Whether it’s travelling, writing or bringing new ideas to life, Mila Jansen is doing it all. Recently, she released her autobiography “How I Became the Hash Queen”. Mila sat down with us for an interview in Amsterdam. We talked weed, life, business and travels.
How did Mila become the “Hash Queen”? It is the story of a journey, literally. You can order her book here. Not convinced yet? Read our full book review or enjoy this interview that was recorded on a sizzling hot summer day in the Botanic Gardens in Amsterdam.
- What are the three most important things in your life?
I think definitely my children and probably Buddhism and everything that it has brought me and connected to that the trekking I used to do in the Himalayas. I loved that very much.
- How did you remember all the details over the years?
I had a wonderful little diary from 68 to 72 and it was just a little book and that helped me a lot. Alas I have lost the diary since then but what information from those days came from there. And my children always tell me what I tell wrong. They say “that wasn’t then!” and “you don’t remember she was there?” and I have to think … oh yeah.
- How long did it take you to write the book?
Eleven years. I started a long time ago. Then I wrote for five or six years and I put it away. I couldn’t look at it for like three years. It was like too much. Then at a certain point you think of all the things in your life and all the things you never completed and then somehow it was like but the book I can still complete it. Just sit down and do it and so I started again.
- How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
Well I think I’m first a mother and I worked hard to keep it all happening.
- Was there a moment when you thought: F*** this! Regrets?
I think my most depressed time was sometimes when I lived in the Himalayas with the four kids and then it was difficult. It wasn’t that I was broke at that time but life sometimes seemed too much. I learned that crying is just a form of self-indulgence and it’s no point to keep indulging yourself in negative things because that doesn’t lead anywhere. You just have to snap out of it and I think I wrote in the book I needed a stapler to staple on that smile because it has no point to wallow in your own shit.
- Can you show us your book?
I want to show you the book that I wrote. It’s called “How I Became the Hash Queen”. Then you might wonder well why the hell did she become the hash queen? And this I can tell quite quickly.
It’s because I invented the very first mechanical method to separate the trichomes, the crystals on the marijuana plant from the rest of the marijuana. Now they’ve been making hash for like thousands of years but it was always a manual thing how they separated the crystals.
One night I’m standing in front of my … oh and I used to do it over a screen and kind of move the plant material and some crystals would fall down and it would take many hours. One night I’m standing in front of my clothes dryer and I notice what the clothes are doing tumbling inside the dryer is exactly what I’m doing by hand on a small scale.
So the next day I got the guys I was working with to buy an old clothes dryer and we ripped out the heating because heat is not good for separating crystals and we just put a screen around the drum of the clothes dryer and put some marijuana inside and turned it on and low and behold five minutes later there is all the crystals lying at the bottom. That was the very first mechanical method to do this. I started making a business out of it and we still sell those Pollinators® we call them.
- You travelled a lot. What’s your favorite place and why?
I think the best place is just where I am. Because you can always dream of the future and past but just be happy where you are and enjoy it.
- Is there a place you still want to visit?
Oh I think lots of places. I want to go to the jungle, I want to go to Antarctica, Alaska maybe. I’d love to go right down to the South of South America. That must be amazing down there. Whether it happens I don’t know maybe.
- Is there something you always bring on your travels?
Well apart from my passport and my toothbrush … everything to make a nice joint.
- What does Mila smoke? Do you have a favourite strain?
I mainly like to smoke hash, I don’t like to smoke flowers very much. This is because when I started to smoke in 65 in Amsterdam there was only hash and then when I hitchhiked to India there was only hash. It wasn’t until 23 years after I smoked hash that I ran into some weed.
I came back to Amsterdam in 88, the city was filled with coffeeshops and they all had weed. I think the most intense experience I ever had smoking was when I was in the Himalayas with some Sadhus. These are monks that walk around, they don’t have possessions, they smoke chillums because it brings them closer to their god Shiva.
We went with them up in the mountains and they were going to show their best plants. They looked down on the huge plants that were growing in the valley. We went up and there were small plants. It was well over 3000 meters and small plants have been covered with snow and stayed alive and were like bonsais.
They were completely twisted and turned and the buds they had were quite small. But we rubbed them and we immediately put them in a chillum. I think that was the most amazing experience, walking down that mountain it was like as if I was on acid. All the sounds, all the colours were so intense and we were just flying. That was an amazing hash experience.
- Why do you prefer hash over weed?
Why bother to smoke a lot of dead plant material when you just want what it’s all about. It’s the crystals that contain all the active ingredients not the green leaves. That’s ok to say but then of course I mix mine with a bit of tobacco so I’m still putting in dead plant matter.
I don’t know I think it’s just over the years I’ve been smoking like this for 23 years before I ever ran into any weed and I just didn’t like the effect or the taste so much. On the other hand I think weed and hash it’s like beer and wine.
A wine drinker will seldom drink beer and a beer drinker will seldom drink wine. Well they both have more or less alcohol in them and more or less the same effect. It is like that with weed and hash. It’s just a matter of choice. It’s not for me to say one is better than the other. It’s just what you prefer.
- How did you become a businesswoman?
There was the urgency behind it that my children liked to eat three times a day. I think you get very inventive on the possibilities of looking where you are and how you can turn that into something so you can earn some money for food and stuff like that. Up there (Himalayas) it was the women knitting that inspired me.
- What’s your advice for new entrepreneurs?
Do it. Just do it. It’s not as frightening as it seems. And of course you should try and do a business in something that you like doing. Maybe I can do accounting but that is not a business I would like to get involved in. Knitting was a passion of mine. Many of the things that I did somehow were a passion of mine.
- Do you have a secret habit?
Well I can tell you I bit my nails most of my life but it’s not so interesting. Most other things you can read in the book and what I didn’t write in the book is probably what I don’t want you to know.
- What are your plans for the coming years?
I had a great project but that was cut. I wanted to just buy a field in Holland, one of these grass fields and I wanted to put shrubs all around it for insects and bees and to make a swamp in it and put fruit trees and nut trees.
I even found a field that I could get but it was the gemeente (municipality) that just is stuck to this grass fields forever in the Dutch countryside and heaven forbid something should break that few which I think is quite primitive because the nature protection vereniging (association) and the bird vereniging and the bee vereniging they all say these grass fields are shit for nature.
There is nothing to find there for any bird or insect or anything. I was and I am still quite unhappy that they wouldn’t let me do this because I just wanted to make a paradise for birds, insects, little rabbits, frogs, whatever would come. This would be a dream I would one time like to do but this time it’s not happening.
Apart from that maybe I want to retire when I’m 75 although I don’t really know what I would do then. I think pretty much continue the way I’ve been going probably until the end.