In this issue

Robert Platshorn, a.k.a. Bobby Tuna, was
released from prison in 2008 after almost
three decades of Federal incarceration. His
book, Black Tuna Diaries, has recently been
re-published in its original, unedited form.
Read all about his rise from small stage
actor to one of the largest US smugglers of
Colombian weed in the 1970s. This heart-
pounding tale will capture your imagination,
and perhaps scare you out of ever smuggling
anything, anywhere.
Soft Secrets USA interviews Dr. Frankel, master
of medical Cannabis tinctures. Find out why this
is the safest way to medicate and why people
all over the country are exploring this therapy.
Dr. Frankel was even kind enough to reveal how
his famous tinctures are made.


The Scoop on Soil
›› 21
A look at innova-
tions in the industry
today ›› 26
So, here we are with our second issue
of Soft Secrets USA, shaking off the win-
ter sleep and enjoying our new US
readership. We hope you had a chance
to catch our first American issue; if
not, our entire international archive is
available at
(to all readers above 18, of course). You
can download all our issues for free, in
nine languages. Find out what growers,
smokers and the medical community
are experiencing around the world.
In issue two of SSUSA, we will help you
to mix fresh soil properly, give you tips
on making organic fertilizers and intro-
duce you to many new strains and seed
Medical marijuana users should make
sure to check out our interview with
Dr. Frankel, a master of marijuana tinc-
tures. Find out why dosing with thera-
peutic Cannabis is so difficult, and how
you can figure out what dosage works
best for you.
We also take a trip around the world
with Bobby Tuna, the alleged leader of
the Black Tuna Gang. Recently released
after almost 29 years of Federal incarcera-
Spring has Sprung!
The days are getting longer, the
temperature is finally rising (for
those of us not lucky enough to
enjoy California’s climate) and
the seeds are germinating. After
such a long and harsh winter for
so many, it’s great to see the ver-
dant green of new life springing
up everywhere. Get your garden-
ing gloves ready!
tion, the Baron of Barranquilla himself has
penned an exciting tale about his adven-
tures as a 1970s smuggler of some of
Colombia’s finest dope.
So, while you’re waiting for your spring
crop to germinate, sit back, relax and
enjoy issue two of SSUSA.
18+ For adults only. Soft Secrets is published
six times a year by Discover Publishers USA, Inc.

Spring Has Sprung! 1 FROM THE EDITOR
The Kind Doctor 5 MEDICINAL
Strain Awards 10 STRAIN REPORT
Germination 101 13 ORGANIC CULTIVATION
A Dutch Shift 14 MADE IN HOLLAND
Amster-rant 15 OPINION
Slider Smoke Reduction System 17 MEDICINAL
Cannabis and Pregnancy 20 MEDICINAL
Green Prisoners: Ken Unger 22 MEDICINAL/LEGAL
What’s Happening with Hemp? 26 HEMP INNOVATIONS
Sweet Seeds 29 INTERVIEW
Dear Soft Secrets 32 FROM OUR READERS
Morocco Bound 33 SMUGGLING
The Green Door 34 DISPENSARY
Mountain High 36 MADE IN HOLLAND
Sexism in Pot Culture 39 OPINION
The Attitude Seedbank 41 GENETICS/BREEDING
A Stoned Selection 44 MUSIC
Grubbycup’s Simple Hydroponics 45 BOOK REVIEW
Devil Weed 45 COMIC
Magic Bud is a fine blend of Indica and Sativa.
This plant produces beautiful resin coated nugs
in a relatively short time, approximately 56 days
indoors. Her appealing velvet looks during flower-
ing are a pleasure for the eye, and you have to be
careful that you (or your friends) do not give into
the urge to cut of a branch before she is fully rip-
ened! Your patience will be royally rewarded with
very tasty aromatic buds.
When dried and cured the Magic smokes smooth
with a pleasant floral aromatic taste. The body
relaxing effect combined with a strong potent
high is magical, you will feel at ease with every-
thing you do.
Type: Indica/ Sativa
Flowering time: Approx 56 days indoors. Outdoors
Middle of October (n.L.)
Yield: 400 grams per m2 indoors. Outdoors
approx. 500 grams per plant
Suitable environments: Indoors. Outdoors between
50º n.L. and 50º s.L.
Effects/Buzz: Pleasant Sativa-Indica high
Smell/Taste: Floral -aromatic
THC: 12-15%
Photo: Paradise Seeds
Calling all Females!
Hey, ladies – want to be famous? Ever
dreamed about being a lingerie model?
Here's your chance: Soft Secrets USA is look-
ing to print some steamy photos of you,
dear readers, in and among our favorite
plants. We want to see beautiful babes and
beautiful buds, and lots of them.
Those of you gents familiar with our UK
edition have likely already drooled over
the sexy European version of 'Dear Soft
Secrets' – now is your chance to start an
American sensation!
Girls, perhaps you'd like to show off your
curves in some sexy clothes while tending
to your outdoor garden? Or guys, maybe
you've got some semi-naughty pics of
your lady friend(s) in your grow room?
HPS lights are so romantic...
Send us your photos (high-res only; no
scans of 35mm!) of your in- or outdoor
grow, plus a lovely lady or two in the lat-
est boudoir fashions, and we will print
the best ones. If you can find a copy
of Soft Secrets to throw into the photo,
we'd love to see it!
Those whose submissions are printed will
receive one of a selection of the latest and
most informative grow books around.
Remember: keep it classy! Think lingerie
runway model or beauty queen, not red
light district!
Submissions may be emailed to:
Although a child of the sixties, Frankel
didn’t try pot until his mid-forties, and
it was not until eight years ago, when a
vicious virus in his chest attacked his heart,
that he began smoking on a regular basis.
“For years at UCLA I worked with chemo
and oncology patients,” he recalls. “They
were in so much agony that I would wheel
them out into the garden and give them a
joint. And every single one of them would
feel better. I never saw it as a moral issue
but a human issue.”
So after suffering a similar fate as his for-
mer patients and being told he had less
than a year to live, Frankel began smoking
heavily and, well, here he is.
“Look, I can’t say definitively that the med-
ical Cannabis saved my life, but…”he trails
off and smiles.
According to Frankel, the lion’s share of
Cannabis doctors are not smokers and
don’t understand the medicine: “A lot of
these doctors are using edibles but since
those are absorbed through the stomach
and must go through hepatic metabo-
lism – which turns the Cannabis mol-
ecules into a much longer lasting and very
stoney medicine – it is almost impossible
to quantify dosage, and too much can
cause psychotic reactions.” He continues:
“Smoking has some of the same issues,
plus the possible harmful effects on the
lungs; vaporizers definitely have less tar
but, again, it’s very hard to define dosage.”
The solution? Tinctures. Tinctures are
liquid THC that is dispensed through a
small spray bottle by squirting the medi-
cine under the tongue. The medicine
is absorbed through the sub-lingual
veins which, unlike edibles, are a reli-
able and consistent delivery conduit. In
addition, when a patient uses a tincture
in their mouth, they can enable some
lung absorption by taking deep breaths
in through their mouth and out through
their nose. While not widely used yet –
most doctors are recommending vapor-
izers – Frankel is a tincture pioneer.
SSUSA: how did you first come across
Dr. Frankel: When I first began my Cannabis
medical practice, it became clear that any
broadly effective medicine must be able
to be dosed during the daytime. You can
imagine that most patients would not be
entirely forthright and generally told me
they used a puff or two a few times week-
ly. I never believed it and soon helped
patients become more open and honest,
but still there was this issue of how are we
really dealing with pain, anxiety, nausea,
etc. during the day? People rarely can
smoke or even vaporize during the day.
Furthermore, even IF they could smoke/
vape, how do you know what dose to
use? How many ‘puffs’? Are all puffs equal;
absolutely not. Every puff is different in
probably 20 different ways. This is true
whether using a pipe, joint or vaporizer.
So, the question of my first year of
Cannabis medicine was, how do patients
medicate in a predictable manner, without
smoke or vaping? Edibles did not turn out
to be the answer, as they were and remain
way too variable and dependent upon
hepatic metabolism. So, I began reading
about the Golden Era of Cannabis, which
was from the late-1800’s through 1940.
During these years, all US-based ‘pharma’
companies were creating Cannabis tinc-
tures. Different strains were used for dif-
ferent formulations. Physicians and the
AMA at that time were very supportive of
Cannabis, in part due to its safety and effi-
cacy; and in part because not much else
was around. Aspirin didn’t come on the
scene until 1899. In reading the physician
notes of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s,
I learned about tinctures and soon was
bringing them into my practice.
SSUSA: what are tinctures, exactly?
DF: Tinctures are liquids into which the
essence of the plant, flower or vegetable is
extracted. Tinctures are thousands of years
old and each one of us has seen many of
the brown or blue tincture bottles on the
shelves of various homeopathic pharma-
copeias. Cannabis tinctures themselves
were first introduced to the planet 3,500
years ago. I presume there was some
bucket of alcohol into which some early
teen dumped some Cannabis plant mate-
rial. Finally, when forced to throw it away,
some of this first tincture splashed into
the teen’s mouth and Cannabis tinctures
were born. Most professional tinctures are
made in several steps:
1. Bud, trim or whole plant material is
ground up.
2. It is then placed into a complex
machine, a Super Cooled CO2 Extractor.
3. A pound of Cannabis is turned into
approximately one oz. of a thick and
very potent goo.
4. The goo is diluted into various tinctures
depending upon the chemical makeup
of the extracted tincture.
When a tincture is made properly, the can-
nabinoid content (THC/CBD/CBN) is criti-
cal to know because various new tinctures
now have very different effects, depend-
ing upon the cannabinoid content as well
as other chemicals in the plant (such as
the terpenes). The created tincture is used
sublingually in the patient’s mouth and is
absorbed directly into the bloodstream.
The dose is predictable – as well as the
effects – and this is the only known meth-
od that allows such dosing.
SSUSA: have you been involved in tinc-
ture or cannabinoid research?
DF: I am currently and have been
involved in cannabinoid research for
several years. I would love to be involved
with clinical trials; but other than very
few, they are still illegal. Even when pos-
sible, the Cannabis used comes from the
University of Mississippi, and is of very
limited strain availability. Tincture and
cannabinoid research are really entire-
ly intertwined. We need to learn what
combinations and ratios of cannabi-
noids will make what types of tinctures.
In addition, much more research into
the plant’s terpenes is critical. Terpenes
probably account for a lot of the psy-
choactive effects of Cannabis and most
tinctures remove the terpenes, as they
are within the plant waxes.
The Kind Doctor
Two blocks east of Barrington Avenue, in the heart of the San Vicente
corridor, sits the 80's glass and stylistic Jon Douglas Medical Center,
housing psychologists' offices, top-notch dental hygienists, and some
of the most expensive dermatologists in Los Angeles. And they all
have a new tenant: Greenbridge Medical, the Cannabis practice
owned by the pioneering Dr. Allan Frankel, a.k.a. 'The Kind Doctor'.
With its fresh roses, mustard yellow walls adorned with Buddhist art,
and pretty secretary, the office feels much like an acupuncture-herb
clinic. Greeting me at the door is the smiling and amiable doctor him-
self: wearing jeans, an Izod polo and tennis shoes, the sixty-something
Frankel looks every bit as Dr. – minus the whites – because, well, he
has been a board-certified internist for over 27 years, with big chunks
of that time practicing at UCLA Medical Center. By Robert Michael
So, what else are we losing? What
causes the paranoia associated with
some Cannabis use? When is it really
best to harvest a plant? These and
hundreds of other questions can only
be answered by careful study of the
plant’s genetics, and control of its
growing environment. Various stresses
can affect the expression of various
genes and change how the genetics
is morphologically expressed. I could
on for days. We have many more ques-
tions than answers. There are some
questions we know HOW to answer and
many questions where we don’t even
know where/how to start. My view of
Cannabis research would be to have
non-investment money be donated to
a research organization that will begin
obtaining these answers. I would love
to be involved with that team.
SSUSA: how do you determine dosage?
DF: To begin with, let me clearly state that I
am just referring to dosing using Cannabis
tinctures. With puffs of smoke, puffs from
a vaporizer and certainly with edibles,
dosing is very difficult and needs to be
started very slowly; I mean very slowly
and adjusted. For those of you interested
in dosing with edibles please be well
hydrated and try _ of a dose, and wait a
full two hours to assess the effect. Drink
some more fluids and try another _ and
again wait a full two hours. You will get a
reasonable dose in this manner.
With a good tincture, the amount of
THC/CBD and terpenes is generally
known. The dosing should begin with
_ of a dropper of the tincture placed
under the tongue. The fluid should be
brushed throughout your mouth with
your tongue. Before swallowing the
tincture, one needs to take ten deep
breaths. Slowly, in through your mouth,
and then slowly exhale through your
nose. I would suggest waiting 30 min-
utes to see the peak effect from this
initial dose. I would then add another _
dropper full and repeat. Most patients
require between _ and a full dropper
full. Soon, however, as every tincture
has a stated 5 mg THC or CBD dose, we
will have very exact dosing by mg.
SSUSA: how many doctors are using
this method?
DF: I think very, very few doctors are
educating patients on this method. To
a large extent it is simply that not many
physicians even know about tinctures.
Additionally, most tinctures are made very
poorly, not tested and are inconsistent.
I try educating patients and physicians
about the use of tinctures as much as pos-
sible. I also believe some physicians are
scared that it is illegal to discuss this with
patients. That is just not the case.
SSUSA: why are tinctures better than
DF: Edibles require eating a lot of wasted
calories and dosing in edibles is very poor.
The patient’s liver metabolizes the edible
as it goes from the stomach into the
bloodstream. This change moves the OH
group and entirely changes the nature of
the medication; it is much longer-acting
and much more ‘narcotizing’. Tinctures are
dose-able and predictable.
SSUSA: better than smoking?
DF: Smoking can certainly be used to treat
a patient’s symptoms but there is lung
irritation (not cancer or COPD). The little
hairs or cilia in our airways are partially,
but reversibly, paralyzed by Cannabis and
hence the chronic cough. However, cough
and irritation aside, the primary advan-
tage of tinctures over smoking is that
with smoking, dosing is impossible and
the effect on symptoms becomes a wild
up- and down curve; with tinctures it is
much smoother.
SSUSA: what are the best ailments to
use tinctures for? Why?
DF: Tinctures are just one form of
Cannabis delivery to the patient. Any
illness where Cannabis is effective, it is
effective. In my opinion, using the tinc-
ture for pretty much any ailment where
Cannabis is helpful is still the best way to
medicate the patient. Tinctures are com-
monly used for pain, anxiety, insomnia
and nausea. Rich-CBD tinctures will be
effective in many areas of cancer treat-
ment and most likely it will be in tincture
form. So, if Cannabis works, the tinctures
will work as well, if not better.
SSUSA: who are the best candidates for
DF: Any patient who wishes to benefit
from Cannabis will benefit from tinc-
tures. The primary group of patients
who tend not be satisfied by tinctures
are often patients who wish to get more
‘stoned’, or ‘narcotized’. Even many of
these patients will be satisfied using
tinctures, as we get better at re-instill-
ing the terpenes after extraction.
SSUSA: what percentage of your
patients is using tinctures?
DF: I would estimate that 30 – 40 %
of patients will use them from time to
time, and perhaps 20% use the tinc-
tures exclusively.
SSUSA: who is currently making the
DF: A large number of small manufactur-
ers, in their kitchens. This must change.
SSUSA: where do you see the tincture
application going in the near future/
long-term future?
DF: I believe it will be the next aspirin,
Tylenol and cold medicines wrapped
together while also being used for anxie-
ty, mood disorders, insomnia, etc. In other
words, I believe that Cannabis tinctures
are the largest new medical market to
come along. It will be both supported by
‘pharma’ as well as the medical Cannabis
world, or ‘non-pharma’.
SSUSA: what else is on the horizon?
Anything new?
DF: The most exciting new development
on the horizon is out of UCSF under an
NIH grant. We are seeing incredible anti-
breast cancer effects from CBD. This is
something to stay tuned for.
Caught and Released:
Black Tuna Diaries
Get ready for a long, strange trip. The unedited, limited edition of Black
Tuna Diaries is now available, and what a read it is! From South St. in
Philly to South America, Robert Platshorn weaves an almost unbeliev-
able tale of his rise from a skinny five-year-old stealing caps for the
'South St. Gang' to the alleged captain of the Black Tuna Gang, the so-
called leaders of the US pot smuggling game in the 1970s. The Sativa Diva
The DEA accused the Black Tuna Gang of
smuggling – or attempting to – between
one- and three-million tons of primo
Colombian ganja into the US in just a few
years, supposedly earning them more
than three hundred million dollars. 1970s
dollars, that is! After Nixon left office,
many Americans truly believed that the
time for Cannabis legalization had come.
Gone were the archaic views towards the
plant; the party was supposed to have
started. Before the cocaine craze of the
1980s, high-quality imported pot was the
drug of choice for many, whether smok-
ers or smugglers.
If you think about it, clearly the Tunas
were not aiming for celebrity status.
They liked to smoke dope, fish and fly
planes, and their customers were more
than happy to reimburse them for their
extra cargo upon their return to the
US. Many people in this era loved to
smoke (not just the hippies); however,
few were willing to assume the risk of
importing such a stinky, pungent cargo
all the way from steamy South America.
Likely one of the most-covered smugglers
with regards to the media, Platshorn and
his cohorts represent the severity and
often ridiculous nature of Cannabis sen-
tences in the US. The Black Tuna Gang, a
moniker applied erroneously by the DEA,
could be viewed as the very first casualties
of the emerging War on Drugs.
Platshorn and his childhood friend Robert
Meinster (another member of the South
St. Gang, naturally) were sentenced to
more than 108 years between them.
Originally, 64 of those years were meant
for Platshorn. After serving nearly 29 years
in various levels of the Federal correc-
tion system, Robert was finally freed on
April 1st, 2008. Perhaps the most famous
first-time, non-violent Cannabis offender
in the history of the War on Drugs, the
alleged ringleader was released to a half-
way house with no money, no job and
very little surviving family or friends.
Platshorn, a.k.a. Bobby Tuna, a.k.a.
Barranquilla Bob, does not represent the
typical smuggling story. Rather than a
bid for freedom from a life of poverty, as
prompts many into the smuggling and
dealing game, the Baron of Barranquilla
hails from a comfortable childhood in
Philadelphia, the son of two hard-working
Jewish parents. Raised on the famous
South St. of the 1950s, where his father
worked in a shoe store and his mother
owned a children's clothing boutique,
young Robert was left to learn the rules
of the street, all the while under the aus-
pices of dozens of 'aunts' and 'uncles',
the babysitters of that time period. Kids
worked small jobs and hustled coins,
although the smallest crimes would result
in a nasty encounter with one's folks.
The heightened attention paid to kids by
those other than their parents worked
both for and against them.
It was perhaps the very hard-working
people around him that shaped Robert's
early work ideals. He would graduate from
an arts high school in Cherry Hill, NJ,
where he enjoyed some success as an
actor and dancer. Platshorn then moved
on to college at both Temple University
(Philadelphia) and the University of
Miami. Communications and journalism
were studied but not completed, and he
would later study law.
Then came the barking at state fairs,
boardwalks and showrooms. No big
event of the time was complete without
one. Shouting and roaring and making
the ladies swoon, Platshorn seems to
have had a natural talent for sales. A true
showman, crowds of several hundred
people would gather to hear him pitch
the latest blender or no-run hosiery. It
was at the 1976 Wisconsin State Fair
where his initial connection with the
smuggling game surfaced.
While contemplating a return to the
University of Miami to pursue a law
degree, Platshorn met a fellow barker
called Cool Hand Luke. Luke knew that
Platshorn owned the Ice Cream Factory
on South St., where he also housed
his ice cream pushcarts for the tourist
season. Luke ran a concessions business
and needed a place to store his trail-
ers and off-season merchandise. Thus, a
partnership was struck.
Cool Hand was using his concessions
trailers to deliver shipments for smug-
glers and thought it would be the perfect
spot to unload. This would promote him,
and Platshorn, to dealers in their own
right. Tired of being a simple delivery boy,
Luke convinced Robert that this was their
chance to enter the game. Unfortunately,
Luke would later turn informant.
This small initial load of dope was handled
by Luke and Robby, while Platshorn was
setting up shop in Florida – relying on his
two friends to slide him his cut.
Eventually, Platshorn would run a
small empire from a suite in the luxu-
ry Fontainebleau in Florida. With luxury
yachts docked in front of the hotel, he
operated the South Florida Auto Auction,
among other businesses. It was the auto
auction that provided a perfect excuse
for traveling to Latin America, especially
when one is friends with people who are
able to produce a variety of planes and
boats with which to smuggle prime-grade
Colombian pot.
In '77 Platshorn was living in the Spring
Gardens area of Miami and restoring an
old 40 ft. Elco Sportsfisherman, which
would later come in handy. His pal
Captain Crunch knew someone with
1,500 lb. loads of Colombian weed
that were being smuggled into Florida
through the Everglades. Robert and
Robby were to become partners with
the supplier and find customers to
whom they could offload each ship-
ment. Posh canal houses presented the
perfect unloading spots, with their pri-
vate house-adjacent docks for yachts
and semi-discrete settings among the
wealthy and disinterested.
LONDON, 1968
Platshorn and crew were known pub-
licly as the 'Fishing Fools', a title earned
as a result of their highly competitive
– and highly successful – jaunts at
local fishing competitions. Of the many
ridiculous claims asserted by the DEA,
one was that the smugglers' radio code
for loads of ganja was 'Black Tuna, Black
Tuna'. No such code ever existed.
Besides, as Platshorn points out, anyone
who has ever fished knows that Blue
Fin Tuna are much bigger – 'giant' even
– than their black-finned cousins, and
the Fools' legendary fishing success in
Bimini competitions became so largely
due to the sheer size of their usual
catch. In fact, they were even awarded
special medals for winning a Grand
Slam fishing contest. Photos of the gold
medals would find their way onto the
DEA website, where it was claimed that
the medallions were used to identify
members of the Black Tuna Gang.
In fact, the Fools did their best to maintain
normal profiles while on missions, includ-
ing radio silence, and even had someone
monitoring all radio traffic from inside a
surveillance van: marine-, air-, state- and
local police, DEA, Bahamian customs, etc.
After the second load was delivered,
Robert and Robby were invited by their
partner to join him in Colombia. From
Bogotá to Barranquilla, the pair were
sent on a wild goose chase. Intent on
finding a silver lining, they stayed in
Colombia to see what sort of business
would arise. It was on this trip that
Platshorn met 'Johnny with the Camaro',
who would become his solid connec-
tion and provide him with enough con-
tacts, and dope, to fill several ships
each time he visited Colombia.
Buying 2,000 lb. loads of pot at $60 per
pound sounds pretty cheap, by today's
standards. However, you must remember
that this was the mid- to late '70s, when
pressed ditch weed cost about $12 per
pound. When part of one batch was stolen
by the police, the remaining 850 lbs. was
pre-sold to their customers at $240 per
pound. The stuff the Tunas were hauling
was like gold to pot smokers. Their profit
margin was unbeatable.
All went well, for a while. At one point,
Platshorn was held 'hostage' in Puerto
Atlántico while the weed supplier wait-
ed for his partners to pay up. Unlike
many hostage situations, he was invited
to stay with his captor's family, fed well
and entertained.
In 1977, their 5,000 lb. load of Santa Marta
Gold was hijacked by the Colombian
Army. The boys were loaded into a moldy
step van and driven through the sweaty
jungle to be coerced into paying a 'land-
ing fee' or be shot by firing squad, as
an example to others. These problems,
however, were to pale in comparison
to the Federal charges levied by the US
government against the Black Tunas.
Among their smuggling fleet were two
44 ft. Striker yachts, one 54 ft. Striker, a
53 ft. Hatteras yacht, a 43 ft. Rybovich
yacht and a 110 ft. Elco. Planes included
several trips on a Lear jet, their own DC-3,
Cessnas, Pipers, a Beechcraft D-18, an Aero
Commander, Constellations and more. The
alleged haul of over three hundred million
dollars, the planes and the boats were all
nowhere to be found when it was time for
the DEA to present their evidence.
Whether you're an airplane buff, boat
connoisseur or fishing fiend, there's
something interesting and appealing for
readers of all types on every page of
Black Tuna Diaries. The text is important;
not necessarily because it outlines the
perils and triumphs of pot smuggling –
and it does – but because it shows how
desperate the War on Drugs has been
since its inception. The groovy, party-
laden view that many have of the 1970s
is belied by the '20-to-life' statute of the
decade for pot possession or dealing.
Busting the Fishing Fools – sorry, the
'Black Tuna Gang' – was a notch in the
belt of the DEA, who were burdened with
the now highly-publicized task of polic-
ing the infamous and heavily-trafficked
smuggling routes of the day.
With the 'Just Say No' campaign right
around the corner, the Tuna take-down
signaled that even more drastic and
depressing changes were about to befall
American Cannabis users, dealers and
smugglers. Rather than legalize, the States
entered the dark period that only now
seems to be lightening. As stated by many
social observers, the War on Drugs created
the need for sophisticated drug cartels; it
wasn't ever the case that so many smug-
glers were clogging the water- and air-
ways with their stinky contraband.
Whatever the case, when Bobby Tuna
was busted in September of 1978 (after
attempting an elusive maneuver that
will make the reader break out in a cold
sweat), a golden era ended. The relation-
ship between US smokers in the '70s
and the legendary Santa Marta Gold had
encountered an unfortunate hurdle. No
longer would this particular 'gang' supply
them with the sacred cargo.
Few other smugglers at the time risked
transporting such large loads; some
did, but were also apprehended. Others
were successful, but the Tunas' bust
certainly served as a warning to any
would-be entrepreneurs. Ultimately,
by removing the Tunas from their posi-
tion as trans-continental runners, the
DEA/Feds only served to prompt a
renaissance in smuggling techniques.
Not only that, but the dawn of the
cocaine-fueled 1980s was approach-
ing, and in terms of discretion, it was
much less smelly – and far more profit-
able – to switch products. A new smug-
gling trend was born.
Bobby Tuna would never have entered
that game, even if he hadn't been nabbed
by the authorities. He had far more respect
for himself, and for Cannabis, and had no
desire to associate with 'cocaine cowboys'.
Now a medical Cannabis user – but still
occasionally hocking non-stick cooking
pans or one of Ron Popeil's inventions –
he was released just over three years ago,
on April 1st, 2008. Perhaps the day should
be renamed 'Fishing Fools' Day'. The first
thing a newly-free Bobby Tuna did? He
went fishing, of course.
To order your limited-edition copy, or
make a donation to Robert Platshorn, visit
Spring Planting
It may still be a bit chilly, but spring will soon be here. For indoor gar-
dens the change in seasons isn’t all that dramatic. Spring, summer, fall
and winter are just different settings on the lighting and temperature
controls. For outdoor gardens, however, there is a pre-spring moment
that is very special, when the ground has been cleared and the only
seeds in the garden are ones of hope and anticipation. Outdoor gar-
dens are a cheap and natural way to grow smoke. However, they can
also attract drama like a magnet if discovered by some idiot, so even
legal weed should be grown with discretion. The biggest threat to
outdoor Cannabis walks on two legs. by Grubbycup
Marijuana grows well in containers or
directly in the ground. It is a very simple
spice to grow (to be correct, it’s a spice –
not an her – since the flower clusters are
the part of the plant that is harvested). In
my opinion, it is easier to grow a nice crop
of marijuana than a nice crop of tomatoes
or peppers. If you’ve had a successful veg-
etable or flower garden, you already have
most of the needed skills.
Depending on the 'gardening zone' of
your area, spring may be just right
around the corner. In most of the US,
Cannabis is planted outdoors in April
through May in anticipation of a fall
harvest. Check with your local garden
zone guide; but as a general rule, plant
no earlier than a week after the last frost
date. Plant near the spring equinox and
harvest around the fall equinox.
You can put them outside later in the
season, even up to midsummer, but the
more time the plants spend growing,
the larger they can grow, and the larger
the harvest should be. Once you know
when you want to move the plants out-
side, count back the weeks to figure out
when to start them.
Outdoor plants can be started indoors
by cloning or seed. Start clones indoor
by taking cuttings from a known female
– at least three weeks in advance, to
have them ready to move outside. Take
cuttings that include a growing tip,
and at least below the next node. Dip
in rooting hormones if desired, and
bury the node into the growing media
with the tip above the surface. Keep
the media moist, but not soggy. Roots
should be formed in two to three weeks.
Start seeds indoors at least two weeks
in advance to have them ready to
move outside. When starting from
seed, germinate at least twice the
number of seeds as plants desired for
harvest, as a little under half tend to
be male. To avoid investing too much
time and energy into male plants, once
established, clones taken from the
outdoor plant can be sexed indoors to
learn gender. An alternative is to start
with feminized seeds, which will all be
female. Sprouts should be kept moist,
but not too wet.
One drawback to starting indoors is
that the plants need to be 'hardened'
before they can be left outside perma-
nently. To harden a plant, it is placed
outside in a mild location for a longer
period each day for anywhere from
a few days to about a week. It will
ease the transition from the protected
indoor environment to the harsher out-
doors. Plastic domes can help protect
young plants. Depending on condi-
tions, plants not hardened may die if
the change in environment is too great.
If starting from seed outside, you can wait
until your planting date to start. The same
gender concerns as when starting seeds
indoors apply here.
'Companion planting' is a method
often used to help prevent outdoor
plants from attracting certain types of
pests. Nearby, indeterminate, tomato
plants bring natural defenses against
some types of insects. A brief glance
at green foliage with tomatoes on it
can appear to be a tomato plant, and
the marijuana can help provide some
support for the tomato plant. Besides,
home grown produce is a worthwhile
harvest of its own.
Tying open branches allows a more even
distribution of sunlight, and training tall
plants to bend over with twine can limit
height concerns.
Fertilize with more nitrogen before the
summer solstice, and gradually reduce the
amount afterward. Do the opposite with
phosphorous and potassium: start with a
small amount, and gradually increase use
after the summer solstice.
Marijuana is a very tolerant plant, which
can do well under a wide variety of condi-
tions, both indoors and out. An outdoor
temperate grow can be spectacular, pro-
ductive and save kilowatts of electricity
over an indoor grow.
If you are blessed with a circumstance that
will allow outdoor gardening, be thankful.
It is a wonderful way to grow, as long as
you can do it in peace.
Peace, love and puka shells,
Have You Tried These?
Best Pain Relieving Strain Award
(High THC)
Two-Way Tie!
This issue brings us a two-way tie between
Humboldt County Housewives' Skywalker
OG and Oklevueha's Blue Dream Haze.
The Skywalker OG has the highest total
cannabinoid content; while the Blue
Dream Haze has slightly more THC. With
both strains scoring high at nearly 25%
THC, these indicas are sure to take your
pain away and probably your sensibili-
ties too. Beginners beware! Too much of
a toke from these beauties and you'll
find yourself in couch lock paranoia. Even
the cartoons you're watching on the tel-
evision set will know how high you are.
Connoisseurs: rejoice, relax and enjoy.
Humboldt County Housewives'
Skywalker OG –
24.47% THC
1.02% CBD
0.26% CBN
Oklevueha's Blue Dream Haze –
24.99% THC
< 0.05% CBD
0.38% CBN
Best Anxiety Relief Award
(High CBD)
While we see many great rating THC
strains every day, the rarest of the rare
are high CBD (Cannabidiol) strains.
These are an interesting breed that,
strangely enough, are known for their
properties in not getting you too high.
They maintain many pain relief quali-
ties, but are best known for their excep-
tional anxiety relief. It's a completely
different experience that we highly
recommend. So if you need to pass
that calculus test, but need to take the
edge off, pick up some ATF from M-Pire.
Remember though: not all strains are
created equal! We've seen several ATF
strains with no CBD content at all. So
hats off to these master growers for
cultivating this rare gem.
M-Pire's ATF –
7.65% THC
8.63% CBD
0.10% CBN
Sexiest Strain Award
Humboldt County Housewives return
with another winner this month, with
their picturesque White Widow. Behold
the greenest of greens! It's as if you could
see nature's essence flowing through
this beauty. She boasts a gorgeous glow,
with well-placed hairs and bright alive
trichomes throughout. This mild sativa is
great for an energy boost around lunch
time. Feeling lonely? Wrap your lips
around nature's most fertile White Widow.
Humboldt County Housewives' PMS
White Widow –
10.75% THC
< 0.05% CBD
< 0.05% CBN
Pretty in Purple Award
We can't help ourselves. We're always
blown away by the purps. They leap off
the camera lens begging "Look at me,
dahling!". It's a difficult choice to choose
the best; however, the Black Kush from
Whittier Hope Collective is a clear winner.
She's a dark burgundy, reminiscent of
a plum-colored Cabernet. Her trichomes
are lined up in perfect single file for your
viewing pleasure.
Whittier Hope Collective's Black Kush –
9.73% THC
< 0.05% CBD
< 0.05% CBN
Uncle Harry's Mistress Award
Harry likes 'em hairy, and the Red
Warrior doesn't disappoint. At 12.70%
THC she's not the strongest weapon
on the battlefield, but she'll visually
enchant anyone who sets their on eyes
upon her. This red-headed stepchild
is bursting with supermodel appeal.
Beneath that amazing head of thick
sunset hairs are glowing white bulbs
just begging for your vaporizer.
Oklevueha's Red Warrior –
12.70% THC
< 0.05% CBD
< 0.05% CBN
In this issue of Soft Secrets USA, we shall
take an alternative look at producing
organic fertilizers (or ‘teas’) using natural
ingredients. The aim of any organic tea
is to produce a well-balanced base of
nutrients which, when applied to soil sub-
strates, is made freely available to plants.
Organic cultivation is, therefore, the pro-
cess of feeding the soil beneath – not
the plant itself – with all the nutritional
requirements needed to further sustain
plant growth.
Cultivating Healthy Bacteria
The basic principle behind any organic tea
recipe is that EVERYTHING on earth (unless
sterile) is surrounded by bacteria. As things
decay, the more these bacteria start to
work. Some of these bacteria are more
beneficial to soil and plant life than oth-
ers. In making organic tea in water, we are
therefore aiming to cultivate a small ‘micro-
herd’ of beneficial bacteria. This is achieved
by using natural ingredients already cov-
ered in micro-bacteria and by enhancing
the environment surrounding the bacteria
so that they can rapidly multiply.
The bacteria we are dealing with here are
‘aerobic’, meaning they need oxygen to
survive. This is provided by an air stone in
a bucket or by hand-stirring the bucket of
water twice daily. The bacteria also require
a source of carbohydrate to feed on. This is
provided by a basic source of sugar, such
as honey, molasses or cane sugar. Once
situated in a warm environment the con-
tents of the bucket of water then slowly
start to ferment.
Store Bought ‘Organic’ Tea
Today most DIY depots, garden nurser-
ies and specialist stores cater to the
organic home-grower. Many stores offer
what at first seems like a vast array of
ingredients, including guano, seaweed
extract, worm casts and even ready-
made ‘organic’ solutions.
Guano is usually the first ingredient many
tea makers will discover. Guano is the dried
or fossilized remains of bat or sea bird
manure. Rich in essential nutrients, each
guano comes with its own NPK reading to
indicate the strength of the nitrogen, phos-
phorus and potassium level. For example,
a guano labeled 10-2-2 is suitable for the
vegetative stages of growth; while, in con-
trast, a guano labeled 0-3-7 is more suited
to the later stages of flowering.
Organic Guano Tea
The following recipe has been tried and
tested over many years in various gardens.
The guano used is usually quite strong, so
only a small teaspoon of sea bird guano
and a large tablespoon of Kenyan or
Peruvian bat guano is added to each gal-
lon bucket of warm water. Depending on
season and visible signs in the plants’ well-
being, then the quantities may change.
Next, a small splash (5ml) of seaweed
extract and a tablespoon of honey, maple
syrup or sugar is added to the bucket as a
carbohydrate. This aids fermentation. The
bucket is stirred twice daily and kept at a
temperature of 70°F (20°C). This helps the
natural bacteria generate at an even rate.
The tea is ready within 7-14 days. To add
some extra depth to organic tea during
vegetative stages of growth, a large table-
spoon of wood ash is added to promote
root growth. This is something still being
experimented with, since guano is known
to react differently in combination with
different compounds.
Likewise a small cup (250ml) of urine adds
extra nitrogen to the tea (if required).
Urine is sterile when produced; although
it acts as an accelerator when it comes in
contact with foreign bacteria. This further
aids the fermentation process.
The resulting tea is applied liberally to
the base of plants when still young. Note:
urine containing contraceptives and ster-
oids should never be used in organic tea,
since they contain hormones that may
affect plant growth and the health of
the consumer. This is especially important
when crops are consumed as ‘medibles’!
Wild Organic Tea
Wild organic tea is the cheapest and most
natural way to produce a reliable source
of organic fertilizer. Nature is full of use-
ful wild plants and minerals just waiting
to be brewed. Nettles, for example, are a
great source of nitrogen (N) and iron (Fe)
and make perfect teas for the vegetative
stages of growth.
Burdock is a reliable source of trace ele-
ments including calcium (Ca) and mag-
nesium (Mg). Added to a bucket of warm
water, the leaves of both wild plants fer-
ment into a thick soup in only a few
days. The soup can then be sieved and
sprayed onto the leaves of plants to pro-
mote healthy growth, or applied directly
as a base-feed.
Another natural substance that can be
added to organic teas to increase the
levels of phosphorous (P) and potassium
(K) during the flowering stages of growth
include charcoal and wood ash. Likewise,
worm castings and mole-hill soil are also
excellent sources of free organic minerals.
Both can be added to any organic tea at
any time of year, without any fear of over-
fertilization. When fresh, both are mineral
rich in trace elements and contain a pleth-
ora of additional natural bacteria that are
known to donate beneficial properties to
soil life and, in turn, plant life.
There is plenty of debate surrounding chemical vs. organic methods
of cultivation. Many organic gardeners argue that plants cultivated
using naturally-sourced ingredients make for healthier plants that
display a more extensive arrangement of essential oils at harvest.
Others argue that organic methods of cultivation are simply less
stressful on the planet. by lazystrain
Advantages and
One of the main advantages of using
organic tea as a source of fertilizer in the
garden is visible in healthier, more robust
plants. Growers using chemical applica-
tions often require additional chemical
supplements to provide their plants with
just the correct sources of micro-nutrients.
A well-balanced organic tea, on the other
hand, provides all the nutritional require-
ments needed for healthy growth.
One of the main disadvantages of organic
tea is that the preparation time requires
more input than simply pouring nutrients
out of a plastic bottle into a watering
can. Another disadvantage is the space
required to ferment organic tea, in a buck-
et of water, with an air stone. Plus, of
course, the often unpleasant smell that
some teas generate as the most beneficial
bacteria become active.
Since the US is such a large country with
stark climate and elevation changes, it is
essential that you choose the best strain
for your outdoor environment. Medical
patients should be especially stringent
with their standards, as the correct vari-
ety can be the perfect therapy for their
ailment; however, the wrong strain may
worsen their medical condition.
Once you have decided which variety to
grow, there are a few different methods
that you can use to successfully germi-
nate the seeds. Those of you with regular
gardening experience (tomatoes, herbs,
etc.) will find that some of the gardening
techniques that you already know will be
Before you place the seeds into the germi-
nating medium, make sure you first soak
them in a glass of water for around 24
hours. When the seeds sink to the bottom
of the glass, they should be placed in your
chosen medium.
Damp Paper Towels
This is a common method often used
by basic gardeners. The soaked seeds
are placed between moistened layers of
paper towels or cotton pads, and checked
at least once daily for sprouts. The paper
should be kept damp at all times, while
avoiding pooling or uneven distribution
of water (which could lead to mold).
Rockwool Cubes
Rockwool cubes are found more readily
within the hydroponic growing commu-
nity, as it is a preferred substrate for some
hydro systems. One benefit of these cubes
is that they protect the delicate seedlings
as they emerge, sometimes allowing for
a better success rate. Downsides include
the fact that rockwool doesn’t really bio-
degrade (think: fiberglass made out of
molten rock), nor does the plastic in which
many of the cubes are wrapped.
Peat Pots
Peat pots are a more natural alternative
to rockwool, as they are often made of
organic materials. Moisture holds rela-
tively well and the peat pots may be filled
with your choice of seedling soil. Trays of
peat pots are handy for organized germi-
nation, after which each seedling is cut
apart from the rest when it is transplanted
for the first time.
Seed Pellets
Pellets are bullet-shaped vessels into
which your soaked seeds are inserted.
These may be purchased dry or already
soaked, occasionally with a nutrient or
hormone solution. Some growers report
that these alter their pH- and EC levels
and have even burned their seedlings;
you must obtain specific product details
at your local garden center or grow shop.
Small Plant Pots
If you are already have a flower or vegetable
garden, you may re-use your small (3” x 3”)
pots if they are washed and rinsed thor-
oughly (to prevent disease and infestation).
Seedling soil is available at most garden cent-
ers and is specifically used to prevent nutri-
ent burn on the tender new shoots. Normal
growing soil often has too much food for the
seedlings, which can not only burn them
but also occasionally spoils young plants
by deterring them from spreading copious
roots in search of nutrition.
For more information, ask questions at your
local grow shop or plant nursery. Plenty
of Cannabis grow books are also available
online. Experiment to find out which meth-
od best suits your gardening needs.
Germination 101 The Sativa Diva / Photos: Cannabis College Amsterdam
Now that the weather has gotten warmer, lots of folks are starting up their outdoor gardens. Many people do this by germinating
their seeds indoors first, and allowing the seedlings to grow into small plants before their transition to an outdoor climate.
A Dutch Shift… for the Worse?
It’s a sunny, cold and crisp January day in Amsterdam. Groups of
tourists wander about – staring in disbelief for some, fascination for
others – through the streets of the Red Light district. Farther along
the street, the smell of growing Cannabis comes wafting through the
ventilation system of the Cannabis College. Inside it, a group of tour-
ists listens attentively to one of the volunteers while he explains the
way the Dutch system works with regards to Cannabis, the changes
the industry is undergoing and the effect this is having on one of the
Netherlands’ main attractions: coffeeshops. Buddy Kush
To a large percentage of the people
visiting the Netherlands, the prospect
of freely accessing a coffeeshop is the
equivalent of visiting a candy shop as
a kid: a mouth-watering experience to
say the least. This does lead to some
misunderstandings, however: “You guys
are so lucky, with Cannabis being legal
and all...” states a tourist.
The fact is that Cannabis has never been
legalized in the Netherlands. The reason
behind the open sales of Cannabis lies
in the Dutch government's decision to
tolerate the sale of weed and hash in small
quantities, to adults, via licensed estab-
lishments: coffeeshops.
Taking a tolerant stance has been quite a
successful move if you look at the results:
safer distribution, less crime, one of the
lowest consumption rates per head in
Europe. (Around 22.6% of Dutch residents
between 15 and 64 years of age have tried
Cannabis, versus 40.6% in the USA.) To top
it all off, a comfortable amount of money
goes straight into the government's pock-
et, thanks to the 52% income tax applied
to coffeeshops – more than double that of
traditional businesses.
Things have been changing over the
last couple years, however. In 2010,
the government decided to close any
coffeeshop located within 250 m. (273
yd.) of a school. A highly ineffective
decision as explained by Amsterdam's
former mayor, Job Cohen: “Students
that wish to go to a coffeeshop will not
be put off by a couple meters more....
Added to this is the fact that youth can-
not enter a coffeeshop and that this is
strictly applied. New research has con-
firmed what we already knew: students
obtain soft drugs via-via and therefore
do not go to coffeeshops.”
All in all, past decisions put in place by the
government have led the amount of cof-
feeshops in Amsterdam to drop from 452
in 1994 to around 230 today.
But that's not all; 2010 also brought with
it a shift in politics. The previously cen-
trist government became more conserva-
tive/right wing with the VVD (Party for
Freedom and Democracy), PVV (Party
for Freedom) and the CDA (Christian
Democrats) leading the government.
This does not bode well for the future of
Holland's Cannabis culture as the Dutch
government is backtracking – slowly turn-
ing its back on the progress it has led by
example over the last 40 years. And the
worst thing is the lack of rational or coher-
ent argument behind this move.
In an attempt to diminish the so-called
'misery' caused by the actual tolerant
stance, the government has been work-
ing on a proposal to establish a pass sys-
tem to restrict non-Dutch residents from
accessing coffeeshops. As a whole this is
not entirely surprising, as it sticks to the
essence of the tolerant stance put forward
in the 1970s, providing initial access to
coffeeshops to the Dutch.
Marc Michel Josemans, owner of the Easy
Going Coffeeshop in Maastricht, contest-
ed this decision in 2010 but his arguments
were rejected by the European Court. The
Court stated that this was not the case,
given the Cannabis plant’s illegal status
outside of the Netherlands.
A sad conclusion for us all, but the ques-
tion now is how the Dutch government
could possibly apply this, given the fol-
- Around 20 - 25% of tourlsts go to
coffeeshops, according to the Dutch
Office of Tourism.
- No legal authorlty so far ls authorlzed to
distribute the pass.
- Most coffeeshops wlll refuse to submlt to
such discriminatory practices.
- |t would lead to an lncrease ln lllegal
trade, violence and less control over the
quality of Cannabis available.
- Less quallty control wlll lead to con-
sumers' ill health.
Given these facts, most cities (Amsterdam
included) have stated they would not
implement this system, bringing the
entire debate to a standstill. For some,
however, the weed pass is a halfway meas-
ure; meaning that if it fails, certain political
parties will put all their energy behind the
closure of coffeeshops, as stated by Alex
Meij, VVD representative in Maastricht:
“The VVD believes that this policy and the
Cannabis pass should be put into applica-
tion. If these measures do not help with
the present situation… then the closure
of coffeeshops is unavoidable.”
This would prove an absolutely disas-
trous decision, pushing the Cannabis
industry farther underground, to the
great benefit of the criminal organiza-
tions these same people claim to be
fighting, and to the detriment of just
about everyone else – including the
tax payers. There are, however, those
who realize that such repressive actions
would only make the situation worse,
preferring to have an open dialogue as
to how to better regulate the production
and distribution of Cannabis. This would
ensure a safe environment, reduced
criminal activity and better product
quality. An overall win-win situation!
The Cannabis College
Oudezijds Achterburgwal 124
1012DT Amsterdam
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0) 204234420
So this is where the situation lies at
present. An uncertain time with three
possible outcomes: in one, coffeeshop
access is restricted to Dutch nation-
als. In the second, the Cannabis pass
system fails and the minority cabinet
lobbies to eradicate coffeeshops from
Holland altogether. The third – and
for us the only rational option – is for
the government to push for further
decriminalization and regulation of
the Cannabis industry.
An interesting time indeed…
Any comments/questions?
Feel free to get in touch with us at the
Cannabis College in Amsterdam:
Amsterdam is a small city with a big name. The epicenter of the
Cannabis world, it is a place we all want to visit at least once in our
lives. In the hearts of the American tokers it holds a special place. In
darker times, when the plant was demonized in the U.S; Amsterdam
shone like a beacon of freedom and hope of how things might be.
Up until now the city has always displayed a tolerant policy toward
the plant. There was a time when the hash and weed prices were
given out over Dutch radio each morning. Dealers would gather in a
cafe behind Dam Square to test each other's samples and listen to the
prices of the day. Just like the stock market around the corner, it had
its own gold standard called 'NPL': a variety of black Pakistani border
hash that never varied in quality or supply. Against this, the value of
everything else was measured. By O’Riodon
The city had every kind of Cannabis
you could imagine. From the odd kilo
of exotic hash smuggled in by travelers
to multi-ton loads that were eventu-
ally exported across Europe, it all passed
through Amsterdam. This business
generated lots of money for the Dutch
economy. The coffee shops flourished,
creating a unique form of tourism that
brought in even more money. People
came in droves from all over the world
to enjoy the Dutch 'Cannabis experi-
ence'. Getting a light for your joint from a
policeman in the Vondel Park was a tour-
ist ritual. Legalization would have been
the next logical step, celebrating it as a
gift, but then from across the Atlantic
came a hail of criticism. The Dutch gov-
ernment at the time was forced to back-
track and begin the slow dismantling of
our free alternative lifestyle.
So when you come to visit Holland these
days for your Cannabis experience; the
liberal freedom you’re experiencing is
purely superficial, a ghost of what it once
was. Sure we still have coffee shops and
they’ll sell you some of the best weed
in the world, but where does it come
from? Criminals! That’s what the govern-
ment terms the growers. On one hand
they allow the sale of Cannabis, benefiting
from the business and taxes it generates;
and on the other, authorities hunt and
persecute the people who produce it. It
is becoming so dangerous to grow that
eventually only real criminals will do it.
The latest maneuver is to close the grow
shops. It smacks of hypocrisy to me.
Previous governments aren’t entirely to
blame for the situation. Continuous pres-
sure from the US over the years has
prevented the Dutch authorities from
acting positively at a time when it would
have made a difference. Instead they
did nothing, allowing the production
and distribution to fall into the hands of
organized criminals who use their profits
to finance weapons and people smug-
gling. In the eyes of the law it is with
these people that the honest growers of
Holland are associated. It’s true we are
'legally' allowed to grow five plants, but
you can’t use lights and it rains a lot in
Holland; you also can’t legally feed, clip
or give them any kind of attention. If they
do flower and are visible from the street,
there’s still a chance that the police will
show up and confiscate them.
So, it is with a sense of irony that we look
to the US and see growers over there
producing crops without the constant
threat of arrest and confiscation. Getting
busted here is a life-changing experience;
it's financially devastating and leaves you
with a criminal record. So there are lots of
nice people you’ll never ever get to meet,
because they’re banned from America.
Most here in NL grow to supplement a low
income: single mothers, the unemployed
and people with chronic illness unable to
afford coffeeshop prices. I started growing
when I became sick and had to undergo
chemotherapy. Medicinal weed was $16
a gram, good coffee shop $10, so I decid-
ed to grow my own. Over the following
years the plant supported and eventu-
ally helped to heal me. Tending garden
brought me peace in a difficult time and I
dream of doing it again, but without fear
of arrest. Most growers would love to pay
tax; it would be a small price for doing
something we love.
Amsterdam has unique living libraries
containing hundreds of varieties of the
Cannabis plant that one day could benefit
mankind. Should they be discovered by
the police they’d be destroyed and that
would be a crime against nature.
Now, I may sound like disgruntled aging
hippie, but I’ve done my time, unjustly
spending years in a shithole prison for
love of a plant. Remember, when the
US government was busy persecuting its
Cannabis growers, the Dutch held firm,
giving refuge to those fleeing its unjust
prison terms. Now the growers of Holland
and all the people here who care for the
plant need a little support. We want to
enjoy the same freedoms that seem to
be opening up for you. It’s so ironic that
our roles have been reversed and now we
have become the persecuted.
Amsterdam through the
Looking Glass
Amsterdam through the
Looking Glass
If you hadn’t noticed, the present Dutch
government has some very extreme
views, especially concerning Cannabis.
The Minister of Justice, Dhr. Opstelten,
would like to close down the whole
Cannabis scene, imagining we’ll all sud-
denly stop smoking weed. In reality
this will simply push everything under-
ground and into the hands of criminals
who are willing to sell you anything.
Until now the Dutch had such a good
reputation for getting it right with the
drug scene. What happened?
I have been a Cannabis user for over forty
years, run a business, traveled the world
and still don’t have a brain that looks like
a fried egg.
Send the Dutch government an email and
tell them how it should be or you’re not
coming to visit! The Minister of Justice
would be a good start.
Paper-less blunts and cigarettes have
been on the market for decades but
they never really caught on; that is, until
Fred of Home Blown Glass decided to
put countless hours into comparing
old designs and brainstorming ways to
improve upon them. Eventually he deliv-
ered the perfect alternative to paper-
rolled joints for even those who perhaps
aren't usually into glass. Easy to use and
even easier to clean, the Slider is one of
those cool gadgets that every smoker
should have. Fred shared his story, and
that of the genesis of my now-favorite
piece of glass, with Soft Secrets USA.
The Cannabis world rarely experiences
revolutionary products. When they do
arrive, it's usually to some fanfare, consid-
ering how information spreads in under-
ground communities. With the Slider,
however, success has come with less of a
bang and more of a, well, puff of smoke.
Fred, founder of Home Blown Glass and
the creative mind behind the Slider, has
had a long personal history with Cannabis
and its beneficial effects. “After going to
school for holistic health and working
with patients who had written off allo-
pathic [traditional, Western] medicine,
I became aware of how well Cannabis
helped people gain relief from a variety of
conditions. I met Jack Herer in 1989 and
he blew me away with The Emperor Wears
No Clothes, as it was validation for what I
had seen and believed.
“Shortly after our meeting a friend intro-
duced me to Neville's original strains,
which I faithfully grew and passed on
to as many people as I could. By 1997
I was caretaker for over 50 people with
every thing from AIDS, cancer, chronic
pain, MS, depression, alcoholism, glau-
coma, etc. Considering the destitute
state in which many of these people
were, prices [ranged] from free to half
the black market value.”
However, the dream of helping peo-
ple with affordable, natural medicine
turned into a nightmare when Fred was
busted for cultivation. He recalls, “Even
though I obtained a Cannabis dealer's
license from [my home] state, I was
unable to use it in my defense after a
commercial supplier turned me in to
stay out of jail. I [had been sitting] on
my couch reading a book on contem-
porary glassblowing when the officers...
broke through my front door, nearly
shooting my dogs in the process.”
You think you've seen it before, but you haven't. The Slider System
series of 'paper-less cigarette' hand-blown glass tubes presents by far
the most modern and functional re-design of a known smoking prod-
uct. Placing Second for Best Glass at the 2010 High Times Medical
Cannabis Cup in San Francisco, each piece is individually crafted by
the artists at the Home Blown Glass company, suiting all tastes and
levels of consumption. Gone are the days of hacking and choking over
a bowl of well-grown ganja, as the Slider delivers a smooth, efficient
and effective hit with each and every toke. The Sativa Diva
Luckily, the strong survive, and a combina-
tion of Fred's passion for both glassblow-
ing and helping patients led to the crea-
tion of his company. “Within two months
I had turned my hobby into Home Blown
Glass. We were lucky in our state that
'paraphernalia' is [considered] multi-use
items and not... illegal unless used with
illegal substances.”
Freedom was not wasted on Fred, as he
went straight to work researching the
glass market and ]trying to figure out
exactly what was missing. “After several
years [of ] manufacturing bowls and tra-
ditional pipes, the inexpensive foreign
products began flooding the market,” he
remembers. Cheap imports lower the
overall quality of the market, are often
easily broken and sometimes even rely
upon sweatshops or child labor for pro-
duction. The benefits of supporting local
glassblowers extend, therefore, beyond
simple differences in quality or being able
to choose your favorite color.
“This worry was a catalyst in us rethink-
ing a 1970's design, marketed under
several names over a few decades,
[including] the Paperless Cigarette, EZ
Slide and Slider. This product had seen
a resurgence on the market as a Glass
Blunt, but fundamentally there was lit-
tle difference with its design in over 30
years. So, with the insistence and con-
stant badgering of my friend Glaucoma
Jim, we redesigned this old product.”
So what is it exactly that upgrades
users from the duplicate products of
the past? Fred elaborates: “We elimi-
nated the vinyl sleeve, shrink wrap,
rubber grommet, the plastic piece used
to hold the tubes together – that makes
you choke when you get to the juicy
bits. We replaced it with a stainless
steel clip that acts as a spring, screen
and carb. This change is revolutionary
as now you can back-load your herbs
and never have to put fresh [product
through] ash, allowing you to use a
natural filter by keeping it loaded and
not burning it down into your clip –
keeping ash out of your mouthpiece.”
The Slider family consists of three
main types: Sliders, Blunt Sliders and
Magnum Sliders. All are hand-blown,
with three fused marbles for easier han-
dling. The marbles aren't just functional
– the aesthetic details of each piece
are complemented by a wide range of
available colors, from fumed to color-
less to amethyst or emerald, as well as
carefully-crafted critters ranging from
penguins to frogs to dinosaurs. Pieces
may even be special ordered to per-
fectly match your personality.
Sliders can be purchased online (con-
tact Chuck at or even
from various retailers in Amsterdam, if
you're looking for gifts and souvenirs
while on vacation. Due to their com-
pact size (2.5˝ or 3.5˝), ease of use and
portability, the Slider family appeals
to all consumers from light medical
users to heavy recreational smokers.
However, the Cannabis community
isn't the only one to enjoy and benefit
from this little glass tube.
These days many people are research-
ing tobacco alternatives, or even ways
to stop using tobacco altogether by
means of smoking or vaporizing a com-
bination of herbs. Fred is highly enthu-
siastic about the positive implications
of the Slider with regards to lung- and
upper airway health, whether for medi-
cal patients or simply long-term smok-
ers and tokers who want to cut back.
“[I]t's concentrate friendly for a mix of
solids, pollens and oils,” he points out.
“My favorite video, 'Slider Layer
Cake,' shows 60 herbs used by Native
Americans to treat physical and mental
problems. The Slider is a multifunc-
tional smoking tool. People tell me
how they smoke coltsfoot to treat their
asthma and how they kicked cigarettes
with a lobelia ['asthma weed'] and mul-
lein mix. Doctors in California have told
me, if you are going to smoke there is
not a better tool to use, because of the
natural filter. There is even a large fol-
lowing of people who enjoy vaporizing
with a Slider.”
The Slider appeals to the full range of
smoking customers. Rarely can a glass
product cross so comfortably through
most, if not all of the subcultures of
the Cannabis community. Joint smok-
ers, glass purists; even those trying
to quit long-standing tobacco hab-
its will all enjoy its compact size,
sleek design and modern improve-
ment upon an old idea. Besides, it's
easier to carry, and conceal, than your
favorite three-foot party bong.
Photo : Sweet Seeds


Cannabis and Pregnancy
The existing research into the effects of Cannabis on the developing
child is inconclusive at best and confusing at worst. I feel great sym-
pathy for any pot user who finds herself pregnant as a huge decision
awaits, with little evidence either way to support the final choice
of whether or not to continue use. It is my intention to clarify these
muddy waters, where possible. by Kali Mist
Cannabis use is most prevalent in the
18-25 year age range – also the demo-
graphic that is most likely to reproduce.
In the USA, around 15% of the population
are regular users, and of these, 3% are
pregnant. With medical Cannabis being
used long-term for many chronic condi-
tions, the issue of its safety for expectant
mothers demands attention.
It is easy to assume the worst about
Cannabis use during pregnancy, as with
all unfamiliar medications. However, while
there may well be women out there who
– consciously or otherwise – put their
unborn children at risk from continued
exposure to known harmful substances,
we can't assume this is a brush with which
to tar weed users. Most women can't com-
fortably continue their use of a medica-
tion through pregnancy while uncertain
of its safety. It is proving to be a tough
choice to make for many.
Existing studies may be inherently
flawed as they assess use through
smoking only. While research concludes
that the effects of smoking Cannabis
and tobacco are disparate (recent news
suggests that Cannabis smoke may in
fact exert a 'protective' action on the
lungs), it is irresponsible to suggest
that smoking any substance is entirely
beneficial to health. Studies should
differentiate between the effects of
smoking Cannabis while pregnant, and
those of alternative techniques such as
vaporizing or ingesting orally.
Arguments against consuming
Cannabis during pregnancy include
results of research conducted last
year by the Erasmus University of
Rotterdam, which states that babies
born to Cannabis-using mothers tend
to have below-average cranial cir-
cumference and birth weight. It was
discovered that Cannabis, when used
only in early pregnancy, slowed fetal
growth by around 0.39 oz. per week. If
use continued throughout pregnancy,
reduction in growth rate averaged out
at around 0.49 oz. per week. Tobacco,
on the other hand, slowed growth by
approximately 0.14 oz. per week.
As deprivation of oxygen to the devel-
oping fetus's brain is considered to be
a major factor for low birth weight,
perhaps the difference here could even
be explained simply: Cannabis users
tend to inhale more deeply, and for
longer, therefore depriving the brain
of oxygen for longer than a cigarette
smoker. Levels of carboxyhemoglobin
(formed when carbon monoxide reacts
with hemoglobin in the blood) are five
times higher after smoking Cannabis
than after smoking tobacco.
This study concludes that the effects
of smoking marijuana are indeed det-
rimental to the developing baby – but
the question of whether cannabinoids
themselves play a part in these findings
remains unanswered. Other factors must
also be taken into consideration, such
as socioeconomic status of the mother,
her level of general health and stress
and prevalent cultural attitudes towards
Cannabis in the location of study. In
a country where Cannabis is illegal or
frowned upon, users are often more likely
to be of lower social status and subject to
stress-inducing economic disadvantages.
The available Cannabis itself may be
of poor quality or grown with poten-
tially harmful chemicals. Even in the
Netherlands, where retail sales of
Cannabis are tolerated but wholesale
distribution and cultivation is not, these
factors must be considered.
In a locality where Cannabis use is tra-
ditional, users are generally from across
the social spectrum so economic disad-
vantages will have less effect on sub-
jects and, therefore, results. This argu-
ment may be borne out by Dr. Melanie
Dreher's work in Jamaica during the
1990s on Cannabis-using mothers and
their children. Long-term studies con-
ducted on development of children
exposed to Cannabis in utero found no
evidence of inferiority to the children
of non-Cannabis using mothers; in fact,
the former group showed fewer signs
of stress-related anxiety, and better
organizational skills. Significantly, her
research does not solely concentrate on
smokers but also users of Cannabis 'tea'.
Her research also highlights the
importance of Cannabis to expectant
mothers as a remedy for nausea, not
uniquely: there are many references in
medical literature to this application.
Mothers reported increased appetite
and mood stability. Cannabis was also
considered helpful in treatment of
post-natal depression. That Cannabis
may assist the mother's ability to pro-
vide a high level of care suggests a
positive overall effect on the long-term
health of her children.
Studies that concentrate solely on the
effects during pregnancy of Cannabis
use through methods other than smok-
ing are apparently non-existent, and
much needed. There is a shocking
scarcity of research from recent years.
The increasing prevalence of Cannabis
being prescribed by doctors as a uni-
versal panacea for all manner of ail-
ments cannot continue without con-
firmation of its safety. From an ethical
perspective, conducting incomplete
clinical trials on any new medicine
would imply full responsibility on the
part of the medical profession if anoth-
er scandal of Thalidomide proportions
then occurred. Even if all future tri-
als proved its benevolence, Cannabis
requires further scrutiny.
At this stage, there is little definite con-
clusion that can be drawn, save that
smoking Cannabis is likely the most
unsafe way to medicate; and that while
Cannabis use may bring many benefits
to the mother, the harm that it could
do the developing fetus may outweigh
them. With patients for whom medi-
cation is a necessity, there is no clear
way to decide on whether to continue
their Cannabis use or to switch to an
alternative pharmaceutical. For many
the initial clincher will remain: that
Cannabis is a non-invasive drug with
far fewer side effects than many. For
these women, to simply use as little
of it as possible (ideally in tea form, or
vaporized) would surely be the advis-
able way to avoid the potential for
adverse effects occurring.
The Sc oop on Soi l
What you grow in is as important as the quality of the strain you grow
with. As an herb farmer you need to make an intelligent choice as to what
kind of soil you want to grow in. It is often very easy to distinguish the fla-
vor of an organic or naturally grown product over a synthetically fertilized
one. That in itself ought to help you understand how important natural
soil is. There are a few other reasons to stay away from commercial ferti-
lizers. These inorganic fertilizers are primarily produced from natural gas.
This is ultimately unsustainable as they pollute our waters with excessive
nitrogen, and destroy both micro fauna and the beneficial effects humus
creates in the soil. While the last 60 years has been a boon for agri-busi-
ness, I'm not sure that as individuals or as a society we benefit that much.
Fortunately, we can make an informed choice and we have thousands of
years in cumulative knowledge on how to make good soil. F.Red
Before we get our hands in the dirt we
ought to know what's in it.
A healthy soil is a dynamic system of life.
The living components are bacteria, fungi,
protozoa, algae, small insects and animals.
An acre of land could have two tons of this
life in it. A bottle cap of this precious earth
may contain upwards of 100,000 proto-
zoa, 30 million fungi and 2 billion bacteria.
When these organisms die, enzymes from
fungi and bacterial action break down
the organic matter and free nutrients into
the soil for plant growth. This process
creates humus, a complex polymer that
acts like a sponge helping to hold water
and minerals. Humus tends to have a
negative charge, attracting minerals to it.
In this way, it acts as a catalyst in the ion
exchange of nutrients through bacteria,
aiding absorption into plant roots.
Nutrients are necessary for plant life.
Some of the following you may remem-
ber from chemistry class. The macro-
nutrients are the largest quantities of
nutrients plants use. They are nitro-
gen, phosphorus and potassium. The
secondary macronutrients are calcium,
sulfur and magnesium. Some of the
micronutrients, also known as trace
minerals, are boron, iron and zinc.
These are all important for the process
of growing, flowering and fruiting. If
the individual or groups of these nutri-
ents are missing in your soil, plants
will respond in their growth, leaf and
stem colors, giving clues as to what is
missing. As a plant grows through its
life cycle some of these nutrients are
needed more than others.
For a plant in its vegetative state nitrogen
is important. Nitrogen aids in growth and
chlorophyll production. Be careful; more
is not always better. Plants with excessive
nitrogen in the soil or hydro solutions
after harvest will not burn as well and
flavors are destroyed by an ashy taste.
Nitrogen is less important as the plant
begins to flower and more phosphorus
and potassium are consumed.
Aggregate is the bulk of what makes up
soil. It is what gives soil texture and deter-
mines how well water drains through.
In nature it can be found in multiple
combinations from the microscopic clay
particles to the visible silt, fine- and coarse
sand, pebbles and rocks. Soil with poor
drainage can suffocate your root systems
and cause your plants to rot. Proper drain-
age is essential in any mix of soils.
All these different mixes of soil give various
pH readings – the measure of soil acidity or
alkalinity. The pH of your soil can affect the
ability of your plants to absorb nutrients.
Dolomite or limestone is a great addition
to help soil maintain a neutral pH. While
planting mixes sold at your local store
generally have a neutral pH, the ground
where you live can vary from highly acidic
to alkaline. Test kits and strips are available
at many garden centers. Garden centers
are also a valuable resource for knowledge
on the conditions in your area.
Now that you are familiar with some of
what is in the soil (yes!) it is time to get
your hands in the dirt and learn some
more ways to improve your growth and
flowering. Physical appearance of soil
is misleading as a gravelly soil can be
very productive, which is very evident in
hydroponic systems where lava rock or
clay pellets are used with nutrients in solu-
tion. Soil color can also be misleading and
does not equate fertility. A red soil can be
as productive as a brown one.
Compost is a great way to add life into
your soil. It can be as easy as stirring up
kitchen scraps into a pile of dirt. Add
worms and you have vermicompost.
Worms are natural soil builders with dirt
castings coming out 10 times richer than
going in. These wiggly worms turn brown
dirt and decaying matter into black gold.
There are also a great number of natural
fertilizers and soil conditioners on the
market to improve the quality of your soil.
Guanos are excellent sources of natural
fertilizers. I have used cricket-, bat- and
fish emulsion with great success. Many of
these guano fertilizers are good on their
own. Some farmers like to boost flower-
ing with phosphorus from bone meal
and potassium from green sand in their
mix. With a good blend of these in either
indoor or outdoor containers a plant can
go through its whole cycle without the
need for supplemental fertilizer. If you find
you that your soil is depleting faster than
anticipated – for instance, if your shade
leaves yellow during vegetative growth –
you can add a small amount of the guanos
into water for additional nutrition.

If you have no budget for these or other
store-bought items, your local community
will be a wealth of resources for compost-
ing and making your own fertilizers. Many
businesses dispose of excellent materi-
als. Cast-offs from salons, grocery stores,
restaurants, breweries and even your
neighbor's lawn clippings can be used to
produce excellent soil.
There is no excuse not to get started.
Soil is everywhere to be found. Do it
right, the natural way. Stay organic for
awesome flavor. Recycle your dirt, com-
post your kitchen and yard waste. Make
your future grow.
Ken Unger
With around two dozen states in the US currently allowing medi-
cal- or recreational Cannabis to some degree, it's easy for people
to conveniently forget there are still plenty of victims of harshly
punitive state- and Federal legislation. Ken Unger is the perfect
example of one of America's drug war prisoners – a severely
injured US Navy veteran (with no prior record) charged with
'felony possession with the intent to distribute' the Cannabis he
so desperately needed for his own therapy. The Sativa Diva
Location: Granada. Year: 1983.
Serviceman Ken Unger receives a blow
to the head from a 50-ton crane hook.
The resulting injuries include pain, two
herniated discs in his back, muscle
spasms, weakness and numbness in
his legs. Six coronary stents hold open
the arteries in his heart and he received
an arterial bypass in one leg. As is to
be expected, depression has presented
itself as an extension of his symptoms,
and the ensuing weakness from the
injuries and subsequent treatments
have lead to diabetes.
After serving his country in the Navy, at
the price of his health, Ken Unger was
ultimately deemed unemployable by the
VA (United States Department of Veterans
Affairs) in St. Louis, MO.
Unlike many other states these days –
perhaps most notably CA, CO, AZ, NJ and
RI – Missouri holds true to the archaic anti-
Cannabis laws that still clog our prison sys-
tems with first-time, non-violent offend-
ers. Not only are patients not allowed
access to Cannabis as a natural alternative
to prescription drugs, but Unger was pre-
scribed morphine to ease the symptoms
of his injuries. He had three heart attacks
as a result. This ultimately lead to the deci-
sion to try medical marijuana.
Ken grew a small amount of Cannabis to
alleviate his pain and depression. Only
five dried grams of weed and two plants
were being grown. He had no prior local-,
state- or Federal convictions. The penal-
ties would have been a misdemeanor if
he had only been busted for possession.
Instead, sale and cultivation landed Ken in
the 'felony' range of punishment.
O'Fallon police raided Unger's home and
the tiny stash was discovered, although
the distribution charge appears to be the
product of assumption on the part of
Officer Justin Hill. On his warrant appli-
cation he stated, “Furthermore your affi-
ant knows that person [sic] who cultivate
marijuana will distribute marijuana they
produce for others for profit.”
Unger never sold any of his medicine.
This is one aspect of the medi-weed
industry that Cannabis foes don't seem
to understand: people are sick and
dying. The last thing an ailing medical
patient will likely do is to give away or
sell the only thing that works for them.
Ken Unger was no exception.
Under Missouri law, Ken is prohibited
from claiming medical use in order to
help his court case. Not only will no
sympathy for the ill and injured be lev-
ied, but since it is illegal in Missouri to
cultivate Cannabis (for any reason), the
medical defense will not hold water.
If Unger were to take a plea he would be
subject to five years' probation, includ-
ing drug testing. This means that he
would be forced to revert back to the
legally-prescribed morphine and would
be unable to access even the smallest
therapeutic amount of Cannabis. If he
is convicted, he faces between five and
fifteen years in state prison.
Although Ken only had five grams
of product and two plants in his St.
Charles, MO home, the penalties start
high and the cultivation charge really
tipped the scales against him.
The cultivation of five grams or less in
Missouri is a felony punishable by a
seven-year prison term and $5,000 in
fines. Between five grams and thirty
kilos pushes the prison time up to five
to fifteen years and a tariff of $5,000 to
$20,000. Growing 30 to 100kg. results
in those fines plus prison stints of ten
years to life. If you're caught in MO
growing 100 kilos or more, that's life in
prison without the possibility of parole
or probation. Selling to a minor tacks
on an additional five to fifteen years,
and if you sell any amount of weed
within 2,000 ft. of a public school or
1,000 ft. of public housing, the sen-
tence is also ten years to life with no
hope of probation or parole.
On March 18th of this year, a closed
grand jury set Ken's pre-trial date for
April 27th, 2011. Despite multiple pleas
from Green Aid and other groups, plus
countless individual protests, he still
faces five to fifteen years in prison for
opting to treat his physical and emo-
tional suffering with a natural, safe and
proven herbal medicine.
If you would like to donate and support
Ken Unger with his legal battle, find
out more about his case or discover the
stories of other victims of the US war
on drugs, please contact Green Aid or
check out their site at www.Green-Aid.
com. Add a Green Aid banner to your
website to help spread the word about
America's 'green prisoners'.
Ken says, “The thing I find hardest to
believe is the state is OK with me being
a morphine addict, but a small grow of
medical marijuana is out of the question.
So seeking relief is illegal?”
484 Lake Park Ave. #172
Oakland, CA 94610
Green Aid, the Medical Marijuana Legal
Defense and Education Fund, Inc.
In 2002, Ed Rosenthal was facing a
20 year sentence for mass-cultivating
Cannabis. The jury convicted him, as
they were forbidden from hearing that
Ed was hired by the City of Oakland, CA
to handle the cultivation and manage-
ment thereof for local dispensaries.
According to Angela Bacca, the other
half of Green Aid, Rosenthal was sen-
tenced to “a day in jail with credit for
time served. Ed appealed it anyway
because he doesn't believe he is a felon.”
Since then, Ed and Angela have been
hand-selecting cases to support through
legal action and fundraisers.
She adds, “Ed's trial is responsible for
the New York Times taking the quotes
off of 'medical marijuana' in print.”
Let’s Talk about LED Grow Lights
In this article, we will try to shed some light on this subject: do LED
grow lights work? Are they useful for blooming? Is changing over to
them at this time worthwhile? Here are my impressions after a year
and a half of growing with LEDs Mr. X
Some 'pioneers' already began talking
about and introducing this new type
of lights – including their functionality
regarding our valuable crops – a few years
ago. LED grow lights are nothing new to
the industry; the only reason their arrival
on the Cannabis scene has been delayed
until now is that they have never pro-
duced a sufficient yield so far. The amount
of light obtained with the available watts
was always significantly less than that
achieved with sodium lights. But LED effi-
ciency at this time is competitive and will
no doubt keep increasing.
Do LED grow lights work?
The best way to discover how something
works is to try it yourself, which is why I
purchased a few LED screens a year and
a half ago and began experimenting. For
me, the easiest way to ascertain their
effectiveness was a comparison with the
SOG (sea of green) I have used multiple
times in the past. Thus, in the same way
as I've described before in Soft Secrets
Spain – but modifying the 600 watts of an
electrical ballast with two LED units of 120
watts each that include a range of flower-
ing – I created my first SOP (sea of purple)
– which is the name I have taken the
liberty of baptizing this type of cultivation
with. But let’s start from the beginning…
When you turn on an LED lamp, the first
surprise is the large amount of visible light
it gives out, (not to mention how quickly it
starts working) as it immediately reaches
full power. One advantage is that the
entire system is integrated and doesn’t
require external ballasts or complex oper-
ations. It is a practical system, heats up
more than enough and its initial duration
without losses is excellent, allowing us
to avoid the frequent light bulb changes
necessary with incandescent lighting.
The first of my five experiments took
place in the summer. This trial already
demonstrated an unheard-of, almost uto-
pian possibility for indoor growing; that
is, cultivating during the summer season
(although with a lower yield) as room tem-
perature near the lamp's glass rises by just
one degree. This can also be considered,
at least in part, its Achilles heel.
The fact that this type of lighting doesn’t
need reflectors – as its opening angle over
120 degrees is very small – represents yet
again both an advantage and an incon-
venience. On one hand, this allows an
important savings in light and wall reflect-
ing materials; on the other, if we only use
a single unit, it needs to be turned up in
order to illuminate everything, and this
is where problems arise. Turning the LED
lights up too high means losing their main
advantages: the ability to move them
close to the plants, and the fact that they
give off a large amount of light without
burning their leaves.
The farther these lights are kept from
the plants, the more their effective-
ness is drastically reduced. The solution,
however, is simple: it is much more
effective to use several low-wattage
units, well-distributed and placed close
to the plants, rather than a single huge,
high-wattage unit six feet away. This is
extremely important advice.
Among the various differences result-
ing from growing with LED lights, the
most noticeable is that the plants usu-
ally do not show deficiencies or spots.
Their perfect green shade is aided, dur-
ing the entire flowering period, by mov-
ing the light closer without needing to
raise the temperature.
They defend themselves very well dur-
ing the vegetative phase, giving excellent
results as regards taking root and main-
taining mother plants with very few watts.
This is a lifesaver during the summer or
for growers who don’t have much space
available for mothers. We will speak of this
factor in more detail in future issues.
As far as fertilizing goes, standards of
care vary slightly. In the case of low tem-
peratures plants need to be watered less
frequently; therefore, watering them less,
we must make sure to adjust the slightly
higher EC parameters in order to be able
to provide the same amount of nour-
ishment (although we water them less
Are they useful for blooming?
The plants begin blooming correctly, with
an internodal distance that I wouldn’t
hesitate to describe as better than the
one achieved with HPS. This shows us
that the plant doesn’t go to seed needing
more light, nor does it grow more slowly
in a different photo period – in fact, things
develop just as usual (except your light
bill will be more reasonable). As the days
go by, the plants form open and resinous
flowers whose qualities are already well-
developed. The absence of heat seems to
better maintain the flowers’ organoleptic
properties. Thus, LEDs can be considered
a successful form of lighting during the
summer, also for mini- and mother plants.
Problems begin when using them during
the winter. After years of being accus-
tomed to using incandescent lighting
as heaters, we no longer have those
necessary degrees. Low temperatures
affect the plants’ weaker parts: their
roots, which tend to atrophy and the
pots are impossible to dry for weeks.
This fact cannot be ignored, because if it
becomes necessary to use extra heating
equipment (such as a radiator, air condi-
tioning or anything that consumes a lot
of energy) it will have all been in vain,
since paying for the electricity required
by the air conditioning will cancel out
what we otherwise save. For those whose
crop isn’t much bigger than a few cubic
feet, the ideal solution is to combine
both types of lighting. This way you will
enjoy a much more efficient synergy
that achieves both the temperature of
sodium lights and the yield of LEDs.
When I did this during the winter, when-
ever the plants aligned between the two
types of lights were able to choose which
way to bend their leaves, it was invariably
towards the LEDs. I think this fact is signifi-
cant enough on its own.
What sort of yield can we hope for?
I was very pleasantly surprised; my first
SOP allowed me to exceed the gram/
watt ratio, which rarely happens with
HPS, especially without CO2. My aver-
age was about 440 grams per three
square feet, using twenty-five select-
ed clones and 240 watts; afterward I
expanded to three units and, with bet-
ter light distribution, have managed
to slightly improve my ratio. Therefore
the efficiency of LED grow lights is
extremely interesting, provided that
cultivation is performed properly.
Should I change over to LEDs?
This subject has already created much
controversy on the web and in the
sector’s press, with many critics who
keep mentioning that 'they’ve been
told' that LED grow lights don’t work
for the flowering period. This is unde-
niable, but there is an explanation.
When the first models were being pub-
licized, they came with false data, in
excess of actual performance. Some
people even declared a 90-watt lamp
to be superior to a 600-watt lamp (no
comment). These high expectations
inevitably worked against LEDs; people
who bought these expensive models –
which also lacked a sufficient spectrum
to work correctly – found themselves
with very poor results. Thus, the first
generation of ground breakers suffered
quite a disappointment; but now these
lamps are much more complete, com-
bining the spectrum with more effi-
cient LEDs. Also, and most importantly,
we now know what to expect and what
not to expect. Prices have come down
and will continue to do so.
The more creative growers can learn to
build their own lights; there are many
excellent online tutorials that show how
to assemble them with the desired dis-
tribution and wattage. Currently, many
observations give reliable, non-manipu-
lated results – and growers who obtain
good results with sodium lamps actu-
ally work more efficiently with LEDs. Those
who have already begun to or usually
have problems harvesting their crop cor-
rectly, on the other hand, find their mis-
takes magnified. Carelessness makes it
easy to stunt a plant’s growth.
Nowadays, several companies offer
LED grow lights, especially online. New
models and combinations become
available every day, so I won’t recom-
mend any particular brands – what’s
useful today might be ancient history
tomorrow. What I can say, however, is
that most lights sold on eBay are very
low quality, and are not even useful
for cutting; in fact, they are of hardly
any use at all. But a widespread and
general ignorance ensures their con-
tinued popularity on the market, which
is a pity because – given the tendency
to generalize – this contributes to the
poor reputation of LEDs.
We need to try and find out where to
obtain tried and tested (and guaranteed)
models. And to stop expecting to earn
without investing.
In the coming issues, we will continue
investigating this fascinating subject,
focusing on some of the current avail-
able models. ‘ Til next time, and happy
smokes, X.
LED grow lights: pros and cons
Summarizing this introduction to LED
grow lights, we can definitely state
that they work – not as efficiently
as they were advertized when they
first came on the market, but they
are definitely between 30% and 60%
more effective than incandescent
lighting. They are still fairly expensive,
but prices are steadily going down
while quality increases. If you have
the luxury of waiting, wait a while for
a change that will guarantee satisfac-
tion. If you think decreasing wattage
in a medium- to large crop by combin-
ing with HPS is a good idea, you can
reduce consumption by around 30%
without losing any grams in product.
LEDs are also a luxury for summer
growing or those growing in limited
spaces. They are already a useful real-
ity for many growers.
- Low consumption
- Durability without losses
- Heat up instantly
- Very effective
- Possibility of growing in the summer
and in limited spaces
- High price
- Necessity of raising temperatures dur-
ing the winter
- Hard to know which brands are more
- Several units needed for correct distri-
What's Happening
with Hemp?
Today, cultivation of industrial hemp is legal in every industrial-
ized nation in the world except the USA, where misinformation
disseminated by the anti-drugs lobby continues to hinder many
farmers' valid desire to be part of this vital and growing market.
Misconceptions regarding the cultivation of hemp must be put
right once and for all if there is to be any hope of future legislation
being approved. The differences between the hemp and marijuana
industries must be re-emphasized, and the argument that per-
mission for hemp farming will lead to an increase in cultivation
of drug Cannabis must be deconstructed. Hemp farmers must be
recognized as respectable producers of an important industrial
commodity rather than would-be criminals. by Kali Mist
Most Cannabis users are aware of its ver-
satile nature and numerous applications
in medicine. However, few people could
accurately describe, when questioned,
the differences between marijuana and
hemp. They are fundamental. Cannabis
sativa can be selectively bred for vari-
ous qualities, and has been for millennia.
Varieties that produce no cannabinoids
but abundant seed or fibrous, woody
stalks are categorized as hemp, or sepa-
rately as oilseed or fiber Cannabis (the
latter is also occasionally referred to as
Cannabis oglalas in scientific literature).
Those containing poor fiber quality but
high THC-rich resin content are termed
'marijuana' or 'drug Cannabis'. The devel-
opment of the former qualities is usu-
ally a hindrance to development of the
latter, and vice-versa. The farming prac-
tices utilized are also hugely different; for
instance, fiber hemp is usually harvested
before flowering commences, as beyond
this point little energy is used for vegeta-
tive growth. This renders the harvest com-
pletely useless for drug purposes.
Let's take a look at how a modern hemp
farmer operates. We will take, as an exam-
ple, a small organization based in the
Dutch town of Groningen, some two
hours' journey north-east of Amsterdam.
Established in 1993 by Ben Dronkers of the
Sensi Seed Bank, HempFlax was the first
to reintroduce a crop that – prior to the
20th century – had long been produced in
the Netherlands. HempFlax, among other
companies, has been instrumental in aid-
ing the emergence of hemp products into
the mainstream consciousness as viable
alternatives to current practices.
From initial establishment of a small 140-
acre plot in 1994, HempFlax currently pro-
duces 5,900 acres of fiber hemp every
year, its harvest now being used for a
wide range of products. The company has
continually pushed for innovation and
development in farming practices. These
developments are vital – bringing down
the production costs of the hemp industry
is imperative to increase its competitive-
ness in the marketplace.
As hemp had been neglected in many
countries after the anti-marijuana
campaigns of the 1930s, research and
development in the industry stagnated
throughout a period of rapid moderni-
zation for most other farming methods.
When developed nations began to renew
their interest, hemp production had some
rapid catching up to do to achieve com-
petitiveness with rival crops. Hemp itself
has some highly specific requirements,
and much adaptation to existing farm
machinery had to occur before equip-
ment was capable of processing its tough,
fibrous stalks. HempFlax has designed and
produced specialized hemp harvesters to
meet this need, thereby enabling mod-
ernization of the entire industry. Once
harvested, the woody part of the stalk
must be separated from the fibrous inner
'bast' used for rope and fabric production.
This was a process traditionally done by
hand, and no specific machinery existed
to do the work efficiently. HempFlax cre-
ated one, a device known as a 'decortica-
tion line', which also separates the seeds,
leaves and remaining by-products.
With hemp, not a single part of the plant
is useless. The main bulk of the fiber and
wood goes to various industries, where it
will undergo further processing accord-
ing to requirements. Pressed hemp-board
is a highly durable and flame-retardant
substitute for wood, and can be used in
construction, or molded into dashboards
and panels by the automobile industry.
Fibers are woven into fabric and rope,
pulped and pressed into paper, and used
as insulation in construction. HempFlax
turns by-products into animal bedding,
fodder and items for horticulture, such
as protective felt disks that shield tree
roots from climatic extremes. From the
seeds, HempFlax produces oils primarily
destined for the equestrian sector. Their
products contain trace amounts of THC
at most, and have no psychoactive effect.
HempFlax has recently funded an initia-
tive to plant 120 square yards of hemp
for every purchase of special packs of
5,000 hemp seeds, and consistently
attempts to increase public aware-
ness of hemp through participation in
political discourse, and events such as
annual hemp fairs and Cannabis aware-
ness demonstrations. It is important to
stress the significance of the ongoing
policy of openness and transparency in
the hemp industry, which over the years
has led to a general perception in the
Netherlands and throughout Europe of
hemp products as safe, ecologically-
sound and indeed fashionable.
HempFlax's creation of a political presence
with consistent visibility at events and
demonstrations has, along with the efforts
of other hemp activists, assisted in render-
ing the industry credible. In the future,
the company aims to expand the level of
integration throughout the industry, from
supplier to consumer, creating a transpar-
ent and cooperative system that is wholly
ethical. Sustainability is key: HempFlax's
mission is to “serve humankind and the
environment by providing affordable,
modern, natural hemp products for a sus-
tainable future”. Further development of
their highly-rated existing products – par-
ticularly building materials – is also on
the agenda, and there are plans for future
production of whole-plant biomass.
HempFlax and numerous other hemp pro-
ducers, operating without hindrance not
only in the Netherlands but in most devel-
oped countries, are exemplary: proof that
hemp growers can be professional, cred-
ible and open, and truly not much differ-
ent to any other agriculturalist. Now in its
18th year, HempFlax has decisively proven
its sustainability as a business model. As
awareness of hemp products and their
advantages continues to grow, the value
of the industry as a whole is set to go on
increasing for many years to come.
Innovations in the hemp industry are con-
tinual: improvements to building materials
and procedures has allowed for construc-
tion of sustainable houses at remarkably
low costs – equivalent and possibly in
fact cheaper than current low-cost con-
struction methods. In November 2010, the
USA's first 'hemp house' was completed
in Asheville, NC, using Hemcrete® 'hemp
concrete', but currently the high cost of
importing hemp into the country makes it
nonviable as a construction industry norm.
However, the publication by the
University of Connecticut in October
2010 of research into hemp as a poten-
tial bio-fuel source has caused great
excitement in the pro-hemp lobby.
Dependence on fossil fuels is one of our
biggest issues in this current economic
climate, and any new developments in
this area cannot be ignored. This factor
may well prove decisive in any forth-
coming debate over this issue.
By now, the USA is one of the few remain-
ing countries worldwide not to have legis-
lated in favor of hemp. Since the infamous
media campaign perpetrated by Hearst
and DuPont and supported by Harry J.
Anslinger in the 1930s, the US government
has chosen to perpetuate the deliberate
ambiguity regarding the two very sepa-
rate industries, relying on dangerously
flawed reasoning. For example, the oft-
cited argument that hemp fields would
provide natural camouflage for drug crops
is easily debunked: hemp fields are grown
with no discrimination between male and
female plants, unlike drug crops, where to
ensure seedless flowers the males must be
pulled. Not only would the females pro-
duce seed, instantly reducing the crop's
value, but the seed itself would produce
flowers far lower in THC than the mother.
Therefore to ban the production of hemp
on the basis of perceived similarity to mari-
juana is and always has been fundamen-
tally contradictory.
The potential of hemp as a sustainable
and ecologically sound solution to many
global problems has long been cited by
its supporters, who have in turn long
been described as merely disguised pro-
marijuana lobbyists. But with nine US
States so far having passed legislation
allowing licensed hemp production, it
is purely the reluctance of the federal
government to recognize the viability of
hemp that is stopping farmers – and the
nation – benefiting from its great poten-
tial to generate 'green' profits. Although
it is legal to import hemp for the man-
ufacture and distribution of products
domestically, it has been illegal to grow
hemp in the US since 1937. The DEA has
had authority to issue licenses for hemp
cultivation since its establishment in
1973; however, this is a power it has cho-
sen never to exercise, allegedly prefer-
ring to ignore applications that farmers
must pay thousands of dollars to make.

In Montana, the state approved legisla-
tion for commercial production of hemp
in 2001. Vermont and North Dakota have
both passed laws permitting licensed
hemp cultivation, and are awaiting DEA
approval. North Dakota attorneys are
appealing to the courts on behalf of
client farmers in an attempt to force
a decision. Oregon licensed industrial
hemp production in August of 2009.
Maine, Maryland, Kentucky, Hawaii and
Virginia have all legislated in favor: but,
due to DEA opposition, none of them
has so far been able to issue a single
license for hemp production.
The level of support for legalization is
informed and widespread, despite the
government's repeated attempts to mis-
construe this. After the North Dakota
appeals, in a perfect example of the ongo-
ing policy to place marijuana and hemp
into one blanket category, Tom Riley of
the White House Office on National Drug
Policy is quoted as saying:
"Let's not be naive... the pro-dope people
have been pushing hemp for 20 years
because they know that if they can have
hemp fields, then they can have mari-
juana fields. It's... stoner logic."
But the pro-hemp sentiment extends far
beyond the ranks of the unfairly-depicted,
but nonetheless powerful pro-marijua-
na 'stoner' lobby. The farming lobby is
increasingly vocal, as are environmental
groups such as the Resource Conservative
Alliance, the Body Shop and Rainforest
Action Network, in slowly aiding pub-
lic recognition of hemp in its own right.
Given our current economic instability,
rapidly dwindling fossil fuel reserves and
increasing food insecurity, it is seriously
questionable that our government will
not at least consider legalization of a crop
that could demonstrably assist in alleviat-
ing all three problems.
The fact that Detroit car-makers buy
huge amounts of hemp products from
Canadian farmers 20 miles north of the
border is financially nonsensical when
farmers themselves in neighboring states
are eager to grow it. Farmers state that
hemp is an “ideal crop to rotate annually
with wheat and barley;” any added bio-
diversity that deviates from the damag-
ing trend for monoculture pervading the
farming industry is sure to be positive.
There is a huge, and growing, difference
between the respective causes of hemp
and marijuana. Those who wish for legali-
zation of one may not wish for legaliza-
tion of the other. Legalization of hemp is
perhaps more of a priority for a sustainable
national farming industry and healthy eco-
system (eradication of hemp/wild ditch-
weed is badly damaging certain bird and
animal habitats, for example) than legaliza-
tion of marijuana. It is important to make
the distinction. Many of the reasons for
legalizing marijuana simply do not apply
to hemp. Both are important medically,
and for their own reasons; but hemp is an
important part of the American ecosystem
in a way that these selectively bred high-
THC variants are not. Also, the misconcep-
tion of hemp as having the same narcotic
properties as marijuana must end in politi-
cal dialogue. It is clear that it does not.
Attractively priced feminized
quality seeds
The Spanish Sweet Seeds, a seed bank specializing in feminized
seeds, conquered first Spain and then went on to conquer the whole
of Europe. The secret of this seed bank is that they’re close to the
grower and they have a good nose for what the public wants: in the
first place, of course, feminized quality seed for an outstanding price.
In addition to that, Sweet Seeds offers a number of unique package
deals. For example, there are special Collector's Editions with three
different varieties per package, or the possibility of putting together
a combination of different strains one’s self.
Sweet Seeds is one of the first seed banks to plunge into auto-flow-
ering varieties, a section in the catalog that is still being developed.
Before the lads from Sweet Seeds began their company they were
growers themselves, who, out of dissatisfaction with what was on
offer, decided to tackle things quite differently. Undoubtedly their
customers are grateful, and that is proven by the rapid growth of the
company and the many prizes with which Sweet Seeds varieties have
been crowned in various Cannabis competitions. Meanwhile, the seed
bank has been steaming full ahead… J. Searcher
In recent years you have had an impres-
sive series of prizes credited to your
record. In fact, thanks to the entries
from various Spanish growers you
have even won more than any other
seed bank, and this year too there
have been more awards bestowed
upon Sweet Seeds. What are your most
honored plants, and to what do you
think they owe their success?
Sweet Seeds is delighted with the
recognition and the success achieved
by our varieties both in Spain and
abroad. We have not been in exist-
ence as a seed bank all that long, so
at this moment it is the varieties that
we have in our range that have won
the most prizes: Cream Caramel, Black
Jack, S.A.D., Sweet Tai and Ice Cool. It
is clear that their success in Cannabis
competitions is down to the recogni-
tion from gourmet experts, who know
what the end product of a Cannabis
plant should be all about: an intense,
pleasant aroma; potency, a good taste,
the quality and quantity of the tri-
chomes, the strain’s effect, etc.
We really want to take this opportunity
to thank all the Cannabis growers for
entering Sweet Seeds varieties in the
various Cannabis competitions where
they live. Often we do not even know
who they are. Every time one of our vari-
eties wins a prize we feel very honored,
so thanks again, champions!
Although you have been around for a
decent amount of time your seed bank
has only recently taken the interna-
tional market by storm. What is behind
this sudden international expansion?
We assumed that our success in Spain
was a visiting card with which our dis-
tributors could present us to other mar-
kets. In the last two years we have made
a huge publicity offensive at an inter-
national level, in order to increase our
name recognition and to get attention
for our range in the important Cannabis
periodicals in other countries.
We should not forget that it is the qual-
ity of the seed that is the most impor-
tant factor with which to keep your
customers happy and build sustainable
success on the Cannabis market, both in
Spain and elsewhere. Thanks to our low
prices we offer an outstanding quality-
price point, and that is certainly (in this
time of economic crisis) something to
be reckoned with.
At the same time it is also important for
us to offer shops and distributors a good,
fast service. And naturally you always
have to be aware, stay alert and remain
open to the possibilities of innovation and
improvement in a dynamic global market
that is completely exploding.

Can you say something about your
breeding philosophy?
We have a simple breeding philosophy:
most importantly we are Cannabis con-
sumers and collectors of genetics; which
is to say, we make a selection of the best
genetics that we can get our hands on
and store these for an unlimited time, so
that we can enjoy them today, tomorrow
or in 20 years.
The criteria that we apply in order to
select our best mothers have to do with
the desired qualities of the plants; and
not with their origin, ancestors or family
tree. With these exceptional plants we use
both traditional and modern breeding
techniques to arrive at populations of
99.9% female plants. At the moment we
are also very busy with the development
of new varieties of feminized, 100% auto-
flowering varieties.
We think that Cannabis is a gift from
nature and that no single variety should
be the property of anyone; but is some-
thing that should be for all humanity to
benefit from. We try to share with peo-
ple who are looking for the (according
to us) absolute best quality genetics,
people who recognize our passion and
love for the Cannabis plant. The best
way to protect a Cannabis variety is to
share it with us.
When you had just begun you gave
out a lot of information on how to
make feminized seed. Are you going
to do that again?
When we began making feminized seed,
we published reports of our experiments
on, the most popular
Spanish language Cannabis forum on the
Internet. In that time the method of femi-
nization without using gibberellic acid
was still a well-kept secret, one that only a
few growers worldwide knew and, at the
time, had only just started to creep out
onto the Internet. We were at that point
not busy with Sweet Seeds, and it seemed
to us a nice gesture to share this knowl-
edge with the world via the Internet, and
in doing so the forum members could
determine its truthfulness.
These days there are a huge number of
seed banks; it is a sector that has devel-
oped very strongly in Spain, and the
competition is enormous. We have not
stopped experimenting and perfecting
our techniques; but, although there is
certainly good communication and
exchange of information between the
majority of Spanish seed banks, it is also a
fact that there is a lot of information that
is not shared with competitor companies.
What is your take on the issue of stabil-
ity? Do think it is more important that
plants are homogenous or that you can
choose from various options?
For us a variety is stable when the indi-
viduals that form a population keep the
characteristics that define a variety in
future generations. We describe a seed
generation or population as stable when
there is no variation in the characteristics
of the individual plants that come from it.
The famous F1 seeds, for example, consist
of a population or generation of stable
seeds, but there are no stable varieties
because the following generations that
ensue are not.
The most extreme example of a stable
generation or population - that is to say
100% stability of all characteristics – is a
population in which the individual plants
are clones of the same mother. In this
example every plant is an identical copy
of each other and we should find no indi-
vidual variation.
However, those of you who have grown
plants from the same mother will have
noticed that there are always a couple
of plants among them that are higher
than the rest; that some get sick while
the rest remain healthy, root a cou-
ple of days earlier than the others or
yield more – while they were all iden-
tical clones of the same mother. The
differences or variations were caused
by environmental factors, such as cli-
mate or growing medium; and not by
genetic differences, ultimately, if we’re
talking about clones. So you must not
confuse the environmental factors with
the inherent genetic variation of het-
erozygote or non-stable populations.
We aim to create plants as homogenous
as possible, so we are always looking
for that difficult balance between sta-
bility and hybrid vigor. Variation need
not always be a problem, for example
when the various phenotypes have dif-
ferent – but still desirable – qualities,
such as two interesting aromas within
the same variety.

Do you give any advice to growers
who are growing with feminized
seed, or do you reckon they should
just work in the same way as they
would with ordinary seed?
There is no difference between growing
from feminized seed and regular seed. In
fact the only genetic difference between
populations of regular seed and popula-
tions of feminized seed is that those from
the feminized seed have no males among
them. Because they have been grown
from a seed, plants from feminized seed
are usually more productive, with better
aroma and are more stable than clones
from a strongly selected mother of the
same variety that had been raised from
regular seed.
How do you select your mother plants?
If you begin from seed, are they femin-
ized or regular seeds?
For the selection of the mother plants
for a breeding program it is important
that as well as the selection for excep-
tional structural, agronomic, organolep-
tic (taste and aromas) and chemotypic
(quantity and variety of cannabinoids)
qualities, you are also sure that the
plants have no hermaphroditic tenden-
cies, and that they lend themselves to
hybridization. This last point is easy to
check by performing progeny testing.
Above all, the female plants must react
well to the sex conversion technique
and produce enough fertile pollen for
the fertilization to take place without
manual assistance.
When we begin with seed populations, as
is the case with the auto-flowering varie-
ties, we use both feminized and regular
seed. For the reproduction we have also
tried both ways, with the final phase both
regular and feminized seed; or we work
in a breeding program starting with only
female plants. We figure it is better to
complete the feminized program without
the use of males, since by doing so we
avoid the probability of surprises at the
end of the program, in the response to the
sex conversion technique.
These days more and more attention
is paid to bonsai plants. When we
first met, which must be more than
ten years ago, you already had bon-
sai plants of three- or four years old.
Can you briefly explain the experi-
ments; say something about the sys-
tem that you used for making bonsai
plants and what the most important
problems were that were encoun-
tered during the process?
The bonsai plants were a nice experiment
that came about in an almost spontane-
ous manner when we tried to keep moth-
er plants as small as possible – mainly
for reasons of space-saving – so that we
could provide the mothers in our grow
space with enough light. The longer you
try to keep your plants small by taking
cuttings and snipping branches, the more
the stems age and fatten. After a couple
of months the soft tissue begins to harden
into wood, making them start to resemble
bonsais, although the process is not liter-
ally a bonsai technique: though the leaves
do get a bit smaller, you don’t get real
miniature leaves, which is what you get
with real bonsai trees.
In the same way that gardeners make
bonsais you can re-model the shape of
plants bit by bit by pruning them, letting
them grow or by bending branches, as
appropriate. These kinds of plant were kept
in three liter pots, but as time went on, the
salt concentration in the soil rose consist-
ently higher, with the result that the root
system was damaged. Before the plants
begin to show symptoms of deficiencies
that are not soluble by simply rinsing the
soil, which happens about once every six
months, the roots need to be trimmed and
the substrate replaced. At the same time as
these interventions we inoculate the roots
with various microorganisms that stimu-
late the growth of new roots.
The stems of Cannabis plants are not
designed to be alive for so long, and with
plants that are three- or four years old the
stems begin to rot quite easily, or they
become infected with mold. Keeping a
bonsai Cannabis plant alive for longer
than four years is really difficult.
These days we no longer work with bon-
sai plants; we prefer to keep our mothers
strong and healthy, and replace them
after a maximum of six months with new
young clones.
Which of your plants are you most
proud of, in the sense that most of its
potential has been realized?
To be honest, that is a question that is
not easy to answer. It is just like asking a
father which of his children is his favorite,
or which one he is most proud of. But
anyway, we can say of our first varieties
that they are now at a point where there is
nothing left to improve. I mean the varie-
ties that were mentioned at the beginning
of this interview, the quality of which is
not just recognized by ourselves, but by
the Cannabis scene. Although there may
still be room for improvement in one
of those varieties, it is very difficult to
say something has really achieved all the
development it is capable of.
Among our more recent varieties there
are indeed a few with the possibility of
more improvement. Sweet Cheese, Snow
Fruit, Speed Devil, Fast Bud and Big Devil,
for example, were still under development
in 2010, and in early 2011 there will be
improved versions added to our range.
Can you recommend a sativa and an
indica to us?
As a sativa I’d recommend the Jack 47 for
everyone who loves strong sensations,
a lovely incense aroma and a potent,
euphoric effect. For an indica I would go
for the Cream Caramel, with its unbeliev-
ably sweet aroma with earthy tones and a
super relaxed effect.
Which varieties from your catalog do you
reckon are best suited to medicinal use?
Normally medicinal users give the nod to
varieties with a strong indica proportion,
which have a high level of THC – the most
important medically active constituent
- and with sufficient CBD to compensate
for the euphoric psychedelic effects of
the THC. For that kind of user, Cream
Caramel, S.A.D. or Mohan Ram are the
most suitable. But you also have medici-
nal users who prefer the more sativa-ish
varieties. For them, Ice Cool, Sweet Tai or
Psicodelicia are very effective.
Nowadays you also have feminized
auto-flowering varieties in your range.
How do you tackle that challenge?
We believed right from the beginning in
auto-flowering genetics and think that
in the future these will only increase in
importance. Auto-flowering varieties have
been occupying us enormously in recent
years; there is more and more demand
for these sort of genetics because they
have a number of advantages when com-
pared with regular varieties: first of all
their speed, discretion and the opportu-
nity of getting more harvests from outside
growing each year, even in the spring. In
the meantime, auto-flowering varieties
have finally achieved sufficient quality;
thanks to which many growers are choos-
ing them for growing in their indoor grow
rooms – especially thanks to their short
cycle and acceptable quality.
Do you think that the auto-flowering
varieties in the coming year will be
better? How far can improvements con-
tinue to be made, do you think, and
how many years will it be before we get
to see the final results?
At Sweet Seeds we have already been
working for two years on projects aimed
at creating, from our classic varieties, femi-
nized auto-flowering seed. The first results
from these projects will start to become
available in early 2011. The first varieties
that will see the light will be S.A.D. auto,
Cream Caramel auto and Jack 47 auto. It
is our intention that in the foreseeable
future we will make and offer auto-flower-
ing versions of all the varieties in our cata-
log. The new auto-flowering varieties will
be hybridized and improved with Sweet
Seeds genetics and represent a leap for-
ward in quality when compared to the
auto-flowering varieties currently avail-
able. It is a new generation that smells
better, creates more resin hairs, grows
higher and develops more side branches.
They look more like non-auto-flowering
feminized varieties than we’re used to.
Many breeders are at the moment busy
hybridizing auto-flowering varieties
with their best mothers, so the auto-
flowering varieties will only get bet-
ter. Sweet Seeds has also worked hard
to improve the quality of Speed Devil
#2, Fast Bud #2 and Big Devil #2, the
three auto-flowering varieties in our
catalog, and the results of this work too
will become visible in the beginning of
2011, when they become available.

Can you tell us, out of all your experi-
ence of growing, one key piece of grow-
ing advice?
Let’s not forget that that Cannabis is a
magical plant that since time immemorial
has evolved through the actions of man,
and that still she rewards richly the care
and attention we humans lavish upon her.
Readers Stuff
Attention Readers!
Become part of the world wide growers com-
munity and star in Soft Secrets legendary
‘Dear Soft Secrets’ column. A marihuana
plant, a copy of Soft Secrets and preferably
your wife or girlfriend in a sexy bikini must
be in the frame.
Simply e-mail your entries to NOTE: All entries
are handled with the utmost discretion.
Remember, we don’t publish out of focus or
low resolution pics, and we don’t like photos
of young plants in the veg stage. It’s fat buds
and sweet babes we want to see!
Hi Soft Secrets, these are the pictures of my sec-
ond grows. Both of them were indoors or should
i say “intoilets” grown in Bio Bizz All-Mix soil,
under HPS 400, with two weeks of vegetative
stage. I have used Advanced Nutrients Iguana
Grow and Bloom with Sensizym,and Canna
PK 13/14. First one is Skunk 47 from Legend
Collection (World of Seeds), which unfortu-
nately had to be harvested a little bit too early,
because of the mud appearing on main stem.
Second one is “Space” from Diamond Collection
(World of Seeds), which was blooming for 9
weeks, including one week of flush. Buds were
very dense and sticky, with a harsh smoke.
Perfect mixture of head high with body stone,
which helped me to cure the constant pain in
my knees ;) Unfortunately variety has no smell,
even after 50days of curing.
P.s. Check out the pic “One love, one Soft Secrets” :)
Luv Ya All :P
Not bad at all for a second grow, pat on the back
to you. A good example of what you can do with a
400 watt. The Skunk 47 (Skunk x AK47) is a pretty
plant to grow, and one of Space’s original parents
is reported to be a Black Domina x AK47. If these
are favorites of yours, you might try some other
AK47 crosses as well.
Wonderful example of a proper
pair of panties. It looks like you
have enough room to let the plants
get a bit bigger, or to grow more a
bit closer together.
Great example of a simple plant in a simple pot. Natural
lighting is free, and plants love it. What every household
can have when reason takes the day and growers are
allowed to come out into the open. You are on your
own on figuring out how to get beautiful women to run
around topless in polka dot panties though.
Nice looking colas, if you trim off the lower limbs on the plant
that don’t produce well, you will find that the top gets bigger.
Her lower limbs are fine just the way they are. It also looks like
you have more space for another couple of plants if you chose.
sMuGGler’s Tales
Morocco Bound
For this we have to go back to the late
'60s, a far more liberal time. Morocco
was just starting to produce its first
good hashish. Only a few years prior an
American had shown the farmers how
to process their kif into quality hash;
now loads of it were crossing the straits
of Gibraltar on their way north. At first
the Spanish Customs seemed unaware
of the volume of traffic passing under
their noses, but they soon wised up. The
southern Spanish ports became some of
the hottest in Europe, at their peak aver-
aging a couple of big busts a day. It took
real genius to pass through unmolested.
One such genius crossed into Morocco
and arrived late at night in the mountain
village of Ketama, a place with a reputa-
tion for good hashish. Driving a specially-
prepared camper, he passed the village to
a farm deep in the mountains. By first light
the camper was hidden from prying eyes,
and preparation of the hundred kilos it
was to carry was already under way.
Ketama is in an area of the Atlas Mountains
allowed to grow Cannabis by royal char-
ter, and has been so for hundreds of years.
Export is strictly forbidden and punish-
ments for doing so are severe. This did not
bother our genius; within a few days he
was ready to go. A hundred kilos of the
finest 'zero-zero' had been pressed up
and all but ten grams had been welded
into the framework of the camper.
The following day he drove down the
mountain on one of the only two roads
out. On the seat beside him, pressed into
a neat little block, was the extra ten grams
of hash. Within an hour he reached the
police road block, a permanent fixture on
the road to prevent smuggling. Smoking a
joint and making no effort to conceal the
hash, the police arrested him immediately.
The normal procedure at this point was to
offer a bribe; but our genius didn’t, even
refusing to do so when the police sug-
gested it. The police had no alternative but
to really arrest him and so they did. With a
police escort he and the camper were driv-
en down to the nearest large town, which
was Fez, and to the main police station.
The Fez police suggested once again that
the whole thing could be cleared up with
a little exchange of cash; again he refused,
accusing the arresting officers of plant-
ing the hash on him. The next day he
repeated his story in front of a judge and
was remanded for trial and taken to the
local prison. At this point the Consul from
his home country came to visit. He was
surprised he hadn’t paid the bribe and
suggested he do so right away and save
himself a lot of trouble. To the Consul’s
amazement he refused.
Before the Consul departed our friend
asked him one thing: could he take
possession of the camper and arrange
its shipment home? The Consul agreed
and said he would return in a couple
of days with the necessary paperwork.
Meantime, he should engage a lawyer
and prepare for trial.
Now, by this point you may have guessed
our little genius’s ploy to get the load
shipped to his home country by the
embassy, but this took time and Moroccan
prisons are notoriously bad. As the days
passed it was hard to keep up the right-
eous indignation of the innocent. Sharing
a small cell with five others didn’t help
and that’s not counting the bad food,
bed bugs and constant threat of sexual
assault. The Consul’s next visit found him
a lot more compliant.
Now Cannabis smugglers seemed to be
blessed with a guardian angel that watch-
es over them. As long as you run good
hash and do it with a good heart, you’ll
(hopefully) be protected.
A guardian angel was definitely present
the when the Consul came to visit a few
days later. He’d spoken to a lawyer and
apparently the story of the police plant-
ing hashish to extract a bribe was com-
mon practice in Morocco. The judge was
sympathetic and there was a reasonable
chance of a dismissal, but it would take
time. As an afterthought he mentioned
the camper and the request to ship it.
He was going on leave in a few days and
would be happy to drive the camper back
for him. Crossing borders wouldn’t be a
problem because he had a diplomatic
passport. Our little genius’s heart did a
somersault; this was beyond his wildest
dreams. Of course the Consul could drive
it back; our friend would be very grateful...
he even offered to pay for the gas.
A week later the camper, with its con-
cealed load of 100 kilos, turned into the
driveway of his house. His girlfriend was
there to receive it and took a photo-
graph to capture the moment. She then
flew down to Morocco with the money
to get him out. It took a day’s work and
three fat envelopes before he walked
out the prison gates. That night they
were on plane home; it took a month
but he had pulled it off.
It’s a great story and shows initiative, but
unfortunately he told it to me in the exer-
cise yard of a Spanish prison three years
later, after getting ten years for a couple
of hundred kilos in a sailboat. Sometimes
it’s your time to get busted.
In a world of drug financed terrorism and blood-thirsty cartels, it’s
hard to imagine a time when it wasn’t about the money, but sim-
ply having a few kilos of something primo sitting on your kitchen
table.Some of the craziest scams were hatched late in the night
over a toke or two and a beer. Most died like vampires in the morn-
ing light, but some got further and then you heard about them
when they were busted. A few succeeded, despite enormous odds,
and I’d like tell you about one of them. By O’Riodon
Professional Pot Purveyors
The inviting, classy and sexy, green and orange neon sign welcom-
ing patients to San Francisco's Green Door medical club isn't the
only thing that separates it from the hundreds of other clubs pop-
ping up in California. As you enter the club, its spic and span inte-
rior and professional ambiance put you at ease. It's not uncom-
mon when reading patients' comments to see, "Hands down the
best dispensary in the city." Robert Michael
Then you marry that sentiment with
the close ties the club has always had
with the city, the charity work it does
and the community respect it has gar-
nered, and you have a business model
that should be emulated by other dis-
pensaries. But that's not all: The Green
Door took home a lot of awards at the
festivals last year. At the High Times
2010 Medical Cannabis Cup they won
Second Place in the Sativa category for
their Candy Jack, and tied for Second
Place for Best Booth. They were excited
to be the only San Francisco dispensary
to take home an award. At the 2010
San Francisco Cannabis Competition,
the club's Boss OG Kush took home
the honor for Best Strain, and their
Grandaddy Purple tied for Second
Place; they also won Second Place in
the Concentrates category for their
G-18 hash, and tied for Second Place
with their Buddies Peanut Butter Pucks.
Since its opening in 2003, The Green
Door has prided itself on giving patients
access to a consistent range of top
quality medicine for affordable prices,
while offering an incredible assortment
of edibles, concentrates, dried prod-
uct and much more. They run their
business like, well, a business: custom-
ers and community first. The club is a
breath of fresh air and represents the
only way to move forward in the medi-
cal marijuana dispensary industry. Soft
Secrets USA caught up with Green Door
manager Justin Jarin to 'talk shop'.
SSUSA: How would you describe the
culture of the Green Door?
JJ: Words that come to mind are 'profes-
sional' and 'clean'. In eclectic downtown
San Francisco, we have easy access for
our patient flow. State of the art technol-
ogy and safety precautions, too, are very
important to us.
SSUSA: What was your vision when you
opened up in 2003?
JJ: Our goal was to provide patients the
highest quality medicine and the most
affordable price. We also pride ourselves
in being a compassionate dispensary.
SSUSA: Do you feel you've attained this?
JJ: 110%.
SSUSA: You've always worked closely
with the city from day one. Why don't
more clubs do this?
JJ: Being active in the city is just some-
thing we've learned is in our best interest
and the industry's interest because we are
the voice; we write and create the legisla-
tion, too. It's helped our business thrive
by us fighting for our patients' rights to
service – and they do the same, which cre-
ates loyalty within our community.
SSUSA: Words such as 'responsible'
and 'professional' come up all the time
when talking about the Green Door.
JJ: We have always held the highest stand-
ards of professionalism, and understand
the tremendous responsibility we have to
our patients and community to be a role
model for the industry.
SSUSA: And you give a lot back to the
community, correct?
JJ: For patients we have 'Compassion
Sundays' where they get a free gift
with purchase. We also are heavy con-
tributors to ASA (Americans for Safe
Access) and MPP (Marijuana Policy
Project). We also have donated money
to Yerba Buena Park and the beautifi-
cation of Howard Street. We also have
many other local charities we donate
to, like Black Rock Arts Foundation,
Friends of the Urban Forest and Maitri
AIDS Hospice.
SSUSA: What is the key to running a
successful dispensary?
JJ: The key is to provide the best product;
the newest products, at a compassionate
price with service to match. At the Green
Door we innovate and that is why we
continue to grow and keep the patients'
interest and loyalty. Our patients' satisfac-
tion is our number one priority.
SSUSA: What's next?
JJ: We have partnered with an upstairs
neighbor who is running a private events
space, and we are covering our patients’
admission to their lounge. It's a spacious,
luxurious, ventilated place for patients to
medicate, with flat-screen TVs, comfort-
able furniture and a pool table.
We are also in the process of updating the
methods of medicating available.
The Green Door has also arranged time
for Americans for Safe Access to use
'Lounge8four7' for their bi-monthly meet-
ings. We love what ASA does for the move-
ment and the community, and are excited
to offer our support for their cause.
From the Mountains of Holland –
the Rise of King Cone
Sitting in the in the super-cool Greenhouse coffeeshop in
Amsterdam, gazing at the carp cruising hypnotically in their
10-ft., under-floor pool, I must admit to mixed feelings as I wait
to meet up with the legendary Arthur van den Berg – the ‘Henry
Ford of Cannabis consumption’. Jules Marshall
On the one hand, he’s the creator of
the pre-rolled conical cigarette papers
with the world-wide registered brand
name Cones and a range of gizmos for
mechanically filling, rolling and packag-
ing joints that represent the biggest
step-change in rolling technology since
pre-gummed rice paper.
Essentially empty cone-shaped wrappers
made from cigarette paper with an inte-
grated cardboard roach, Cones can be
used in production machines and equip-
ment for creating pre-rolled joints, or they
can be filled manually by consumers. You
can see the range of cone-related equip-
ment and packaging at www.mountain- and videos of the technology in
action at
They are an undoubted industry game
changer. In street corner tobacconists, in
blister packs of pre-rolled weed in coffee-
shops and pharmacies, these democratiz-
ers of joint smoking for the fumble-fin-
gered masses are now available in more
than 50 countries, from Nigeria to Finland.
On the other hand, as a proud and capa-
ble traditional joint roller, I can’t help
feeling like a Luddite witnessing the
potential loss of the hand-rolled craft.
OK, that’s maybe an overstatement, but
all you spliff-jockeys out there will know
what I mean, I think. It’s a new world
out there…there’s 'BC' and 'AC' – Before
Cones and After Cones.
Arthur enters in a whirlwind of energy,
greeting the staff (he still hand deliv-
ers his wares to leading customers,
to maintain the human contact) and
explains that he’d like to conduct the
interview in his ‘office’ – a black behe-
moth of a 4x4 parked outside.
So after sharing a quick joint (Cone of
course) of pure Shiva, it’s into his office
that we clamber with cappuccinos
to-go, and for the next 40 minutes we
cruise hair-raisingly through the small
backstreets of Amsterdam: Arthur at
the wheel, juggling phone calls, rum-
maging for merchandising in the glove
compartment and avoiding cyclists.
Arthur jumps around between stories
about his youth, excitement at current
developments in mediweed, anticipa-
tion of his forthcoming trip to a fair
in Denver, Colorado, sliding between
past, present and future, with extraor-
dinary energy and enthusiasm for his
business. The most common phrase
is: “Long story short…” It’s a huge-
ly entertaining conversation - and a
nightmare to transcribe and turn into
a linear story!
SS: Take me through your early years
prior to setting up Mountain High in
1994. What sort of things moved and
interested you?
AvdB: “I always wanted to work and do
my own marketing for my own prod-
ucts. But until I was 30 years old I didn’t
succeed - although I had all the ingredi-
ents. I had left commercial school early
because I was dealing hashish and earn-
ing a lot of money. But I was driven to
do something for myself and ended up
doing many different jobs and learning
different things in life.
So I worked as a bus driver for a while;
I used to daydream of having an inven-
tion and do my own marketing of this
invention. I was always convinced that
I would become a company owner;
maybe selling black pearls, which I had
access to. I sold advertising for Yellow
Pages, smoked weed and came up with
this invention.
So the joint machine invention by me and
my brother, that started with us setting
up a PO box and registered company and
already visualizing that it could be revolu-
tionary one day – at least, it was to us and
we were convinced it was so unique. We
had invented a centrifugal joint making
machine but of course we could not pat-
ent a centrifuge!
We sent plans of our invention to our-
selves by registered mail, opening one
copy and leaving the other sealed. So
we had that filed, and it cost us noth-
ing. It is not worth anything, but it is
still a good idea to do.
So that’s... how things started: work for
yourself. And the big innovation was
the cone paper.”
How is it made? Big bales of cigarette
“Yes, you have a bobbin of 11 miles of
paper, supplied by one of the world lead-
ers in paper making. Our idea was that just
as in England the rolling papers are called
Rizlas, we hoped when people talked
about a cone, they were not talking about
ice cream cones or traffic cones any more
but my Cones, with the watermark that
says ‘Cones’, with the TV station;
it’s my word.
The watermark thing started 10 years ago
but before that we were under the
Radar. We hit the newspapers with that
machine, demonstrating it in the old
Drugs Peace House in Amsterdam, and
the following Monday there was an arti-
cle: No More Licking With New Rolling
Machine for Joints on the second page of
the Volkskrant, (newspaper) with a half-
page photo of me and my brother sitting
next to our own machine. It just looked
very natural and innocent. Amsterdam
was different back in those days (1995), a
very different situation to now.”
So you’re the marketing guy and your
brother Martin is the engineer? What’s
it like working with a brother?
“We grew up very close. My mother
ended up in a psychiatric hospital when
were small kids. My father was tech-
nical director of a cancer hospital in
Rotterdam and we didn’t care that we
were alone: we had a lovely life, growing
up in this hospital. We met people, we
explored under the hospital in the ven-
tilation ducts, with a torch and a rope
– we were less than 6 years old! We were
raised by the nurses and the 100 or so
people working there. We were ‘the kids
of Mr. van den Berg’, chief of the hos-
pital. Everyone knew we didn’t have a
mother. That’s the big story made short!”
And what about the moment of inven-
tion? Were the two of you sitting
around saying 'Man. There’s gotta be
a better way of making joints than roll-
ing them'?
“Long story short: we went to Bali
to check out the cigarette factories,
where I had heard they hand-rolled
cigarettes… (he breaks off to show me
a new packet of papers with a magnetic
flap). We had already invented how to
make the cones. Then we invented a
way of tapping down the tobacco/weed
mix into the cone so it was not too fluffy
but as tight as a Marlboro. We’d booked
a hotel resort in Bali and in the morning
we’d been surfing together and were
really close, we were like ‘wow, we’re
gonna do this mission, find where we’re
gonna produce them’ – and we did and
we still producing in Indonesia.
I’d heard about this factory where
cigarettes were made by hand and
figured we could have a lot of work for
them. So me and my brother started
traveling with a guide, meeting all the
factories. I had the sales training and
my brother was the engineer super-
man who knew the answer to every-
thing, so together we made an impact
at big factories where 10-15,000 peo-
ple were working. OK, I’m exaggerat-
ing, but there are working floors there
with 5,000 rollers, you know.”
You’re just back from America, and
you’re off there again in a few days.
“I was just checking out what’s happen-
ing over there and its amazing. If you
imagine all the weed medical patients are
using over there fitting in a Cone? Or just
one percent of that? It’s really taking off.
I travel to the US four or five times a year
and I’m off to Denver next Friday. There’s
a Cannabis happening there they expect
20,000 people over the weekend.
I flew in my machine, so it’s gonna be in
the entrance to the show with a lounge
for other companies from Amsterdam.
The machine will be spinning, and my
distributor also has a booth. After the
show I have a meeting with Snoop Dogg’s
manager to maybe bring his Snoop rolling
papers to Holland - it will be the first roll-
ing paper we have had in our collection.
We never intended to do it; the cone thing
is so unique we have our hands and heads
filled doing that.
But I was focused on America right from
the outset of our company; that’s why I
called it 'Vandenberg'; there was a well-
known band called that. My name is
Arthur van den Berg, which means ‘from
the mountain’. So I saw myself coming
down from the mountain and the com-
pany is Mountain High.
My job, I’m on the edge of the envelope,
you know? I deal with headshops and
coffeeshops; we surf through the whole
of Cannabisland but my product is fully
legal. So if one day somebody in NL thinks
they have to stop me, I’ll go straight on
TV and show my videos and ask: what am
I doing wrong? I’m 16 years in this busi-
ness now and cones will always be there.
I never had any trouble in the US. Once
only a pallet was sent back because it had
a Cannabis leaf on the packaging.”
The conversation is interrupted as we
search for a parking spot, and I finally spill
my reservations that, admirable as they
are, the first time I saw the cones I thought
NO, that’s killing off the old manual craft
of joint rolling…
“Are you recording? You know how
many times I’ve heard that in my life?
The most common comment in the
world from people who are good at roll-
ing by hand. What about all the people
who cannot roll? You no longer have to
do it for all the lazy girls!
We arrive back at the Greenhouse,
where Arthur drops me off and takes
a meeting with some Israeli medi-
weed suppliers, customers of his. I
speak briefly to Zach Klein, pioneer
of the Israeli medi-weed movement,
which bought 200,000 cones last year.
“Arthur’s cones were vital for our pro-
gress as they allow standardization of
dosage and therefore open up clinical
trials,” he says. “Also, they’re sterile, as
there’s no licking involved – vital when
you’re dealing with patients with com-
promised immune systems.”
“The new emphasis on medical mari-
huana is perfect for my business,” say
Arthur. “About five years ago it started
to take off, used in joints for dispensa-
ries. It’s like we’re selling auto tires: if
you drive a lot you buy a lot of tires. If
you sell a lot of joints you need a lot of
cones. We’ve helped a lot of companies
make serious money.”
A few days later he phones to say he
forgot the story about fire walking and
how important it is to meet again. “(Our
business) kind of all started with a cou-
pon, clipped from a women's maga-
zine for 25 guilders, of a workshop
at the Marriott Hotel in Amsterdam,
where a carpet of wet turf was laid out
and hot coals strewn on it to make a
33-ft. fire walk. You know, the 'think
cool moss' thing?
Arthur made it across but his brother
forgot his mantra. Unable to sleep,
consumed with a feeling that this was
the catalyst of some sort of special
moment, the night ended with his
brother sitting at a drawing board and
designing the machine.
A few months later and the van den
Berg boys are surfing in Bali where they
have traveled on the rumor that ciga-
rettes were still made by hand, ponder-
ing how they were going to make the
cones fill-able and compact-able when
it hit them: a centrifuge.
He’s is clear about his ambitions for the
future. “My email and phone number is
spread worldwide because I feel that any-
one who is enthusiastic about my products
can send me an email and tell me what he
thinks. I can advise a company like Philip
Morris if they ever want a good packaging
and production system; they’re stupid if
they don’t get in touch with me. My mes-
sage is: don’t try and re-invent the wheel.
Talk to me; I’m already there. Join me.”
Photo: Advanced Seeds

Sexism in Pot Culture
Marijuana-related media is becoming known for photos depicting
semi-clothed models splashed all over their pages, to the extent
that many women are increasingly put off most prominent pub-
lications. It is preferable to avoid alienating any reader group,
especially such a large and growing one – but many still take the
easy route of using sex to sell magazines, knowing that the male
readership currently far outnumbers the female, and using that
classic, lowest-common-denominator technique that unfortu-
nately shows no sign of losing its effectiveness. by Kali Mist
While women may not have so far been
as conspicuous as men in the battle to
legalize weed our voice is steadily grow-
ing, and as cultural attitudes towards
Cannabis use continue to relax I hope we
will see a sharp rise in the prominence
of female activists and supporters. In
this important incubation period for the
emerging industry we can afford few
mistakes – lowering the credibility of
the pot world through over-use of tacky
centerfolds is bound to have this effect.
It's not just women that are put off; it's
the establishment, which is having a hard
enough time coming to terms with the
meteoric rise of Cannabis as it is, without
being able to lump Cannabis industry
professionals into some sex-crazed smut-
peddling category first theorized during
the whole 'reefer madness' stupidity.
Embedded in the industry's perception by
outsiders is the very real possibility that
perpetuating misogyny in weed media
could assist in perpetuating sexist practic-
es in the wider weed industry. The major-
ity of dispensary owners are male, and
this trend continues for licensed growers.
There are some exceptions, but not many.
I, for one, would be devastated if the
future of weed was one where women
were relegated to a subordinate role, as
I've seen this trend at work before.
During my years living and working in the
Netherlands, I noticed a low level of sex-
ism within the coffeeshop industry, which
at the time seemed surprising to me. I
mean, in the shady drug-dealing world
that the Cannabis industry becomes
where it is criminalized, perhaps it's to
be expected that things will be a little
male-dominated – most organized crime
is. But in my naivete I thought that cer-
tain original hippie values had somehow
survived intact in Europe and the industry
there would be free and egalitarian, and
without misogyny. Maybe it's because the
industry isn't fully legal, and the wholesale
side of things is still a murky business,
but a sense of male superiority certainly
seems to pervade the scene.
Growers are mostly male – as I men-
tioned, it's illegal to cultivate Cannabis,
and males are statistically more prepared
to break laws. However, that doesn't
explain why in the coffeeshops them-
selves the gender division is usually dis-
tinct (but not always – a few of the most
knowledgeable and friendly dealers I
encountered were women, as was I for
a time): guys own and manage the cof-
feeshops and sell the weed; girls serve
drinks. There is a number of respected
female growers, coffeeshop owners and
seed company bosses, but this is a small
fraction of the total. I've heard, too many
times to count, that there is 'no place' for
women in the industry.
Some people have anecdotally sug-
gested there is an influence from the
Moroccan style of doing business, which
is apparently exclusive to men and plac-
es women firmly in a service role. While
this could be a factor, I also feel underly-
ing traditional Dutch attitudes towards
women play a part. I've experienced
firsthand the odd male customer who
refused to believe a woman could pos-
sibly know anything about weed.
Also, while there may not be a cul-
ture specifically associating pornogra-
phy and Cannabis in Holland, a nation
whose idea of legalized prostitution
involves requiring women to stand in
a window like mannequins, displaying
themselves for any passer-by to see,
surely cannot be deemed beyond the
temptation of easy sexualization for
the sake of easy business. At least a few
coffeeshops in Amsterdam have a local
reputation for selecting girls on the
basis of looks and age, in the assump-
tion that it will boost their sales and
keep male customers coming back.
I can furthermore testify as to the dispa-
rate rates of pay given to the respective
roles – in some coffeeshops, dealers
earn upwards of 150% of a bar girl's
wage. Whereas here tips may be expect-
ed to cover that shortfall, the European
attitude regarding tipping can often
mean a bar girl takes a far smaller pay-
check home for working just as hard, for
just as many hours. I cannot see a basis
for this. I am therefore heartened to
see that there is a growing disapproval
of the trend for pitching products at
American marijuana conventions with
the help of half-naked girls. Not due to
prudishness – I just don't see why any-
body's intelligence should be insulted
that way, and when it's my intelligence
they're attempting to insult, I feel the
need to say something.
It seems to me that there is still a lot
of work to do before misogyny in pot
culture is dead. Obviously it's still alive
and kicking in most every walk of life,
but I feel that we have a head start in
a culture that is traditionally enlight-
ened and progressive, and we should
fight to press home the advantage. I'm
not naive enough to think that remov-
ing sexism from the Cannabis press will
remove it from the industry, but as long
as the magazines that serve the sec-
tor encourage objectification of women,
they are definitely not helping to change
prevalent attitudes. If, as many stud-
ies will testify, people are influenced in
their behavior by the press, then trashy
centerfolds are a force for the negative.
However, we also have a responsibility
– as weed loving women – to become
more active within the industry itself
(beyond trimming weed and making
space cakes). As long as we remain a tiny
minority we can expect discrimination,
so we must be fully prepared to over-
come it and become an equal force.
Complete your Cannabis Collection
With Cannabis laws loosening in several dozen states across the US,
many more people are becoming exposed to the industry. New grow-
ers and smokers are popping up all the time, and we thought you
might want to know where it all started. The Sativa Diva
In the charter issue of Soft Secrets USA,
we introduced you to Keith, owner of
The Attitude Seed Bank, responsible for
distributing the largest and most com-
prehensive list of quality Cannabis genet-
ics – from over 80 international compa-
nies. With more than 2,500 strain names
and flavor/effect descriptions to wade
through, we thought we'd provide a sim-
ple background for the origins of these
genetics. Since Cannabis has been around
much longer than we have, the indus-
try is constantly reviving and changing
thanks to hundreds of breeders around
the world, supplemented by private col-
lectors – who are quickly becoming an
important resource.
The Attitude, on a minor scale, is reminis-
cent of the Doomsday Vault, comprising
a massive collection of varying Cannabis
genetics from dozens of different coun-
tries and seed labels. Keith points out
that with so many good growers out
there and so many quality types of can-
nabis, it's easier to just offer customers
as many choices as possible, rather than
just offering one label, or only Cannabis
Cup winners. With so much over-hybrid-
ization bubbling up beneath the surface
of the industry, growers of all levels of
experience need to have a reputable
source upon which they can rely to stock
almost all of the old classics. It's becom-
ing a necessity for people to keep collec-
tions of old genetics (in the refrigerator,
of course) in preparation for a particular
strain's eventual demise.
Unlike today, when Cannabis flourishes
around the world in a variety of climates,
thousands of years ago, the hardy plant
was much more sparsely-located. While
its origins have been (arguably) attrib-
uted to Kazakhstan – whom we have to
thank for cultivated apples – one fam-
ily of Cannabis is much older than the
ruderalis (a.k.a. Russian hemp) native to
Eastern Europe. The indica family – those
short, stocky dark green plants with large
leaves and a relaxing effect – is indige-
nous to Central Asia, with the Hindu Kush
mountainous region holding a special
significance in the ganja world.
Sometimes referred to as 'the grandmoth-
er of all Cannabis,' the Hindu Kush was one
of the first few varieties to cross the barrier
from landrace to cultivar to commercial
hybrid. A cultivar is a plant strain that orig-
inated as a landrace variety (pure strains
indigenous to one particular region) and
were selected by local people for various
reasons, in some cases, over periods of
thousands of years.
Keith reminds us of the dominance of the
Dutch industry over the years, provid-
ing the original genetics to many other
seed companies around the world. He
also recalls famous breeders from the
early days, such as Sam the Skunkman or
Shanti Baba, with great reverence. They
were at the fore-front of the Cannabis
hybrid awakening, where tokers switched
from tossing some bag seed into their
back yards to seeking out and purchasing
quality genetics, becoming some of the
great growers of today. These days, it's not
even uncommon for, say, a Spanish seed
bank to exchange seeds or clones with a
company from California, whose strains
may have originally come from Canada.
However, this practice was not common-
place as of a few decades ago.
In 1979 Sacred Seeds was established
in California and the Lowland Seed Co.
was founded in the Netherlands. Officially,
despite thousands of years of the plant's
existence on the planet, these were the
first two Cannabis seed companies. In
1980, Sacred Seeds released the Skunk
No. 1, Afghani No. 1, Hindu Kush and
Original Haze; these genetics are still avail-
able today under the Flying Dutchmen
label (Skunk #1, Afghanica, Pot of Gold,
Original Haze). If you research the origins
of the first Cannabis cultivars, 'it' all started
with these four. Others were now able to
grow out and select these pure, reliable
strains, leading to an explosion of new
'breeders' on the Dutch scene.
1984 brought about some competi-
tion in the form of the Sinsemilla Seed
Co., responsible for the introduction of
Hashplant No. 1, (Hungarian) Ruderalis
and Jamaican cultivars. By 1985 they were
joined by the label Cultivator's Choice,
who brought out the California Orange,
Early Girl and South African (a.k.a. Durban
Poison); while the new Super Sativa Seed
Club released their Chitral Indica. At about
this time the folks at Seed Bank graced the
industry with Northern Lights.
Another famous name from this time is
Positronics, who in 1986 released their
Skunk USA, which was joined by another
legend, the William's Wonder, under the
auspices of the Super Sativa Seed Club.
The Seed Bank's Early Pearl also arrived.
Positronics jumped into the game again
in 1987 with Hollandsch Hope (a.k.a.
Holland's Hope) while Dutch Passion was
being established, celebrating with the
release of the Amstel Gold, Purple Star,
Purple Wonder and Four-Way. This amaz-
ing decade in Cannabis history was round-
ed out in 1988 by the Shiva and G-13 and
in 1999 with the Hindu Kush and Hawaiian
Indica, all under the Seed Bank label.
The early 90's saw a shift from Seed Bank
to Sensi Seeds, then to the Sensi Seed
Bank label, credited with the new Shiva
Shanti hybrids. At this point it seems as if
the industry, with regards to both estab-
lished seed companies and fledgling new
brands, took some time off to work on
their hybrids. With a whole slew of cultivar
strains from around the world as raw mate-
rial, some of the loveliest and strongest
hybrids were created at this time. These
days, it's very difficult to find new strains as
stable and hardy as these founding moth-
ers, as few people have the time, amount
of space and dedication necessary to prop-
erly select parents for new varieties. All this
experimenting, however, did not diminish
the needs for new cultivars, and so in 1998
Dutch Passion thrilled the industry with the
release of Blueberry and Flo. In the follow-
ing few years, Sensi Seed Bank rounded out
the surge of new cultivars with the release
of their Maple Leaf Indica.
So there's your tiny history of where it all
started. These varieties and seed labels
are important, not because people need
to get high, but due to the persecution of
Cannabis around the world, we as a com-
munity are losing (forever) some of our
most beautiful hybrids.
Nosolo ‘Aerosol Prankster’ AUDIOKIN.COM
Arising from the San Francisco Bay area – that infamous hotbed of creativity from freaks of all fashion, flavor and
form – five-piece outfit Nosolo release this free-to-all downloadable five-track EP.
Working together for the past ten years, the band exist to play and record live music, always delivering a highly
contagious, body rocking sonic experience that is embraced by both clubs and festivals alike. A unique sound has
been developed, forged from their combined experience and influences, based on the live and electronic music
scenes of Johannesburg, London, New York and the San Francisco Bay Area.
This international ensemble not only draws together their individual cul-
tures but also deftly crisscrosses through the borders of musical genre,
stepping into styles from disco to dub and heavy metal, to a well seasoned
crock of dance music expressions and strange electronica. Most definitely
experimental, yet unpretentious; this highly listenable and deeply dance-
able mash-up, self-produced and mixed by Jonah Sharp of the sumptuously
lovely acid and ambient Space Time label, will place your inner stylus on a
groove strictly bound for the far reaches of the cosmos. Rewind selector!
Download at
Africa Hi-Tech ’93 Million Miles’
Africa Hi-Tech, the powerhouse production com-
bination of Mark Pritchard and Steve Spacek, are
set to release their debut album this May.
Released by Warp following the two digi-dance-
hall releases ‘Blen’ and the ‘HiTecherous EP’, the
11-track album sees the two producers develop
their “love for all things progressive within music,
whilst acknowledging that the roots of much
of today’s popular music can be traced directly
back to Africa.”
Having started working on the project when
they found themselves, by coincidence, living
in Australia, the album takes in the wealth of
experience both artists have (Pritchard as part of
Global Communications/Harmonic 313; Spacek
as a notable contributor to Dilla’s work and the
Spacek outfit), which sees them explore Detroit
techno, classic soul and Jamaican dancehall as
expertly captured on the excellent lead single
‘Out In the Streets’.
Compilation ‘Generation Bass
Presents: Transnational Dubstep’
‘Transnational Dubstep’ is the first major com-
pilation to document the fusion of dubstep
and global roots music. Conceptualized and
compiled by co-owner/editor and the driving
force behind
the Generation
Bass blog, DJ
Umb in coop-
eration with
Six Degrees
Records, the
album pulls
together some
of the most
exciting new producers in electronic music,
who are incorporating sounds from around
the planet with the bass bin shaking thump
of dubstep.
This 15 track hand picked compilation features
established producers like the Midval Punditz
and the Bandish Project, while introducing
breaking talent from the bass music commu-
nity: including Engine Earz, Alexis K, Jajuoka
Soundsystem, Knowa Knowone, Shem and
many more to a wider audience.
‘Transnational Dubstep’ is the flashpoint where the
ever-evolving bass music genre collides with the
global music continuum.
Etana ‘Free Expressions’ VP RECORDS
Reggae singer/songwriter sensation Etana returns
with her highly anticipated sophomore album ‘Free
Expressions’, a release that truly establishes her as an
artist of great might. Etana deems this second album
‘Free Expressions’ because she adamantly refuses to
be constrained by approach or lyrical content. Her
beautifully sweet, yet pow-
erful voice easily adapts
itself across a gamut of reg-
gae styles including lovers,
roots rockin’, one drop and
dancehall; not stopping
there, this songbird flut-
ters elegantly and ably into
soulful R&B and hip-hop.
Penning 12 of the 14 tracks herself, Etana has already
had three hit singles from the album so far- ‘Free’, ‘Happy
Heart’ and ‘August Town’. Socially conscious undertones
can be found in tracks such as the brilliant ‘Mocking Bird’,
‘Retribution’ and of course the popular ‘August Town’. In
the songs ‘Day by Day’, ‘Moving On’, ‘People Talk’, ‘Free’
and ‘Dance’ Etana croons uplifting messages of positivity.
What’s a reggae album without a little love? Etana sings
about the subject in the tracks ‘Happy Heart’, ‘I Know You
Love Me’ and ‘My Name Is’.
Beats Antique ‘Blind Threshold’
Growing like wildfire under the canopy of live electonica
and world roots music comes a masterful merge of modern
technology, live instrumentation and seductive perfor-
mance, built of brass bands and glitch, string quartets and
dubstep: the musical trio Beats Antique.
Since the group’s inception from the eclectic under-
ground of San Francisco’s performance art scene, Beats
Antique has been notorious for making it nearly impos-
sible to sit still. They meld their mediums as attentively as
they fuse the cultures that inspire their sound.
With this, their third album, Beats Antique is best imag-
ined as an innovative creature built from the cumulative
heritage of the world’s music chasing its tail. However
vivid that image, when a
marching band groove crash-
es into bluesy folk chords,
only to be accompanied by
electronic beats and Middle
Eastern melodies, you’ll still
be surprised.
By Kaz Peet
Grubbycup's Simple Hydroponics
Potential hydroponic gardeners can
easily become overwhelmed by the
complex processes involved with soil-
less cultivation. Understanding the
basics prior to venturing into advanced
gardening manuals can help prevent
frustration and confusion.
An informed gardener is more likely to
succeed, and a successful gardener is
more likely to continue to garden.
Written by international gardening author
Grubbycup Stash, Grubbycup's Simple
Hydroponics is a starter primer on hydro-
ponic growing. The booklet is motivating
and interesting, filled with informative
pictures and easy to read text.
Written in conversational English,
Grubbycup breaks down hydroponic
concepts, and simplifies the technical
information. This book quickly deliv-
ers information to the reader without
talking down to them. Forty beautiful
color pages illustrate concepts includ-
ing artificial lighting, media choices and
basic nutrition.
Grubbycup is obviously passionate
about gardening, and helping garden-
ers improve. This booklet is informative
enough to understand the differences
between the most common types of
hydroponic methods without being
Grubbycup's Simple Hydroponics also
outlines more advanced hydro systems;
however, the main thrust is for the
beginner – the person a little hesitant
to take that leap of faith and try hydro-
ponic gardening.
The booklet also touches on environ-
ments, lighting, growing media, humidity
and temperature; it is a book even the
most beginning gardener can follow.
Grubbycup’s Simple Hydroponics is avail-
able at hydroponic stores and online sites.
Mike Yocina - Owner, Nickel City Wholesale
Garden Supply
Photo: Debi Davis
Colophon Index of ads
Name Page
Advanced Seeds 1
All American Healing Group 43
Apothecary 420 16
Attitude the 2
Attitude the 4
Best Price Evaluations 23
BudGenius 11
Devil’s Harvest Seed Company the 28
Dinafem Seeds 35
Green Door the 48
Hemcy 43
Paradise Seeds 1
Royal Queen Seeds 47
Sensible Seeds 43
Sweet Seeds 1
Sweet Seeds 40
Soft Secrets USA is published by
Discover Publishers USA, Inc
Century Park Plaza
1801 Century Park East, 24th floor / Suite 2400
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Editor in chief: Kristie Szalanski
Contributors: Grubbycup, Buddy Kush,
Kali Mist, Robert Michael, The Sativa Diva,
Lazystrain, O’Riodon, F.Red, Kaz Peet, et al.
Translations: Jules Marshall, TranSarah
Traduzioni, Italy
Comic: O’Riodon
Editorial adress:
Advertisements: Jessica
Telephone: +1-661-333 3151
Distribution by:
P.A.I.N. Distribution
Carlos Garcia
Circulation Manager
Telephone: +1-310-488-1911
A word from the publisher:
To the chagrin of the US Federal Government,
almost half of the states have embarked on a
process of relative liberalization towards the
use of Cannabis, and Cannabis activists are
engaged in broadening this progression. Some
townships, mayors and police chiefs – on a
local level – now actively support a ‘compassion
club’ distribution system as a way of separating
recreational stoners from the people who legiti-
mately need therapeutic help, simultaneously
decreasing the number of unnecessary arrests.

Whether they are finding their way to the local
medical distribution point or growing for per-
sonal stash, Cannabis users are a menace to no
one and are causing no discernible social prob-
lem. Some politicians, and even more non-users
than ever, are calling for the outright legali-
zation of marijuana. Taxpayers are frustrated
with funding the incarceration of first-time,
non-violent drug offenders (read: pot smokers)
as well as the social toll that high numbers of
imprisonment brings to some towns and neigh-
borhoods. Now we must be patient and see how
the debate develops during a period of relative
peace between both sides.

In the meantime, the publisher hopes Soft
Secrets will expose the positive aspects of the
normalization of Cannabis use to the public,
and is excited to offer a forum to both pro-
and anti-legalization advocates. Soft Secrets
forums operate under the assumption that the
publisher does not necessarily agree with the
views and opinions expressed in articles and
advertisements therein. The publisher therefore
distances himself explicitly from statements or
images that might give the impression that an
endorsement is being made for the illicit use
or production of Cannabis. Soft Secrets does not
advocate breaking any laws, whether local-,
state-, Federal or international.
Nothing from this publication may be copied
or reproduced in any format without prior
permission from the publisher and other copy-
right holders. The publisher is not responsible
for the content and/or point of view of adver-
tisements. The editors take no responsibility
for unsolicited submissions.
Soft Secrets USA 3/11 out:
June 21
, 2011
Do you have what it takes to become a
regular Soft Secrets USA contributor? Do
you have a fluent pen and green fingers?
Then don’t hesitate to apply as a freelance
writer with us! We’re looking for freelance
journalists and writers who can contribute
on a regular basis. Experience is not a
must, but a pro.
Please send your resumé with an
example of your writing skills to, attn. of Kristie and
we’ll get in touch.
We want you!
Black Jack, Sweet Seeds
Cream Caramel, Sweet Seeds

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