Mila Jansen’s story is quite the odyssey. The renowned hash maker escaped from Holland’s Home for Unwed Mothers and opened both a clothing store “for the happy and free” and an underground tea house in Amsterdam before she invented the Pollinator and earned the title of Hash Queen. The Pollinator, the first mechanical tool to separate trichomes from plant matter, was unveiled at the 1994 High Times Cup in Amsterdam and represented a revolutionary moment in the ancient practice of hash making.
In this excerpt from her book “How I Became The Hash Queen,” Jansen describes unveiling the machine to legendary cannabis aficionados including Soma, the breeder behind the Amsterdam-based Soma’s Sacred Seeds; Rob Clarke, the author of several cannabis science books; and Jack Herer, cannabis activist and author of hemp bible “The Emperor Wears No Clothes.”
The Pollinator made such a splash that a judge even congratulated Jansen on her invention.
The Pollinator: Hash From Trash
By Mila Jansen
By mid-November 1994, we were preparing to present one of the first five Pollinators at KGB, in their upstairs shop. Adam from TH Seeds was having a party in their store to celebrate that year’s High Times Cup. The moment arrived when Rob Clarke was to pull away the black velvet cloth covering the machine. There was a select group of 30 or 40 people from all over the globe. While everybody was cheering and drinking a glass of something or smoking a puff of something, I filled the Pollinator with small buds. It performed its first public job and everyone was amazed. I handed out what the Pollinator had produced, and it was squeezed, smelled, rolled, burned, and smoked. Compliments galore were received! It was November 28 — the night after the High Times Cup festivities had finished.
Adam was a great host. Soma and Jack Herer were there, both of them in Amsterdam for the first time. Soma was expecting the cops to arrive at any moment and spoil the fun, but the fun was just starting. Our host from KGB set up a Trichome Challenge and everyone tried to smoke a bong filled with freshly-made hash, which was nearly impossible… for me, anyway. I exploded in a cloud of smoke. But then there was Soma. He inhaled, inhaled and inhaled some more and held his breath — 1,2,3,4, holding it all in, 5, 6, 7, 8 and still going strong. Adam called “9, 10!” and there was a great whoosh of smoke. Soma won the first Trichome Challenge and that week he decided to come live in Amsterdam.
I think Rob Clarke understood the uniqueness of my machine more than most of the other people there. After all, he had studied the production of hashish worldwide for many years and had never, ever come across a machine that could separate out the crystals — not in the 7,000-odd years that hash had been produced. It was a day that would eventually influence hash-making worldwide, even in places like Manali, Nepal, Colombia and Morocco.
We sold two or three Pollinators the first night. One went to Ben, from Sensi Seeds, and one went to Positronics, the first grow shop in Amsterdam. Wernard, its owner, made a special place for it in his Sensimilla Salon so his customers could bring in their own dried trim. While they enjoyed their coffee, their trim would be turning. Ten to 15 minutes later, it would be ready, with all the crystals separated and lying on the bottom.
“Hash from Trash” was our slogan and we had it printed on T-shirts. From our first sales, we had money to buy more materials. Another seven machines were made. So we began buying more materials from the sales of each batch. We received our first publicity in Soft Secrets magazine. It was rather funny that in the same issue, in the newspaper clippings section, there was also mention of the bust of our “football-field-sized” greenhouse. The court case connected to my making of clones for this greenhouse would be taking place only one day after Het Parool published an article about the Pollinator.
The judge started by congratulating me on my invention, and then proceeded with the case. I admitted to making the clones and getting 2,000 guilders (about $1,000) for my services. I also told them that I had taken my four children on our first holiday in four years. If he insisted on getting the money back, I would pay it back, but could he please remember that for the last 15 years, I had brought up my four children alone without asking for any money from social services.
I don’t think it made a lot of difference, but I was able to go home without even a fine and there was no mention of any greenhouses — even through the newspaper wrote I was an expert on growing marijuana.
Excerpted from “How I Became the Hash Queen,” published by Mama Editions.
TELL US, have you ever tried ice water hash?
Originally published in Issue 39 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE