Hash, Marihuana & Hemp Museum

Eagle Bill and Me

The Hash, Marihuana & Hemp Museum was far more interesting than I expected, even after getting past my initial American surprise of seeing the potted marijuana plant that adornes the sidewalk entrance to this place. Their small establishment is full of the history of the use of the hemp plant as both textile and drug, plus a great collection of ’30s & ’40s anti-marijuana propaganda.

The best part was getting to meet Eagle Bill, a self-described “half biker, half hippie” and former canabis breeder and smuggler from the US. It’s hard not to like Bill from the get-go — he’s got an infectious smile and the same love and passion for his drug of choice that you see in wine growers and conesuirs up in the Napa Valley. He was demonstrating his vaporizor system for inhalation of smokeless, pure THC vapor. It’s safer than smoking, obviously, but what surprised me is his claim that with vapors you get high (giddy, euphoric) but not stoned (zoned out). I’ve never done pot myself so this may be common knowledge in other circles, but when smoking he claims some breeds, like Indica, will get you stoned while others, like Sativa, would get you high. With the vaporizor you just get high. That makes sense if the vapor really is just pure TCH (the breed shouldn’t make a difference then except amount of vapor produced) but it makes me wonder what the extra chemicals are in the smoke that makes one stoned instead of high.

Another interesting comment by Bill — his main complaint about today’s pot is that it’s too strong. Back when he started smoking it was about 4% THC, now the stuff you buy on the street is about 18%. It’s still the same chemical (I assume, though see above), but now one joint is like smoking four old-fashioned ones in the same time period. Reminds me of the bathtub gin of the Prohibition era — when you’re risking getting busted, you don’t bother making a nice 4% alcohol Merlot.