Not to mention I love to travel, adventure and research, so it was also a job I could incorporate in all parts of my life where ever I was…in some way. Over }time it consumed me and defined me unto what I am today.
When did you first develop your own stock and own seed bank?
Itis hard to pin point a time about seed since from the first time I smoked I began collecting seed…
I suspect my University years were the defining point of my serious approach along with traveling and seed collection. Mullumbimby Madness was a strain I worked on with several others in northern NSW in the early to mid 1980’s and with which I had a lot of success with early on. The first Seed Bank that I founded unofficially was in Australia…but officially the tax paying companies only exist and still do exist in Holland.
In 1992 you relocated your seed bank to Amsterdam. In hindsight, do you ever regret this move?
Holland , especially the early to mid 1990’s was a fantastic period for like minded people. It was a happening daily and I expect the enthusiasm and passion for having a coffee shop to go to at the end of a day’s work to pow wow and exchange ideas etc…well it got us all in the plan. It was also the time I began working with Neville (who was the founder of The Seed Bank which went on to become the Sensi Seed Bank.) Rob Clarke was around a lot, and a host of other scientific characters…so it was an excellent time and a lot of very constructive breeding went on.
Regret the move to Holland…No, I do not regret anything I have done in my life up till now, so the answer would be no! But like all things, there is a life span and by 1998 I had had enough, not to mention the blatant capitalism and standard greed related things that come with success and change people you once knew well! Such is life!
How many cannabis cups have you won to date?
Cannabis Cups are things I do not really keep a tally on, as they kind of lost their meaning for me now. But let’s say 1998 was a year both Neville and I tried very hard to do our best work and it was a very successful year. Up until then, and between us both, we had done seriously well with breeding things people enjoyed. In a lot of European countries our strains have been entered by the respective growers and continue to receive accolades. It is not a reason or motivation to work with this plant, I leave that to the others nowadays.
After leaving Amsterdam as the world’s most famous cannabis breeder, what did Shantibaba do next?
Well, I left Holland as I was head-hunted by a Swiss group based in Ticino, the Italian side of Switzerland. I sold my interest in the GHSco, set up Mr. Nice Seed Bank, took my mothers and father plants, as well all of Neville’s mother and father plants, and headed to the hills. I was invited to set up a new company with a Swiss partner and was made vice-president along side Doctor Nussbaumer who was made president, plus 2 lawyers and 1 criminologist. Our intentions were to begin essential oil production, seed production, medical tinctures to aid patients with pain management issues, and just about anything else that was possible. My new country’s cultivation possibilities made Holland look like a kindergarten for growers, in comparison.
How did you make the connection with Howard Marks?
Over a beer or two at one of the High Times Cannabis Cup when I was breeding the White family hybrids… So that was in 1996. It was one of the most easy and deeply touching friendships that evolved from day one! Howard Marks was unknown to me previously so I did not have all the expectations that can cloud one’s view when you meet. Mind you, he had perfect credentials from my point of view. I recall he asked me with that silky smoked voice he has, “any chance an old bastard like me could find a way to work with you in this business?”… or something to those words. My reply was something