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  #51  
Old 04-20-2016, 09:55 AM
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Condolences to all Mr. Mark's friends and family.
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  #52  
Old 04-26-2016, 10:22 PM
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Hi All

found a few files i had from Howard. Got reading this one and it brought back a lot of feelings so thought it may interest some of you. Once again Howard shows his talent with language so well imo...enjoy

Ben drove us back to the Pax Party House where the results of the 1998 High Times Cannabis Cup were about to be announced. Sensi Seeds, Ben’s company, did not do well. Almost every prize went to the Greenhouse Seed Company. Ben politely introduced me to the two guys who ran the winning company, an Australian named Scott Blakey and a Dutchman called Arjan. I immediately liked Scott and settled down to some earnest conversation with him.

…………………………………………………

Through the crowd, I spotted Scott Blakey, who fought his way towards me and rescued me from the onslaught.
“Did Ben ever give you a bag of Mr Nice to smoke?”
“Actually, Scott, he didn’t. I just had a drag. What’s it like?”
“I’ve got some here. Find out for yourself. It’s not too bad.”
I rolled a joint and smoked some. It seemed fine.
“Yeah, it’s good.”
“Look, Mate, why don’t we bring out a whole range of Mr Nice seeds that you do have something to do with? I’ve got loads of mind-blowing unreleased strains of dope to run by you. You could sample them slowly and relaxed. We could grade them and name them. Then unleash them on the planet.”
“But where can we do it, Scott? It’s going to be illegal to grow strong weed in Holland now, isn’t it.”
“Damn right, mate. What about Wales? You must have some pull there. Green Green Grass of Home and all that.”
“Easier said than done, Scott, I’m afraid. What about Jamaica, or even Switzerland? I saw a very impressive plantation there earlier this year.”
“The Swiss have clamped down a bit. Certainly in Zurich, they have. No one seems to know what the law actually is there. Apparently, Ticino is okay though. I intend to check it out.”

Frank Stefan suddenly appeared.
“Sit down, Howard, please. I will just switch my camera on. Howard I have an enormous surprise for you. This is Mefa.”
A Bavarian in Lederhosen approached me.
“Hello Mr Nice. I am Mefa from Munich. You have been resurrected. I have found your Mr Nice passport after it lay buried in Campione d’Italia in for twenty years. It is in this box.”
Sure enough, there was the Mr Nice passport, battered and expired, but still the real thing. Crowds gathered round as I unveiled it. Video cameras whirred and reporters took out their notebooks and pens. Frank Stefan had done well in his publicity and promotion.
“How did you find it, Mefa?”
“I saw this programme about you on German television. When I looked at the garden where you were digging, something told me where the passport was. So I caught a train from Munich to Lugano, a boat from Lugano to Campione d’Italia, went to the public gardens, and immediately knew where to start digging.”
“Are you a diviner, Mefa?”
“No. I am a construction worker.”
“When did you go to Campione d’Italia?”
“It was precisely August 13th. I have the date on the photographs I took. Can you see?”
“That’s my birthday!”
“I had no idea. I have still not read your book”
It turned out that Mefa’s son was called Patrick (as is mine), his mother was called Ilse (as was my first wife), and his father was called Albi, the nickname I used throughout my fugitive years. This was too much to take. I grabbed a bottle of hemp beer, drank it, and felt sick. Scott helped me up.
“Well, Mate, we can’t ignore a sign like that, particularly concerning burying and regeneration. I’m going to Ticino tomorrow. Coming?”
“I can’t I’m afraid, Scott. I’ll be in Barcelona. Canamo have just published my book in Spanish, and I’m going to help promote it.”
“What are they calling it? “Senor Nice?”
“I think they’re sticking with “Mr Nice,” actually.”
“Good idea. Same as they did here in Germany Stay in touch, Mate.”
A week later, I was back in London after completing the Barcelona promotion. Scott called me.
“What was the name of the place you used to live in Ticino?”
“Campione d’Italia.”
“It’s amazing isn’t it? I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”
“I think the same. You spent a couple of days there, yeah?”
“Not only that. I’ve rented a flat here. I’m still waiting to sign the lease. And I’ve had a look up the mountains. It’s perfect for what we want to do. We’re opening Mr Nice Seedbank right here, right where he was buried all those years ago. You’re the seed, Mate. Neville Schoenmaker wants to join us. Between Neville and me, we have produced almost all the winning entries of the High Times Cannabis Cup since 1990. There’s no stopping us now.”

Mr Nice Seedbank began producing and selling seeds during 2000. All activities were done legally and with the full knowledge of the Ticino cantonal authorities, who sent round teams of inspectors at regular intervals. Meanwhile, home-grown marijuana production in Europe soared to unprecedented levels. By 2001, in the United Kingdom, more than half the marijuana consumed resulted from the efforts of home growers using seeds produced by Mr Nice Seedbank and several other seedbank companies that had taken the lead and set up in Ticino. It was wonderful. It seemed too good to be true.
……………………………………………………

I needed a drink so I decided to leave the train and get the next one to Lugano. The Swiss border guards politely waved me through without even examining my passport. The first shop I faced outside Chiasso station was a marijuana grow shop. Inside were marijuana magazines, pipes, bongs, large rolling papers herb grinders, nutrient solutions, and indoor growing lights. The staff were smoking joints and offered me one as soon as I entered. I bought a small bag of skunk. Had Switzerland finally legalised cannabis? Passing another three grow shops, I went to a bar, drank a large grappa, and telephoned Scott Blakey to advise him I would be in Lugano station within the hour. He met me off the train.
“All right, Mate?”
I hadn’t seen Scott for well over a year. He looked fit with his suntan and waist long hair.
“Fine thanks, Scott. What’s been happening here? I must have seen at least ten grow shops in Chiasso.”
“There’s that many in Lugano,” said Scott. “Chiasso must have more than twenty. You’ve seen nothing yet, Mate. Come with me. I’ll show you something special.”
We drove from Lugano train station towards Bellinzona, the provincial capital of Ticino, and stopped outside a three or four storeyed building. Scott led the way inside to a maze of rooms in which marijuana was growing under strong lights. In other rooms, people were cutting and cleaning marijuana buds. Several offices rang, buzzed and whirred with telephones computer printers and faxes. Laboratories tested samples of weed. Two local government officers were wandering around the building ensuring that fire regulations, hygiene standards, and employee conditions conformed to legal requirements. Beautiful women were placing seeds in packets with my face on the front. Mr Nice Seedbank catalogues proclaiming twelve new Mr Nice strains were piled up ready for mailing.
“This is amazing, Scott, absolutely amazing. And this is all legal?”
“Obviously, Mate. But you’ve still seen nothing yet.”
We left the extraordinary building and drove a few miles up a mountain to a large area cordoned off by high electronic fences and equipped with sophisticated security equipment. Scott pressed a few buttons on his zapper, a section of fence opened, and we drove in.
“Take a look,” said Scott.
Spread in front of us were several acres of almost fully grown marijuana plants.
“Jesus!”
I could say nothing else. I was speechless with surprise. For several seconds both of us stared is silence and reverence at this wonderful sight. I had never seen anything like it since the days I’d spent in the Himalayas in the 1980’s.
“You’re telling me this is legal, too, Scott?”
“Of course. I have no interest in breaking any country’s laws. I never have done, other than smoke dope.”
“How much marijuana are we looking at? I asked Scott.
“Once it’s been harvested and cleaned a bit, I would think about five or six tons at least.”
“What’s going to be done with it?”
“We’re going to make oil out of it with our new distillation equipment. We will get about a litre from every ton. Then we’ll take all the THC (the bit that gets us stoned) out of the oil and sell it in America.”
“What! Who the fuck is going to buy any THC in America?”
“Nobody. The Americans buy what’s left after the THC has been taken out of it. They’ll use it for making perfume.”
“So what happens to the THC?”
“It doesn’t survive the chemical process of.…”
Scott burst out laughing before he could finish the sentence. The look of astonishment on my face was too much for him. One of the reasons Mr Nice was a successful book was because it was about smuggling good quality marijuana and hashish that got many people, particularly Americans, stoned. That’s why Scott chose the same name for his seeds. Now the same name was also being used to remove from marijuana any ingredient that might get one high. This was irony on a grand scale.

Cannabis is a dioecious annual herb, that is, it reproduces through the union of male and female plants. The female produces seeds after being pollinated by a male. If the female plant does not get pollinated during its development, it will produce mature flowers that are seedless (sinsemilla). Such plants have high levels of over six hundred identifiable different cannabinoids (psychoactive molecular acids) in their flowers, stems, and leaves, but not in the ungerminated seeds. The most concentrated amounts occur in the mature female flower. In mammals, psychoactive cannabinoids produce euphoria, enhancement of sensory perception, pain relief, and variations of concentration and memory. They also have anticonvulsive, antianxiety, antipsychotic, antinausea, antirheumatoid-arthritic, and pain relieving properties. Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary active cannabinoid, with cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG) playing significant roles. Any cannabis plant’s particular effects are determined by the combination of the various amounts of different cannabinoids in its composition (rather than merely the percentage of THC present).

Some countries, including the United States, make cannabis seeds illegal to possess, import, or attempt to acquire. Most other countries, including the United Kingdom, which base their drug legislature on the chemicals contained in the matter under consideration, treat cannabis seeds as legal as they contain negligible amounts of THC. Birdseed is the obvious example. Collecting cannabis seeds, therefore, is a legal way of storing genetic material of various strains. Scott wanted to produce seeds with high-quality, easily identifiable characteristics that were reliable and constant. Mr Nice Seedbank produced genetically identical seeds by keeping and cloning the original male and female parent plants.

In Switzerland, production of cannabis seeds for non-recreational reasons, such as preserving genetics, making cooking oil, or feeding birds, was legal. Scott, as a foreigner, was unable to get a Swiss work permit but could own or invest and consult in a Swiss company. Accordingly, local Ticino business people incorporated and staffed a Swiss company, Gene Bank Technology, to buy the rights to produce some Mr Nice Seedbank strains and, with the benefit of Scott’s expert consultancy, to grow them. Gene Bank Technology had recently contracted a respected and well-established Ticino firm of flower growers, Martinelli Bros, to produce Mr Nice strains. Several new farms interested in cannabis production sought advice from Gene Bank Technology, which quickly gained a first-class reputation for honesty, reliability, and promptness with delivery of clones. Demand soon exceeded supply. Gene Bank Technology’s operations in Ticino supported otherwise failing vegetable farmers and enabled them to make their livelihood from a profitable product easily adapted to the local climate. Italian and Swiss cosmetic firms contracted Gene Bank Technology to produce high-quality cannabis flower oil. Accordingly, Gene Bank Technology set up the marijuana plantation that was now in front of our eyes. In a few weeks, the plantation’s yield of cannabis oil (modified so it couldn’t get anyone high) would be exported in large quantities to the United States of America.
Trading cannabis seeds within Switzerland, however, was illegal unless one could prove the seeds had been bought from non-recreationally motivated producers and could further prove the seeds would not be sold to companies that might be reselling them for recreational use – an impossible task. In Holland, production of cannabis seeds, although previously legal, was now illegal. Importing or trading cannabis seeds within the country, however, was legal, wherever they were produced. This seeming inconsistency is enabled by the peculiarly Dutch system of gedogen, which roughly translates as “toleration.” But it is not a passive toleration, such as mere overlooking or turning a blind eye: it’s an active and open-eyed governmental policy that officially tolerates what is officially prohibited. If there is a social matter that does not allow a concrete solution, the Dutch will gedogen, it. Typical examples are prostitution and the use of soft drugs. The Dutch know these are never going to go away. Eradication of the problem is not practicable and, therefore, not the goal. So it was not a difficult problem for Mr Nice Seedbank to solve: the seeds were produced in Switzerland, imported into Holland from where it was sold worldwide.

Scott and I drove away from the marijuana plantation to eat and get drunk at what is still my favourite restaurant after all these years, Campione d’Italia’s Taverna.

……………………………………………………….

At some point between travel trips during spring 2003, Scott Blakey telephoned me. It was his daughter Sara’s second birthday. Scott said he was intending, for reasons he would explain to me when we next met, to transfer seed production from Switzerland to Spain. Seeds have always been legal in Spain. Mr Nice Seedbank had done well there with seed sales, mainly through Canamo, who publish an excellent monthly marijuana magazine and who had also published the Spanish version of Mr Nice. Scott felt he might as well move the production closer to the consumer and dispense with all the cumbersome bureaucracy currently involved with Swiss and Dutch companies. We agreed to meet in Barcelona.

………………………………………………………

Scott did not arrive for two hours, by which time Barcelona had won.
“Sorry, I’m late, Mate. Got caught in this shit,” said Scott, pointing at the television. “The city is blocked solid with cars full of people yelling and screaming. I guess Barcelona must have won.”
“They played brilliantly, Scott. They deserved to win. It was a good match.”
“I thought you Welsh were like us Aussies, only interested in rugby.”
“Don’t you mean only good at rugby?” I asked.
“Same isn’t it?”
“I suppose. But Wales are getting to be good at football these days. They’ve got some excellent players. Ryan Giggs was playing tonight. He was the man of the match.”
“Doesn’t seem like he got too many goals, looking at the score,” taunted Scott.
I changed the subject.
“How are things in Switzerland these days?”
“Not good, Mate, not good.”
“How come?”

Scott explained how, in the last couple of weeks, the Ticinese authorities had busted and closed dozens of cannabis shops, including some of the ones I had visited while in Chiasso during my last visit to him. This change of strategy arose from recent communal elections where the winning political party had officially declared in their electoral campaign their objective of closing all cannabis shops within Ticino.

“I thought the Swiss Supreme Court had ruled that merely growing cannabis was legal. How can they bust people making the equipment for doing so?” I asked
“They did rule that way, but Swiss law is weird, Mate, weird. Each Supreme Court verdict is just that, a verdict on one single case. A Swiss Supreme Court verdict does not change or create a law: it’s just an interpretation to fit the circumstances.”
“What does that mean?”
“Fuck knows altogether. But it obviously means that grow shops can be busted.”
“Come to think of it, Scott, it’s not that surprising if the grow shop I went to in Chiasso was anything to go by. Dope was being sold there, openly and obviously. And why does it matter? I didn’t think Mr Nice Seedbank or Gene Bank Technology owned any grow shops.”
“They don’t. But it’s the thin end of the wedge. The Ticino authorities aren’t going to stop with busting grow shops. Businesses producing seeds and other cannabis products will be next, I bet. I want to get out before that happens. Every bone in my body feels it coming. Spain is the place to set it up now. It’s not illegal to have seeds or grow them here. Don’t you agree?”
“Yes, but Spanish law is also a bit weird. I know I suffered from it by being wrongly extradited to America in 1989. It’s legal to do just about anything with growing dope, but if public order is affected or threatened, the authorities can bust you for that alone.”
“What does ‘public order’ mean,” asked Scott.
“Whatever the Spanish cops want it to mean, from what I can make out. But I suppose if the seed production is done quietly without too many people knowing, public order can hardly be affected.”
“That’s how I was going to do it anyway, and I have already found a suitable place to rent. I just thought I would run it by you first. I’ll give the guys in Lugano a call now and arrange to get the parent plants I need brought down here. No drama.”
Scott stepped outside to make his call. He returned after about ten minutes, his face white and shaken. I was going to hear some bad news.
“Well, Mate, the shit has hit the fanny. The Swiss cops have just busted Gene Bank Technology, all its equipment, and any dope there. They’ve destroyed hundreds of thousands of plants. The cops have detained hundreds of people, including carpenters, lawyers, gardeners, florists. It happened this morning. I told you I could feel it coming.”
“Jesus Christ! What the fuck is going on? How could it have been legal yesterday and not today without any change in the law? I read the other day a Swiss parliamentary commission is debating decriminalising cannabis and the Senate already supports such a move. What’s made them suddenly do a U-turn?”
“Outside pressure. It’s obvious,” answered Scott.
“From the fucking Yanks?”
“No not this time, Mate. Somewhere much closer to Switzerland, next door, in fact.”
“You mean Berlusconi and his gang of fascists?”
“For sure. You could probably have bought as much as fifty kilos in that grow shop in Chiasso. Those places weren’t just selling five to ten grams for personal use. Loads of Italians come to Lugano, Chiasso, and other parts of Ticino to work among other things. Lots of them smoke dope, which is cheaper in Switzerland than in Italy. It didn’t take them long to figure out they could make some money smuggling the shit back to Italy. They used every method you can think of, from sneaking over the border on foot to the old smugglers routes used during the Second World War. The Italian cops realised that all the dope they were busting in Milan and just about everywhere else had been grown in Switzerland. The grow shops were even sticking up their fliers in Italian clubs. Berlusconi got wind of it and slammed down his iron fist.”
It made sense. Switzerland isn’t independent and neutral because it scares other countries: it keeps its privileged position by caving in to them all equally.
“What gets me is Swiss law says cultivating marihuana is not illegal unless you intend to ‘extract narcotics’ from it. I didn’t ‘extract narcotics’ from it,” said Scott.
“But how can you prove you didn’t intend to ‘extract narcotics’?”
“Don’t they have to prove I did ‘extract narcotics’?”
“You mean you’re innocent until proven guilty? I wouldn’t rely on that one, especially not in Europe. The Napoleonic Code governs most law here, which means the defendant carries the burden of proof. Although I suppose if you can prove beyond reasonable doubt you cultivated cannabis intended for legal activities, like showing a contract for hemp beer production, you shouldn't have any problems.”
“There are stacks of contracts like that. I really didn’t extract narcotics,” protested Scott
“I know. You did the exact opposite. You got hold of all the non-narcotic bits and sent them to the Yanks to make perfume. But maybe that was breaking Swiss law.”
“How?”
“Because the only way you could get the non-narcotic bits was to extract the narcotic bits, which, technically, is against Swiss law, as you just said.”
Scott looked at me as if I was mad. I looked back at him as if I was.
“Anyway, Scott, taking all that THC out of six tons of dope just to satisfy the Yanks was against some higher ethic, if not the law. I knew it had to be bad karma the moment you told me you were doing it. Shiva wouldn’t have been pleased.”
“Let’s have a smoke,” said Scott.
Night fell as we left the café. Scott rolled a strong joint, which we smoked as we walked in silence for an hour through the labyrinthine tributaries of the Ramblas.
“I’ve just been thinking, Mate. They’ve busted everyone connected with Mr Nice Seedbank other than me, the breeder, and you, Mr Nice himself. Why do you think that is?”
“Probably because we weren’t in Switzerland this morning. I don’t think either of us will be going back there in a hurry.”
“But I haven’t broken any fucking law.”
“If they think you have or think they can get you anyway, they’ll still bust you. Trust me.”
Scott looked sadly at the ground.

We walked back to our hotel and agreed to meet each other next day for breakfast at 9:30. I woke up at 9:00 AM. A note was lying on the floor.
“Dear Howard, I’m going back to Campione d’Italia. I have nothing to fear as I know I have not broken any law. And I promised Sara I would take her swimming. It’s 7:00 AM, and I don’t want to wake you. Also, you would probably persuade me not to go back. But I know I must. I’ll be back in Barcelona within a week. Hope to see you here then. Love, Scott.”

Worried sick, I flew back to London. The next day I received an e-mail from Martin, Scott’s dad. Scott had been busted by the Italian police. I had often teased Scott about his failure to serve time in prison for a cannabis offence, despite having worked with cannabis all his life and jokingly accused him of having shirked his apprenticeship. Inwardly, of course, I had been happy and proud that he had reached 39 without enduring such an experience and was convinced he would never have to. Anger and sorrow played havoc with my mind.

In March 2003, a few weeks before our meeting in Barcelona, the Swiss authorities, as part of their “Operation Indoors” (grabbing plants grown indoors before they could be moved outside following the onset of warmer weather) had issued an international arrest warrant for Scott, accusing him of heading an organisation that exported tons of cannabis from Switzerland and of laundering the earnings. They claimed they had evidence of his transporting semi-trailer loads of drugs throughout Europe and depositing millions of Euros into Swiss bank accounts. Acting on the warrant, Italian police arrested Scott at the usually unstaffed border of Campione d’Italia and Switzerland. After an exhaustive investigation, the Italian authorities were unable to find any evidence to charge Scott (an Italian resident) with breaking Italian law. The Swiss asked for his extradition. Scott, as keen as ever to clear his name, agreed to be immediately extradited to Switzerland. It took sixty days, during which time he was kept in an overcrowded high-security prison in Como in the most disgusting conditions. In August, Scott was extradited to a Swiss subterranean holding unit in Mendrisio, Ticino, and was still waiting to find out the specific charges against him. Kept all day in a windowless cell and interrogated daily for sessions lasting as long as seven hours, Scott truthfully answered all questions to encourage the Swiss authorities to charge him with a specific charge and get the matter resolved. If he had refused to answer, the Swiss could have kept him two years while they made their own investigations. Lawyers were not allowed to attend these deeply unpleasant, threatening interrogations. Cantonal prosecutors in Ticino will use any means to get what they want, which usually, as in this case, was an admission of guilt. There was no criminal conduct for Scott to admit to.

Cannabis growers throughout the world were enraged. During October 2003, the following petition was posted on the internet: “The Australian geneticist, Scott Blakey, founder of Mr. Nice Seed Bank, has been in prison for the last two months in Mendrisio (Switzerland) accused by the authorities of the canton of Ticino for marijuana trafficking. Scott Blakey is not a drug trafficker; he is a dedicated cultivator and breeder and has discovered several new cannabis seed varieties. He has taught many cultivators some of his knowledge of hybridising distinct varieties of marijuana. We ask for a solitary union throughout the world’s cannabis community to help petition for his immediate release.” Next to the petition was a photograph of Scott, smiling and reading a copy of the Italian translation of Mr Nice.
Thousands signed the petition, which, of course, had no effect on the authorities. They never do.

………………………………………………………..

But this swell of shifting attitudes could not help Scott. After months of interrogation and several unsuccessful bail applications the Swiss, now under pressure from the Australian embassy, moved Scott from the Mendrisio bunker to a more civilised prison near Lugano. The primitively Spartan conditions of the underground bunker had taken their toll on Scott’s health, but now he had access to a gymnasium and quickly regained his fitness. He was earning four hundred Swiss Francs a month ironing clothes in the prison laundry.
Eventually the Swiss formally charged Scott with contraventions of the Swiss Federal Law on Narcotics varying from smoking marijuana (which he wasn’t about to deny) to smuggling tons of the stuff (which simply wasn’t true). The trial date took place in March 2004.
The Judge found there was nothing to suggest that Scott had sold marijuana or had received any economic gain from its sale, as the prosecution had continually claimed. The Judge also found Mr Nice Seedbank’s commercial activities to be legal. Scott’s only offence was to bring to Switzerland his plant genetics (seeds) and his expertise, which happened to lead to great improvements in the quality of the marijuana grown generally in Switzerland. For that Scott received a sentence of four years imprisonment followed by ten years expulsion from Switzerland and an undisclosed fine. This reasoning is typical of both the Swiss and the American legal codes. If one should have reasonably foreseen or accepted the possibility that the outcomes of one’s actions might have incidentally caused or aided criminal activity, then one has broken the law, even if the actions themselves were legal. In other words, if they want you, they will get you whatever you didn’t do.
Everyone who knew about Scott’s case was appalled at the obvious injustice of such a punishment, including the Swiss Court of Appeals judges, who a few months later reduced the sentence by half. To the relief of all, especially his three-year-old daughter, Scott was released during October 2004. Mr Nice Seedbank continues its legitimate business
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all the best,
Shantibaba
http://www.mrnice.nl
https://shop.mrnice.nl
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  #53  
Old 04-27-2016, 02:40 AM
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Default hey yall

I haven't been on the forum in a long time for many reasons, however with the passing of Howard Marks, I wanted to logon and give my condolences to his friend Shanti. You both are in my thoughts man.
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  #54  
Old 04-27-2016, 10:19 PM
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Red face

Such sad news. Rip
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  #55  
Old 05-29-2016, 06:06 PM
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I'm sorry to hear of Howard's passing.
Condolences to all who knew him.
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  #56  
Old 06-08-2016, 09:57 PM
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Default nice backround on Mr Marks

thanks Shanti for some of the history on your times w
Howard Marks. I'm sure you there is loads more and one day we'll get a good book from you.

Howard's 7 years in prison is a long time. I remember reading his bust and thought he'd never get out. I think the 1st guy busted in Texas got like 10 years for 2 joints and of course John Sinclair's bust for 2 joints comes to mind. The wheels of injustice roll slowly over people.

Authorities would like to go in reverse and roll over us again.

Howard can RIP knowing he helped spread the good news of cannabis to millions perhaps which not many earthlings can claim. Which gave the future impetus to reforms.

Would California have won in 1996 on the ballot without all the smugglers over the years? I doubt it.

Relax in paradise now Howard on good deeds well done.
Thank you for your sacrifice.
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  #57  
Old 10-03-2016, 03:04 PM
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Unhappy The World Isn't The Same..

Rest In Paradise Howard "Mr Nice" Marks.
I'm absolutely beside myself after reading this thread! I honestly had no idea Howard had even left us until I stumbled upon this thread. My heart truly goes out to you Shanti,
I know all too well what it's like to lose your best friend in life but I can't imagine losing a friend/mentor aswell. My constant prayers and thoughts are with you and Howard's family mate. The world just lost a gentleman and true gentlemen are far too few in numbers these days! R.I.P Howard.
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  #58  
Old 10-04-2016, 09:37 AM
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i am a new member here ,,but Howard is missed by everyone world wide ,,,great speaker and joker will be missed by the cannabis community ,,,,,,mac,
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  #59  
Old 10-04-2016, 03:20 PM
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by shantibaba View Post
Hi All

found a few files i had from Howard. Got reading this one and it brought back a lot of feelings so thought it may interest some of you. Once again Howard shows his talent with language so well imo...enjoy

Ben drove us back to the Pax Party House where the results of the 1998 High Times Cannabis Cup were about to be announced. Sensi Seeds, Ben’s company, did not do well. Almost every prize went to the Greenhouse Seed Company. Ben politely introduced me to the two guys who ran the winning company, an Australian named Scott Blakey and a Dutchman called Arjan. I immediately liked Scott and settled down to some earnest conversation with him.

…………………………………………………

Through the crowd, I spotted Scott Blakey, who fought his way towards me and rescued me from the onslaught.
“Did Ben ever give you a bag of Mr Nice to smoke?”
“Actually, Scott, he didn’t. I just had a drag. What’s it like?”
“I’ve got some here. Find out for yourself. It’s not too bad.”
I rolled a joint and smoked some. It seemed fine.
“Yeah, it’s good.”
“Look, Mate, why don’t we bring out a whole range of Mr Nice seeds that you do have something to do with? I’ve got loads of mind-blowing unreleased strains of dope to run by you. You could sample them slowly and relaxed. We could grade them and name them. Then unleash them on the planet.”
“But where can we do it, Scott? It’s going to be illegal to grow strong weed in Holland now, isn’t it.”
“Damn right, mate. What about Wales? You must have some pull there. Green Green Grass of Home and all that.”
“Easier said than done, Scott, I’m afraid. What about Jamaica, or even Switzerland? I saw a very impressive plantation there earlier this year.”
“The Swiss have clamped down a bit. Certainly in Zurich, they have. No one seems to know what the law actually is there. Apparently, Ticino is okay though. I intend to check it out.”

Frank Stefan suddenly appeared.
“Sit down, Howard, please. I will just switch my camera on. Howard I have an enormous surprise for you. This is Mefa.”
A Bavarian in Lederhosen approached me.
“Hello Mr Nice. I am Mefa from Munich. You have been resurrected. I have found your Mr Nice passport after it lay buried in Campione d’Italia in for twenty years. It is in this box.”
Sure enough, there was the Mr Nice passport, battered and expired, but still the real thing. Crowds gathered round as I unveiled it. Video cameras whirred and reporters took out their notebooks and pens. Frank Stefan had done well in his publicity and promotion.
“How did you find it, Mefa?”
“I saw this programme about you on German television. When I looked at the garden where you were digging, something told me where the passport was. So I caught a train from Munich to Lugano, a boat from Lugano to Campione d’Italia, went to the public gardens, and immediately knew where to start digging.”
“Are you a diviner, Mefa?”
“No. I am a construction worker.”
“When did you go to Campione d’Italia?”
“It was precisely August 13th. I have the date on the photographs I took. Can you see?”
“That’s my birthday!”
“I had no idea. I have still not read your book”
It turned out that Mefa’s son was called Patrick (as is mine), his mother was called Ilse (as was my first wife), and his father was called Albi, the nickname I used throughout my fugitive years. This was too much to take. I grabbed a bottle of hemp beer, drank it, and felt sick. Scott helped me up.
“Well, Mate, we can’t ignore a sign like that, particularly concerning burying and regeneration. I’m going to Ticino tomorrow. Coming?”
“I can’t I’m afraid, Scott. I’ll be in Barcelona. Canamo have just published my book in Spanish, and I’m going to help promote it.”
“What are they calling it? “Senor Nice?”
“I think they’re sticking with “Mr Nice,” actually.”
“Good idea. Same as they did here in Germany Stay in touch, Mate.”
A week later, I was back in London after completing the Barcelona promotion. Scott called me.
“What was the name of the place you used to live in Ticino?”
“Campione d’Italia.”
“It’s amazing isn’t it? I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”
“I think the same. You spent a couple of days there, yeah?”
“Not only that. I’ve rented a flat here. I’m still waiting to sign the lease. And I’ve had a look up the mountains. It’s perfect for what we want to do. We’re opening Mr Nice Seedbank right here, right where he was buried all those years ago. You’re the seed, Mate. Neville Schoenmaker wants to join us. Between Neville and me, we have produced almost all the winning entries of the High Times Cannabis Cup since 1990. There’s no stopping us now.”

Mr Nice Seedbank began producing and selling seeds during 2000. All activities were done legally and with the full knowledge of the Ticino cantonal authorities, who sent round teams of inspectors at regular intervals. Meanwhile, home-grown marijuana production in Europe soared to unprecedented levels. By 2001, in the United Kingdom, more than half the marijuana consumed resulted from the efforts of home growers using seeds produced by Mr Nice Seedbank and several other seedbank companies that had taken the lead and set up in Ticino. It was wonderful. It seemed too good to be true.
……………………………………………………

I needed a drink so I decided to leave the train and get the next one to Lugano. The Swiss border guards politely waved me through without even examining my passport. The first shop I faced outside Chiasso station was a marijuana grow shop. Inside were marijuana magazines, pipes, bongs, large rolling papers herb grinders, nutrient solutions, and indoor growing lights. The staff were smoking joints and offered me one as soon as I entered. I bought a small bag of skunk. Had Switzerland finally legalised cannabis? Passing another three grow shops, I went to a bar, drank a large grappa, and telephoned Scott Blakey to advise him I would be in Lugano station within the hour. He met me off the train.
“All right, Mate?”
I hadn’t seen Scott for well over a year. He looked fit with his suntan and waist long hair.
“Fine thanks, Scott. What’s been happening here? I must have seen at least ten grow shops in Chiasso.”
“There’s that many in Lugano,” said Scott. “Chiasso must have more than twenty. You’ve seen nothing yet, Mate. Come with me. I’ll show you something special.”
We drove from Lugano train station towards Bellinzona, the provincial capital of Ticino, and stopped outside a three or four storeyed building. Scott led the way inside to a maze of rooms in which marijuana was growing under strong lights. In other rooms, people were cutting and cleaning marijuana buds. Several offices rang, buzzed and whirred with telephones computer printers and faxes. Laboratories tested samples of weed. Two local government officers were wandering around the building ensuring that fire regulations, hygiene standards, and employee conditions conformed to legal requirements. Beautiful women were placing seeds in packets with my face on the front. Mr Nice Seedbank catalogues proclaiming twelve new Mr Nice strains were piled up ready for mailing.
“This is amazing, Scott, absolutely amazing. And this is all legal?”
“Obviously, Mate. But you’ve still seen nothing yet.”
We left the extraordinary building and drove a few miles up a mountain to a large area cordoned off by high electronic fences and equipped with sophisticated security equipment. Scott pressed a few buttons on his zapper, a section of fence opened, and we drove in.
“Take a look,” said Scott.
Spread in front of us were several acres of almost fully grown marijuana plants.
“Jesus!”
I could say nothing else. I was speechless with surprise. For several seconds both of us stared is silence and reverence at this wonderful sight. I had never seen anything like it since the days I’d spent in the Himalayas in the 1980’s.
“You’re telling me this is legal, too, Scott?”
“Of course. I have no interest in breaking any country’s laws. I never have done, other than smoke dope.”
“How much marijuana are we looking at? I asked Scott.
“Once it’s been harvested and cleaned a bit, I would think about five or six tons at least.”
“What’s going to be done with it?”
“We’re going to make oil out of it with our new distillation equipment. We will get about a litre from every ton. Then we’ll take all the THC (the bit that gets us stoned) out of the oil and sell it in America.”
“What! Who the fuck is going to buy any THC in America?”
“Nobody. The Americans buy what’s left after the THC has been taken out of it. They’ll use it for making perfume.”
“So what happens to the THC?”
“It doesn’t survive the chemical process of.…”
Scott burst out laughing before he could finish the sentence. The look of astonishment on my face was too much for him. One of the reasons Mr Nice was a successful book was because it was about smuggling good quality marijuana and hashish that got many people, particularly Americans, stoned. That’s why Scott chose the same name for his seeds. Now the same name was also being used to remove from marijuana any ingredient that might get one high. This was irony on a grand scale.

Cannabis is a dioecious annual herb, that is, it reproduces through the union of male and female plants. The female produces seeds after being pollinated by a male. If the female plant does not get pollinated during its development, it will produce mature flowers that are seedless (sinsemilla). Such plants have high levels of over six hundred identifiable different cannabinoids (psychoactive molecular acids) in their flowers, stems, and leaves, but not in the ungerminated seeds. The most concentrated amounts occur in the mature female flower. In mammals, psychoactive cannabinoids produce euphoria, enhancement of sensory perception, pain relief, and variations of concentration and memory. They also have anticonvulsive, antianxiety, antipsychotic, antinausea, antirheumatoid-arthritic, and pain relieving properties. Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary active cannabinoid, with cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG) playing significant roles. Any cannabis plant’s particular effects are determined by the combination of the various amounts of different cannabinoids in its composition (rather than merely the percentage of THC present).

Some countries, including the United States, make cannabis seeds illegal to possess, import, or attempt to acquire. Most other countries, including the United Kingdom, which base their drug legislature on the chemicals contained in the matter under consideration, treat cannabis seeds as legal as they contain negligible amounts of THC. Birdseed is the obvious example. Collecting cannabis seeds, therefore, is a legal way of storing genetic material of various strains. Scott wanted to produce seeds with high-quality, easily identifiable characteristics that were reliable and constant. Mr Nice Seedbank produced genetically identical seeds by keeping and cloning the original male and female parent plants.

In Switzerland, production of cannabis seeds for non-recreational reasons, such as preserving genetics, making cooking oil, or feeding birds, was legal. Scott, as a foreigner, was unable to get a Swiss work permit but could own or invest and consult in a Swiss company. Accordingly, local Ticino business people incorporated and staffed a Swiss company, Gene Bank Technology, to buy the rights to produce some Mr Nice Seedbank strains and, with the benefit of Scott’s expert consultancy, to grow them. Gene Bank Technology had recently contracted a respected and well-established Ticino firm of flower growers, Martinelli Bros, to produce Mr Nice strains. Several new farms interested in cannabis production sought advice from Gene Bank Technology, which quickly gained a first-class reputation for honesty, reliability, and promptness with delivery of clones. Demand soon exceeded supply. Gene Bank Technology’s operations in Ticino supported otherwise failing vegetable farmers and enabled them to make their livelihood from a profitable product easily adapted to the local climate. Italian and Swiss cosmetic firms contracted Gene Bank Technology to produce high-quality cannabis flower oil. Accordingly, Gene Bank Technology set up the marijuana plantation that was now in front of our eyes. In a few weeks, the plantation’s yield of cannabis oil (modified so it couldn’t get anyone high) would be exported in large quantities to the United States of America.
Trading cannabis seeds within Switzerland, however, was illegal unless one could prove the seeds had been bought from non-recreationally motivated producers and could further prove the seeds would not be sold to companies that might be reselling them for recreational use – an impossible task. In Holland, production of cannabis seeds, although previously legal, was now illegal. Importing or trading cannabis seeds within the country, however, was legal, wherever they were produced. This seeming inconsistency is enabled by the peculiarly Dutch system of gedogen, which roughly translates as “toleration.” But it is not a passive toleration, such as mere overlooking or turning a blind eye: it’s an active and open-eyed governmental policy that officially tolerates what is officially prohibited. If there is a social matter that does not allow a concrete solution, the Dutch will gedogen, it. Typical examples are prostitution and the use of soft drugs. The Dutch know these are never going to go away. Eradication of the problem is not practicable and, therefore, not the goal. So it was not a difficult problem for Mr Nice Seedbank to solve: the seeds were produced in Switzerland, imported into Holland from where it was sold worldwide.

Scott and I drove away from the marijuana plantation to eat and get drunk at what is still my favourite restaurant after all these years, Campione d’Italia’s Taverna.

……………………………………………………….

At some point between travel trips during spring 2003, Scott Blakey telephoned me. It was his daughter Sara’s second birthday. Scott said he was intending, for reasons he would explain to me when we next met, to transfer seed production from Switzerland to Spain. Seeds have always been legal in Spain. Mr Nice Seedbank had done well there with seed sales, mainly through Canamo, who publish an excellent monthly marijuana magazine and who had also published the Spanish version of Mr Nice. Scott felt he might as well move the production closer to the consumer and dispense with all the cumbersome bureaucracy currently involved with Swiss and Dutch companies. We agreed to meet in Barcelona.

………………………………………………………

Scott did not arrive for two hours, by which time Barcelona had won.
“Sorry, I’m late, Mate. Got caught in this shit,” said Scott, pointing at the television. “The city is blocked solid with cars full of people yelling and screaming. I guess Barcelona must have won.”
“They played brilliantly, Scott. They deserved to win. It was a good match.”
“I thought you Welsh were like us Aussies, only interested in rugby.”
“Don’t you mean only good at rugby?” I asked.
“Same isn’t it?”
“I suppose. But Wales are getting to be good at football these days. They’ve got some excellent players. Ryan Giggs was playing tonight. He was the man of the match.”
“Doesn’t seem like he got too many goals, looking at the score,” taunted Scott.
I changed the subject.
“How are things in Switzerland these days?”
“Not good, Mate, not good.”
“How come?”

Scott explained how, in the last couple of weeks, the Ticinese authorities had busted and closed dozens of cannabis shops, including some of the ones I had visited while in Chiasso during my last visit to him. This change of strategy arose from recent communal elections where the winning political party had officially declared in their electoral campaign their objective of closing all cannabis shops within Ticino.

“I thought the Swiss Supreme Court had ruled that merely growing cannabis was legal. How can they bust people making the equipment for doing so?” I asked
“They did rule that way, but Swiss law is weird, Mate, weird. Each Supreme Court verdict is just that, a verdict on one single case. A Swiss Supreme Court verdict does not change or create a law: it’s just an interpretation to fit the circumstances.”
“What does that mean?”
“Fuck knows altogether. But it obviously means that grow shops can be busted.”
“Come to think of it, Scott, it’s not that surprising if the grow shop I went to in Chiasso was anything to go by. Dope was being sold there, openly and obviously. And why does it matter? I didn’t think Mr Nice Seedbank or Gene Bank Technology owned any grow shops.”
“They don’t. But it’s the thin end of the wedge. The Ticino authorities aren’t going to stop with busting grow shops. Businesses producing seeds and other cannabis products will be next, I bet. I want to get out before that happens. Every bone in my body feels it coming. Spain is the place to set it up now. It’s not illegal to have seeds or grow them here. Don’t you agree?”
“Yes, but Spanish law is also a bit weird. I know I suffered from it by being wrongly extradited to America in 1989. It’s legal to do just about anything with growing dope, but if public order is affected or threatened, the authorities can bust you for that alone.”
“What does ‘public order’ mean,” asked Scott.
“Whatever the Spanish cops want it to mean, from what I can make out. But I suppose if the seed production is done quietly without too many people knowing, public order can hardly be affected.”
“That’s how I was going to do it anyway, and I have already found a suitable place to rent. I just thought I would run it by you first. I’ll give the guys in Lugano a call now and arrange to get the parent plants I need brought down here. No drama.”
Scott stepped outside to make his call. He returned after about ten minutes, his face white and shaken. I was going to hear some bad news.
“Well, Mate, the shit has hit the fanny. The Swiss cops have just busted Gene Bank Technology, all its equipment, and any dope there. They’ve destroyed hundreds of thousands of plants. The cops have detained hundreds of people, including carpenters, lawyers, gardeners, florists. It happened this morning. I told you I could feel it coming.”
“Jesus Christ! What the fuck is going on? How could it have been legal yesterday and not today without any change in the law? I read the other day a Swiss parliamentary commission is debating decriminalising cannabis and the Senate already supports such a move. What’s made them suddenly do a U-turn?”
“Outside pressure. It’s obvious,” answered Scott.
“From the fucking Yanks?”
“No not this time, Mate. Somewhere much closer to Switzerland, next door, in fact.”
“You mean Berlusconi and his gang of fascists?”
“For sure. You could probably have bought as much as fifty kilos in that grow shop in Chiasso. Those places weren’t just selling five to ten grams for personal use. Loads of Italians come to Lugano, Chiasso, and other parts of Ticino to work among other things. Lots of them smoke dope, which is cheaper in Switzerland than in Italy. It didn’t take them long to figure out they could make some money smuggling the shit back to Italy. They used every method you can think of, from sneaking over the border on foot to the old smugglers routes used during the Second World War. The Italian cops realised that all the dope they were busting in Milan and just about everywhere else had been grown in Switzerland. The grow shops were even sticking up their fliers in Italian clubs. Berlusconi got wind of it and slammed down his iron fist.”
It made sense. Switzerland isn’t independent and neutral because it scares other countries: it keeps its privileged position by caving in to them all equally.
“What gets me is Swiss law says cultivating marihuana is not illegal unless you intend to ‘extract narcotics’ from it. I didn’t ‘extract narcotics’ from it,” said Scott.
“But how can you prove you didn’t intend to ‘extract narcotics’?”
“Don’t they have to prove I did ‘extract narcotics’?”
“You mean you’re innocent until proven guilty? I wouldn’t rely on that one, especially not in Europe. The Napoleonic Code governs most law here, which means the defendant carries the burden of proof. Although I suppose if you can prove beyond reasonable doubt you cultivated cannabis intended for legal activities, like showing a contract for hemp beer production, you shouldn't have any problems.”
“There are stacks of contracts like that. I really didn’t extract narcotics,” protested Scott
“I know. You did the exact opposite. You got hold of all the non-narcotic bits and sent them to the Yanks to make perfume. But maybe that was breaking Swiss law.”
“How?”
“Because the only way you could get the non-narcotic bits was to extract the narcotic bits, which, technically, is against Swiss law, as you just said.”
Scott looked at me as if I was mad. I looked back at him as if I was.
“Anyway, Scott, taking all that THC out of six tons of dope just to satisfy the Yanks was against some higher ethic, if not the law. I knew it had to be bad karma the moment you told me you were doing it. Shiva wouldn’t have been pleased.”
“Let’s have a smoke,” said Scott.
Night fell as we left the café. Scott rolled a strong joint, which we smoked as we walked in silence for an hour through the labyrinthine tributaries of the Ramblas.
“I’ve just been thinking, Mate. They’ve busted everyone connected with Mr Nice Seedbank other than me, the breeder, and you, Mr Nice himself. Why do you think that is?”
“Probably because we weren’t in Switzerland this morning. I don’t think either of us will be going back there in a hurry.”
“But I haven’t broken any fucking law.”
“If they think you have or think they can get you anyway, they’ll still bust you. Trust me.”
Scott looked sadly at the ground.

We walked back to our hotel and agreed to meet each other next day for breakfast at 9:30. I woke up at 9:00 AM. A note was lying on the floor.
“Dear Howard, I’m going back to Campione d’Italia. I have nothing to fear as I know I have not broken any law. And I promised Sara I would take her swimming. It’s 7:00 AM, and I don’t want to wake you. Also, you would probably persuade me not to go back. But I know I must. I’ll be back in Barcelona within a week. Hope to see you here then. Love, Scott.”

Worried sick, I flew back to London. The next day I received an e-mail from Martin, Scott’s dad. Scott had been busted by the Italian police. I had often teased Scott about his failure to serve time in prison for a cannabis offence, despite having worked with cannabis all his life and jokingly accused him of having shirked his apprenticeship. Inwardly, of course, I had been happy and proud that he had reached 39 without enduring such an experience and was convinced he would never have to. Anger and sorrow played havoc with my mind.

In March 2003, a few weeks before our meeting in Barcelona, the Swiss authorities, as part of their “Operation Indoors” (grabbing plants grown indoors before they could be moved outside following the onset of warmer weather) had issued an international arrest warrant for Scott, accusing him of heading an organisation that exported tons of cannabis from Switzerland and of laundering the earnings. They claimed they had evidence of his transporting semi-trailer loads of drugs throughout Europe and depositing millions of Euros into Swiss bank accounts. Acting on the warrant, Italian police arrested Scott at the usually unstaffed border of Campione d’Italia and Switzerland. After an exhaustive investigation, the Italian authorities were unable to find any evidence to charge Scott (an Italian resident) with breaking Italian law. The Swiss asked for his extradition. Scott, as keen as ever to clear his name, agreed to be immediately extradited to Switzerland. It took sixty days, during which time he was kept in an overcrowded high-security prison in Como in the most disgusting conditions. In August, Scott was extradited to a Swiss subterranean holding unit in Mendrisio, Ticino, and was still waiting to find out the specific charges against him. Kept all day in a windowless cell and interrogated daily for sessions lasting as long as seven hours, Scott truthfully answered all questions to encourage the Swiss authorities to charge him with a specific charge and get the matter resolved. If he had refused to answer, the Swiss could have kept him two years while they made their own investigations. Lawyers were not allowed to attend these deeply unpleasant, threatening interrogations. Cantonal prosecutors in Ticino will use any means to get what they want, which usually, as in this case, was an admission of guilt. There was no criminal conduct for Scott to admit to.

Cannabis growers throughout the world were enraged. During October 2003, the following petition was posted on the internet: “The Australian geneticist, Scott Blakey, founder of Mr. Nice Seed Bank, has been in prison for the last two months in Mendrisio (Switzerland) accused by the authorities of the canton of Ticino for marijuana trafficking. Scott Blakey is not a drug trafficker; he is a dedicated cultivator and breeder and has discovered several new cannabis seed varieties. He has taught many cultivators some of his knowledge of hybridising distinct varieties of marijuana. We ask for a solitary union throughout the world’s cannabis community to help petition for his immediate release.” Next to the petition was a photograph of Scott, smiling and reading a copy of the Italian translation of Mr Nice.
Thousands signed the petition, which, of course, had no effect on the authorities. They never do.

………………………………………………………..

But this swell of shifting attitudes could not help Scott. After months of interrogation and several unsuccessful bail applications the Swiss, now under pressure from the Australian embassy, moved Scott from the Mendrisio bunker to a more civilised prison near Lugano. The primitively Spartan conditions of the underground bunker had taken their toll on Scott’s health, but now he had access to a gymnasium and quickly regained his fitness. He was earning four hundred Swiss Francs a month ironing clothes in the prison laundry.
Eventually the Swiss formally charged Scott with contraventions of the Swiss Federal Law on Narcotics varying from smoking marijuana (which he wasn’t about to deny) to smuggling tons of the stuff (which simply wasn’t true). The trial date took place in March 2004.
The Judge found there was nothing to suggest that Scott had sold marijuana or had received any economic gain from its sale, as the prosecution had continually claimed. The Judge also found Mr Nice Seedbank’s commercial activities to be legal. Scott’s only offence was to bring to Switzerland his plant genetics (seeds) and his expertise, which happened to lead to great improvements in the quality of the marijuana grown generally in Switzerland. For that Scott received a sentence of four years imprisonment followed by ten years expulsion from Switzerland and an undisclosed fine. This reasoning is typical of both the Swiss and the American legal codes. If one should have reasonably foreseen or accepted the possibility that the outcomes of one’s actions might have incidentally caused or aided criminal activity, then one has broken the law, even if the actions themselves were legal. In other words, if they want you, they will get you whatever you didn’t do.
Everyone who knew about Scott’s case was appalled at the obvious injustice of such a punishment, including the Swiss Court of Appeals judges, who a few months later reduced the sentence by half. To the relief of all, especially his three-year-old daughter, Scott was released during October 2004. Mr Nice Seedbank continues its legitimate business


Man that was a thoroughly fascinating read. Both Howard and yourself are excellent examples of what pathetic extent law enforcement will go to once they've got a hard-on for you. They definitely put Shantibaba through the proverbial 'ringer' despite not having real ground to prosecute on.

It was really great to read about the inception of Mr Nice seed company and to read about the extent of what was involved with MNS setting up shop at Ticino, Switzerland. I have a much better understanding of the day to day goings-on and the technology being used at the Mr Nice seed co. facility thanks to this exerpt.
The picture I've got in my mind of that place is nearly impossible to articulate however 'state of the art' is a phrase that instantly springs to mind!!

Thank you for sharing that exerpt with us Shanti. It filled in ALOT OF GAPS for me with regard to answering ALOT OF DIFFERENT QUESTIONS I had such as how exactly Howard became part of the picture for example and what went on with the pedigree strains post the GHS days amongst other things.

I'd like to take a minute to pay tribute to the memory of Howard Marks. You only get one Howard Marks every hundred years or so! I truly can't believe that we're not going to get to see him one last time or hear that gentle Welsh voice again.

I'M REPLAYING HIS CAMEO ROLE AS "THE SPLIFF POLITICIAN" IN THE CULT-CLASSIC MOVIE HUMAN TRAFFIC OVER IN MY MIND AS I TYPE AWAY!!

R.I.P Howard Marks

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Old 10-04-2016, 03:33 PM
Yourz Truly's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: East Coast of Australia.
Posts: 144
Exclamation What A Great Read!!..

Oh and the story of the O.G.'Mr Nice' passport is absolutely uncanny!! I wonder if Mefa from Munich still has it in his or his family's possession?!?! I could see it fetching MAJOR DOLLARS on Ebay!
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