Before going to Amsterdam, and having his pot take third place in the Cannabis Cup, Darren had never even been off the continent. Nevertheless, he smuggled in two ounces of BC’s finest and the rest is history.
To those who know him, Darren’s behaviour wasn’t surprising. He’s never been afraid of taking risks, or shy about his fondness for the herb. He was on CBC TV news last June, showing Canada his “Cannabis Connection” business card and telling the nation that he sold pot.
I interviewed Darren after the Cup to find out more about his incredible adventures in Amsterdam.
Why did you smuggle BC pot into Amsterdam?
Well, when I heard the competition was going to happen again, I thought that it would be a fun thing to bring two ounces in competition for the cup. It’s such a wonderful plant, and it’s so suppressed by the government, that I can’t help but love it and do anything I can to get it free.
I wanted to win the medal so that I could use that victory for publicity here, to set off the signature campaign to have a decriminalization referendum in BC.
There was two thousand people at the Cannabis Cup, clearly they didn’t all get a chance to sample your two ounces. How did you manage to win third place?
The fact that someone had the courage and pledge their own name and risk the penalties of international smuggling touched people. They didn’t need to smoke it to vote for it.
However, it was a very advanced strain, and I grew it for ten weeks in flower. It was coated with crystals, tasty and stinky. People like the taste and the smell more than a chronic stone.
It surprises me that cannabis isn’t legal for ornamental reasons. It is so beautiful when it is shining with crystals.
Tell me what it was like smuggling pot into Amsterdam.
I made a body pack out of saran wrap and tape, and made a flat rectangular package that could be squished down and placed into the pelvic area. I felt confident that this would be the smartest way, rather than in my bags or somewhere else on my person. Since I dealt on the street for about five years, it made my nerves calmer.
When I went through the metal detector the customs people were all talking and so it was no problem. The package was bulging a bit in my black jeans, but they didn’t notice. I recommend to potential smugglers that you have no metal on you, otherwise they have an excuse to search you.
I was sitting the pre boarding area, and my friend Justin came in. He was really happy, talking loudly about Amsterdam, and I was getting paranoid. Young adults going to Amsterdam are a prime target, so I had to walk away from him so as not draw heat. It was nothing, but I was nervous. It’s something to consider.
On the plane, the package was just reeking of cannabis. Some guys on the back of the plane commented on the nice smell, they thought we’d burned one.Some people were staring me down too.
I was in the bathroom fixing the package, I hadn’t locked the door, and a lady opened it. I had the package in my hand, she must have seen me. I told her it was occupied and she left me alone, but I’m sure she saw what I had.
Tell me your impressions of the Cannabis Cup.
It was a very good event. That why I thanked High Times for their organizational skills. Getting that amount of people together, with the same ideas on this issue, is the only way that you’ll get things done. Without the organizational skills of High Times this would be a pipe dream.
Getting the new hemp products out to as many people as possible is great, whether through a hemp expo or a cannabis cup. The more hemp info that gets out the more cannabis products that will be created. The more products we produce, the more mainstream the plant will get.
How did you manage to get into the Hemp Fashion show?
There was a girl walking around looking for models. I had already tried to volunteer, so I was in like Flynn.
It was really neat trying on the hemp blazers and office wear that they had. It’s really wild to see how fast the plant material is expanding into so many types of clothing.
Getting to be in the fashion show really blew me away. One of the skits was called reggae, and I got to smoke a spliff on stage, which was fun. We only had one day of rehearsing, then performed that night. It was a great thing to be a part of.
Did you take the Trichrome Challenge?
I did the trichrome challenge. They fill the bowl with trichromes, and you have to take back the whole load in one hit, without losing any smoke, and you can’t cough once, and you have to keep your composure.
I coughed my bag off.
Aside from having your BC buds take third place, what was a highlight of the Cannabis Cup?
I spent the last evening at the Cannabis Castle, smoking Jack Herer buds with Jack Herer, out of the vapourizer.
If you’re in California, jump on the initiative bandwagon. They need a hundred and fifty thousand signatures.
Seeing cannabis growing in cannabis chips in the Cannabis Castle was an experience. They had nine grow rooms on display. The twenty year old Haze plants were amazing.
Did you get to bicycle in Amsterdam?
Amsterdam is nice because there’s more bikes than cars, and there’s bike lanes, which makes biking the best way to get around the city.
I brought my mountain bike with me to Amsterdam. I was so spaced from winning the medal that the bike lock keys fell out of my pocket while I was dancing. I left the bike locked to itself, not to a pole. When I came back the next morning to get it, it was gone. I still have seat as a souvenir.
Did you bring any other souvenirs back with you?
Yes. I brought thirty seeds back with me,
Skunk #1, Skunk Special, Northern Lights, Northern Lights x Shiva, Red Haired California Skunk, Dutch Seeds, and Early Girl.
When I was coming back with seeds between my buttcheeks, I always had the fear that it was going to fall down my pantlegs.
The customs lady asked me “didn’t you bring anything back?” I said “no”. She asked where I worked, and I said the Canadian Cannabis Company. She asked why I had no money to buy souvenirs, and she put a mark on my card, so I was instantly diverted to the officers who do the search.
I was standing in line, and there’s four customs agents, two girls and two guys. I was hoping to get a girl. Both one girl and guy were almost finished, so I pushed to get to the girl. She gave me a hard time and told me not to skip ahead, but it turned out better that I did that.
She asked me if a had a criminal record. I said no, which is a lie. They have this big machine that they put in your passport and ID in, and they can check if there is drug residue on your ID & passport. Mine was all covered in marijuana traces.
She asked “are you sure that you have no record?” I said no, but then she said she was going to run it through their system, so I admitted to having some for selling pot, and other minor breaches.
I went into it about having compassion for those arrested for cannabis offences. She seemed to understand, but of course she has to do her job.
Once they found the traces, my bag was searched. I had seed catalogs and photos of my grow room. She saw my medal and laminate, and I had to explain about the Cannabis Cup. I had to convince them that the pictures were from Amsterdam and not of my home.
She asked me if the reason I was bringing them back was to start a grow room, which she reminded me was illegal. I said that I could just smoke in Amsterdam if I wanted.
She photocopied my marijuana beer label and joint users manual to show her customs friends, as funny things that come through customs.
Then they searched me, visually searched my pelvic area, made me take off my socks and shoes, patted me down. I was afraid that the seeds would fall out of my cheeks and roll down my leg. I had to bend down and pick up my stuff, even roll up my sleeping bag.
It was kind of fun actually. I know it’s called international smuggling to some people, but it’s fun when you can walk away.
As I walked out of customs, coughing, with the seeds between my cheeks, I was laughing to myself about what a good time I had.
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