Canada’s East Coast has long been recognized as a haven for hash smugglers, just like the “rum runners” of yesteryear. The rugged coastline’s abundance of remote yet accessible covers is perfectly suited for any type of smuggling operation.

The heyday of hash smuggling took place in the late 1970s, when every type of hash from many exotic locations was being shipped into North America. Tons upon tons were sold to and consumed by large populations of major cities. Blond Lebanese, Red Moroccan, Citral, Afghani Fingers, Nepalese Temple Balls, Rose of Lebanon – the list of fine quality hash went on and on, and it was a bonanza for the consumer. In fact, a lot of people on the East Coast had never even smoked marijuana buds, as the market was dominated by hash. Everyone smoked hash, and it was everywhere to be found.

But all good things come to an end, and it was no different for hash smuggling. By the early 1980s, huge busts were routine. Twenty- to fifty-ton seizures by police were not uncommon, and before long, huge financial losses and lengthy jail sentences took all the fun out of smuggling. The East Coast may have been the best place to smuggle to, but was the worst place in Canada to get caught. The glory days of hash smuggling were over. Huge demand in North America outstripped supply; it was much more difficult to bring in the huge loads of years past. Prices went up, and a lot of key people were sent to jail.

At one time, the people involved in smuggling were mostly a good bunch of rogues, and there was little violence associated with the hash trade. When those decent people went out of business in the ’80s, a whole new crowd of biker gangs and organized crime families moved in to do business. The whole industry changed, and so did the quality of the hash. In an attempt to maximize profits, re-pressing was born. Re-pressing is the process of breaking down good quality hash by adding a bunch of fillers to increase the weight, and re-pressing it into slabs. Dealers use many different fillers – all of them bad – to inflate their supply. Think of the notorious “soapbar” hash in the United Kingdom and Europe, a very low-grade contaminated black hash that dominates the market.

Real, prime imported hash was (and to some extent still is) almost impossible to get. However, the East Coast has recently resurfaced as the destination for Afghani hash smuggled in from overseas. I was able to get my hands on 100 kg (220 lb) of primo, #1 Gold Seal Afghani, pictured here. It arrived in five ammunition cans containing 20 kg (44 lb) of hash each, and the slabs had traditional red cellophane wrapping and were embossed with a gold stamp. A lot of people on the East Coast of Canada are reminded of the good old days when they discover how potent the smoke is. Though paltry in size compared to the days of old, this shipment is the real deal: high quality, real Afghani hashish.

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