In the hazy halls of marijuana folklore, one name reigns supreme: Nevil Schoenmakers.
The reclusive Australian/Dutch dual national’s work breeding and improving the genetics of plants made him a legend among cannabis users in the 1980s, as his potent and hardy varieties become the basis for most of the strains widely used around the world today.
But after fleeing United States government attempts to extradite him from Australia to face a raft of drug-related charges, Schoenmakers vanished – until now.
As the Federal Parliament considers a Bill to regulate the medicinal use of cannabis and states and territories including the ACT and NSW explore ways of allowing gravely ill patients access to the drug legally, the man known as the King of Cannabis is staging a quiet comeback, more than two decades after his dramatic escape from authorities.
Schoenmakers, who set up one of the world’s largest cannabis seed distribution businesses from Holland and used it as a base to send seeds to American customers through the post, has joined Australian medicinal cannabis company AusCann, headed by former Liberal MP Mal Washer and businessmen Troy Langman and Harry Karelis.
Following failed attempts to establish cannabis growing operations in Tasmania and Norfolk Island, AusCann (formerly known as Tasman Health Cannabinoids, or TasCann) is positioning itself to become a licensed provider of cannabis products to Australian and overseas markets, including Canada, as soon as the laws allow it to operate, with Schoenmakers their secret weapon.