Nevil Schoenmakers one of the most influential people in the history of modern cannabis, But who was Nevil Schoenmakers and what do we owe him?….
Nevil was born in Perth, Western Australia, in 1951. His parents were Dutch. As a child, he begins to be interested in Mendel’s Laws of inheritance and fascinated by genetics, he starts breeding parrots and along the way learns the basics of breeding.
His early years were not easy. Starting as a small-time cannabis dealer. He later became addicted to heroin and was arrested several times. Determined to leave behind his past, he left Australia for Holland in 1976 taking advantage of his dual citizenship. At that time he began to grow and consume marijuana to treat his opioid addiction.
But he soon realizes that the commercial varieties, mostly tropical sativas from Thailand, Colombia, Nepal or Africa, were not giving good results in the Dutch climate.
In 1979, he began to grow indoors. However, he fails again. He realizes that the real problem was the genetics that existed at that time, which was neither suitable for outdoor or indoor gardening.
The Birth Of “The Seed Bank”
After attending a drug detoxification program by the Dutch government, he decides to create one of the first seed banks in the Netherlands, The Seed Bank.
He moves to the outskirts, near the border in Germany and on the banks of the Rhine River, where he acquires an old Victorian mansion that years later he would baptize as The Cannabis Castle or Cannabis Castle.
It does not take him long to assemble a large infrastructure consisting of several exterior greenhouses and grow rooms in the basement of the mansion to cultivate cannabis with artificial lighting.
There he begins to carry out his first breeding projects, but he soon realizes that the problem is still poor genetics.
The big change comes when he meets Sam the Skunkman, a Californian breeder who fleeing from the DEA, ends up taking refuge in Holland.
Sam had created the first seed bank in the United States, called Sacred Seeds. Renowned breeders of the time Mendocino Joe and Maple Leaf Wilson were also there. Sam was the original breeder among others of the world-famous Skunk # 1.
In addition to finishing shaping the Original Haze from an incomplete work of the Haze Brothers. Sam arrives in Holland with kilos of seeds of his work. Including Skunk # 1, Original Haze, California Orange, Early Pearl and Hindu Kush.
Shortly after arriving in Holland, Sam founds Cultivators Choice. And in the first High Times Cannabis Cup sweeps the Skunk # 1 to first place.
Nevil and Sam make friends, and Sam decides to sell him some of his seeds. The only condition is that he can only use them to develop new hybrids and not to reproduce and sell them as is.
This would eventually be a matter of conflict between the two that would lead them to break the friendship.
Nevil Schoenmakers International Recognition.
With these new genetics, and some he later got on a trip to the United States, such as G13, Big Bud, Hash Plant, and Northern Light.
Nevil begins to develop one of the most impressive seed catalogs of all time that would soon begin to be known worldwide as a result of winning all five awards in the second High Times Cannabis Cup.
Some of his first works with which he won the Cannabis Cup were Hawaiian x Haze and Durban x Haze. It would be followed by NL # 5 / Haze, one of the best Haze hybrids ever. Also, a series of hybrids using the G13, considered the most powerful variety of the time. The new strains were G13 x Hash Plant and G13 x Northern Light # 2
In a short time, he was as rich as he was famous.
By selling seeds by mail from his mansion. He amassed a huge fortune.
In a mythical report made by the magazine High times called “Inside the Cannabis Castle”, Nevil was photographed among the hundreds of dollar bills that came in the mail as payment for the seeds.
Nevil’s Sale of “The Seed Bank” to Sensi Seeds Club.
This did not sit well with the DEA, despite the fact that its activity was entirely legal in the Netherlands. Shortly after, in 1990, Nevil was arrested in Perth, Australia, whilst visiting relatives.
However, he managed to flee using a friend’s documentation and returns to Holland. Whose justice system dismisses the charges, since there had not been any law broken.
This was a turning point for Nevil. Perhaps with the aim of moving away from the media focus.
He decides to sell The Cannabis Castle and all its genetic collection to Ben Dronkers, owner of another of the pioneer seed banks, Sensi Seed Club. This merger would become known as Sensi Seed Bank as we know it today. Nevil continued to work as an advisor and breeder at Sensi Seeds for some years.
Great classics of Sensi Seeds like Jack herer, Silver haze, NL # 5xHaze, Hash plant or Northern Lights among many others, would not have existed if it were not for Nevil Schoenmakers. Due to both the sale of their genetics to Sensi, Nevil decides to leave Sensi Seeds.
Joining Greenhouse Seeds.
In 1997, Greenhouse Opens its third coffee shop in Holland, Green House Centrum. Arjan Roskam, the owner of the other two stores and founder of Greenhouse Seeds. Decides to welcome Nevil as co-owner. Following this new relationship, Nevil and Shantibaba, (Scott Blackley) breeder at Greenhouse seeds, met.
Nevil does not hesitate to make available his seeds and plants to his new partners, with which they begin to work.
After the success of Jack Herer, Nevil and Shantibaba set out to recreate it, for which they use the same genetics. The result is the Super Silver Haze. It is one of the most awarded varieties of cannabis in history and a bestselling success. Many believe Neville’s Haze, was reached by combining NL # 5 / Haze x Haze, to obtain an improved pure Haze.
GOODBYE TO GREENHOUSE AND ITS INFLUENCE IN MR NICE
Howard, after being arrested in Mallorca In 1988, where he was living at the time, and spend several years in prison, on release he decided to move to cannabis activism.
Shantibaba had some seeds and clones from his time at Greenhouse. In addition to seeds from the works of Nevil Schoenmakers.
With all this, he began to develop a catalog that mainly consists of versions of the Greenhouse classics. As well as versions of some varieties of The Seed Bank and incomplete works of Nevil. The most famous Critical Mass, it is but an updated Big Bud.
The Legacy Of Nevil Schoenmakers.
Let us think that varieties such as Jack Herer, Critical Mass, Super Silver Haze, Big Bud, Neville’s Haze, NL # 5 x Haze or Silver Haze. Would not have existed had it not been for Nevil.
Nor the Northern Lights, the G13 hybrids or the first works with Ruderalis. And of course, all the crosses and selections that came later. The list is endless, from the legendary Amnesia to the Critical, Northern Light, Black Jack, Cinderella 99 and a very long, etc.
In recent years, Nevil Schoenmakers was involved in the movement to legalize medical cannabis in Australia. More recently, he co-authored a presentation to an NSW government investigation on the subject. Hepatitis with which he fought all his life. Finally, ending the life of the “Cannabis King” as he was baptized by the High Times magazine in 1985.
Nevil Schoenmakers (1956 – 2019)