Vice reports…. A while back we stopped using the big trucks—which are often shared by other smugglers—because all the gangster stuff was too bloody.
Paul is an experienced global importer of cannabis resin, also known as hash or hashish, into the UK market. He specializes in smuggling boutique, small-batch Moroccan hash, although he also imports high-quality weed and other cannabis products. We spoke to him about how coronavirus has impacted his business and how he finds it impossible to ever relax.
Hey, you around?
A non-business call, how refreshing. All is well, thanks for asking. I’m happy not to be in a major city, the lockdown would be difficult for me, as I can’t sit still. COVID-19 has changed many things for me and my small team.
Where are you on lockdown?
Sorry, I’m not saying.
How long have you been doing this job?
I got into the cannabis trade young – over 20 years ago. I had trouble at school, and I was expelled for reasons that were completely unjust. That injustice created a rebellious nature in me. I was so angry at being excluded by the system. It destroyed me – I went off the rails.
What is it you sell exactly?
High-quality, boutique hashish. It comes into the UK in bales of 30kg. The THC level is extremely high – many, times stronger than normal hash in the UK. We sell it on to dealers. The street price, if you buy it from smaller dealers, is £250 an ounce. People who like high-grade hashish are no aggravation. I’m not involved in importing the cheap, commercial hash that’s less than 5 percent THC, that business is connected to all the arrests, robberies and debts. It’s a trail of carnage.
What are your profit margins?
The margins now are awful – about 7 percent gross. It was 30 percent seven years ago. It fell because of the rise of the illegal cannabis farming industry in the UK, which meant more people bought weed and less people bought hashish.
How do you deal with the stress of the job?
I deal with stress poorly now, as I don’t drink or do drugs. The gear and beer were perfect medicines in moderation. I can’t sleep. I feel psychologically affected all the time. The stress is caused by fear of my family finding out. I’d say about 80 percent of my worry is family-based. 10 percent is arrest. 10 per cent is a fear of lifestyle loss, because I love to travel.