How Mila Jansen Became The Queen Of Hash: 'It Was A Man's World, But My Product Was So Different That I Never Had To Compete With Them'




  • In World
  • 2022-09-25 18:31:08Z
  • By Benzinga
 

By Lola Sasturain via El Planteo.

"I am the queen of hash and I am going to explain why. Because I invented the first machine to mechanically separate the trichomes from the rest of the marijuana", said Mila Jansen from her home in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

"Hashing has been done manually for thousands of years in countries like Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. That's why I'm the queen. Because it was the first time that people were able to make their own hash without having to spend hours doing it."

The product is emblematic and is called Pollinator. Its invention turned her into a female icon of cannabis when legalization was not even on the horizon, there were no cannabis icons and much less female ones. For this reason, High Times Magazine honored her with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

However, her life story is even more interesting than her product. For example, it can be mentioned that Jansen was born in England but grew up in Amsterdam, where she currently lives. In between, she traveled the world and with 24 years and a daughter settled in India for 14 years.

mila_jansen.
mila_jansen.  

Image by El Planteo

She also wrote an autobiography, which from its title explores the premise with which this article opens: "How I became the queen of hash." With life as intense as it is interesting, it is to be expected that the process of writing an autobiography has not been easy.

"I'm not the most disciplined writer," she laughed. "It took me 11 years. To write I did not have a method: I wrote when the location and the mood felt indicated".

The Life Of A Pioneer

Mila Jansen started smoking hash in Amsterdam in the winter of 1964 or 1965. She was 20 years old with a young daughter. At that time, there were no flowers in the whole city, but in the port area you could find some waiters in contact with sellers and that is how the dark and sticky resin entered, which generally came from the Middle East by sea. "That's how it was before coffee shops," said Jansen.

In the Dutch capital, Mila was part of the avant-garde fashion circuit with her Kink 22 studio. Later, she turned to Cleo de Merode, a drug-friendly tea house that was a meeting point for artists and various figures from the dutch Bohemian life.

jansen.
jansen.  

Image by El Planteo

Some people refer to her as "the owner of the first coffee shop in Amsterdam" but that is not entirely accurate. What is real is that people used to gather there to smoke and share hash. "It was not a coffee shop because in coffee shops people pay for marijuana. We used to have a tea house where travelers who had just arrived from the east, or some American dropouts from the Vietnam War, used to come. It was shared or exchanged, it was never sold and that is a big difference," she remembered.

But that life bordering on illegality was complicated, and more so with a baby. That, along with her eternally adventurous spirit, led her to undertake her long journey through Asia where she made her base in India. In her travels through that region, both in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan, she saw how hash was made: what the process was like, who did it, and -very important for what would come later- how long it took.

From Dryer To Pollinator

In 1988, Mila Jansen returned to Amsterdam and the coffee shop boom was a reality. "They had no hash, they were full of flowers. I tried a couple of times but at that time I was already smoking hash for 20 years ago. Flowers were never my thing, I don't like the taste or the effect," said Jansen, who is famous for being a lover of resin but rejecting buds.

At that time, Mila already had 4 children to raise and support, and she began to cultivate and, therefore, prepare her own hash. It took her approximately 20 minutes to make enough hash for a single joint.

Her inspiration came from watching the dryer spin. She could use the same mechanism but, instead of separating the clothes from the dirt (or from the water), she separated the crystals from the flowers and leaves. She thus made her first test: with the heat off, she put a part of her already dry crop inside the clothes dryer and let the centrifugal force do her work.

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milaii.  

Image by El Planteo

Today, the Pollinator is still sold alongside other more portable extraction methods such as ice packs and dry ice. Jansen said that she used her own sewing machine to sew the first bags.

"The washing machine was invented to keep your socks clean and in the Pollinator the crystals would be the dirt," she laughed. Pollinator, the brand, was launched in 1994 to great acclaim.

"Yes, it was a man's world, but my product was so different that I never had to compete with any of them," she said. "And I never felt treated badly for being a woman."

Asking Mila for her favorite female cannabis icons, she mentioned Dank Duchess, Jen Doe, and the Bat Lady, all of whom are American.

"The Bat Lady traveled the world in the '80s and '90s carrying a wooden mallet, with which she was ready to knead some hash wherever she went. She knew a lot about the different qualities of hash. She would travel wherever marijuana grows, separate the resin glands and start kneading. What a woman!"

Mila Jansen continues to smoke her hash cigarette mixed with tobacco on a daily basis. The first and last of the day are her favorites, "the most special ones", she said

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mila3.  

Image by El Planteo

Although lately, she decided to radically reduce her tobacco consumption, which makes her have to manage more reasonably: "I only consume 1.8 grams of tobacco per day, the equivalent of two cigarettes, but I take 6 to 7 joints that keep me happy throughout the day. I don't skimp on the hash, just the tobacco," she laughed.

However, she is a militant of the present and that carries over to her relationship with cannabis. "The best hash I ever smoked is the one I have in my hand right now. All the others are in the past or in the future: this is the best because it is from the here and now", she reflected.

And yes, she says it with a cigarette in her hand. But if she has to bring up the most spectacular set and setting of her life, she recalls a time when some Indian monks invited her to smoke hash in the Himalayan mountains.

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Image by El Planteo

"They wanted to show us their favorite marijuana plants. In the valley, there were plants six and eight feet tall but they did not like those [...] the plants on the mountain had survived the winter and the snow had very short branches."

They took buds from those plants and right there, from the fresh and recently plucked material, they prepared the hash and smoked it. "It was the most fantastic smoke. Going down that mountain was magical: all the colors were brilliant, the sounds... it was an amazing experience."

About traveling the world smoking hash, the queen of cannabis states: "Smoking hash together creates bonds, you become part of the same team, the same side. You make friends."

When asked if she is afraid that today, being a million-dollar industry, cannabis will become too conventional and lose its spiritual and rebellious potential, she answered "Of course, I care (...) I think it's in your own mind that you create what happens. Nowadays it's not just smokers: the whole society is turning to take inspiration from nature. Yes, marijuana is a business, and we are hopeful that the true spirit lives on. I think that this will be thanks to the cultivating women, they are the ones who have the most capacity to maintain that spirit."

The Queen Arrives In Argentina

Mila Jansen will arrive in Argentina on October 4. She will be one of the stops on her Latin American tour and she will arrive with books to sell and some cannabis events to attend.

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jansenarg.  

Image by El Planteo

The businesswoman and writer had already visited Argentina in the past. At that time, a man named William took her to a cannabis event on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. "The venue was great and the event was wonderful but it was still very illegal," she remembered.

On this visit, she is also excited to attend the Dab a Doo party that is planned to be held in the country, although the date is not yet confirmed. "It is a competition in which only hash and different forms of hash compete, although possibly in Argentina there is also a category for weed because it seems to be much more popular. We will see what happens when the date approaches," Jansen concluded.
Image by El Planteo

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