The Mysterious Mr. Watson

He was called Sam the Skunkman when I first met him, which was in Amsterdam.

Craig Copetus was the first to write about Nevil’s Seed Bank operation in Holland. Nevil was a recovering heroin addict who had obtained a government grant to start a cannabis seed business as part of his recuperation. Prior to that Nevil had been making hash oil and barely survived an explosion. Nevil was a pioneer in altered states of consciousness who just happened to have a serious interest in breeding. Anyway, even though Nevil took out an ad in High Times, I didn’t pay attention to the Seed Bank until Craig’s story was published in a Washington DC magazine.

So I went off to Holland to meet Nevil, and was waylaid by Sam the Skunk man and Robert Connell Clarke immediately after that meeting happened. They wanted to give me their spin on Nevil’s operation, and the quality of Dutch homegrown versus Cali homegrown, which was vast. They also let me know they’d reaped a fortune selling seeds to Nevil.

Now certain disinfo agents spread the story Sam ordered me to start the Cannabis Cup so the DEA could survey growers. Truth is, Sam had no idea I’d be inventing the Cannabis Cup later that year, as I didn’t even get the idea until I was on the plane home.

Did Sam’s stories of the Santa Cruz harvest festivals of the 1970s influence me? Of course. But Sam never presented himself as a major player in those harvest festivals, or even the boss of Sacred Seeds, or the breeder of Skunk #1, which was his primary strain. The story I got was Skunk #1 popped up unexpectedly and everybody loved it, and it won some early harvest festivals. Which is pretty much the story you get about most of the famous strains.

When I returned to Holland for the first Cannabis Cup months later, Sam was there to greet me. He wasn’t sure he wanted Cultivator’s Choice, the name of his new Seed Company, to enter the first Cannabis Cup, which so far consisted of Nevil’s Seed Bank and Ben Dronkers’ Sensi Seeds. As I recall the Sensi Seed strains were all freshly harvested and we couldn’t smoke them without running the samples through a microwave. It would take another year for many to catch on to the importance of curing, and keep in mind some people in the industry weren’t even stoners. Nevil didn’t care whether he won, or whether Skunk #1 won, because he had both Skunk #1 and Northern Lights. The final decision was not Dave Watson’s, but something entirely decided by grow guru Bram Frank and I because we liked the taste. The only other judge was the photographer Jiffy Schnack, who preferred Northern Lights. Nevil at the time was into dry sift made from Haze, which he kept to himself, while Sam and Robert were smoking full-melt Skunk #1, and were giddy about the way it turned to liquid when they hit it with a flame. This was all new to me.

A few years later, Arjan of the Greenhouse showed me a report by Mario Lap indicating Sam was really Dave Watson, who’d been busted in Santa Cruz one month before arriving in Amsterdam. And he’d supposedly arrived in Amsterdam with hundreds of thousands of seeds for sale one month after his bust. After selling the seeds to Nevil, who was making a fortune at the time in cash sales, Watson got the only license to study medicinal cannabis in Holland. It sure looked like Watson was secretly working with some powerful forces, and those operations might include tracking the ID’s of all the strains of the world and documenting the growers and dealers distributing them.

I would not be surprised if Watson was a spook at one time, and I can guarantee the world of illegal drugs is filled with spooks in all possible nooks and crannies. He went on to co-found Hortapham, which made the deal with GW Pharma, which made the bigger, better deal with Bayer, the powerhouse in European medicine. Surely you realize big money is an Octopus that pulls strings everywhere it goes? Truth is, however, Watson lost his fortune when his shares were revoked. Or at least, that’s the story I was told.

But on the other hand, I notice some trolls twisting this tale and inventing details, like Watson “ordered” me to create the Cannabis Cup so he could use the event to gather intelligence. Under that theory, you can basically end all harvest festivals or gatherings of any sort because radical conferences are always milked for intel. I started the event to create a standard for cannabis seeds, and that’s exactly what happened. What Watson represented was the arrival of the West Coast hybrids into Europe.

Meanwhile all the paranoia about Watson tracking the DNA of every cannabis strain worldwide so growers everywhere would be busted is about to evaporate, isn’t it? Even if they have a list in the works for the last twenty years, it won’t be much good in two or three years when cannabis becomes legal everywhere.

I’d say we’re on the downside of the tipping point.

18 Replies to “The Mysterious Mr. Watson”

  1. Steven, you are great!
    In my opinion, this article is very important if you want to understand the history of the last two decades and probably the not-too-good-for-the-future ending in the not too distant future. I think you had to experience a very crucial part of it then. Saying thank you, sending greetings and wishing you all the best,

  2. Hello Steven,

    before I get to my actual question to you, I would like, without you in the ass to crawl, pronounce a great compliment for your site. Thanks Steven, for your great and informative work.

    What I am about: I follow the last decades of cannabis with great interest. To name a few keywords:

    Uruguay/Monsanto/Bayer, Nevil/AusCann, Dronkers/Sensi, W.Bruining/Positronics|Nirvana, H.v.Dalen/Dutch Passion, Shantibaba/Mr.Nice, Mila/R.C.Clarke/ E.Rosenthal vs. R.Delp/US- Patent -XTR400 and of course J.Pietri..

    The 1993 Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam must have been a very special one ..

    Let’s quote “the internet”: “… Four seed companies entered: Dutch Passion, NHV, Nirvana and Sensi Seed Bank. … ”
    But who was behind the seed bank “NHV” in 1993?

    Several attempts on my part to clarify this question in relevant forums failed; Nobody and nobody answered ..

    Can you tell me who was “NHV”?

    And: Will your books published in german language and what’s your meaning about “Surfers and Thai-Sticks”?

    Sending greetings and reverentially pulling the hat in front of you,

    Dirk -Germany/google_translated-

  3. Note from Charles:
    Hi friends i personally know everyone in question here , I know David have met Rob Clark on several occasions with Dave , I am in regular contact with Nevil and Spent a weekend with Mario Lapp last year .
    First let me say that people have called me some kind of spook and many other non flattering names etc
    I find myself in a interesting position I am friendly with everyone here except Joe P he is about the only person who I can not say is credible in anyway shape or form .
    Many years ago when I lived in NL I was also warned by Aryan from greenhouse that Watson & Rich were spooks .
    Here is my take on the situation having literally herd all sides first let me Say that I like Dave Watson very much he and his family are very nice people and out of all the folks I visited with when I lived in NL I miss my time with them very much .
    I feel that Dave indeed did get in trouble in Cali that he was recruited by the DEA and that he was Given a handler in Netherlands that Handler was Mike Rich or Whatever name happens to be on his passport at a given time .
    I think he was directed to Netherlands where he met Mike Rich at the Airport and that they were to attempt to isolate genetic markers in Cannabis that was commonly be shipped around the globe so the DEA could identify source countries on seizures and trace possible money etc
    I have knowledge of other things that occurred over the years and Mike Rich was always at the eye of the storm .
    Something happened that was very intense I don’t recall the date but I think around 99 after riding out that storm David was released from his obligation to whoever he served I know more specifics but I will not betray trust and write Specifics here I’m sure some of you will know what I am talking about .
    Mike Rich still kept going leaving damaged lives in his path its interesting when David introduced me to Mike it came with a disclaimer that I did not really understand at that time but clearly understand now .
    Mike Rich continued to latch onto new breeders / growers anyone with talent and genetics and come up with interesting exploitive projects that often left him in possession of Genetics mailing lists and cash .
    He puts people with talent in contact with others who really need there services pimps them out while carefully gathering information the entire time , many of these situations have ended with good people behind bars everyone looses except Rich .
    For those who manage to escape his games he discredits and spreads misinformation about them and carefully scrapes every ounce of flesh that might remain from there work .
    That is my take on the situation

  4. Hello Steven,
    Many thanks for the previous, very interesting and insightful post.
    Unfortunately, in my opinion, strange placement of punctuation marks in some important places creates ambiguity.
    Is it possible to publish the source of the “Note from Charles”?
    Or can be written to Charles?
    Many thanks for your effort and best regards,

  5. From Krusty Surfer: been Following this story since 2010- i came across different websites that seemed to corroborate what you are espousing Steve. i grew Neville’s strains in San Diego in 87 and was one of the Scared newbies that watched Operation Green merchant or was it Green Thumb? rollout across america netting my Grower supply house and his whole operation-they took down quite a few operations that day in Sandiego-Joe the Owner was a real nice guy and the NL1 clones were A#1 that he sourced. anywho that scared everyone because at that point they were using Financial records to bust Joes Clients (and many others across America) who were dumb or just not thinking about the paper trail left behind when you buy with a credit card or by your grow supplies (large amounts) shipped to ones grow opps doorstep-hindsight was 20/20, i was not netted bt that scheme-i was small time but i studied what N.S was doing and acquired enough of his doozy strains from the Originasl holland seed bank and catalog (God bless Nevilles heart)-(NL1- Silver Pearl -Haze x Nl5 x Sk1 and a few others to start my own breeding program from seed for more seed-a water leak quashed those dreams and ensuing bust saw all my crossbreeding efforts end up in the S.D evidence locker never to be seen again.
    Fast Fwd-when joining the medical movement in Michigan in 2010 i thought i was ready to grow again- however i was disappointed by what i saw in the medical dispensaries and online as far as Genetics go……. NOTHING RIVALED WHAT NEVILLE HAD DONE! since 2010 its been a shitshow of bad genetics & hermie laden bug infested low yield crap that the market is saturated with passing before my plate-i refuse to grow!
    however-lady luck smiles sometimes though, i have been fortunate enough to meet a Old War Vet that Has The Real NL1 strain preserved all these years in clone form! just as awesome as i remember!
    So-I Hope This Monkey Business Ends with the Spooks and Double Agents of GW/HP protecting their Businesses end of sketchy genetic Lines of SK1 Watson/Dea engineered Hermaphrodite Terror weed that they use to sell their GOVT SANCTIONED patented medicines with! so much $$$$$$$ involved-so much BS…..
    Steve Hagar you are correct No One Gets a Free Pass unless you have something to trade away for ones own freedom.
    and Mahalo for all the Work you and others have done to make it so people can legally medicate with little worry-forever grateful to you Warriors!!!
    aloha Timothy

  6. Hi Steve my attention was drawn back here by a email exchange with Watson today , Yes indeed I am talking about Fat Mike Taylor (rich) to Clarify David only introduced me to Fat Mike and had nothing to do with what went on down south .
    David denies what I have said Fat Mike has led many the man to his slaughter prison cell or financial ruin , he waits until everyone is in jail and or dead in exile etc and cleans up .
    The only reason I made it out was a loyal friend with connections called me and got me on a flight I made it out 3 hours before everything went to hell .
    He was trying to recruit replacements within a few weeks of everyone going down , each time its like lottery for him financially and he feds get a win also .
    He latches onto anyone with any success in the Cannabis business in recent years he latched onto some other young breeders in Amsterdam , LOL he tried to send them down south to but a close friend in the UK talked them out of going down that path .
    Everything I have said has been represented honestly yes “I think ” and ” I feel ” based on all the information and exposure I have had Nevil is also convinced he and I talk on a weekly basis .

  7. Watson posted a comment on the original blog as “Hemp Guy.” Although I can’t find it, I remember he wanted to know if I thought Rob Clarke was a spook. He put up some obfuscations and used the phrase LEO. A reader responded with this: Hugh: “What is interesting is hemp guy used the term LEO’s…most of us lay people don’t know the term or wouldn’t use it…but LEO’s do…a lot.”

  8. Thanks Steve, I just read the post by HempGuy again.
    That’s right, remarkable.

    According to my research almost all involved in this great story have dirt on the plug. One more, the other less. My current knowledge is depressing; I assume that two parallel dirty stories hit each other head-on. A third dirty story is the knocking out of money by publishing partly true events.

    If only not that stupid punctuation in Charles’s comments …

    1. I don’t tamper with anyone’s responses, any editing I would do would only twist the situation further. Are you aware that Charles came into the cannabis scene out of a racist community that preached white power? Or that the enormous grow op in Mexico Charles got involved with ended up with everyone but Charles dead? And then, there’s another English dude in this drama named Gypsy Nirvana, and I had my encounters with him.

  9. Hello Steve,

    due to a small language barrier, I’m not sure if everything is right and allowed, what I’m doing here … and it’s not a forum either … that’s why I try to be brief. By the way, I have never personally met any of the persons I write about here. My assumptions are based solely on almost 40 years of “observation of the scene”. For example: Hemp Guy wrote “… Our biggest enemy for decades has been the DEA and LEO’s in general …” and also a video of a stronger man with a shotgun on fenced area is known.
    In my opinion, the decisive period for absolute commercialization, with all its positive and rapidly increasing negative consequences, is relatively easy to isolate:

    The super bitter mycelium DPW|ER was vaccinated in April 1985 into the growing medium WB|MT.

    Am I right that MT was interspersed with the toxic hyphae DRakaMRakaRCC?
    And what was there first? Hen or egg?

    In the meantime, I no longer know what I can believe.
    The swiftly woven network seems to be the turning point of hemp culture.
    I believe.

  10. Source (old):

    Hemp Guy
    JULY 7, 2014 AT 8:19 AM
    I​ would not be surprised if Watson is a spook​

    Gee wizz Steve I though you were above this kind of crap, you would not be surprised if I was a spook?
    A spook that started the worlds very first seed comapany, has worked for Cannabis legalization for 50 years, tax and regulate has been my mantra, for decades, not to mention my work bringing Cannabis back into mainsteram medicine, as well as all the work I did for industrial hemp to bring it back into the mainstream as well as help get hemp cultivation legalized in half a dozen countries. Also my close relationship with RCC, do you also think he is a spook? Ridiculous​..
    Ask Todd about me and RCC, it is sad you think this.
    How would you feel if I started telling everyone that I think you and High Times were running
    lacky dogs of the DEA or some other spook organization, and was now using your Abakus journal as a vehicle to collect info on the Colorado Cannabis scene?
    I do not believe it in the slighest, but how would you feel? Get the idea????
    Our biggest enemy for decades has been the DEA and LEO​s in general, now with Cannabis changeing and the succsess the whole scene has changed, now we are all staking out little or big corners and many are attacking each other, what a shame.
    Quote end;

  11. From Hugh:
    I know and am personal friends with Tom Alexander who was busted in Operation green Merchant. In fact I met with him in California this past Sunday. I asked him about a business I want to start related to legality coming to Oregon, but I also asked about Sam Watson etc. He said he doubted it…then I carried it further myself and I know the science behind GWP and Cannabis. I went down the rabbit hole and am back in school at 52 having taking bio chem just this spring. To the point. I just spent an hour on Face Book messaging with Joe Pietro. I confronted him on several claims he made including what I know to be outright lies regarding my friend Tom Alexander. Interestingly he is from Long Island NY where I am originally from. All Joe Pietro would do besides bring up a few facts and mostly BS anecdotes he believes, is change the point I was making and reiterate to buy his book. It is all about money for him regardless of some truth. You can see Joe’s true character on this page with his condescending comment. He claims Sam/Dave Watson told him what he is claiming is true…meanwhile if believable the above mentioned post by hemp guy makes a different claim and notice Joe Pietro attacks the guy who he claims told him about the DEA and hortapharma and GWP and now he is in denial? I think Joe is in denial and or lying blatantly. I told him to meet or call me, he wouldn’t and I know why. He lives in fear of the truth, which I know and have…notice I would meet in public and he won’t…or even call…it speaks volumes.

  12. Hello, dear plant friends.

    Cannabis Sativa is historically located at a crucial crossroads; Examples include GW Pharma, Monsanto, Bayer, CRISPR-Cas9, automated and or feminized strains and so cheerfully on … This historical development can be pursued relatively well on the Internet and printed magazines nowadays. Despite reading hundreds of websites as well as 4,20 meters of printed publications, I would like to know, what exactly happened. The problem is in my opinion: Only who was there, knows exactly. And who was there, will hardly talk, because almost without exception, all have traveled two tracks; Whether that’s true, let’s see. F * CK!

    I boldly describe my assumption: The final act of the drama did not begin when D. P. Watson came to the Netherlands, but already more or less shortly before!

    A single Internet post, which was spread almost inflationary in various forums under various user names, managed to pull Mr. Watson very deep in the dirt; Yes, of course, this gentleman fabricated quite a lot of nonsense, although he had the status quo in mind even then, I doubt it.

    Ultimately, it stiffened on a fertilizer manufacturer today as the linchpin. And that’s exactly what I do not believe! Of course there are these affidavits, but even then I suspect a degree of twofoldness …

    I would be happy to answer the following questions:

    When and how did Robert Connell Clarke and Ed Rosenthal come to the Netherlands?
    Who exactly belonged to the Green Team around Wernard Bruining?
    What exact contacts to USA did the Green Team have?
    Who was Michael Taylor? Who was Michael Rich?
    Is Big Mike the same as Fat Mickey?
    Who were the founding members of Maripharm?
    Who are the persons of unknown name in the affidavit of Mr. Cogo from 1994?

    Green Greetings!

  13. Hey Steve,

    it is incomprehensible to me and deeply regrettable that just here so little is happening on the subject.

    Since I do not have at all the resources and contacts for the lucid elucidation of the darkness around some very honorable figures, I have to surrender with a heavy heart to this topic; Although my noxious opinion, a lot of issues are to be clarified.
    Even sufficiently existing honest memoirs will hardly be available, too large in recent months have become the memory gaps of history.

    The origin of the Dutch part of the story probably dates back to and around 1985. The first intimate Dutch-American flirtations appear between actors and genes. But I can not afford Wurm to drill at such monuments. In worldwide forums sooner or later administrative intervention is intervened; Even if avatars seem to be real players, the truth remains dependent on perspective.

    For me insignificant Furz go three dozen years of life with the widest possible research on cannabis Sativa to an end. My conclusion after a story of months of dark green-brown stem-seed-leaves-flower-bushes exported throughout the world in the 1980s to Monsanto in the 2010s: A shame that nobody and no one has the balls to confess color when who and where how exactly did the gene cart drive in the dirt?

    I find it remarkable that less than a handful of publications make the subject very hot; Their heat seems to be so great that it prevents any attempt at clarification. Woe, the administrators and trolls are let loose …

    Life is amazing.
    When my decision to retreat was made, I rummaged through the Internet and it came to me a written underpinnings of my thesis on the monitor that the Americans known by name detached from any grow combinates already 7 to 8 years before Sam’s meteorite landing in A’dam knew more than just. And from the time also come the unknown figures in affidavits.

    More or less stinking shit and without exception have all the actors stuck to the shoe, because: Who of those had no contact with and with the DEA?

    I say deeply sad with a big life hole sitting,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.