. You can build your own cannabis experience from scratch in a sense and every breeder likes to build differently.

“Most of the time, I’m looking for something hybridized with the best components and [traits] of each cross,” said Alex from Clearwater Genetics, whom I have personally dubbed the reigning king of Now N’ Laters crosses. “I need to see kind of the best of both worlds there. I need to see a real 50-50 hybrid, or, depending on what I’m going for, you know, maybe a 75-25, something like that. Otherwise, you just grow the fucking strain.”

Now it isn’t quite as easy as saying “I want to make a strain that tastes like Zkittlez, yields four pounds per light and gets you high like OG.” That’s what Scott from Sexual Chocolate Factory would call a unicorn strain and while they do come around every so often, they’re one-in-a-million. Genetics also don’t really work like that. There tends to be a give-and-take which is why you might notice strains that taste amazing don’t get you as high as you might like and vice versa. So keep that in mind when embarking on your breeding journey.

There are two main methods of doing this that you’ll want to consider:

Pollen sacs on a male plant of “Ztan Lee.” Photo submitted by Scott from Sexual Chocolate Factory.

Method 1 – Reversals

Reversals are a process of taking a female clone of a strain you want to cross and spraying it with Silver Thiosulfate spray during the early stages of flower to reverse it into a male plant which you would then use to pollinate your chosen female plants.

“It’s hard to find a good male of your favorite cultivar ultimately. If you have like a Trainwreck or Pink Certz or a Pave, it’s hard to find a male with those traits,” said Chris Compound, formerly of Compound Genetics and the mastermind behind strains like Apples & Bananas and Grape Gas. “With fems, you can create a male, reverse male of those strains.”

This method makes it much easier to pick traits you want to pass on to your cross because you don’t have to play a guessing game like you do with male plants, you can just take clones from your female plants like you normally would and pick your favorites to reverse and breed with after the previous generation has been harvested and sampled.

“My Oreocake cross with Now N’ Later #47 was the winner out of like 120 plus. So, we flowered it. They hit 3.8 pounds per light. All right, just a beast, just a fucking beast,” said Alex from Clearwater Genetics. “I’ll take that. and I have 27 that I’m reversing right now. I’ll take those. And I’ll spray those down with SDS and do our thing, and basically just have a huge fucking stash of pollen.”

Method 2 –  Playing With Dudes

This method involves popping regular, unfeminized seeds and sorting through the males and females. You would then pick a strong male and use it to pollinate female plants of your choosing. Choosing a strong male is where it gets complicated.

“Your only indicator early on is stem rubs,” said Scott from Sexual Chocolate Factory, the company that bred the illustrious Randy Watzon. “Another indicator later on in life is pollen sacks. Pollen sacks and plant matter will start to develop trichomes just like the female plant, but just in different areas. So you’ll have indicators of what the resin and the fragrances will be, if you’re lucky to find a male that will exhibit these trichomes because it’s not all males that do it.”

Once you’ve chosen your stud you can either collect the pollen to apply to the female plants as you choose or just keep the plants in the same room until seeds form.

This method is a bit more complicated, especially in a limited home setup. You very well might fuck up the timing or choose a male that isn’t the best stud, which is why a lot of commercial breeders choose method 1. Method 2 just requires a bit more patience but it gets much easier if your at-home setup has a divider to create two different rooms, which is why I specifically recommended the Vivosun 4×8. You can keep your males and females separate and pollinate on your own time, rather than dialing everything in by the exact day of flower and all that jazz.

No matter which method you choose, you don’t have to waste all your bud just to get some seeds. If you separate your male plants and collect pollen, rather than keeping the plants together and allowing them to openly pollinate, you can literally take a paintbrush, dip it in pollen and place it on however many buds you wish to impregnate. Be sure to wrap the rest of the plant in a trash bag when you do this so you don’t get any pollen in places it shouldn’t go.

Pollen sacs on a male plant of “Ztan Lee.” Photo submitted by Scott from Sexual Chocolate Factory.

Breeding for Hash

I had to squeeze this in for all the low-temp warriors and hash dorks out there. A big topic in the industry seems to be how in the Sam-hell to intentionally grow plants that will produce a lot of hash. For those who don’t know, hash washing is the process of knocking the trichome heads off of the cannabis bud to collect, dry, and vaporize. As with the other traits of the cannabis plant, breeding for hash involves seeking out strains we already know produce good hash yield or good hash taste and choosing those strains to cross.

“When I cross, first of all, the plants I want to pollinate I kinda make sure they already have characteristics for hash washing like good trichome production,” said Compound. “If you’re doing a reverse you don’t want to reverse something that’s a bad washer to begin with.”

Other indicators of good hash yield include a “sandiness” or “grittiness” to the trichomes, but it is important to note that a good yield does not always equal a good flavor. Scott from Sexual Chocolate Factory explained that it’s a dichotomy between genetic traits, a give-and-take essentially between taste and yield that isn’t necessarily a direct correlation.

“Sandy [trichomes] is what you’re looking for when you’re touching flower, and you can feel the grittiness of the trike zones and between your fingers. That is an indicator of a good washer. Whether it’s a desirable washer is another story,” Scott said. “With race cars, you can have a lot of horsepower. But that comes with a lot of weight.”

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Put Down the Tobacco—We Have Surpassed the Need for Spliffs

If you don’t mix tobacco in your weed and none of your friends mix tobacco in their weed, right on, you’re killing it, this one isn’t for you. 

The way we smoke weed has gone through some pretty rapid changes over the past few decades—dabs, pre-rolls, vape pens, and plenty of USB-C charged devices that will instantly vaporize your favorite flower or concentrate. So why are you still mixing tobacco into your joints?

Weed is too good to fuck up with a heavy sprinkle of American Spirit and you’re lying to yourself with every attempt to justify the outdated blend. It’s time to move beyond spliffs. 

People have been smoking spliffs—joints rolled with a mix of cannabis and tobacco—since the first documented instance of weed being rolled in Guadalajara, Mexico circa 1856. The tradition continued across the globe, with hash frequently mixed with tobacco and rolled for easy consumption. These days, spliffs are still popular across the U.S. Sure, it’s more prevalent in some places than others, but I know heavy stoners from New York to L.A. and plenty in between who keep a pack of cigs or pouch of loose leaf in their smoking kits at all times.

Times change though, and as we barrel headfirst into 2023, the excuses left for spliffing your weed are growing thinner than a king size rice paper. 

The most common reason I get when I ask people why they still add tobacco to their weed is that it “burns better,” and to that, I say this: learn how to roll better joints. If your joints are burning unevenly without tobacco, that’s a you problem, not a weed problem. Try packing it a little tighter, try pulling on it a little lighter, roll practice joints over and over until your fingers turn green and every single one looks, lights, and burns perfectly—it will be worth it, I promise. 

Next, spliff smokers will say that tobacco helps save them weed and therefore money. But weed is cheaper than it’s ever been and only getting cheaper while tobacco is only getting more expensive, with many cities and states adding higher and higher taxes for cigarettes and loose leaf. It might make some slight economic sense, but unless you’re spliffing top-shelf flower (we’ll get to that) you can probably afford to roll without tobacco; try buying shake or pre-ground weed if you need to make your bag stretch. If you’re really looking to make your favorite strain last, mix in some shake or mids with your exotics—just think of it as spliffing your joint with more weed.

What about the argument that adding tobacco to your weed gets you higher? First, I don’t believe that smoking less of the plant that does get you high and replacing it with the plant that doesn’t get you high will result in you getting higher. You know what will definitely get you higher? More weed. Don’t trust my back of the napkin math? Here’s a peer-reviewed study that says the same thing. 

Funny enough, I have also heard the opposite explanation, that weed alone is simply too intoxicating, and that tobacco helps to ease the effects. In that instance, I simply recommend smoking less weed.

Most importantly though, stop spliffing your weed because it completely changes the flavor of your flower. 

Decades of arduous, focused, illegal cannabis breeding have created a plant that is potent and flavorful with a constantly evolving menu of unique varieties. Tobacco and weed mixed just fine in the flavorless days of brick weed and densely packed black hash, but the way weed smells, tastes, and smokes in 2023? It’s a thing of art. Why dilute that experience?

I have slightly more patience for blunts, mainly because they do not disguise the presence of tobacco like a spliff does, and because they don’t ruin the flavor of the weed quite as much, but at the end of the day, sacrificing any amount of terp profile for the sake of a nicotine buzz is still kind of a bummer in my book. 

I’m not here to judge your tobacco consumption, smoke 10 cigarettes right before we smoke a joint and another half a pack after, all good, I’m just here to defend weed. 

You might need tobacco, but weed doesn’t. 

The post Put Down the Tobacco—We Have Surpassed the Need for Spliffs appeared first on High Times.

From the Archives: Grass in the Joint (1981)

By Evan Dawes

I hadn’t seen David since I got sent down. He was waiting in the visitor’s room, looking like he was afraid he’d catch bad luck. We went through the preliminary how-you-beens, then I asked him if he’d brought me anything to smoke. He started. He reminded me of the many signs he’d driven by after passing the prison entrance that declared it a felony to bring alcohol, firearms or drugs onto the reservation. “And besides,” he said, “this is a prison. I mean, after all… uh, drugs? In the joint?”

I figured I’d have to show him how it was done. I indicated another prisoner a dozen yards away busily chatting with a pretty young woman. “Keep your eye on him,” I told him. “He’s about to go with something.” And sure enough, not ten minutes later, we watched him shove his arm down the back of his pants and rummage around. The second time this happened Dave asked me what was going on.

“See, he palms the balloons out of his ol’ lady’s bra, picks his shot when The Man isn’t lookin’, and keesters ’em, one at a time.”

Balloons? Keesters? “Yup” I grinned. “Up the ol’ rooty-poop chute, quick as a wink. No muss, no fuss, Burma Shave.”

Still tentative, Dave asked what the guy’s chances were. Did this happen often, or was it a one-shot deal?

“Just business as usual,” I assured him. “It’s probably weed, ‘cuz that’s the biggest seller. But that guy—I nodded at another inmate a bare ten feet away—he’ll be bringin’ in smack. Rougher crowd, y’know.”

Almost any high you can buy on the street is for sale in the yard too: pot and hash and ludes and smack and booze and glue and speed. Sometimes even a bit o’ the blow. LSD, too, if you’re of a mind. What’s more, The Man knows it. I was initially leery of writing about prison traffic, fearful I would be treated as an informer—by both inmates and authorities. And this article is definitely not intended to teach prison officials how to more effectively impede the flow of drugs into their institutions. But very few schemes escape the notice of prison officials for very long anyway usually due to the widespread use of informants. What is so heartening to the schemers, and frustrating to the officials, is that, short of a complete overhaul of the security systems in most prisons, there is little or nothing that can be done to stop this.

Most prisons in the United States follow a basic order of priorities: House the offender securely (which is to say “lock his ass up tight so society can sleep at night”); offer training for the offender so that he can return to society as a “productive member,” though oftentimes training programs are merely a guise to secure ever-larger budgets; and—more important to the prison officials than anything else—never ever allow the offender to use drugs to escape the tedium and monotony of his imprisonment.

About half of the drugs that enter most prisons come in through the visiting room. It should logically follow, therefore, that where there is no physical contact between the prisoner and his visitor, the likelihood of drugs being introduced into that prison is severely reduced.

The procedure at the Texas Department of Corrections, for example, prevents physical contact—but not smuggling. There inmates sit on one side of a room-length table and their visitors sit on the other. Guards sit on elevated platforms at each end of this table. Partitions above and below the table ensure that nothing is surreptitiously passed from visitor to con. The only time this restriction may be breeched is when the visitor buys a soft drink or some fruit juice for the prisoner. The visitor who is sharp eyed and nimble fingered may be able to slip something into the opened can without being seen before handing it to the guard to pass to the prisoner. If so, the “lucky” convict in Texas may go back to his cell having drunk a couple of ‘ludes or maybe some acid. Plainly though, the circumstances hardly conduce to a good high.

Thankfully most prisons are not afflicted with so great a degree of paranoia as the TDC. In New Hampshire, for instance, the visiting policy permits “limited contact”: Inmates and their visitors are separated by an ordinary table, fingertips touching; an embrace is allowed at the beginning and at the end of the visiting period. At the end of the visit the prisoner is not skin-searched—but merely frisked—and his shoes are inspected. Prisons in Washington State conduct visiting in much the same manner, except there is no separation by a table; the prisoner and visitor sit facing each other, holding hands if desired. Again, only a pat-search at the end of the visit.

All California prisons have contact visiting. The word contact is here given a very wide latitude. As one prisoner at the California Men’s Colony near San Luis Obispo (site of Timothy Leary‘s Weathermen-abetted escape) tells me: “Hell, man, babies have been conceived in the visiting room here.” That’s close contact.

Clearly the opportunities to smuggle drugs in situations such as these are almost infinite.

You cannot simply arrive at a prison with a baggie full of marijuana and hope that your convict friend will be able to take it from there. Recently I spoke with a man who had just been released from [name of institution deleted to prevent any harassment of the men there upon disclosure of this information]. His wife packaged pot for him to smuggle back into prison after she visited each week. First, she cleaned all the seeds and stems out of the grass. Then she stuffed an ordinary balloon with cleaned weed until it was about an inch in diameter, making sure to pack it tightly. After tying the balloon closed, she wrapped it in still another balloon and sealed that one, too. He explained that stomach acid is sometimes strong enough to eat through one or even two layers of balloon, so whenever she brought him any substances other than pot, she always gave it at least three wraps. (His caution is understandable. Careless packaging has been responsible for the death of many cocaine and heroin smugglers outside, and the same danger lies for the unsuspecting convict who swallows or keesters a poorly wrapped balloon from an otherwise well meaning friend.) He told me of one prisoner who OD’d right in the visiting room: “Man, he just nodded out and never came back! That’s why I always emphasized to the ol’ lady how important it was to be careful. She always did good, though, God love her. She knew those little balls of pleasure would keep the frown off my face—and they did!”

Adding to the supply feeding high-hungry cons are guards who pack—though it should be stressed here that probably less than 25 percent of the drug traffic in any given prison originates thusly. The reasons a guard would hazard his livelihood, and possible prosecution if discovered, in order to introduce drugs into the place where he works are many: the need for supplementary income, the excitement of risk, and sometimes just plain friendship or compassion. Relates a former California convict: “In ’71 I was at Soledad. Yeah, George Jackson, the Soledad Brothers, the whole thing was happenin’ then. Me, I was just lookin’ to get high. About this time I got in real good with this Chicano guard. After a few weeks o’ listenin’ to him talk about all the dope he was smokin’, I hit on him to bring me somethin’ to smoke, too. At first he was hesitant, but I kept drivin’ on him till he broke down and brought me some grass. What he’d been smokin’ was shit Mexican—he only paid fifteen dollars a bag for it—so after a couple o’ weeks I offered to have my brother send him a quarter-pound of some real kickass; he’d keep an ounce and bring me the other three. Once it arrived and he got a taste of that good, rich Colombo, it was all gravy after that. Until I left the ‘Dad in ’75, ol’ Paco kept me fat. What he didn’t know was that I was selling some o’ them ounces for tall bucks. A forty-dollar bag from my brother brought almost two hundred on the yard. Hell, a balloon the size of an English pea went for five dollars; figure it out for yourself.”

Prisoners who have no family or friends depend on what they can buy or trade for inside the prison. In some institutions the medium of exchange is cigarettes or coffee. Some inmates trade hobbycraft items, such as leatherwork, or paintings. Some men receive visits only from their parents and can get only money from them. As easily as drugs can be smuggled in, green can be smuggled in also. Green will usually net you a larger amount of drugs than an equal value in cigarettes or oil paintings.

Convicts often find the U.S. Postal Service to be the most reliable courier. Most people know that postage stamps are good for more than ensuring that a letter is mailed. Similarly LSD (and in some cases, heroin) can be dissolved and stationery soaked in it prior to mailing. Green can be stashed in greeting cards. The inventiveness of the correspondent is the only limitation.

Many maximum and medium-security prisons have camps nearby for men who are approaching release. These camps seldom have fences and the men there are, in many instances, free and unsupervised. At the federal prison near Lompoc, California, the laundry for camp inmates at one time was done inside the maximum facility. Since the drug situation at the camp has always been very relaxed, the men there had ample opportunity (until the scheme was discovered) to secrete drugs for those inside in their cleaned clothing.

In every institution there are men who receive what is termed “controlled” medication, usually various forms of downers: Thorazine, Dilantin, Mellaril, Prolixin and phenobarbitol. It takes very little practice to learn to palm these pills, which can then be saved up for a real bang or sold.

However, the most ingenious system for copping inside that I’ve ever heard is used by my friend Nick, who is a prisoner in one of the larger prison systems on the East Coast. A few months ago he called me in California and asked—in an informal code we use—if I could send $50 to an address he gave me. I agreed, and as the conversation unfolded, I learned that the money would be going to the family of another convict who received regular visits. As soon as the money arrived, this man would give Nick a prearranged quantity of pot. I put the money in the mail the next day and my friend was smoking later that week. I’ve since done this three or four times for him. What did Nick get for the $50? About a quarter ounce of marijuana. Not much, to be sure, but it is, after all, a prison. And from what he told me, this is about the going rate there.

Far and away the drug of preference in the yard is pot or hash, followed next by downers, then speed, then heroin. Cocaine is almost last, not for lack of desire, but because of the corresponding problems of price and availability. Coke simply is not worth the extravagant cost to most convicts, when the same amount of goods or green will net you a much larger amount of marijuana or hash. (One of those times I mailed money for Nick, he received three grams of hash for $50. And that was a bargain! Usually hash goes for $25 to $30 a gram, he told me.) LSD is also a low-preference drug. While a bit o’ the blow heightens the senses and makes enjoyable an otherwise apathetic day, acid often sharpens the perception of being imprisoned, mutating routine mediocrity into apprehension and paranoia.

Even booze and glue, the bastard children of the drug subset, find a market inside. At any time, in most prisons, someone will have a batch of homebrew going. It’s never very strong, packing about the same alcoholic punch as wine—but in sufficient quantity even prison vintage produces one hell of a buzz. To concoct alcohol, very little is needed that cannot be obtained through regular channels inside a prison. Except yeast. Because of its scarcity many convict brewers make a starting mixture of raw-fruit and raw-vegetable pulp, which is mixed and allowed to ferment for two to three days. This kicker is then added to a premixed base of fruit pulp or juice, sugar and water. The base determines how the end product will taste; however, the choice of fruit is more often the result of availability than desire, since most batches of ”pruno” or ”raisin jack” or “orange wine” are prepared for effect more than taste. Once the kicker is added to the base mixture, the fermentation of sugar into alcohol begins. Within five to seven days, depending on the ingredients, a liquid is produced that is anywhere from 10 to 20 percent alcohol (again, depending on the base). A sizable portion is usually strained off for immediate consumption at this point, fresh fruit pulp and sugar water added, and the whole thing started over. However, neither that step nor a starting mixture is necessary if yeast is available.

The advantage to using yeast is that it cuts the time factor, often critical in a prison setting, by about one-third. In place of actual yeast, a fistful of raw dough may be dissolved in warm water and used immediately in place of a kicker. No matter how well hidden the container, though, smell is the worst enemy of convict pruno makers, who usually “cook up a batch” five gallons at a time. In some cases, a vent hose is forced behind the trap in a toilet and the fumes safely exhausted. Or a sponge soaked in a deodorant can be placed over the vent hole on the container itself, thereby masking the giveaway odor. Inventiveness and ingenuity however, are on the convict’s side. Rarely does The Man bust more wine than is drunk.

I have been told by men at several different institutions that many guards nowadays are reluctant to “beef” you—write a disciplinary report—for reefer. But the same pot-lenient guards will seldom give you a pass for alcohol. Because of its reputation for producing monsters from mild-mannered men, prison-brewed hooch is feared more by staff than any other drug. Witness the brutal bloodiest at New Mexico’s Santa Fe prison in February 1980. Documented evidence now points to a batch of raisin jack as the trigger—although not the cause—of this riot.

Way down on the list of preferences— somewhere between “Fuck that shit!” and “You must be crazy, sucker!—is glue, or any of the petroleum distillates containing toluene or carbon tetrachloride. An interesting aside, which comes from the Federal Penitentiary at McNeil Island, Washington (now closed), is that, of the Indian prisoners there, glue was the drug of preference. Considering its status with the general population, the reader may draw his own conclusions.

Prisons create their own drug market. Drugs bring a sense of relief—relief from boredom, escape from the “dead zone” (as Stephen King calls it) of enforced numbness that encases a man in prison like an insect embedded in amber. Of course, set and setting figure into this to an extraordinary degree in prison.

Virtually all prisons are constructed so that the housing units consist of either multitiered rows of cells, or a dormitory. In most instances, the line officer patrols periodically checking for prohibited behavior and making his presence known to maintain order In the conflict between the desire to get high in a relaxed and comfortable setting—one’s own “house”—and the necessity for precaution in order to prevent a trip to The Hole, the very expenditure of energy to reconcile one with the other detracts from the fullness of the high. Conversely, in a situation where set and setting are complementary an otherwise meager high can blossom into something memorable. Most prisons have a yard where, even under the watchful eyes of the guards in the towers, the careful convict can easily blow a joint with little or no danger of being caught.

Another place of relative security is the auditorium or gymnasium when a movie is being shown. Rarely do guards venture into this area after the lights are dimmed and in many prisons there is a tacit understanding between staff and inmates that smoking will be condoned as long as there is no violence. In the words of one prisoner: “When you know The Man isn’t interested in busting anyone during the flick, it makes getting high there just that much sweeter.”

A good deal of the violence in most prisons is drug related, and although much of this can be attributed to the traffic in heroin, no category of drug is blameless. Because of the ridiculously inflated prices of drugs, and the corresponding scarcity of money or resources available to the average convict, conflicts inevitably arise. In the early ’60s, at the California Medical Facility near Vacaville (which presently houses Juan Corona and Charles Manson), one of the heroin dealers inside the joint was found out to be a rat, supplying information to The Man in exchange for immunity. One day shortly after a visit, he was attacked and killed in his cell. Wasting no opportunity in their bloody business, his attackers slit open his stomach and scooped out the balloons he had earlier swallowed. In 1975, a prisoner at Joliet State Prison in Illinois had his eyes gouged out by a man to whom he owed money for drugs. After he fingered his assailant and was locked up in “protective custody” he was gang-raped for becoming a snitch. Seldom, however, are methods this unusual employed. Most often the offending party is dealt with swiftly and lethally. Convicts have a name for it: steel poisoning. As recently as 1980, in the federal prison at Leavenworth, Kansas, an inmate was stabbed to death because he failed to pay for less than a half ounce of marijuana. The medical report stated that his head was “almost severed from [his] torso” because of the “number and intensity of [his] wounds.” Obviously prison is no place for the deadbeat.

The other side of this coin is that if there were no drugs available at all, the strain of living day to day with so many others in such a butthole-to-bellybutton environment would quickly breed just as much and perhaps even more violence than the drug-related kind. About the only solution that would not create more problems is for the prisons to dispense drugs on demand. Since this is hardly in the works for the near future in any U.S. prison, most inmates will have to be content with whatever schemes they are using presently.

Sometimes I can’t help but marvel at the convoluted maze set up to assure a delivery of drugs. The following story comes to me from a man who is presently incarcerated in one of the federal government’s maximum security prisons: It seems in late ’79 a guard at one of the federal correctional centers (jails) near a major metropolitan area was flashing his paycheck around, taunting the inmates with how much he was sucking up from the government teat. In revenge, one of these men was able to successfully snatch this check right out of the asshole’s shirt pocket without being seen. As soon as the loss was discovered, the entire facility was locked down and every inmate and his cubicle was searched. Nothing was turned up. A few weeks later this check was successfully spirited to the previously mentioned prison. From there it was smuggled out and mailed across the country to a major department store to be cashed. (Uncle Sam’s checks are as good as gold anywhere in the country for up to 90 days.) After being cashed, 60 percent of the original amount was sent back to the convict’s confederates, who used this money to purchase a kilo of marijuana that was then smuggled into the prison. Uncle treated all around. Justice could never have been more poetic.

High Times Magazine, June 1981

Read the full issue here.

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Jon’s Stone-Cold Cop List #32: Thai Emeralds

December was a wild one. From searching the streets of Bangkok for the heat, to the Harvest Ball’s premiere of the Dank Tank, to a whole lot of holiday parties, I’m exhausted. I usually try to take the back half of December to try and recover & prepare for the upcoming year, but it never really works out. This year was no exception. I don’t know why I still expect holidays to be relaxing.

But Thailand was wild! I’m working on a piece covering our adventure that you’ll all be able to read sometime next month, but the long and short of it is that the country has embraced legalization like I’ve never seen before. There are independent stands to buy weed in front of dispensaries, there are trucks selling weed like ice cream trucks on every block. I’m not going to pretend they’ve got the highest quality yet, but they’re throwing themselves at it, and I love to see it. There are a few picks from there leading the list this month for anyone looking to experience it. We’ve also got some gems I found while attending the Harvest Ball, which Jimi & I went to the day after we returned to the states. Talk about overbooking.

(Also P.S. sorry to everyone I saw that weekend. It was a whirlwind and I was still coming down from my plane drugs so I barely remember anything, but I’m sure I didn’t get enough time to properly hang with any of you. I won’t make that mistake again – I’m coming well rested all 2023 :))

Anyway, I was hoping to get two more of these out before the year ends as I just turned 33 last week and it felt symbolic, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. Guess we’ll start off ‘23 with #33, which is my lucky number so we’ll say we’re starting on a high note. If there’s anything you think needs to be included, or you just want to talk about one of the picks I made in this or previous lists, hit me on Twitter and let’s hash it out!

Thai Stick

Jimi Devine pictured with an original Thai Stick – Courtesy of Derek Fukuhara, High Rise

If you’ve been paying attention to the culture for awhile you’ve probably heard the legend of Thai sticks before. Some of the first Sativas proliferating the states, Thai sticks were basically Thailand’s version of brick weed back in the day. Packed and bound tightly around actual sticks and smuggled to all the corners of the world largely through the help of the military, they’re something of an urban legend today. When we landed in Thailand they were obviously the first thing we asked about, but it became clear that this was an elusive delicacy. In fact, most of the dispensary guys we asked said to let them know if we found it for their own consumption needs. While this might not be completely obvious by the looks of us, but we found it, and the guy who has been packing them for almost 60 years. I can’t give you information on how to find him, but I can tell you he’s out there, and so are modern sticks.

Dr. Dope’s Double Dawg

Courtesy of Derek Fukuhara, High Rise

I try very hard to ensure I’m not duplicating picks that other journalists have already written about, and although Jimi already mentioned Dr. Dope’s Double Dawg in his 12 Strains of Christmas piece for LA Weekly I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the best weed we found at a dispensary in Bangkok. While the game out there is still fresh, and the climate makes it difficult to produce tops, this was some real authentically Thai-grown heat. You could actually see the trichomes on this one, which was not as common as you’d expect in the developing market. That said, Dr. Dope was also a fun and frankly classy spot to hang in, worth the stop if you’re in the area!


Courtesy of Erin Coffey, High Rise

This is less of a product and more of a destination, but if you want a truly unique weed experience (especially in Thailand), you’ve got to hit up Plantopia ‘Weed City’ on Khao San Road. Basically a weed strip mall, this shopping center has a maze of dispensaries and consumption lounges for you to purchase or consume in, and a nice open air smoking patio for you to sesh with the clients of other shops. It’s wild how in Asia having 100 of the same type of stores right next to each other doesn’t seem to bother anyone, but it was surprising for me. That said, it’s a very unique place to hang – everyone gets their own flavor without compromise.

Kasta’s Nam Wah

Courtesy of Kasta

At the party I’ll detail in the last entry on this list, a local friend from the internet pulled up with some of his underground grown to show us. I’ll be honest, this was the best weed I saw that (I believe) was actually grown in Thailand, though it wasn’t through a traditional dispensary experience. He said the farm is just getting set up, and that it’s called Kasta. The group also says the cut is called Nam Wah, which is a cross between Banana OG & Mimosa from Symbiotic Genetics. They do love their sativa’s on that side of the world! Also big shout out to Bbboss for pulling up on us at the party!

Trufflez – Wockesha

Courtesy of Trufflez

Let me start off by saying that Trufflez is taking the branding game to a new level with this one. The pleather stitched mylar was not something I ever expected to see, but it also feels like a better compromise than most of the fancy bag attempts we’ve seen lately. It feels classier than a mylar – and while I’m sure it’s more expensive I’m curious to see how weed will last in this pouch long term. I’m going to do some experiments with that on my own. That said about the marketing, the weed in the bag is actually up to par. In fact, all the samples I saw from Trufflez were what I would consider real top shelf flower.

Turtle Pie Co – Purple Sticky Rice

Courtesy of my iPhone

Anytime I see something new from Turtle I know it’s going to be something that’s going to hit in the streets, but their latest, Purple Sticky Rice is hitting on a whole new level. Redefining the ‘candy’ nose most expect from some purple dank, these were some of the sweetest nugs to ever hit my nostrils. And I’m not just including this because of the Asian nod, this one’s definitely a gelato relative and we all know how the market loves that! All I’ve seen so far are the tasters so I’m not entirely sure if this one’s hit the streets yet, but when you get a chance, definitely tap in.

Life is Not Grape – IDK/IDC

Courtesy of Life is Not Grape

You’ve heard me rave about LING in the past so I don’t need to go into how great his production skills, or brand design, has been thus far. You already know that his flower is killing it all over the country, and that his hash collaborations and donuts are top tier. Well friends, have you tried his new Runtz x Gushers cross yet? Because let me tell you, I am writing home about it. With all the sweet firepower you expect from two of the most popular strains of the past decade, LING’s got something truly special on his hands with this one – do I even need to mention how god damn hard this branding is?


Courtesy of Spoomalack

I’m not entirely sure what’s going on with this one. I don’t know if he’s a brand, or if he’s just growing fire, but what I can assure you of is he’s definitely doing that. I met the new homie at Chronic Culture for the first time at their Kalya dinner (which was directly after Jimi & I got off the plane returning to the states) and every single cut he showed me was stellar, and fully rocked me upon deeper inspection (into my lungs). Not knowing if he’s a full brand, I’m not sure how available this flower is, but if you’re in the Bay and you hear someone talking about a cultivator with a weird name (I mean, what IS Spoomalack?), maybe it’s this homie. If it is, you’re in luck, young padawan. 

Flytrap’s Gumbo

Courtesy of Flytrap

These guys have been making a TON of noise down in Florida and I’ve been asked more about Gumbo than pretty much any other cultivar in recent history, so I’m pleased to report that it’s not just hype – the guys are doing something down there in the South East. I was fortunate enough to catch Superfly and El Tay on my trip back from the Bay (shout out to Jet Suite X, the trapper’s choice!), and they broke me off with some of their latest harvest and carte blanche, this is the best weed I’ve seen come out of Florida yet.

Sherbinski & Compound Genetics – Tribute

Courtesy of Sherbinski

Felipe presented this to us in the Dank Tank Jimi and I hosted at the Harvest Ball and I’ve got to say, for a guy who has said countless times he’s over gelato, their new collaboration with the creator himself, Sherbinski, just rekindled my love. This Apples & Bananas x Gelato 41 cross smells and tastes exactly how you would expect, with a natural, yet couldn’t be more dialed in with additive terps if you tried flavor. You can smell the apples, the bananas, and that sweet candy finish Gelato’s known for. And it’s smokin’ too! While not quite as knock-you-out as a lot of Gelato varietals, this one’s a nice sunset smoke.

Bonus: Thai Lasagna

Courtesy of Tropicanna Cafe

If you ever get the chance, you’ve got to try a Thai lasagna. I’ve been dreaming about these freakin’ things. When we went to visit Tropicanna, after sampling their wares the gang let us know they had prepared lunch if we were hungry. I had known one of the owners spent years living in Italy (you could tell, he had style); I didn’t realize he was half Italian. Not going to lie, I never expected to eat a lasagna and curry feast, but boy did we house it. It was the best hospitality we experienced in Thailand, in my opinion. There will be more on this in the ‘the Gang goes to Bangkok’ piece I’m working on, but for now just know I ate close to an entire lasagna by myself.

Nepotism Bonus: Phandee

Courtesy of Phandee

I’m adding this as a nepotism bonus because Oliver, one of the proprietors of Phandee, was our guide for the Thailand trip, but I am not fronting when I say this was my favorite of the shops we saw in Bangkok. While the store itself isn’t all that big, it’s part of a larger footprint that also sells food, drinks and even booze, and has a great little patio in the middle so everyone can enjoy everything together. It’s not only a good setup, it also looks insane because the outside is wrapped in this rainbow translucent glass. Or plastic, I don’t know, but I know I like it. Oliver also hosted a party at the shop for us while we were there and I’ll be honest, I was not expecting anywhere near the type of turnout we got, or the amount of people who knew who we were. It was a great time and will surely be a check-in anytime I’m in the city.

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A Road Tripper’s Dream: Meet Hyer, by G Pen

Are you one of those stoners that keeps their dab rig in the center console? We know your type – work, gym, beach, family function, kid’s birthday party, doesn’t matter. You’re dabbing in your car while everyone wonders where Uncle Matt went. Exhilarating and necessary as car dabs may be, they’re a huge pain in the ass. From finding a power source for your e-nail, to the dangers of using a torch in an enclosed space (please don’t ever do this); on-the-go glass use has historically been reserved for the bravest and most heady of connoisseurs.

G Pen changed the narrative in 2019 with the launch of their flagship Connect, the first portable and self-contained concentrate vaporization product on the market at the time. With the launch of Hyer two weeks ago, G Pen takes their classic proprietary technology one step further with a dual-use, battery-operated vaporizer that works for dabbing and dry herb vaping (tank sold separately). Besting its predecessor—the original G Pen Connect—Hyer boasts a 6,000 mAh lithium ion battery versus Connect’s 850 mAh, in addition to the available dry herb tank attachment. Hyer’s sleek appearance and easy-to-use interface offers safe, consistent heat at five different temperatures and time settings and more than enough muscle to produce thick, billowing clouds.

Courtesy of G Pen

The Hyer Experience

My coworker comes over to aid in the Hyer review process and we chit-chat about work for approximately 26 seconds before he busts out a thick, stout piece of purple-rimmed glass and some freshly acquired Cookies and Cream hash rosin by Kache, a Dank Czar brand. I unzip Hyer’s aesthetic AF hemp storage case and pull out the direction card. It’s easy enough to follow: select temperature, select time, and press start. With only three buttons and five small LEDs to denote selections on the 2”x4” battery pack, it’s pretty hard to mess up. I slip the 14mm male glass adapter into the joint, remove the magnetic, ceramic-lined cap and load the goods into the quartz tank with the included stainless steel tool. The temperature is set to turquoise at 572 degrees Fahrenheit (each of the five different temperature settings correspond to a color on the LED display). I press the start button twice, and wait 15 seconds for the beep telling me my dab is ready. 

I blissfully inhale the thick, milky cloud of vapor blossoming in the glass chamber and keep inhaling, again and again, until my 45 second timer expires and the half gram of hash rosin is all but cashed. The last hit tastes as good as the first. 

I sit back for a few minutes, eyes half shut, and switch out the concentrate tank for the ceramic-lined dry herb tank. I bump up the temperature to the yellow setting of 410 degrees F, and wait 25 seconds for the beep. Clean, light, and herbaceous, the taste was spot on, but not as intense as I would’ve hoped for. I can’t say with certainty I’d spend the extra $50 on this attachment. It does the job, but dabbing is truly where Hyer shines.

Courtesy of G Pen

The Review

Hyer is stoner convenience at its finest, with many pros and few, if any, cons. The first thing you’ll notice about the pieces is their weight. The housings are constructed from anodized aluminum and the battery pack, quartz tank, even ceramic-lined concentrate cap all feel substantial in the hand. The cord is a thick braided cable with large magnetic ports which easily snap in with a satisfying, weighty clack. It’s somewhat akin to closing the door on a Mercedes, you feel like it’s made to last. I can’t comment on the actual longevity or durability, however, G Pen offers a two-year limited warranty for defective units with product registration should things go south.

Hyer’s greatest strength lies in the robust battery. Offering approximately 25 sessions on a single charge, this beast has the juice to generate the thick, flavorful puffs we crave while accurately controlling the temperature so those terpenes can shine. It takes a standard (and included) USB-C charger, like the one for your MacBook, and can fully charge in about two hours. 

There are five heat settings for concentrates, ranging from 482 to 842 degrees F; and the dry herb tank, ranging from 356 to 428 degrees F. My one issue with the concentrate temperature settings is that I wish there was a setting between 482 and 572 degrees—that’s a big jump and my sweet spot is typically right around 500. I wouldn’t recommend the highest concentrate setting for consumption, but I did use it to burn off the leftover residue. Clean up is a breeze, just make sure you have Q-tips on hand like you would for a typical banger and wait 2-3 minutes before swabbing. 

A quirky detail I love? The concentrate cap has two tiny holes the dab tool can screw into, creating a little handle either on the side or top of the cap. Overall, Hyer is a great addition to any dabbers arsenal. The power combined with portability make for a winning product and it looks good, too. Even if you don’t feel the need to dab on a hike or parked in your grandma’s driveway on Christmas, dabbing doesn’t get any easier than this.

Courtesy of G Pen

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