An abiding passion for one’s profession is certainly cause for celebration, as personal satisfaction seems so hard to attain. Sometimes, feeling lost in life simply indicates we have yet to find our purpose. But when that right path is found magic happens. Once directionless with no clear pursuit, Lena, of CMG Deliveries (IG: @cmg_deliveries), found her calling back in 2010 when her family decided to literally come out of the closet to serve the patients of Southern California. Putting heart and soul into the care of a miraculous plant such as cannabis has had its just rewards - amazing flowers and, with the proper teaching, incredible Hashish as a result.
I meet Lena for the first time at Hashish Master Frenchy Cannoli’s holiday party in 2016. Watching her interact with her fellow Hashish connoisseurs, she is bubbly and personable. I walk over to introduce myself and am pleasantly surprised to learn that she too is a hashmaker and cannabis cultivator. She is holding a Jyarz container and I can only guess what treasures await inside. She hands the stout, sturdy container to me and looks at me expectantly. I peer into the wide mouth to see a collection of shiny templeballs of various sizes and hues. Clearly she is proud of them, as well she should be. With a straightforward, can-do attitude, she has traveled all over California to amass as much knowledge from Frenchy’s workshops as possible and her dedication shows in her work. Reaching in, I pinch one of the balls and solid mass gives way to smooth creaminess. It does not crumple or peel (like a well-worn sweater). Rather it gives in like partially dried out Play Doh. I collect a sizable amount and begin to savor the unique texture of the ball. I ask her if the material comes from her own farm and she grins and nods.
As a hashmaker, few situations elicit more squeals of happiness than opening an aromatic bag of sugary nugs that are devoid of pesticides and toxic chemicals. When growing one’s own crop, the joy of processing clean meds is even greater. Along with her mother and stepfather, Lena has operated a cannabis delivery service for the past 7 years; venturing into hashmaking when patient demand rose. It gives her great pride to work with her own material knowing the great care with which it was grown; her plants are showered with love and respect.
Listening to her energetic discourse about the wonders of cannabis, I note that her great desire for finer knowledge will help propel our rapidly changing industry. It’s not long before I have a few of her templeballs to try on my own. She gifts me two Citrus Sap templeballs that were made from machine-washed fresh plants grown outdoors from clone. The pressed Hashish has been aging for 3 months. Each perfectly rolled ball is small and compact. I cut a chocolatey ball in half and the cream colored inner resin reminds me of chewy nougat. This is quite like candy…and I LOVE candy.
Testing the moisture content, I squeeze one into the shape of a cube and roll it back into a ball. It is soft, but not pasty, indicating it was well dried. As I manipulate the Hashish, the sweet aroma of crushed flowers is exuded. I love narrow leaf varieties and these masses of settled resin should be perfect for the parties of Fat Tuesday. Before my husband Nicholas and I head out, it is customary that I ready myself with a couple of dabs and tonight is no different. With a small amount of hash in hand, I flatten it for a fairly thick dab. As soon as the Citrus Sap Hashish hits the quartz, it begins to bubble furiously, partially dripping down the outside before sliding effortlessly into the center. Amber bubbles continue to dance on the surface while the first breaths of floral fuel tease into my lungs. Since the Citrus Sap is Gorilla Glue #4 x Tangie, I expect a bright citrus flavor. Rather, a mild-but-sharp diesel coats my mouth like Japanese tea sipped from a muffler. An unhurried exhale follows and I go in for another dab. This time, waiting less time, I suck in a brasher hit which tickles the back of my throat, but does not urge me to cough like some other solvent-based dabs do. A pale ring of smoke hangs lazily in the air before slowly dissipating. Tangie itself is a bit of a creeper and after 20 minutes, I am feeling very pleasantly buoyant.
We head into the San Francisco’s Mission District looking to get into some Mardi Gras fun. Behind my eyes is buzzing with bubbly energy and I want to party. The Mission District is ordinarily lively with activity, yet humming with a dismal overtone borne of utter poverty and despair. Driven out of mental institutions by Reagan-era policies, San Francisco’s homeless population either crowd the streets in makeshift villages of battered tents, or wander as solitary souls, adrift and barely tethered to the margins of society. Above the dirty streets, Silicon Valley business people live in newly-gentrified buildings, seemingly oblivious to the plight just a few flights down. The disparity is usually quite depressing, but tonight feels completely different. Engaged in a citywide pub crawl, groups of fun-loving friends traipse noisily from place to place, yelling incomprehensible phrases of glee and it is hard to distinguish the partiers from the street dwellers.
Walking through the streets, boldly painted murals glare at us menacingly. I realize all of my senses have heightened greatly and I tell myself to calm down. We arrive at our destination, Balançoire, and are quickly engaged in a ruckus. Half of the club’s patrons have spilled out onto the street; enticed by the steady thump of the menagerie of drums, from traps, to congas, to African Djembes that people have brought together for a jam session. People of every nationality twitch and convulse as the deep rhythms course through their bodies. The energy is positively kinetic and it feels absolutely great to be in the midst of it all. Elaborately costumed dancers suddenly appear and, using their bright feathers and shiny sequins as lures, lead the crowd inside where a DJ is trying to match the cacophony of outside with pulsing music of his own. In my hyper perceptive state, the ladies clad in pink and white feathers appear as elegant flamingos gyrating to a samba. The club is packed with partygoers adorned in colorful beads and Venetian-styled masks, eager to participate in the night’s revelry. My spirits are high as the DJ slides from an old school rap jam to a newly popular mashup of soca and electronic dance music. I hear Rupee’s “Tempted to Touch” and I push in closer to Nicholas; his hot breath on my cheek as another woman winds her waist on me from behind. This sultry atmosphere almost feels like a Bacchanalia of ancient Rome. One song rolls into another and I pull on my ever-present vape pen. The mouthfeel is nonexistent, but I know that in a few minutes, I will feel juiced up again; my skin practically vibrating with the frenetic tempo.
Continuing my tradition of enjoying one particular flavor over the course of a few days, the next day I invite Nicholas out to a weekly psychedelic-themed party in Oakland. Remembering my increased energy of the night before, I take no less than 5 dabs before we leave. We step into the smoke filled New Parish club and all of the rooms are packed with wild dancers whipping their bodies back and forth in time to the booming drum-n-bass. Every surface is at once covered in colors and shapes and I feel as if I have stepped into an Alex Grey painting of incredible movement; my perceptions skewed and my imagination running in all directions at once. I take a long drag of the Hashish on my vape pen and blow out a giant cloud. The tang of the Tangie tickles my throat and I stifle the urge to cough. Maybe that was too big of a hit, but I can handle it. Behind my ears prickle and my gums itch a little. I bear my teeth like a frightened jungle animal and throw myself into the flailing mix. It feels good to let loose. Each bass drop of the insanely loud dubsteb is rewarded with a whoop from the crowd and all at once we move like a wave. The crowd parts to let us through and we immerse ourselves into the circus. Projected on one giant wall is a steady stream of rainbow hued fractals. At one moment, I stop dancing to just watch the growing and shrinking geometries; idly puffing on my vape pen and feeling my consciousness wend higher and higher. The Sativa buzz in my head has become a roar and I break my meditation to bounce my body against everyone who surrounds me. We move at once as an organism for a while and then break off into separate entities of personal chaos. It is truly exhilarating. The combination of the rapidly moving visuals, the nonstop throb of the music, the heavy aroma of cannabis, the sweaty bodies, the blissful energy are enough to put me over the top. The carnal pleasure of it all is overwhelming and I cackle like a mad woman.
I awaken the next day and I am still flying high. The combination of the deep and fierce music and powerful Hashish has filled my dreams with wild colors and symbols that my conscious mind now finds very hard to interpret, but hard to forget. I wonder what other truths will be revealed the next time I dig into this Citrus Sap Hashish. I know that a keen and intense mental celebration is just one dab away. And with her fierce determination and hunger to know more and be an even better hashmaker, there will be much more magnificent Hashish from Lena and CMG Deliveries to come.
The Dank Duchess is a hashmaker based in Oakland, California. These days you will find her making Hashish, smoking Hashish, writing about Hashish, and/or organically growing cannabis plants to process into Hashish. Follow her on your favorite social media channels at @TheDankDuchess and find her online at www.TheDankDuchess.com
Published in Weed World issue 128