The Selected Quirks of Madjag

The Madjag Chronicles were compiled as memoirs and mental snapshots of my experiences during the 1978-1982 guerrilla growing years in Madjag Canyon and beyond. Importing weed from Mexico, lining up connections with the Colombians, and living for months in Jamaica to set up a 1/2 ton Ganja flight were some of my subsequent adventures. In recent years I have been a medical marijuana grower, a pollen chucker, and an Admin/Moderator for several online cannabis forums.

Paper Nirvana

Cash, cash, cash. Even gold coins like Krugerands and Canadian Maple Leafs require cashing in and dealers have video cameras and keep records so that the IRS doesn’t come down on them.

My international smuggling genius friend, Mr. C, always used cash. I think cartels and mafia have taken that path as well. He would smuggle US currency into Canada in the 1970’s and 1980’s and convert it into Canadian 1,000 Dollar notes. Now he has plenty even though they were officially “retired” as active Canadian currency in 2000, probably under pressure from the USA.

A million dollars in Canadian 1000 dollar notes weighs 2.2 pounds and isn’t very bulky. A million in US 100-dollar bills weighs 22 lbs. and would require a suitcase.

There are nearly a million Canadian 1000 dollar notes left in circulation, most in the hands of people who wisely choose to remain anonymous.


The remaining Canadian $1,000 notes are the highest denomination legal tender in the Western world. More than 10 years after the $1,000 bill disappeared from circulation 946,043 of them are still out there, somewhere.

The whereabouts of almost $1 billion worth of the banknotes is a mystery that rekindled Quebec Canada’s corruption probe when a witness spoke of a safe inside a political office over-stuffed with cash, including $1,000 notes.

Retired on May 12, 2000, for being mostly used in criminal transactions, any $1,000 note deposited at a bank is destroyed, although the bills – nicknamed “pinkies” by gangsters because of the pinkish-purple ink – remain legal tender.

Money-laundering experts believe most of the missing bills continue to circulate among criminal elites who use them to pay large debts, with the recipient, in turn, using them to pay their own debts with only a portion of the notes bleeding off into the legitimate banking system.

They are used now to pay off IOUs, not as traditional cash. They are used for buying and selling but not for cashing, because they know if they cash them, it is traceable,” said Jeffrey Robinson, a New York-based author of several landmark books on money laundering. “They keep paying with them, over and over, and it’s only the last guy in line who has to worry about cashing them.”

The $1,000 bill is cool for these guys because it means you just reduced the bulk on $1-million by a factor of 10. You can put that in your pockets,” said Mr. Robinson.

The notes were retired as part of the fight against organized crime at the recommendation of the RCMP, said Jeremy Harrison, spokesman for the Bank of Canada. He said the bank could not speculate about where the missing $1,000 bills are or how they might be used.

At Quebec’s Charbonneau corruption commission, a former organizer for the Union Montreal said the political party was awash with cash, some of it in $1,000 bills. Martin Dumont said the party’s chief fundraiser had a safe in his office so stuffed that he once needed help closing it. “They were red, brown and pink,” Mr. Dumont told the commission, listing the colors of the Canadian $50, $100 and $1,000 bills.

Every Canadian bank note weighs the same — one gram — and for cash deals as big as those done by drug dealers, payment can require a duffle bag.

In the 1980s, the Caruana Mafia clan in Montreal was depositing so much money that they backed a pickup truck up to the doors of a Montreal bank and tossed out hockey bags stuffed with cash. The clan paid tellers to set aside any $1,000 bills for him.

When the notes were first withdrawn, 2,827,702 of them were circulating, according to Bank of Canada statistics. That has steadily declined as stray notes were deposited or exchanged at Canada’s banks. In 2011, the value of missing notes, which remains on the Bank of Canada’s books as a liability, dipped for the first time to below $1-billion.

But few doubt that the majority of the remaining bills continue to fuel the drug trade as the highest denomination legal tender in the Western world. As the stashes continues to dwindle, the Eurozone’s €500 note has filled the role of the world’s highest legal tender, though that, too, has come to an end as the Eurozone moves to the €200 note and the €500 is phased out.