We continue our story of Sanford Hill, the original breeder and grower of Maui Wowie, the famous seventies cannabis from Hawaii.
Getting Settled On Maui
It is common for people who live on Maui to personify the island. In a Maui resident’s “coming to Maui” story, Maui’s influence begins from the motivating factors to leave the prior location, and the circumstances that allow for a transition to occur.
It is a common locally held belief that Maui has a way of inviting people to the island who are given the opportunity to be a part of something that can only happen on the island.
Samson, after having been emotionally devastated by the death of his first born child, was offered a job in Kula Sanatorium for a position was in the psychiatric ward by one of his good friends from school. It seemed like a good way for him to restart and reassess.
Having established a strong inter-island network through family and his own efforts, Sanford began to find his way, and built friendships.
First Time Seeing Da Kine
“We were all hard core surfers, and this was like the end of summer… We were all starting the organic movement. We were growing everything at the time.
One of my friends up in Kula. He got one of those big washtubs and filled it with really potent mixture and grew one plant in it… And said, ‘You gotta see this’.”
He described a late afternoon where he was visiting a friend not to far from work. His host had an Afghani variety of cannabis that looked vibrant, healthy and heavy.
It was worth of the title “Da Kine.” For those who are unfamiliar, it’s a popular term that refers to top quality cannabis.
His interest was first piqued at the possibility of being able to achieve what he saw his friend do once. The plant ended up weighing about a pound and a half. The retail value was about $280, which was a very profitable at the time.
Having experience with setting up distribution networks on Oahu, he was confident he could recreate that. But this time, the experience was different. He could be a part of the growth. This excitement drove the young man to learn everything about how to do this well.
The thing that struck Samson was the soil mixture his friend prepared. There was an elaborate composting practice that preceded every grow. The amount of preparation, and the different stages of development brought out the inner plant scientist.
The mix was compiled of harvested ingredients from different farms and natural sources throughout the island. Preparing the right food required knowing a lot of local farmers who had chickens, horses (really anything that pooped), knowing places or people to collect quality algae, and much more.
This was right up Samson’s alley.
Learning how to Grow on Maui
He quickly found himself in Haiku, Maui. Here he would try to learn how to bring what he knew from gardening and apply it to cultivating cannabis. And this is where the story of that seventies cannabis truly begins.
Plants enjoy some of the best natural light in the world there year round. Trade winds are steady enough to keep everything cool. The biggest concern comes from the rain.
It can rain for days on end in Haiku. So, the myriad of molds that can attack a healthy budding plant can be difficult to manage without the right preparation. Outdoor growers have to find the right genetics that suit their specific micro-climate.
Samson knew that the variety he saw his friend grow wouldn’t work where he was.
The plants were too short, which would make them highly susceptible to molds and funguses. He knew from growing broccoli. Without the proper height, the beautiful, nutritious flowers would because decomposing sludge after a few days of tropical downpours. The same would likely be true for cannabis.
Finding the right strains at this time meant breeding from the available stock of plant locally available. In Hawaii, it meant breeding at nauseam until the right characteristics were found.
Paradise in Na Hiku
After showing an aptitude for managing grows in Haiku, Samson stumbled upon some serendipitous news. His friend had a large amount of acreage in beautiful, and (most importantly) isolated Na Hiku.
When describing the site, Samson invokes images of The Beach. Enjoy that part of the story in the next installment, where you will hear that the environment Maui Wowie was grown in is exactly what you would think of when it comes to mind.