International Women's Day | Mila Jansen The Hash Queen
Mila Jansen has joined us here at Hemp Botanics to celebrate International Women's Day 2022. Mila and Lisa-Marie met during Egoclash CA 2018. We're very excited for the legendary Mila the Hash Queen to tell us about her journey. Originally from Liverpool UK, Mila settled in the Netherlands. She is also an international traveller and one of the most tenacious, respected women in the industry. Look below or listen here to see what they had to speak about and why Mila Jansen is one of our inspirations.
Mila: Thank you for inviting me it's an honour to be with you for this International Woman’s Day. A very special day. I’m Mila Jansen, I live in Amsterdam and I own the Pollinator company. For that, I invented some gadgets, machines whereby you can separate the THC crystals from the rest of the plant matter or CBD crystals if that’s what you're collecting. With these collected crystals you can press them and form hash. So, with one of my machines, you can use on your trim and leftover small buds and make your own hash. For inventing those things, people call me the hash queen. It was actually the very first beginning that people even considered making your own hash. Now there's of course, progress and people make extract, rosins, diamonds, shatter. You know it all. But it started off with the pollinator. I'm very happy to talk to you and wish you all a happy women’s day.
Lisa: We actually stock your pollinators and handheld shakers in store. We’d love to be able for women around the world now, using this platform to see that we are capable of doing so much more. I mean, what you’ve established is incredible and what we’d like to know is along the journey, because you have had one heck of a journey. As described in your awesome book. But tell our listeners how the company came about, when did that become an idea?
Mila: During my life, I ended up, at some point spending 14 years in India. When I returned to Amsterdam I had 4 kids. I had to make myself an income. First, I started growing weed. That went quite well. But that’s not really very practical when you have 4 kids at home and you’re a single-parent family. I decided I better do something else. Then the idea came to build the pollinator. I used to make my own hash. I had leant when I was in India. We used to waffle the material over a flat screen and slowly, slowly the crystals would fall through. One night I was standing in front of my clothes dryer. Where all the clothes are tumbling around inside. That was exactly what I was doing with my leaves over the screen. So, we ended up buying a second-hand dryer, ripped out the heating element. Tied a screen around the drum and threw in a bunch of plant material and motioned the crystals until they came loose and fell through the screen. They ended up in a little pile at the bottom of the machine. That was in 94 beginning of 95 and we still make those same machines.
Lisa: Absolutely love that story. It's just so incredible how you’ll be doing something practical, and the penny drops. I mean, I could ask you what you found to be the most challenging thing within the start-up of the journey. I think that having 4 children as a single parent trekking across the world is probably a challenge on its own. Would you say anything else stood out to you, in terms of challenges, that you had to overcome at the beginning of your journey?
Mila: Not really. I mean, when I decided to re-trek to India with my eldest daughter, there was nobody to really stop us. So off we went to look for a great new future. That was a great county to be with children in those days. I ended up going there in 68 and came back in 88. That was the far bigger challenge. To get used to living in Amsterdam again with all these kids and having to supply an income. That was probably my biggest challenge.
Lisa: It does sound like a big challenge. Especially after you’ve spent that amount of time abroad. Having to readjust to what we call the western world. Amazing! You’ve never ever lost your beautiful spirit, soul and the love that you present, which you represent. That can be easily lost when you come back into the western world. That is why you have so many followers, so many people that look up to you and who you inspire. I mean, did you have anybody that inspired you?
Mila: I don’t know, I had great friends. Some sadhus were very inspiring in India. over here, Jack Herer, Ronald Clark. There were several people that were more progressed in the way of making hash and I learnt a lot from them.
Lisa: I don’t know if I can get any more goosebumps right now. Spare me. It's fantastic that you’ve had so many people around you. It's a true sign of being a leader. People gravitate towards and network towards you. You’re one of the most influential people in the industry.
Mila: Yes, but I never set out to do that. I never imaging that just making the pollinator would lead to such a future. I just made them to sell so I could feed my kids and put them through high school. I also did it so I could make my own hash to smoke. In those days in Amsterdam when I left, there were no coffee shops in Amsterdam. Then when I returned there were 250 of them and everyone all smoked weed. Now, in my whole life I never really came across weed to smoke. Because in the 60s when I started smoking in Amsterdam there was only hash. Nobody was growing here in the 60s, there was no weed at all. In India, Asia they smoked hash. Maybe in south India and Thailand, they smoke some weed but those are not places I’ve been to. So, after 20 years of smoking hash. Coming back to Amsterdam and finding all these coffee shops full of weed. I tried it out several times but I don’t know, I preferred my hash. I don’t see the point in smoking 90% dead plant matter to get the effect from crystals in weed. Why not collect the crystals, make hash and just smoke that. Don’t bother about all that dead plant material. Anyway, I'm a hash smoker.
Lisa: You truly are. I've witnessed it. Would you say from your journey, you’ve made mistakes along the way or learnt anything along the way? Or would you not say that your viewpoint on your journey?
Mila: No, I learned along the way. I learnt from growing weed. I learnt most from making mistakes. That’s what teaches you most actually. When you make mistakes. There were no books in those days.
Lisa: I guess it's probably trial and error. It can be a long hard lesson when you’re growing, you have to wait for the results to see whether or not you’ve succeeded.
Mila: Well, I was already into growing vegetables. That helps a lot, I remember in later years people would come up and ask if I had a job for them. I would ask them: ‘did you ever grow anything before? Lettuces or tulips or anything'. If they had, that was a big asset already because they had learnt to look at the plants. See how it would react to the treatment, they were giving it.
Lisa: That’s awesome. A very old school approach. I really love and miss the old school approach. The industry has really transformed over time. I mean, you’ve got great elements to the industry but I think it's become highly commercialised so there is that aspect.
Mila: Yeah, I got out before it became too technical.
Lisa: Yeah, I think that a little bit too much takes away the essence of nature. So would you have any advice for anybody who is seeking out, wanting to set up a shop in the cannabis industry? Any tips you’d give?
Mila: Just go do it. Ask friends that are busy in the field. What their experiences are. Don’t immediately try to go beyond the law because that’s just going to give you trouble. If you want to open a business, that’s the last thing you want. So ask your friends. Just go ahead and do it, whatever your dreams are. Nobody is going to do it for you. You've got to do it yourself.
Lisa: Spot on. So, do you aline with the word success? If so, how would you define that for yourself? Would you say success is your pollinator company or success is just the community that we’re in?
Mila: I guess, in one way my business has been quite successful. it's supported my family all these years. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. It's still supporting us now. In the last couple of years or the last several years, I also give Dab-a-doo events. Those are celebrations for hash. A whole group of people get together. Some people enter. Judges have to judge their skills and we have some nice prizes. Mostly, these Dab-a-doos are popular because its like-minded people gathered together. You know if you have a wine tasting, you have 200 people that love wine and you give them 20-25 nice wines to try. They’re all going to have a good time. It's the same with Dab-a-doo. Many of the people that come will bring their own special bits to show to their friends. They meet old friends, they make new friends. It's quite a worldwide community. We've given events in South America, Europe in several places, the USA. Jamaica, Uruguay. A bunch of places. It's a nice party. In fact, we’re going to have one on woman's day. So, that’s today the 8th of March in Barcelona. Because it's woman's day. For the first time, we have added a category for ladies only. That gives all the female hash makers a chance to show off what they can do and win some nice prizes.
Lisa: I certainly think that Dabadoo put you on the map twice over. Never mind what you've already achieved. I mean, the number of countries that you’ve covered is phenomenal. You look at some of the events that take place today and you certainly see that you were the trendsetter in terms of how the event would run. Let's speak a little bit about Dab-a-doo. Dab-a-doo's got some great entries. You've got dry hash, ice water hash, rosin and solvent extract. The woman's category is very exciting. I'd love to see what comes of that this year. Is your personal favourite still ice water?
Mila: Of all the hash? yeah. You know, once you have separated the crystals I always tell people, who really want the smell and taste to be a strong experience. I say 'those people had better do the dry sieve in the pollinator'. When you wash it in ice water, the smell and taste may be less but it's god damn stronger. I must say I prefer that one. So when choosing the category of hash the ladies were going to make. I choose that one. The ice water hash method. Extract or rosin require quite large financial inputs to get the equipment to be able to do that. For the ice water, it's not so expensive and anyone can do it.
Lisa: That's great. The consideration behind that. The motivation to encourage anybody and everybody who wants to live out that dream. There is a platform right here at Dab-a-doo and it's not just isolated to the EU. Thank you so much for joining me I really appreciate your time. You certainly stand out as our Legend. It was an honour. When I first met you I remember it was at Egoclash I was a little shocked because I wasn’t expecting to see you. I didn’t know what to do. It was one of the first events I went to where I got to see the legends in the industry.
Mila: Have a nice evening and a wonderful women’s day. We'll keep in touch.