History of Overgrow.com

Brief history of Overgrow.com and Marijuana Edge Forums

1998/1999 - A group of members of Weedbase discuss creating a new growing site. Amongst them are Foolgirl, nl420, ot1, Baudelaire, and ~Shabang~

1999 - Overgrow is formed by foolgirl, nl420, and ot1(?). ~S is involved in the creation, but goes on a shabbatical for personal reasons. Baudelaire is also active.

Late 1999/early 2000 - ~S returns and takes up admin duties. Overgrow server is moved to Vancouver, Canada.

The shark tank is opened to keep the grow forums clear of off topic subjects without censorship. closest cannabis competitors at the time are, and hightimes, cannabisculture, cannabisworld and marijuana.com which is where the name overgrow originated.

2000 - Overgrow is developed into a leading edge site, with many expert growers
contributing and ~S doing site construction at the leading edge, including developing totally new vbscript apllications and the karma sytem. A Maxim Feature also gives OG a high profile. The so-called seed wars take place somewhere around there baudelaire left. taking the strainguide with him.

2001 - membership jumps from under 10,00 and by the summer overgrow has exploded to close to 60,000 members. with approximately 300-600 online users on a slow day.

Due to advertising rates being paid for long periods in advance, overgrow gets into financial difficulties because the proceeds from adverts can’t keep up with the bandwidth costs as Overgrow is growing very, very fast. RC is brought in to help pay for the cost of running the site.

Foolgirl and nl420 are uncomfortable with the high profile and decide to depart, so ~S and RC become partners, with ~S doing the site work and the acquisitions work, while RC helps to pay for bandwidth costs. In return, RC’s seed business is listed as the main sponsor and he receives free advertising for his seed sales.

Foolgirl and ot1 had faded into the background before the sale happened, by best recollection after 9/11 but were reported to be ok with the transfer of the .com title to ~RC in exchange for him paying the server bill

2002 - ~S goes on a shabbatical(extended vacation?) from spring of 2002 til the fall of the same year. During this time, all kinds of crazy conspiracy theories abound, including theories about him being popped by LEO and even him being dead. ~S makes a surprising return from the shabbatical just when many think he will not return.

Anonymous posting is ceased - citing “accountability issues” theres a new sherrif in town and they did not like the shark tank or non sanctioned view points. Angrydyke is dethroned and Old Pink and MIA Stoner take over admin, old faces start to disappear.the site gets slower and slower as white rabbit and rc tried to keep up with the technical demands of a site as big and busy as overgrow. the search engine is often overwhelmed or down. The tank is closed but not deleted because of the database stability.

2003 - Overgrow is bigger than ever before. It has become the juggernaut amongst growing sites. Seed vendors attempt to take advantage of this by having gerow forums and even posting adverts in the form of test grows.

The vendor forums are introduced. lifetime subscriptions are offered. Baudelaire comes back and he and ~s finish and reintroduce the strainguide

End of 2003 - ~S disappears after a period where the OG server has been really, really slow. Many people assume that he has gone on another shabbatical.

in november the site is down for approx three days, wide spread panic was averted by reports of “upgrade or maintenance” being done on the server - it is later revealed that site had been copied and the domain redirected from ~s server to ~rc’s server

Beginning of 2004 - ~S reappears under the handle Twitlow, complaining that RC has made a copy of OG via the internet to a new server in Montreal and that he has been locked out. RC and ~S get into a big discussion, with many people watching. The thread in which it takes place is later deleted. Later in the year, posts and other evidence of ~S’s copyrights to site content are also deleted. Discussion of the topic is heavily censored by OldPink and some mods. OG users are merely told that “~S stole from OG”. Many oldtimers leave OG at this point, stating that something is stinky. Others stay out of loyalty to their many friends at OG, hoping that RC and ~S will come to an amicable resolution.

The seed vendor forums at OG are shut down. ICMag is created by Gypsy Nirvana shortly thereafter.

2005 - Virtually all evidence of ~S has been erased. Discussion of the topic is censored. Later in the year, RC does not appear to be around. He is given the title “AWOL”.

Early 2006 - OG goes down. It is later revealed that RC has been busted.

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Great info! I hope you have learned from any mistakes made in past and let´s overgrow the world again!

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If you haven’t followed guesses and stories for past few years, you will be probably surprised by amount of conspirations behind cannabis sites.

If you heard about Silk Road (and I bet you did) it may surprise you that ~shabang~ (original coder of Overgrow in pre-2006 era) had something to do with it also…

Before SilkRoad’s demise there were SR forum’s hacked … Hacker published contents of this forums and exctracted available information.

There is long article summarizing that ~s~ did registered in SR forums but also helped with some technical issues advising Mr. Ross Ulbricht (Silk Road’s author Dread Pirate Roberts).

http://antilop.cc/sr/#jones

Be warned that it is very long reading full of intrigues and conspiracies!

Hard to tell if particular accusations are based on truth, but it really suggest that people behind had something in common (at least developer skills, security and privacy in mind).

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I’ve heard a lot of people say good things about over grow but never got to see it. Welcome back to the Internet. Is there a story about behind the come back?

Hi, thanks for visiting and welcome to OG!

Yes the story continues here:

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I’m pretty confident that the original ~s from og had nothing to do with SR and it was just pom hijacking the name as he did with VJ.

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You are probably right, I had written about that antilop article before I’ve read it through completely (and very surprised with this “tabloid sensation” finding)…

Since that I’ve read whole long article (its at least 1 hour reading full of conspiracies) and there is written that ~s~ account and that of VJ/POM were created in span of few hours… But I didn’t had time to return back to my post and set the record straight… Shame on me… :scales:

And as I said it is just conspiracies and speculations…

Wow, I’m happy to see this domain name in use again! This was home for many, I hope I can help make it home again.
I was an early member of OG. I won’t be sharing my username, but I can share some of the history.
I recall the turmoil when Shabang reappeared, and he not only complained that RC had taken control of everything, but he also claimed that the RCMP were using RC to gather intel using the site. The claim was enough to empty a lot of the serious people from the server almost immediately, and as we saw later, the RCMP shut it down entirely - likely when they realized there would be no further use in running the site, though it would probably not be a big deal to interview Shabang and find out from the horse’s mouth.
One of the great things about OG was how focused we all were on the task at hand. The shark tank I think had a LOT to do with filtering that rage you see everywhere now. The continuous moderation by a good team of people who didn’t abuse their powers too much - and also helped keep topics on point.

Many states have legalized, I myself finally have a legal medical script - so it’s time to jump out of the shadows and into the limelight and show all those squares what a determined bunch of potheads can do.

I loved the magazine part of the site though it was short-lived, it was informative as well as entertaining.
I think the last article I read was a trip to a huge Ganja farm in the Netherlands. The pics were great, a field of outdoor mary jane taller than Dikembe Mutombo, an indoor grow in the back of a coffee shop, and lots of crystally closeups and landscape shots.

Our collaboration with people from all walks of life payed off in spades.
Overgrow was the place where Bubbleman created his now famous bubble bags.
It was where we figured out which solvents produced cleaner oils and then eventually how to make better concentrates like shatter.

People experimented together and tracked the results. Ooooooh… can we do multi-faceted surveys here? I’m getting excited. :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyhow, before my sativamouth babbles on more, thanks for grabbing the domain, thanks for making it available again, and lets hope we can make this a safe and productive community.

CD

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I’ve found two articles from historical news archives. First one is pretty known.

###RCMP bust drug ring, seize 200,000 marijuana seeds
Ingrid Peritz
MONTREAL — From Wednesday’s Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Mar. 01, 2006 12:00AM EST
Last updated Tuesday, Mar. 17, 2009 10:19AM EDT

Loyal customers around the world knew that Heaven’s Stairway was neither in the funeral business nor offering old Led Zeppelin records for sale. In fact, police say, the Montreal-based outfit was clear about its product: Marijuana seeds.

It ran an Internet business out of a Montreal apartment and grew it into a multimillion-dollar concern, police say, that shipped high-potency seeds across Canada, the United States and even Europe. At least until late January.

Yesterday, the Mounties in Montreal announced they had busted Heaven’s Stairway, and shut down its six websites. In a series of raids in late January, it arrested seven people and seized 200,000 marijuana seeds, along with bootie including $183,000 (U.S.) and three gold bricks.

“This was a major and large-scale operation,” Staff Sgt. André Potvin, chief of operations for the Montreal drug section of the RCMP, said in an interview. “It was centralized, very organized, and active around the world.”

The police allege that the business functioned like an efficient import-export business, trading on the global reach of the Internet and the international appetite for pot. In Montreal, members of the organization imported seeds in bulk from suppliers as far as away as Holland and New Zealand.

Employees picked up orders through Montreal post-office boxes, according to police. Then they mailed off seeds in small packets to customers around the world. The operation was able to process about 30 seed orders a day, averaging $100 each.

“They were doing millions of dollars of business a year,” Staff Sgt. Potvin said.

The RCMP said it seized enough seeds in its raids to supply about 500 cannabis greenhouses with 400 plants each – enough to make 42 million joints.

Marijuana activist Marc-Boris St.-Maurice said marijuana-seed sales operate within a legal vacuum in Canada, and police have generally turned a blind eye to the practice. But Canadian law-enforcement officials were pressed to act once sales spread beyond Canada’s borders, said Mr. St.-Maurice, national executive-director of the National Organization of Reform of Marijuana Laws in Canada.

“Within Canada, no one raised an eyebrow. But it’s embarrassing for Canada to have citizen from here sending stuff to other countries. When these seeds are going to the United States, where there’s no tolerance whatsoever, that gets a little dicey.”

Richard Hratch Baghdadlian, 38, is accused of being the mastermind of the organization. The seven suspects face a total of 49 charges, including possession of cannabis seeds for the purpose of trafficking, and if convicted could be imprisoned for 10 years.

Staff Sgt. Potvin said the Montreal mail-order operation had been active since 1998, but the police began their investigation in November, 2004. In all, seven investigators were assigned to the case for 16 months.

Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/rcmp-bust-drug-ring-seize-200000-marijuana-seeds/article704056/

But second one is very suprising:

###No jail for millionaire marijuana seed seller
Fri, 2010-02-26 10:17.
Shuyee Lee

A Montreal man who made a fortune selling marijuana seeds online won’t be going to jail.

A judge has sentenced him to two years less a day to be served in the community.

Evidence in court showed that Richard Baghdadlian’s online marijuana seed company was doing booming business. The venture called Heaven’s Stairway made about 3.5 million dollars between 2000 and 2005. He pleaded guilty a year ago to charges of conspiracy to import and export marijuana seeds and inciting marijuana production.

His lawyer had argued that his client didn’t know it was illegal to possess marijuana seeds, believed it was a legit venture, wasn’t doing anything under the radar and should not get jail time.

Crown prosecutor François Blanchette says Baghdadlian knew exactly what he was doing when he broke the law and wanted him to serve five years behind bars.

“Because of the gravity of the infraction, the period for which it was committed, the profits that were made by Mr. Baghdadlian.”

Blanchette says they are considering an appeal.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100324050928/http://www.cjad.com/node/1086110

It seems like RC was non-final convicted to community service. Does anyone know if it was final court decision or whether prosecutor made an appeal?

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After thorough looking I also managed find original press announcement from Canadian Police (it was long gone from their web)… I’ve found it finally in web archive and citing it here “just for the record” :microphone:

ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE
2006
Attention News Editors:
###The RCMP dismantles an international drug distribution network on the internet

MONTREAL, Feb. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - The members of the Marihuana Grow Operations Enforcement Team of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police concluded their first major operation when they uncovered a Montreal based criminal organization involved in the trafficking, importation and exportation of cannabis seeds, as well as in conspiring for the purpose of cannabis cultivation via the Internet. This operation was launched in November 2004 under the name “Courriel” and culminated with the seizure of 200,000 cannabis seeds and the arrest of seven persons.

Project “Courriel” revealed that Richard Hratch BAGHDADLIAN, 38, from Marsan Street in Montreal, and six other persons operated the Heaven’s Stairway company. This company was on the web claiming to be the North American supplier for indoor and outdoor cannabis production.

The cybercompany Heaven’s Stairway used the Internet sites hempqc.com, cannabisworld.com, overgrow.com, eurohemp.com, cannabisseeds.com, and cannabisbay.com. These sites were used to order cannabis seeds online and obtain information on cannabis cultivation. These Internet sites also suggested ways to outsmart the police.

Richard Hratch BAGHDADLIAN was the instigator, head and main beneficiary of the illicit company Heaven’s Straiway. The other six accused acted as couriers and performed other duties for the company. They are Geoffrey CHAN, 33, Maria Cristina CIVITILLO, 32, Natalie BAGHDADLIAN, 40, Manuel Bento FERNANDES, 45, Christopher ALMOND, 38, and Teresa RODRIGUES, 39. They all live in Montreal except Christopher ALMOND who lives in Ville Saint-Laurent.

The organization processed approximately 30 orders of cannabis seeds a day averaging $100 each. The seeds were sent to clients by regular mail.

The seven people are facing 49 charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and the Criminal Code of Canada. The offences were committed in Quebec, Canada, North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the world between March 12, 1998 and January 31, 2006.

Nine searches were carried out during the week of January 30, 2006 in order to gather evidence that criminal activities had been committed. The searches were conducted in Montreal and Laval, as well as in the residences of three of the accused, a business, three post office boxes, a vehicle and a safe-deposit box.

These searches led to the seizure of 200,000 cannabis seeds, more than $183,362 in US currencies and $14,000 in Canadian currencies, both in cash and postal money orders, three one-kilogram gold bricks, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a Mazda RX8 and many purchase orders. Since the searches were conducted, 272 orders have been intercepted by the police.

The amount of seeds seized during the searches could have made it possible to operate approximately 500 cannabis greenhouses of 400 plants each, which represent 42 million joints sold on the street.

The seven accused are liable to 10 years’ imprisonment. Since the possession of cannabis seeds is illegal under Schedule II of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, clients of the network could also receive a visit from the police.

It should be noted that Project “Courriel”, a first in Canada, is the fruit of the work of the new Marihuana Grow Operations Enforcement Team. This new drug enforcement team is one of the seven teams established by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police across Canada in 2004 to combat the scourge of marihuana. The main objectives of these teams are to interdict drugs before they arrive in our communities and to target and destroy the infrastructure and the networks used by criminal organizations involved in marihuana production. These organizations constitute a threat to public safety and wellbeing.

For further information: Communications Office, (514) 939-8308

ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20071112011300/http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/February2006/28/c2334.html

From that three press articles you can easily see how first announcements (specifically from police) are usually way exaggerated.

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That is sad…

https://web.archive.org/web/*/overgrow.com

We should bomb archive.org with emails so they reinclude overgrow.com to the archives. So our knowledge won’t be forgotten ever :)… I’m sending them email now with request and you should too…

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Oh how I remember this…

Archive.is gives the closure page :frowning:

http://archive.is/overgrow.com

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Thanks for info, that is very unfortunate. Let’s attach a screenshot here fo archiving purposes…

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Here are some photos from alleged raid in Project Courriel:

Hard to tell if these server was serving Overgrow.com too :slight_smile:

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You forget Mongoose and his antics.

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Have any of the founders found they way back?

From original OG crew @nl420 and @Baudelaire have shown up and registered …

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I was a member here years ago nice to see OG back online.

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