The Grand Historical past of Hashish


In 2023, an artist and his patron set out on a seemingly unattainable process: illustrate the huge historical past of hashish in a single artwork piece. Impressed by the Tapisserie de Bayeux—an historic chronological tapestry depicting a two-year invasion of England by the Normans—Stefan van Swieten commissioned his pal Mossy Giant to create a chunk for his hashish social membership in Barcelona, Spain. Now stretching throughout the wall at La Creme Gracia, the paintings shows extremely detailed and interconnected scenes. Beginning with the Big Bang, the entire world of weed unfolds in pictures, illustrating an epic story of turmoil, triumph, and THC. 

In March 2024, Mossy Giant and La Creme Gracia debuted the second iteration of their undertaking on the other wall of the membership, a large paintings detailing the historical past of hashish within the Netherlands. The opening coincided with Spannabis—a yearly gathering that stands as one of many largest hashish seed marketplaces on the planet—and introduced out main gamers from the Dutch scene. Via seed firms and coffeeshops, the Netherlands performed an outsized position within the proliferation of hashish all through the world. Like an historic tapestry or a scene by Hieronymus Bosch, the paintings, The Grand History of Cannabis: The Dutch, tells a narrative in a single expression. Naturally, viewing it whereas smoking weed and hash in a hashish social membership in Barcelona solely enhances its depth and attract.

Captain Hooter, Mossy Large and Mila Jansen at La Crème Gràcia on March 16.
Picture Derrick Bergman

La Creme Gracia

Upon arriving at La Creme Gracia for the artwork opening, the very first thing I see is a fox-like dog poking its head out of the underside of the entrance door. In a metropolis the place recent raids on local cannabis social clubs would lead individuals to consider these areas are harmful, the German spitz’s fluffy face is a glowing beacon of pleasure. Membership proprietor van Swieten greets me contained in the hallway and later tells me his canine’s title is Leo.

“Leo is the boss,” van Swieten says in a French accent. “He’s fairly well-known; he’s well-known within the neighborhood. Folks know his title.”  

Discovered inside the Gracia neighborhood of Barcelona, a brief distance away from Antoni Gaudi’s towering architectural masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia, La Creme Gracia is an area spot. 

Picture by Derrick Bergman

“Principally, the membership is basically right here for the native individuals, so we actually attempt our greatest to supply weed that may match with the financial or the capacities of the individuals right here,” van Swieten says, explaining {that a} gram of Amnesia Haze—a pressure that’s so prolific within the Spanish hashish golf equipment that it’s crossed the bridge from cool to cliche—goes for 6-7 euros relying on the standard of the batch. “[Amnesia Haze] has a foul fame as a result of it’s so profitable. And if we don’t have it, I really feel one thing is lacking.” 

The remainder of the membership’s hashish flowers go for round 6-8 euros a gram. Flowers grown in “super soil” are priced at 9-13 euros. 

“We have now a little bit of American stuff, however very restricted,” van Swieten says. “We by no means needed to be on the cusp of trend. I favor to have weed that’s 10 years previous, the genetics, that’s bought at an inexpensive value, than to purchase one thing new that’s going to be outrageous.”

Van Swieten and Mossy Large had been first related by means of van Swieten’s work as a music producer when he commissioned Mossy’s work for album covers. Based mostly in Paris on the time, van Swieten and Mossy—who’s from the Netherlands—got here collectively by means of a mutual reference to Amsterdam-based Soma’s Sacred Seeds. Van Swieten has run La Creme Gracia for the previous decade. The hashish golf equipment in Spain function as decriminalized member-only areas. 

Stefan van Swieten at La Creme de Gracia.
Picture by Derrick Bergman

“I like it, I like the membership,” he says. “I believe it’s good. It’s what I name the right third place. The primary place is your job, the second, your home, and the third… it is a good third place. I like it. I would need that it may proceed and I would need that this mannequin wouldn’t be destroyed by private ambition, which may occur.”

The membership has two rooms, a dispensary and a lounge, and it’s packed in the course of the artwork opening on Saturday, March 16. 

The e book cowl of The Grand Historical past of Hashish: The Dutch
Picture courtesy Mossy Large

Falling in keeping with his creative nom de plume, Mossy Large, Mossy is kind of tall—he performed faculty basketball within the U.S.—and is simple to identify on the opening amongst a crowd of admirers. After briefly assembly, Mossy brings me to the middle of the room and introduces me to Derrick Bergman, a longtime cannabis-focused journalist based mostly within the Netherlands. Bergman served as an advisor on the artwork undertaking and labored with van Swieten and Mossy Large to launch a companion book that particulars the historical past of a few of the gamers inside the Dutch scene. I cross him a joint, which he asks and appropriately assumes is all hashish with out tobacco. After all, I smoke like an American, he says. With Bergman now appearing as my in-person audio information, I leap into analyzing the paintings. 

The Netherlands: The Land Beneath the Water

Bergman rapidly establishes himself as an professional in Dutch hashish tradition as I ask questions concerning the individuals and issues depicted within the paintings. 

“I’m 30 years writing about hashish, and so many of those individuals I do know, I nonetheless know,” he says. “I’d say the widespread factor with all these individuals is that they’ve a ardour, however they stroll their very own path.”

Part of The Grand Historical past of Hashish: The Dutch
Artwork by Mossy Large

Wanting on the extremely detailed artwork in individual is spectacular. Once I ask Bergman about my major mentor in weed journalism, Excessive Occasions co-founder and hashish cultivation professional Ed Rosenthal, he factors him out at a desk of influential figures that embody Mila Jansen, aka Mila the Hashqueen, and Henk de Vries of the famed Bulldog Coffeeshop. On the middle of that desk is the primary subject of Excessive Occasions, which got here out 50 years in the past in 1974. Rosenthal is depicted twice within the work. He’s additionally proven with one other iconic hashish character, Sam the Skunkman, constructing the hashish genetic bridge between California and Amsterdam that resulted within the first hybrid hashish crosses within the Nineteen Seventies, most notably Skunk #1

The frilly murals has many components, however Mossy’s favourite half is the windmill puffing a joint. 

“I simply thought it was actually cool to make use of excessive Dutch iconography within the windmill,” he says. “As a result of I’ve by no means drawn this—I’m a Dutch man—I’m normally very a lot impressed by American tradition and nature, and that’s very a lot in my work. However to actually get, virtually patriotic in a means, to go full out with these Dutch icons, the picket sneakers and the tulip, after which have all of the weed stuff in it like the everyday Amsterdam home…”

He says that the paintings is meant to gasoline dialog.

“Via artwork, you may have a very simple dialog about very tough topics like this historical past of the Dutch and the best way hashish in historical past has been related to mankind,” Mossy says. “Via artwork, you may have these conversations very simply. You possibly can inform a narrative. And that’s the way it ought to be used, as a software.”

Picture by Derrick Bergman

The Unique Peach

One other hashish industry client Mossy has worked with includes Mat Beren, the breeder behind The House of the Great Gardener. For Beren, Mossy drew a moment when Beren met the “great gardener” throughout a transformative psychedelic journey. 

“We noticed one another at Spannabis, and he’s excellent mates with Soma, and I do all of the Soma branding,” Mossy says. “I get into assembly with these guys, and so they have very attention-grabbing, elaborate, loopy life tales, and so they share one thing actually private. Like this ayahuasca expertise that he had when he met the nice gardener within the sky. And he was ordering my prints as a result of the man I all the time draw, the hippie, appeared precisely just like the man he met in that have.”

Once I meet up with Beren on the noisy showroom flooring on the primary day of Spannabis 2024, The Home of the Nice Gardener is already bought out of two of the Barbara Bud crosses it made completely for the three-day occasion, Fruit Pleasure x Barbara Bud and Candy Peach x Barbara Bud. The longstanding recognition of Barbara Bud is actual. I discover my pal Stoney Xochi on the sales space hoping to get the Candy Peach x Barbara Bud seeds as Sweet Peach won an award at the 2024 Barcelona Dab-A-Doo, a worldwide hash competitors organized by Jansen, a Dutch hashish icon.

Whereas the Home of the Nice Gardner is a Spanish-based hashish seed firm, Beren and his enterprise accomplice began with Nice Gardener Farms, based mostly in Canada on Vancouver Island. 

“I created Barbara Bud about 25 years in the past, and 10 years in the past, I received one of many first Dab-A-Doos as a rising membership in Barcelona,” Beren says. “That primarily began a craze in Europe, Spain, and Morocco. Barbara Bud has form of gained iconic standing now. It’s the unique peach. However the different aspect of that’s it’s simple to develop, creates ridiculous quantities of trichomes, finishes in about seven or eight weeks, so…”

Artwork by Mossy Large

Two Tracks

Again at La Creme Gracia the morning after the artwork opening I re-animate over joints and espresso with van Swieten, Bergman, and Mossy. On the shut of our dialog, I ask Mossy concerning the Grand Historical past of Hashish piece, particularly the tip, the place there are two prepare tracks.

“One goes up, that’s the inexperienced prepare, so that you see hemp there, inexperienced drugs, oils, hashish tradition goes ahead,” he explains. 

And driving the prepare?

“These are my two characters that all the time are in my world: the hippie and the bear. The hippie is just like the farmer, the clever man, the loopy man, and the bear is creation, the blissful power. They steadiness one another out,” Mossy says. “These are my iconic characters, and so they drive this prepare ahead, the inexperienced prepare, and the opposite monitor is the monitor of prohibition.”

Mossy explains that this a part of the paintings relies on a poster selling hashish legalization in Spain.

“There was a poster for pro-legalization of hashish right here in Spain that had two prepare tracks on it. One resulting in prohibition and one resulting in a inexperienced future, and [the art] relies on that poster, that idea,” Mossy says. “Prohibition doesn’t work, and it’s been confirmed many occasions prohibition doesn’t work… So, it ends within the mouth of the monster of prohibition. It’s mainly saying that [the history] continues to be being written, there’s nonetheless chapters to return, the monitor retains going.”

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