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.

Wacky Weed – 1974

The most devastating herb I have ever toked was a true, landrace Colombian Wacky Weed was known to me as “Candybar“. It showed up three or four times a year via Brooklyn, New York to Phoenix, Arizona. The only person in America receiving it was my good Colombian friend Gerardo. His source was an old-time grower from Neiva, Colombia, land of the Colombian Black that ranged from a shady chocolate color to a rich black tar coloration.

Candybar came so black and compacted into one ounce “bars” that it looked like Nepalese Temple Ball hash and had very little if any apparent leaf or vegetable matter. It was tightly sealed in aluminum foil with an outer wrapping of Saran Wrap. The few people who were lucky enough to examine it up close were like, “WTF?” because it couldn’t be just plain weed. Not coming like that. What these lookers didn’t know, though, was the true surprise that the source of this smoke was handful of female plants that were not annuals. These mother plants were many years old and treasured by the few, rare individuals that had access to the herb they produced. Though I’ve never seen photos of multi-year plants from Colombia, my friend Rob Clarke sent me photos of a Thai tree with a sturdy trunk slightly larger in diameter than your forearm, with a height of approximately 12-16 feet. Standing alone along an agricultural field’s wooded edge, a single plant looked very similar to a small stand of bamboo. It doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of vigor, at least at the Equator, when a plant grows beyond a year….or five.

One toke from a New York needle pin joint of Candybar was enough to send people falling down staircases, to start spinning so hard that they vomited, and to even lose their balance like my best friend Paul who immediately passed out, fell forward into a brick wall, smashed his eyeglasses, and hit the cement – all before we could move from the same instantaneous freeze and time-stoppage induced by the one, hard-to-pull-from-the-pin joint hit that we each inhaled. Paul was a daily smoker and laughed, of course, when I told him how powerful the Candybar was and to get ready to trip out.

The time period helped the high. In 1973 when Candybar was selling for $100.00 an ounce in Phoenix, an outrageous price for those early days, very few people had smoked decent sinsemilla or had ever tasted that kind of narcotic quality, professional Colombian grower’s personal stash weed. Peter, AKA Johnnie, and actually named Gerardo, had people driving 3 hours in the dark of night from Flagstaff just to grab one of the 3-5 bars being sold shortly after it arrived in Phoenix. Many were disappointed due to its absolute rarity and the definite impossibility of getting an ounce, ever. Folks laughed when they heard about it. They just couldn’t relate without having the Candybar experience. They had no reference point that was comparable. I’m sure many of the farmer bros out there reading this account can remember their first space dream and total wipeout.

He had tales of heavy intoxication from wherever he roamed. In Redway and Shelter Cove in Northern Cali he told me of sitting in the pitch-black Redwood forest on a summer night and listening to insect, animal, and sounds from “The Standing People” (trees). Yeah, sitting for 4 hours without barely moving.

Other times there were humorous stories of leaving pin joints in public places and following and watching the poor mental-patients-to-be as they blasted off instantly and lost their grip on reality. Much like the best Highland Thai or other southeast Asian smoke that also exhibited a SAM (Surface To Assassinated) missile speed of obliteration. Victims frequently swore that they had smoked herb that was spiked with LSD. Today, looking back, I’d compare it to a DMT blast, though not quite as psychedelic. And spin they did.

Once, in the Rasta section of Brooklyn’s Bed Stuy, Peter watched helplessly (yep, frozen in time) while a friend’s lady tumbled down an entire wooden flight of apartment stairs. Once they could break free of Candybar’s Tractor Beam they both spent awhile tending to her, as yet another casualty.  

I remember several occasions when hipsters asked Johnnie what type of hash he was preparing. He used a razor blade to cut tiny chunks or slices from the chunky compressed bar. Imagine, for a second,  what a “Chunky” candy bar was in the 1950’s and 1960’s and that you took it out of the shiny, foil wrapper. That was the general shape of Candybar except that it was not quite as thick. It smelled of warm dark humus, an earthy cannabis with a hint of fruit.

I never, ever smoked more than one hit at a time once I experienced the time-warp of 5 hours disappearing from a couple of thin hits from a New York Needle pin joint. I laid wasted on the banks of Sycamore Canyon’s swim hole just below Laurie’s Cave wondering who I really was and when was I going to be able to, hey hey, be able to think again. Only a few like Gerardo, George B., and Roberto were perpetually motivated by Candybar and took off hiking for hours or drove a tractor in 100 degree heat all day under its spell. For most like myself it was paralyzing.

Second place (oh yes) goes to “Cartoon Weed”. Whatever it was, it was extremely predictable and intensely stony in its effects:  you will be somewhere, probably in public, most likely in a place that you wish you weren’t, and totally lose it, laughing ridiculously until you cried. That weed’s comic release was enough to make some piss their pants, oh man. I liked that smoke a lot, too. It made life’s dream a magic, funny, shadow show.