ISMOKE Interviews is our cannabis-themed interview series, designed to give you an insight into people involved with UK cannabis legalisation campaign.
In the last episode, we launched the series with an interview with Sy Dignam from Hampshire Cannabis Community, which you can watch here if you missed it.
This episode features Simpa Carter, founder & chairman of Durham City Cannabis Club, as well as regular guest article-writer for ISMOKE Magazine with his post-prohibition series, which you can find here.
We sat down with Simpa to film an exclusive interview all about the man himself; his passions, his experiences so far, and of course, a lot more cannabis-related topics.
Quick Links: ISMOKE Interviews Series One
Read the interview transcript below:
Tyler: Welcome to an episode of ISMOKE Interviews with me your host, Tyler Green. This is a series designed for you to get to know some people within the UK cannabis community a bit better.
I have with me Simpa Carter, who is the chairman and founder of Durham City Cannabis Club. He is somebody that I have been in correspondence with for a while, after first meeting at an event over a year ago. He is also somebody that does the occasional article – well, a weekly article for ISMOKE Magazine.
Join me and Simpa for this episode of ISMOKE Interviews…
Tyler: What made you get involved in the cannabis activism scene?
Simpa: Well, I’ve always been active, but it was primarily Product Earth last year. A mate of mine had a spare ticket, I thought go on then – I couldn’t imagine what a weed expo would be like in the UK. And man, were my eyes opened.
And within the first few hours I had this galvanised feeling inside that I was going to start or be part of a club or be part of the community in some which way. Everything I’ve done since has been to try and chase that dream.
Tyler: We’ve seen you launch your own set of cannabis events, which started as sort of a one-off, but then actually ended up being monthly, is that correct?
Simpa: Yeah – we worked with a few of the other local clubs and we did the Durham 420 event. And then from there, given the public’s response, I just thought why not do one every month; same site, same sort of deal.
And we did 4 – our last one was last weekend. I mean, very successful. The peak of which I think, one of the events, maybe June, with maybe 350-400 people.
And I call them protestivals. So as well as a celebration of the plant, and all that cannabis can be, but also getting people together en masse to consume, a form of civil disobedience to show that look, 3-400 people can smoke cannabis on a sunny afternoon, can have fun and it can be no issue – better than that, we actually leave the grounds cleaner than when we turn up. We liaise with the council’s green team for them to come and clean. So we’re actually saving the council money as well as showing them the more positive sides of cannabis consumption.
Tyler: What made you take the step from just being an activist to setting up your own events, like what made you want to be an event organiser, rather than being someone who just attends these things?
Simpa: I’ve got a lot of passion for this. So I wanted to make sure that I could get out 100% of my energies and my effort, and I figured that the best way to do that was by hosting these events under my own auspice, so that I control what was going on and it goes in the direction which I was hoping for it to – which is for it to maximise the publicity around the events, and to show that the consumption of cannabis like I say is not to the detriment of the individual or society.
Tyler: You’re not only a founder of Durham City Cannabis Club, but you’ve also founded Psy 4 Psy, which has actually led to you being on the television on the BBC – can you tell us more about that?
Simpa: I’m very much against all prohibition in all forms because it is to the detriment to the individual and society. Drugs can be useful to individuals. And it is through my own experiences with micro-dosing LSD that I decided to start PSY4PSY, which is psychedelics for psychiatry. Which is to basically try and show people that these are tools, from MDMA, especially psilocybin from mushrooms. There’s now studies being done all around the country and all around the world that show that these have unbelievable medicinal effects.
I’m evolving it going forward – hopefully working more with the Psychedelics society in the UK and trying to put on more events. I mean, I’m looking to actually rent a venue which will allow us to do film nights for the DCCC (Durham City Cannabis Club), so we’ll have people like Miles down, doing a Rose by Any Other Name, hopefully we can get Jason Reed up from LEAP to do Culture High. And then using the same venue to then have psychedelic nights as well, so like show screenings and education nights and just connecting the community with people who know what they’re talking about.
Tyler: How do you get time to run Durham City Cannabis Club and do all of this stuff?
Simpa: Being an activist has actually given me more confidence and more control back over my life, so actually by doing it, it’s healing me in a great sense, and it’s connecting me in my community in a way. Before I was sort of demonised and ostracised because of my views on drugs and my views on cannabis and what-like. But now I’m more welcomed into the community.
Section 2: ISMOKE Your Way
Tyler: Now a part which I know my viewers are going to enjoy, this is called ISMOKE Your Way – so this is my chance to smoke in a way that you like smoking. Have you brought anything for us to enjoy today?
Simpa: I have – as our previous viewers will have seen, I’m normally hitting your bong, so I’ve brought down some spliffs!
Tyler: Joints – I hope?!
Simpa: Sorry – Joints
Simpa: I brought this with some hash, some critical 2.0 and some girl scout cookies just to indulge in.
Tyler: Do you want to spark it up?
[Simpa Lights joint]
Tyler: That looks like a nice size joint as well for us to enjoy.
Simpa: It’s a spherical Joint.
And my viewers are gonna love this, because I’m always getting told that I don’t smoke enough joints on the table, so yeah..
Simpa: Happy to see it
Tyler: Charlie, if you’re watching mate – I do read ‘em.
Oh mate, that tastes lovely – burning nice and pure and yeah, nice white ash in it as well. I can barely taste the hash, did you say there was some hash in there?
Simpa: Yeah, its’ one of my mate’s scissor hash so it’ll be in and around there somewhere
Tyler: He didn’t say scissor hash! Like… We’re trying to get a film done here!
Tyler: We met up out in Barcelona earlier this year, and we had a great time. What strain did you enjoy out there the most?
Simpa: I can’t remember what it’s called now.. was it Marley’s Collie?
Tyler: Yeah, from the Remedy!
Simpa: From Remedy, yeah. Cos the smell of it, the look of it – literally if I look back to the time that we were there, it’s a standout strain.
Tyler: Where is on your dream list of holiday destinations and why?
Simpa: Man.. Erm… I wanna get out to British Colombia. Canadians have been doing some amazing things with strains for decades. Some of the best strains in the world have come from that side of Canada.
California, obviously. If I’m running the club, the same reason I’m going out to Barcelona at the end of the year is actually to meet up with some admins who run clubs themselves – is to try and figure out how to make a workable model in the UK and what I think would best work for Durham, given our location and given our police forces’ unique position.
Tyler: So you think you next – or your ideal – travel destination would be based around work, because you’d use it for an opportunity, you wouldn’t just sack everything off and fly out to Jamaica?
Simpa: I’ve been long-term unemployed because of my mental health and before I found this, I didn’t have much purpose in my life really. And now I’ve found its like play, you know what I mean? Some days I’ll sit and I’m writing for like 12 hours a day.
And ultimately all I want is the normalisation of cannabis. I want to wake up and not feel like a criminal. I want to be able to say when somebody asks “what you doing?” that I’m off for a smoke like I’m going for a pint.
Tyler: In your opinion, what country has the best weed?
Simpa: Oooh… You can’t ask that on video!
Tyler: I’ve got to, this is it – I’m putting you on the spot now, we’ve had a smoke, it’s time!
Simpa: Well, I haven’t tried any of the American weed. I’ve had a go of some Canadian Genetics which I thoughts was very impressive. But ultimately, I’m biased. It’s got to be the UK at the minute, you know what I mean? What we’re doing is we’re gathering strains from around the world and growing them, home-growing them in the UK. And I think the love and tenderness that we’re putting into it compared to the industrial grows around the world means that it’s more of a cottage industry and we’re…you know what I mean? We’re loving our weed strains. We’re now getting cannaisseurs popping up all other the place, whereas before people would just smoke weed. Now they want to know what it is, what it’ll do and what the terpene profile is, you know what I mean? It’s Britain, it’s got to be Britain!
Tyler: Let’s continue the smoking, so I have the Weed-Star Wasabi Line bong here. I’m going to load up some weed into the Weed-Star Wasabi Line Bong. Is this…Is this mine? Is this from this morning?
Simpa: It’s not from me…
Tyler: [laughs] Do you want to smoke it?
Simpa: Yeah, let’s see what it is. See if we can guess what it is, guess the strain!
Tyler: We’re going to work out what it is
Simpa: Quite fruity.
Tyler: Can you work it out?
Simpa: I’m not sure what that is…
Tyler: I was having a think while you were doing it, and I think that it is probably Early Skunk. That’s what I think it is. So I’ve never tried Early Skunk before [this week], it’s going to be getting the review treatment. But I think I remember having a cheeky bong of it this morning.
Simpa: That’s Girl Scout Cookies
Tyler: So that smells lovely. Is this UK-grown?
Simpa: Yeah – that’s from Durham
Tyler: Nice. Yeah – that’s smelling really nice actually.
Simpa: It could do with a bit of a clean-up, the trim but..
Tyler: Looks better than some of the trim jobs I’ve seen recently! What’s the other one?
Simpa: Critical 2.0
Tyler: Critical 2.0!
Simpa: Critical 1.0 was very fruity anyway, but that is just… it’s a next level.
Tyler: That smells good…
Simpa: Yeah – that’s that critical 2.0
Through the Yoda Bowl, save a little bit for you in there as well.. You left a little bit of your-er-
Simpa: Mystery weed
Tyler: Anyway, gonna hit this through the Yoda Weed-start wasabi. Simpa’s got a joint, I’m already feeling good, so I’ll see you on the other side, guys. Cheers!
Simpa: Ooh, that is a creamy hit
[laughing + coughing]
Tyler: Wow, that was a creamy hit.
Simpa: It’s not that long cured, but it’s just so smooth, so well-flushed – it gives it that big, that big hit, do you know what I mean?
Section 3: Cottonmouth Quenchers
Tyler: So, this is a great bit Simpa that I love doing, especially after we’ve been smoking, and it is called cottonmouth quenchers.
Tyler: We have brewed some tea, and in a very British way we are now going to enjoy our tea with our smoke, because I think that that is important. I’ve got here my Mr. Scruff Mug, absolute legend.
Simpa: Big up High End Edibles.
Tyler: How do you like your tea Simpa?
Simpa: Usually I’d say white, but obviously hemp milk now is what I use. It’s got omega 3, 6 and 9 in. It’s got amino acids, good for the brain, and it’s tasty. Hemp milk was.. I mean, cannabis I’ve said is our saviour many times, in the whole Jack Herer spirit. I think that yeah, it’s a viable, good alternative.
Tyler: Now that you are a vegan, what is the strangest thing that you now eat that you might not have eaten before your veganism?
Simpa: It’s going to sound stupid, but tomatoes. I used to hate tomatoes, like loved tomato sauce, like baked beans, but now I’ll put tomatoes on everything, I really quite enjoy it.
Because it’s forced me to broaden my horizons, whereas before I’d kind of go – fast food, I’ll have that, and I’ll have that – you just go for your 5 or 6 meals that you eat in about 20 different establishments. Whereas now I sort of go – you get what you’re given in some places, and others you places you have more choice, and you just – I don’t know, it’s really widened my palette.
Tyler: What has been a personal highlight for you from your own events series?
Simpa: June Bloom, because I think it encapsulated everything I was trying to do this year. We had like Callie and Simon Blackwell and Deryn. And we had Jeff Ditchfield as well, came over. We had one of the larger crowds, beautiful weather. For that day it felt like everything just worked perfectly and that’s kind of been what I’ve been chasing with the other events, like I say it encapsulated everything that I want from the community really, the community that I’m trying to create of people who have access via these events, and that did it for me.
Tyler: And how many events had you ran up until that point?
Simpa: That was the third event that we ran.
Tyler: You’ve basically set your formula up and within your third event, second solo, you’ve basically got things right. That’s inspiring mate! Have there been many challenges running these public events? What has public perception in Durham, for example been to your events, members of the public walking past etc?
Simpa: Critical is nice. Your bong kind of farts when it pulls
Tyler: it does!
Simpa: When it pulls the air through
Tyler: When you fill it up and it sort of goes *bubbling sound effect*
Simpa: Public perception… The majority good. I would say passers-by that have come and spoken to us, the first event, we had a bunch of cyclists come over. And they’d heard something about hemp being nutritious. So I ran through some facts with them.
We’ve then had sort of elderly people coming, just sort of curious as to what was going on, and then well they’ve just sort of… they’ve walked away in disbelief, but humorously, you know what I mean?
And then we’ve had the generic sort of young people – I say young people – like 18-mid-20’s. That have then used the areas socially, that have then turned up on a Saturday anyway, and been a bit taken aback by what we are doing. But then they’ve been educated, they’ve had an opportunity to shop at the stalls and to meet their community.
I’d say from the majority, it’s been beneficial, the public and the place that we’re doing it – it’s a place that I’ve come to use the colloquial term “hemp gardens” – that’s the area that we’re trying to take back as a community action group.
Through austerity, the council now allows for certain projects to be taken out of their control to save money. So instead of them paying for the upkeep what we’re proposing to do is take the gardens under Durham City Cannabis Club’s control with other community action groups in the area and then set up a vegetable patch for areas as well, and basically allotments on one side- and then all that food we can then donate to the local food charities and the food banks.
And then on the other areas, we can use soil amnesty from the grows, and sticks and stems amnesties to then build hempcrete benches. We can then fundraise to build bins and such. There’s a kid’s facility next door that has disappeared, that we want to fundraise for. There’s a toilet block at the end that we want to use hempcrete technology to replace.
Section 4 – Interview Part 2
Tyler: What’s next, what’s the other one? Girl Scout?
Simpa: Girl Scout Cookies
Tyler: is that this one?
Tyler: So, this Girl Scout actually, erm… yeah. Looks quite different to the imported girl scout that you might see.
Simpa: That’s an auto from Fastbuds. They’re basically doing all of the American and Canadian strains, but they’re making them autos. But as you can tell the quality difference is not..
Tyler: What’s your opinion on auto-strains, just while I roll this up?
Simpa: Well-grown, there’s not much of a difference real- well, there is the differences obviously. But a well-grown auto beats a poorly grown pheno, do you know what I mean?
The auto grows, people do them for different reasons, I mean it’s space, size, timing
Simpa: Yeah – and like I say, well-grown
[nod of approval]
Tyler: And smelling this mate, it’s got the earthy notes, the sweet earthy cookie note that you get from the Girl Scout. I’ve just reviewed Platinum Cookies recently on the channel, and that’s just a phenotype of Girl Scout cookies.
Tyler: So, you work with people outside of the cannabis community, as well as within – for example you had Mike Barnes at your most recent event and the Durham 420 event as well. How is it, getting out of your comfort zone to work with everyday people that maybe aren’t cannabis consumers?
Simpa: I think It’s entirely necessary to, as Jeff pointed out to me at June Bloom, to stop preaching to the converted. And that is the comfortable thing, to then sit around a load of us in a room and regurgitate facts to each other. But this doesn’t further the dialogue, it doesn’t allow us to actually get what we want which is ultimately the end of prohibition.
And Mike Barnes, for example, was brilliant. Bringing it back to 420, there was a few things that I really agreed with, and a few that I sort of disagreed with. And what we did at All out August, we had a debate platform. So it was myself, Trev Coleman and Mike Barnes, and we had a 3-way debate. And it’s through doing this that we’ll normalise it. I mean, he is of the Academic community, he is of the establishment, and it is ultimately the establishment that are denying us the access.
I mean ultimately yeah, we can all have access to cannabis because we do. But what I want is the end of criminality, I want the end of the stigma, I want to just be a person, do you know what I mean?
Tyler: Completely understand man, and I’m so with you on this, and it’s great to have this chat.
I want to know from you, Simpa – what are your Top 3 cannabis strains?
Simpa: Oh..It’s controversial, but as viewers of your previous videos will know, well-cured cheese. The blue terpene – so blue cheese, whatever it is, I cant remember the name of what causes the blues.. Is anaclitic, so that really helps me in my day to day life.
It’s a new one on me this year, but wow I enjoy it – Alaskan Thunder Fuck
Tyler: Alaskan Thunder Fuck?
Simpa: I can sit and write for about 14 hours with a couple of joints of that.
And that one for one CBD/THC stress killer, produced by Royal Queen Seeds. That for me is medicine, you know what I mean? That’s what’s stabilised my life I would say, most.
Tyler: Blue Cheese, Alaskan Thunder Fuck and CBD Stress Killer are Simpa Carter’s favourite strains – you heard it here first… EXCLUSIVE!
Simpa: You need a Klaxxon
Tyler [Laughing] *Makes Klaxxon Sound*
Tyler: That’s it now for like the main questions, right, so now we’re going to go into the quickfire round, and this is something that I hope my viewers are going to enjoy, just like the first thing that comes to mind now that you are nicely baked, we’re going to talk about stuff…
And er, I don’t even know if it’s going to make sense at this point, but we’re just gonna roll with it!
If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 things would you bring?
Simpa: Oh er.. Matches… [pauses] Seeds, weed seeds, erm.. [long pause] Some edibles? I don’t know..thinking I’d bring food because you’d need it
Tyler: First thing that comes to mind Simpa!
Simpa: Seeds, food, I don’t know ah.. thought too hard
Tyler: Seeds, food and…
Simpa: Food, seeds.
Tyler: Food, seeds and some matches for some reason, rather than like a lighter, or like a firestick?
Simpa: nah, I thought that a lighter would run out, I don’t know why I didn’t think matches would run out
Tyler: Stephen Fry, or Stephen Hawking?
Simpa: Stephen Fry because I could get high with him.
Tyler: Who’s your favourite film director?
Simpa: The dude that did …Sam Raining? Did American Beauty.
Tyler: What is the best single day or date in the year?
Simpa: Oh..420?! [laughs]
Tyler: Star Wars or Star Trek?
Simpa: Star Trek
Tyler: Haze or Kush
Simpa: Kush, because I sleep a lot.
Tyler: Would you rather be too hot or too cold?
Simpa: Too cold, because then you can get warm. When you’re too hot you can’t take enough clothes off, I hate that.
Tyler: What is the best month of the year?
Simpa: July, because it’s got my birthday in!
Tyler: What’s the worst strain you’ve smoked?
Simpa: Erm… I don’t know what it was, but it was fucking, they called it MDF. Somebody from the North had grown fuck loads of shit weed, had to cut it early and put it in blenders and it came in bricks. And you broke it off. And for months people were smoking it, it was MDF, that was the worst shit in the world!
Tyler: Well, on that note, can you say your favourite tongue twister?
Simpa: I don’t even know if I’ve got a favourite tongue twister.
Tyler: Can you say a tongue twister?
Simpa: If you give me one.
Tyler: Erm…Oh you’re throwing it back to me, like straight away!
Tyler: Just do likeshe sells sea shells on the sea shore.
Simpa: She sells she sells on the she shore
Tyler: No you didn’t do it
Simpa: She sells. Sea. shells. On the. Sea shore.
Tyler: That’s better…ok!
Simpa: it’s like a sobriety test
Tyler: Now testing our sobriety!
Tyler: It has been an absolute pleasure having you here, Simpa. We’re always talking about projects that we want to do, and this is something that I’ve had in mind for a long time, is giving our fans some insight into you, and the North and you know, like the cannabis movement. Because there’s a lot more to it than people see, just from the social media output, and even the events, you know? There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes.
So hopefully, by doing this, I’ve given you guys a bit of insight into Simpa that you’re not going to get anywhere else.
I’ve enjoyed it, have you enjoyed it?
Simpa: I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly.
Tyler: I’m very baked, what have we smoked?
Simpa: Girl Scout Cookies
Tyler: Girl Scout Cookies
Simpa: Critical 2.0
Tyler: Critical 2.0
Simpa: Erm, some scissor hash
Tyler: We’ve smoked some mystery weed… My question for you now – what would you like? Do you want to smoke some Chemdawg, or do you want to smoke some super silver haze?
Simpa: Super Silver Haze, because I think I’m going to need it, the day is still young…
Tyler: Smells like Amsterdam!
Simpa: [looking at hemp wick] I wish someone would make this without beeswax.
Tyler: Can you not have like nice beeswax? Is it not nice from them to have like a hive sorted out for them?
Simpa: It’s not like a general rule, but for me I wouldn’t use it, do you know what I mean? I’m using it here because it’s already been bought, do you know what I mean?
Tyler: Yeah! So, this is Simpa’s hit on the Super Silver Haze
Tyler: I think it’s smooth, that one.
Simpa: Very much so…
Tyler: In terms of your cannabis use, would you class yourself as a medical or a recreational consumer, or something else?
Simpa: Very much started as a recreational user. Erm, then managed to realise through stopping cannabis intermittently that that was actually doing me a lot more good than it was harm, that it was other things that were doing harm. Then to remove the other harmful substances, I’m left with just sort of the benefits of cannabis. So now I very much consider myself a medical user. I utilise it for BPD and PTSD. And it is, it’s been shown now through evidence around the world, through various studies, the proven application for these conditions, so I can’t see why it’s not been approved.
Tyler: This is your chance to talk to our fans, and to share – if you’ve got anything you want to plug, now’s your chance to say it.
Simpa: All I wanna do is just implore, and beg basically, people to just get more active in the community. Do anything and everything you can to galvanise others to come out. This is why I hosted my events, to then… each event saw more and more people because each of the people that arrived at previous events brought their friends who came at the next event. And this is how we grow not just the community, but the resistance to a shameful and antiquated law that desperately needs changing. And it is only by the action of the majority that we will do this. The majority of members of parliament want this. The only people who don’t are the tabloids and the oligarchs that control this country, and it is through literally standing up and showing them the numbers, the sheer numbers, there are millions of us that consume cannabis, that enjoy it. And the many that need it, and in a time of austerity desperately need the cash crop of cannabis. The industrial applications alone would get us off our knees, would make us independent as a nation. We need this.
Tyler: Where can our viewers find you online?
Simpa: Facebook, we’re www.facebook.com/durhamcitycannaclub, we’re on instagram @durhamcityCC, we’re on twitter @DurhamCity_CC. We’re building the website actually at the minute – I saw our designer the other day – we’re at www.durhamcitycc.co.uk – that should be up and running within the next couple of weeks.
We’re opening a shop, a vlog, going to start the Vlogging as well. And that will be basically all over the UK!
Tyler: Simpa, it has been great to have you here. Whenever we film, I get like this – my eye as I was listening, it was hitting me – just wave after wave of the bongs…
This has been an ISMOKE Interview with Simpa Carter of Durham City Cannabis Club. You can find Simpa online at the places that he just talked about, and you can also find him in his weekly article for ISMOKE Magazine, so if you wanna check that out go to www.ismokemag.co.uk – I also wanna thank our Patrons who help make ISMOKE possible, and if you want to find out how you can support the channel head over to www.patreon.com/ismoke.
I will be back with another interview very soon. Have a great day, have a great week. As always, thanks for watching, and keep toking.
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