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The legend of Panama Red

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In this story you'll learn who and how this 12 ton load of Panama Red was smuggled into California.

Have you ever heard the legend of Panama Red? I mean you have heard of Panama Red haven't you? Well here's the true story about a load that came into California, in 1969.

I drove up Highway 1, to Maple Street, in Tam Valley, and turned left. If you know where this is, it's near Mill Valley. I went to my connection's house to see what exotic weed had come in. He had Yucatan Green, which was fully filled into white plastic bags. It had a fruity aroma, and you could uncoil the kiwi colored green leaves back into their natural finger and hand shapes. I'd never seen weed cured this well. It was somehow cured like pliable tobacco leaves. The price was $150. a pound which was a lot back in those days. Next a brown grocery sack came out of the closet, which I noticed was full of both white plastic bags and the brown grocery bags. From my quick glance I estimated about 10 bags of weed in all.

As the top of the brown bag was unfolded I immediately smelled the strong aroma of fresh tilled earth, perhaps the smell when you turn over a mulching log, combined with red clay. Then I distinguished another smell. The smell of fresh earth was mixed with a strong hashish smell. A handful of the well dried small buds was pulled out and laid on the stainless steel plate of the triple-beam. I was in wonder as I had never seen any weed that wasn't green or gold. To my amazement these small buds were a bright rusty color. Not brown like the Colombian Gold I scored a few years later, but you know, a rusty red color. I asked: Where's this weed from?

My connection told me the story.

This is Panama Red. This stuff grows in the mountains north of the Panama Canal. The soil is red to black, with rain all the time. It's impossible to get this weed, but I have access to about a ton of it.

How much is it for a pound, I asked him.

It's $220. a pound. My wad of cash choked in my pocket, as I had thought that the Yucatan green was expensive. He could read me. He pulled out a paper from his Zig-Zag pack, and rolled a pinhead joint. Then he lit it up, making a yellow flame as the empty paper end burned into the weed. He took the first puff, which sent off, two thin intertwined lines of blue gray hashish like smoke, heading towards the ceiling.

He was already well stoned from encounters with his earlier customers, and when I first walked into his home I had noticed how his eyes were glazed over. He looked like the poster of a wizard, with his long hair, beard, and crystal ball eyes. If this were possible, he looked even more euphoric from the one hit; and his eyes rolled back, and closed, as he slowly stabbed the smoking pinner across the table in my direction. As I reached out for it, he said in a choked breath while exhaling smoke: You'll probably never get weed this good again.

I knew his word was always true. My connection and his group had smuggled hashish from Afghanistan, India, and Morocco. He'd been busted for importing hash in the bottom of a crate of snakes. He always had exotic weed and hash. He wouldn't mess around with the weed I could get from the pilots in my part of the state. The only stuff I could get in my area was Mexican weed which ran about $80. to $120. a brick. We called this weed, reg, for regular. The reg kilos or bricks came wrapped in red, green or blue construction paper and was taped off with masking tape. This was the regular bottom line, non-exotic, weed that was somewhat harsh to the throat, but got you stoned. We resold for $10. a lid, or if you weren't around back then, a lid is an ounce.

The hashish smell of the pinner was overcoming my thoughts, as I took a hit of pure heaven. The smoke was so smooth, with a taste just like it's unburnt smell of fresh clean earth and hashish. I thought it tasted like Lebanese Red hash, mixed with fresh earth, as I barely watched the smoke vining it's way upwards. It was hash without the bite. Then the stone came on as I took my second hit. My senses suddenly kicked into hyper space as I became acutely aware of everything. My hearing, my thinking, my senses were all rocketed into Stonesville, which is a different place for every one of us. Within a minute I realized I was really stoned. I laughed. Shortly after three hits, I started seeing trails, colors, and realized this weed was a psychedelic high too. Lots of colors, and laughs, in a mellow floating state. A weed to bring out your innermost thoughts, to philosophize, about the finer points of life and existence, with those of like mind.

In 1969, I bought five pounds of Panama Red, which is the most stony weed I have ever smoked, even to this day. When I got back home where the local Hippies were used to the $10. price of an oz., of reg, I knew I couldn't sell this rusty red weed. First, since it wasn't green, they wouldn't believe it was weed. Second, the price would be about four times what they were used to paying for an oz. of reg weed. I kept telling myself nobody was ready for this rusty weed which would send anybody, especially these locals to heaven. I knew that if I rolled pinners, it would take me years to smoke all of this exotic weed. I figured at least 80 joints to an oz., and I had 80 ozs., and let's see, that's 6400 joints. I couldn't take time to do one a day, so I figured maybe 150 a year, and um, it would take me over forty-two years to smoke all of this weed. It would lose it's potency after a year or two. Then the lightbulb came on. I'd roll up about 10 pinners and just give them away. I understood that even my friends could figure out that this was the best weed in the world. After they had smoked this fantastic weed, they would realize how stoned they were, and with the weed rolled up they wouldn't know it wasn't green! Great idea! I reached into my pocket again as I arrived at the toll booth on the Golden Gate Bridge entering San Francisco, stoned out of my mind.

I want you to know something, when I got home that's exactly what I did. I passed out the pinners and asked my friends to just try it and give me their opinions. They questioned me about the small sized joints, and I said what are you complaining about, it's free. Then the phone started ringing with questions like: What was that? Is that laced with acid? That can't be ordinary weed. Do you have any more? Then I got to tell the story of Panama Red to them, which if you ever smoked the real thing, I need not say more.

MEETING THE SMUGGLER

On another score trip north, about a month later, I discovered that my connection had moved to Stinson Beach. You might know where he moved if you ever went there. It was the third house back from the beach, it was on the left, the one with the purple door. When the purple door opened I gasped as I thought I saw my dad sitting down counting cash on a coffee table. I realized that it really wasn't my Dad, but the guy was a dead ringer for my dad. He had a receding conservative haircut, with brown hair, and graying sideburns. Same facial features. My connection introduced him, and for his protection, I'll just call him Roy. Roy was counting out $40,000. cash, another installment for the fronting of his illegal, precious cargo of Panama Red to my connection. This was a lot of money for a weed deal back in 1969, and probably one of a hundred bags of money picked up by Roy. You figure it out. If he sold his Panama Red for only $120. a pound, times 24,000 pounds he grossed about $2.9 million from his load. Thirty years ago this money had the purchasing power of about 4 times more than what it would buy today. However, I have no idea what Panama Red would cost today as I have never found it again. I've had Colombian Gold, but it's more of a brown tobacco color. Red is a very earthy, rusty color and I haven't even seen any counterfeit stuff offered. I haven't even seen the seeds offered. The $40,000. Roy was counting out was only a payment for about 300 pounds. Payment for a ton would be $240,000. Don't forget he had the money from selling the fish too.
 

mal

Premium Member
Supporter
2,053
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Good story, wish that stuff was still around. The good old days were a lot of fun, hope all is well with you and yours


mal
 
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Roy was a very candid person, treating me as if he'd known me his whole life. He explained the Panama Red saga. He bought a surplus submarine chaser, a 90 footer. He sold most of the military gear and paid for the vessel, with money left over. It was a typical government deal where millions were spent to build and outfit the ship, and then it was later sold for peanuts. Roy outfitted it as a fishing boat. He got a crew together and went south. He loaded in 12 tons of Panama Red, and then he and his crew went fishing. They covered the weed with tuna, iced it and headed back north. The ship was checked out, and cleared for entry. As they returned to the Bay Area, he made contact with his man onshore in northern California, who with a few hours notice, got a small fleet of fishing and sailboats together. This fleet was obviously pre-planned. The fleet was a fleet of dealers who went under the Golden Gate Bridge out about 25 miles, and towards the Farallon Islands, where the Panama Red was quickly offloaded onto these smaller boats. One Harbor Master inside the bay was in on it too, so there was little chance of anybody getting caught. I can't tell you if it was day or night, foggy, or anything about the conditions, but I do know from other smugglers that they use the worst weather conditions for all of their activities. If it's hard for them it's hard for the cops to catch them. Roy said he retired off this trip and that he sold his fish, the ship, and intended on paying the IRS it's taxes on the fish, if any were due. Roy told me the city he lived in, and I'll give you a hint, he lived between San Francisco, and San Jose. If you know him, tell him thanks from me.

I grew some plants from the very small brown seeds. The plants had stalks with alternating green and purple vertical lines. The dark green leaves had purple veins. I got tired of watering them, so I sold the crop where it stood, by selling a map with it's location. My friends nicknamed me Panama Red, for waking them up to this high. There's been no more Panama Red, that I'm aware of. If I'm wrong I'd like to read your story.

Anon
" The end "
 
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I am NOT anon . My grandfather was a fisherman born and raised in panama . He told me a deckhands version of this story on my 13th bday when i hit my first bowl in a fresh green coconut . The old man was raw machete in one hand nut in the other two swings and shoved the hose in (come on fellas dont go there ). Any way i tried to make it bubble like he did with my baby lungs . FAILED just threw up .
In my quest to find the erb my dad used to roll up paperbag js back in the 60s i found this old story (ever see the movie blow ). Ive hear through the grapevine that shes up north in WA. I cant find it or anyone sitting on some beans . Ive only heard of an organ purple thai that was 50% PR . IDK if motas still working on it but i pray some farmers can point me in the right direction in my quest .
 
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All Photos: No Longer Sad
​Whenever aging stoners gather around a burning bush and discuss the legendary strains of yore, it's a sure bet that the mighty Panama Red will be mentioned. Along with Acapulco Gold, Panama Red was one of the first cannabis "brand names" that caught the imagination of the American public, becoming a, well, "hit" nationwide.
While hippies in the late 1960s thought that Panama Red was so strong because of the rain-forest climate in which it was grown, we know today that its legendary potency was due to genetics -- and thank Jah, those genetics have been preserved for modern smokers to enjoy, despite the fact that the culture of cannabis in Panama was mostly blown away during the cocaine-fueled 1980s.
Panama Red, commonly produced in the sparsely populated Pearl Islands just off the Panamanian coast, is known for producing a strong, speedy, intense psychedelic high -- in other words, it's a prototypical sativa strain.

​We last checked in with western Washington grower No Longer Sad back in May, when she had a beautiful crop of Jillybean. Now, N.L.S. is just finishing up a superlative crop of Panama Red, from a clone she found at the Green Door in downtown Seattle.
No Longer Sad's accomplishment is even more impressive when you consider the fact that she never uses chemical fertilizers -- it's all organic nutrients in her greenhouse, baby.
Considering that lots of those huge chemically grown buds you see on dispensary shelves and in the High Times centerfold are the botanical equivalent of a steroid geek -- and have about as much to do with "healthy" -- it doesn't take long to realize that maybe it's not a great idea to ingest chemically grown weed on a regular basis.
"Not everything good comes in big packages," No Longer Sad said with a chuckle.
The grower swears by the nutrients of the Roots Organics line. "Roots Organics has just come out with a whole new 'biosynthetic' line to make the chemical growers happy, while still catering to the organic lovers," she said. "It can be used in soil, soilless, and hydro grows."

​"I grew up on a farm, which included several acres in gardens," No Longer Sad told Toke of the Town Thursday afternoon. "I learned the importance of growing in properly prepared soil to include amendments for nurturing healthy plants. All the things we used to put in the soil are now in these product lines, but from way better sources than we could ever get. Basically, it's full of bat shit, kelp and molasses!"
Most leading cannabis breeders use organic nutrients, and only organics, during the growth and development of their strains, according to No Longer Sad. "They do this to bring out the natural flavors -- flavinoids and terpenes," she told us. "To use anything less than what these strains were originally developed with, takes away from the characteristics.
"Seriously ill people and those undergoing medical treatment causing debilitation often have major intolerance of chemicals and can react violently, despite the plants having been 'flushed,' " No Longer Sad told Toke of the Town. "We need healthy alternatives, not the biggest buds. And we need truly medicinal strains.
"Most of all, we need the freedom to further research the endocannabinoid system, phytocannabinoids, and how they interact in the human body," No Longer Sad told us. "Once that's complete, we'll be able to selectively breed those desirable traits into the perfect plant for each of us."
Postscript
"I have just learned that two, not one, of my original, dearly beloved fellow Panama Red worshippers, both Vietnam vets in-country during the Tet Offensive, have both died of lung cancer due to Agent Orange," No Longer Sad told us.
She wishes to dedicate her Panama Red plant, and this article, to the memory of her good friends Timothy Baldwin and Rex Bruns.
"They were best friends, medics during Nam, highly decorated, and both respiratory therapists when they got out in 1981," No Longer Sad told us. "They taught me everything I know that's useful."
 

markscastle

Well-Known Farmer
4,814
263
I still have the Panama Red,yep it`s as described except one pheno has a strange pepper after taste that`s very cool(even though I hate pepper) .I still think it`s at least partly the soil that makes it so strong though! Yep genetics plays a part I`m sure of it. But! stuff grows different in Northern Cali compared to the same genetics from Panama.The stuff grown in Panama these days is also a little different than the 69 P-Red.
 
Damn excellent thread! I was just getting my smoking wheels up in '68-'69 and by the time I half figured out what was happening, the only "Panama Red" that was available was counterfeit. Smoked the golds, thais, thai stick (before the knock offs) but never had the opportunity to smoke the real deal Panama Red.
 
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I still have the Panama Red,yep it`s as described except one pheno has a strange pepper after taste that`s very cool(even though I hate pepper) .I still think it`s at least partly the soil that makes it so strong though! Yep genetics plays a part I`m sure of it. But! stuff grows different in Northern Cali compared to the same genetics from Panama.The stuff grown in Panama these days is also a little different than the 69 P-Red.
i really hope i get to try these great gentics before my time is up! im a pup i didnt start puffin till '91-'92. grew up in the midwest so my best guess is alot of columbian genetics grown out in mexi or central america. used to get these great golden spear heads that would put most of todays topshelf to shame circa 94-99 smelled like sweet superglue dipped in dirt and hash.

MC i wonder what the differnce in soil is? couldnt be that hard to find out. ill check up on that for sure. and thank you again for all the work youve done to keep all those great gems you have. massive respect markcastle
 
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Thanks for droppin in markcastle and GangjaGardener. Hey mark How long have you had her in your garden ? That pepper pheno is the one im looking for , Kinda like a strong celantro ! The soil does makes it stand out try adding some dried green bannana leaves (not peels)to mushroom compost ,whith some coir, black ore ,seabird guano ,alpacha gold wormcastings and you got panama in a pot . Can you tell me how you found this gem. Your so right whats there now is not The " 69 P-red " its a different plant all the way around . Btw thats what it was called in my neck of the woods back in my days . 69th street was the spot to get the P-red from the 60s to the 70s in the land of the 80s GO CHARGERS and CLIPPERS .
YO ganja what most people forget is that most of those knock offs were grown from seeds that grew in jungles in extreem out door conditions in rich soil in a place where it was thriving .
 
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Hey Buddy .Tried to get it up but im medicated and i type with one finger. mix it all up with like some well rinsed crab shell Down to earth brand 6-6-1 fish hydrolysates add some yucha pappia sugar cane all dried and composted chicken poop azomite and some rock dust cook it for 16 days and it sould be around 5.8 add what you like. You could make this mix about 5 -8 cubic feet for about 70 bucks .
 
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Hey Buddy .Tried to get it up but im medicated and i type with one finger. mix it all up with like some well rinsed crab shell Down to earth brand 6-6-1 fish hydrolysates add some yucha pappia sugar cane all dried and composted chicken poop azomite and some rock dust cook it for 16 days and it sould be around 5.8 add what you like. You could make this mix about 5 -8 cubic feet for about 70 bucks .
socalval yep you know you "shit" all right brother! great thread! massive respect!

edit and banana leaves thats fucking slick man! great info!
 

markscastle

Well-Known Farmer
4,814
263
Thanks for droppin in markcastle and GangjaGardener. Hey mark How long have you had her in your garden ? That pepper pheno is the one im looking for , Kinda like a strong celantro ! The soil does makes it stand out try adding some dried green bannana leaves (not peels)to mushroom compost ,whith some coir, black ore ,seabird guano ,alpacha gold wormcastings and you got panama in a pot . Can you tell me how you found this gem. Your so right whats there now is not The " 69 P-red " its a different plant all the way around . Btw thats what it was called in my neck of the woods back in my days . 69th street was the spot to get the P-red from the 60s to the 70s in the land of the 80s GO CHARGERS and CLIPPERS .
YO ganja what most people forget is that most of those knock offs were grown from seeds that grew in jungles in extreem out door conditions in rich soil in a place where it was thriving .
I`ve had P-Red in my garden from the midish to late 60`s? I can`t remember well but I think I ether picked it up by helping unload a boat or It could have been an air drop. I used to do the drops as well as the pickups.I dought it was from one of the Florida banana boat tures I did as that was Cuban or Columbo most of the time. There was some really good Spanish Red one time also. Wish I had some of those seeds but there just weren`t a one in the whole dam ship! Beleave me I swear on my seed hoe ways! They almost ended up throw`n me over board for looking for days!!! I think they thought I`d gone nuts and was looking for rats or something.
 
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Lmao thanks buddy your too kind . logic dressed the farm up so nice couldnt help it im just getting started . like they say dont talk about it be about it stay tuned for my next thread . Ill start as soon as it warms up or better yet ill start it now with some pics of what you will need to get . its about 40 outside still snow on the hill and yes i live in southern california . my spelling is bad but you get it though get your fruits from the farmers market if you can or maybee pre dried cubed fruit from sprouts takes a while to dry fruit without a dehydrator .
 
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LMAO @ markcastel . I can dig it im a bit of a bean junkie myself . A seed is such a beautiful treasure that unfolds before your eyes and transforms in to a lovely flower ...........wwooooossaaaahhh . " You wanna hit this " the ball and chain brb.
 
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This is a great thread......I must give out many salutations to you godfathers of the smuggle........Nothing like the good ole boat stories. I would love to work with the pred, mark are you making any seeds or have you tried any breeding with her?
 
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Lmao thanks buddy your too kind . logic dressed the farm up so nice couldnt help it im just getting started . like they say dont talk about it be about it stay tuned for my next thread . Ill start as soon as it warms up or better yet ill start it now with some pics of what you will need to get . its about 40 outside still snow on the hill and yes i live in southern california . my spelling is bad but you get it though get your fruits from the farmers market if you can or maybee pre dried cubed fruit from sprouts takes a while to dry fruit without a dehydrator .
damn snow on the ground still! you must be up there. im relocating to be mainly back in southern cali myself this spring it is gonna be so nice to do some proper out door. cant wait esp if i can find me some P Red im thinking supplemented greenhouse w/ black out capabilities. but this summer i see myself waking and uncovering and covering everynight, but where im going ill have to put up shade cloth super dry and hot. im sure ill be hitting you boys up for advice so thanks in advance
 

markscastle

Well-Known Farmer
4,814
263
I`m in Northern Cali at 2800 ft. Snowed but mostly melted now. Rain is coming and maybe more snow. I have tons of seeds in my collection and am working on as many strains as possible in my refresh program this year. I have some Serria Leone IBL started that is pure Sativa but mostly working on Indica and indica dom crosses/strains as not sure about the short season up here until I get a green house built. I have over 100 strains going and plan on starting a few 100 more at the end of the month. I will be auctioning off a limited amount (maybe one to three packs) of many of the strains on the Farm next Fall? Moneys will be used for ferther refresh program and at some point the return of MC Seeds. I started out as Sunshine Seeds in the early 60`s and worked with some of the Sacred Seeds guys from time to time ,later when they got started up. I`ve also vended a few times through the years under other names and through different seed banks or listings with student and underground papers. You may have seen MC Seeds at CW/OG before it went down? I didn`t vend there very much but a few packs now and then. I like to keep well under the radar.
 
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I`m in Northern Cali at 2800 ft. Snowed but mostly melted now. Rain is coming and maybe more snow. I have tons of seeds in my collection and am working on as many strains as possible in my refresh program this year. I have some Serria Leone IBL started that is pure Sativa but mostly working on Indica and indica dom crosses/strains as not sure about the short season up here until I get a green house built. I have over 100 strains going and plan on starting a few 100 more at the end of the month. I will be auctioning off a limited amount (maybe one to three packs) of many of the strains on the Farm next Fall? Moneys will be used for ferther refresh program and at some point the return of MC Seeds. I started out as Sunshine Seeds in the early 60`s and worked with some of the Sacred Seeds guys from time to time ,later when they got started up. I`ve also vended a few times through the years under other names and through different seed banks or listings with student and underground papers. You may have seen MC Seeds at CW/OG before it went down? I didn`t vend there very much but a few packs now and then. I like to keep well under the radar.
i hope i can be lucky enough to grab some of those packs that sierra leone IBL sounds excellent. hope youll do some crosses with that peppery P-Red or any other phenos. shit anything you put up will be good! glad to hear your able to get these re freshed so many things have been lost wish you much luck and good vibes
 

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