Our Story | The Story Behind MindFuel

This site was inspired by and is dedicated to Richard Evans Schultes, Albert Hofmann, Christian Ratsch and John Mann (Adam Gottlieb), whose literature provided a light through the darkness of Prohibition.

Our roots stretch back to the heady daze of the early 90's counter-culture, the era just before the internet was a reality for young kiwi psychonauts seeking adventure. It was a time when anti-drug propaganda and word of mouth provided what little information there was on subjects such as cannabis and hemp, let alone exotic psychedelic plants from the jungles of far away lands.

It was at this moment in time that our founder Nic began experimenting with cannabis while studying horticulture and surfing the lower North Island of New Zealand. Nic found that consuming a small amount of cannabis before a surf not only boosted creativity during the surf session, but also benefited breathing, energy levels and getting more in tune with the flow of the wave. Besides benefiting surfing, Nic also observed that the forbidden weed had clear benefits on many other activities, from love-making to appreciating music and art, from healing to relaxing and unwinding, the benefits were so numerous, while the negatives were but one.

While Nic deeply enjoyed the multiple benefits provided by the cannabis plant, he detested the fact that the herbs cultivation, possession, use and sale were prohibited. He reasoned that to be locked in a cage for using, growing or sharing a beneficial medicinal herb was a crime against humanity. Who does man think he is to make nature illegal? Could it be that the gods had somehow got it wrong and made a naughty, evil plant that the government must protect us from? Or was it that sinister vested interests where running a racket to boost sales of their own competing products? Nic just somehow knew the later just had to be true. Luckily as a horticulture student, he also knew there just had to be other herbs around the planet that offered beneficial effects just like Cannabis, but were not yet prohibited, due to them being more exotic. The benefits could still be enjoyed without the threat of ruining ones life.

About this time Nic crossed paths with another student who was experimenting with a poisonous shamanic herb called Datura. He prepared Nic a brew made from the flowers of the Datura plant and some strange, toxic and unpleasant effects were experienced. For the next few days there were unpleasant after effects including blurred vision. While the Datura experiment was not worth repeating, it certainly confirmed Nic's hypothesis that there were other plants out there that were legal and capable of producing profound psychedleic effects.

A short time later while looking for interesting literature in the Wellington public library, Nic stumbled across the two books that would change the course of his life and act as the catalyst for what would one day become MindFuel.

Legal Highs by Adam Gottilieb

Plants of the Gods by Richard Evans Schultes, Albert Hofmann & Christian Ratsch

Suddenly he had a list of hundreds of legal psychedelic herbs, plants, seeds, cacti and mushrooms to source and experiment with. Not only that, but the books revealed that tribal shaman had been enjoying multiple psychoactive and psychedelic plants for thousands of years, providing somewhat of a roadmap to what plants might be the more rewarding and less toxic species to experiment with. Nic rounded up his most 'up for it' surfing mates and in between surfs they spent the next few years visiting every garden center, spice supplier, Indian grocer and Chinese herbalist in the region, experimenting with whatever they could get there hands on. The enormous assortment of intoxicants consumed during this period of time could fill a book of its own and likely one day will.

Wow! That certainly gave the lads a fresh perspective. Far out!

Nic considered opening a shop to share the many benefits of the various legal psychoactive, healing and sacred herbs he and his friends were experimenting with but was unsure how the powers that be would react to actual sales of legal psychoactive products. What really spurred him on was the combination of having his first experience with Diviner's Sage and crossing paths with two young entrepreneurs who were already openly supplying legal psychoactive products: James from Alphaware NZ and Matt from Stargate International. James had supplied Nic with some of the Diviner's Sage extract we was producing and openly selling. Nic took a large bong rip of the sage extract and experienced a powerful vision that left him certain opening shop was the right thing to do. While Matt had been trading in legal psychoactive party pills (legal speed and XTC alternatives) in New Zealand since the late 90's, marketing his products as safer, measured, legal alternatives to illegal and adulterated street drugs.

Matt's harm reduction ideas made a great deal of sense to Nic, who went ahead and launched MindFuel in 2004, as an online smartshop + legal herbal distributor, supplying not only Stargate's party pills and Alphaware's sage extracts, but also the large selection of herbs, plants and seeds that he and his friends had been collecting and experimenting with over the last decade. Alongside pure, unadulterated products, accurate harm reduction information was promoted, including safe dosage instructions, warnings on unsafe combinations, health warnings and contraindications. All products were strictly R18 and manufactured to a high standard, with vitamins and anti-oxidants to help further reduce any harm. The now budding New Zealand legal highs industry self regulated in a sensible manner. MindFuel continued to grow, opening a brick and mortar shop on New Plymouth's high street that stayed open all night to serve the cities hardcore party people. Everything worked extremely well for a few years, with the party pills reducing street drug usage and associated health and crime problems in New Zealand.

Unfortunately it was not to last and a tidal wave of cowboy operators entered the market hoping to make a quick buck. They copied Matt's products leaving out the vitamins and quality controls, applying the crude marketing principle that stronger = better. Suddenly the market was flooded with cheap party pills that were up to 10 times the strength of the pills Matt had been manufacturing, resulting in consumers getting sick. While extremely unpleasant when overdosed, this certainly proved Matt's claim that his party pills were safer than illegal street drugs to be indeed correct. Rather than overdosing and dying, users were simply getting sick. The chemicals had a built in safety mechanism where it was almost impossible to fatally overdose as taking more than the recommended dose would simply result in unpleasant side effects.

While most of the legal highs industry including MindFuel, Stargate, Alphaware and a host of other sensible suppliers such as Cosmic and the Hemp-store's Chris Fowley pleaded with the government to strictly regulate the products so that they must be sold in a safe dosage with appropriate health warnings, the government refused to listen, preferring to present a 'get tough on drugs' image after being egged on by sensational and one sided media headlines. Instead of giving regulation a try, in their infinite wisdom they banned the products all together. Party Pills and their main ingredients (the Piperazines BZP and TFMPP) were prohibited. The result: black market street drugs in New Zealand becoming flooded with Piperazines and other research chemicals still to this day and ironically creating a market for EZ test kits, so street drug users can get some idea of what they might be actually consuming. As for MindFuel we simply switched to the various herbal XTC formulations imported from the Netherlands that contained different ingredients.

Meanwhile another long-term player in industry, London Underground had introduced a new legal product to the New Zealand market: Spice - a synthetic alternative to cannabis. While the MindFuel team used and enjoyed the effect of the original formulation of Spice, we considered it was lacking some of the finer benefits of organic Cannabis, so developed Naki Black Hash, a resin containing a low dose of JWH-018, with added terpenes and herbal extracts to balance the effects, as well as the Euphoric Blends line of cannabinoid synergistic herbals. The new fake weed eliminated the single biggest risk of using cannabis: the risk of PROHIBITION and being locked in a cage with thieves, rapists and murderers. The other real beauty of Spice and Naki Black was that they did not show up in work place urine drug tests, which were and still are unfairly punishing cannabis users and their families by costing them their jobs for a smoke they may have had weeks or even months earlier.

In any event, just as with the party pills before, the cowboys came galloping in and again saturated the market with excessively strong and dangerous products. This time the government listened to the industry and introduced the psychoactive substances act to strictly regulate legal psychoactive products and license suppliers of approved products. Unfortunately rather than restricting licenses to the educated and sensible smart and headshops like MindFuel, they licensed many of the same cowboys who had caused the problems to begin with not to mention many coin save and $2shop type stores. Once again the media went bat-shit crazy and in election year, the Key government prohibited the products altogether, as well as all other psychoactive substances. That's right, they actually prohibited everything in the galaxy capable of producing a psychoactive effect, including all plants, aromatherapy, exercise, incense, meditation, music, religion, sex and tea. They even made a clause to capture products that have not been invented yet such as head massagers that may cause psychoactive effects.

Luckily they made a last minute exemption for herbs, herbal remedies, supplements, medicines and foods. And so today MindFuel's catalogue is bigger and better than ever, offering not only kava, kanna, hemp, herbs, extracts, smart formulas and seeds from every corner of the globe, but also the highest quality smoking and vaping innovations imported from the likes of Amsterdam, Colorado and California.

As of 2018 Cannabis is finally almost legal in New Zealand, with most Police now turning a blind eye to discreet personal use, the Ministry of Health about to update and likely relax cannabis paraphernalia laws, the newly elected Labour government promising a referendum on recreational cannabis by 2020, bills to legalize medicinal cannabis before parliament, a public shift away from smoking toward vaping and most kiwi's now in favor of full cannabis legalization. How much longer can it possibly bloody be? The only people who still support PROHIBITION are competing industry lobbyists and the politicians they fund. No one is fooled anymore. Every day we get emails from grandma's wanting to know how they can obtain the miraculous weed to help ease their aches and pains.

We have a vision that our quest for the holy grail has almost gone full circle and we will soon be supplying you with a full selection of legal recreational cannabis products. Then in the longer term we look forward to offering other safe legal psychoactive substances such as Magic Mushrooms, LSD and MDMA. After-all, the governments Psychoactive Substances Act (PSA) licensing framework is still in place. All the government needs to do is use it. As one of the last standing players from New Zealand's first psychoactive smartshop revolution and a previous holder of one of the world's first legal recreational psychoactive substances licenses, we are more than ready to go! We have the experience, the expertise and the product formulas ready to launch and are now waiting on the government to make their move. We look forward to working alongside the Ministry of Health to once again bring you many new and exciting licensed legal psychoactive products. Until then we will continue to search the galaxy for new and smarter products to help you to 'explore your mind'

Keep it smart,
Team MindFuel

MindFuel is an online smart, kava, head and vaporizer shop + distributor. Founded in 2004, our main office and warehouse are are based at Fitzroy Beach, New Plymouth, Aotearoa - New Zealand. For more on MindFuel contact us @ https://mindfuel.co.nz