I just dropped a new episode of my podcast today and wanted to share it. I go a little bit into a few stories I’ve been working on in recent months, and also talk about how I put together The Strains of the Decade for Cannabis Now Magazine.
Be sure to let me know your thoughts and thanks for listening!
I’m very excited to start a new decade of adventure in California’s legal cannabis market!
I got to California in early December of 2009 after fours years of activism on the East Coast. It has been quite the spectacle watching everything that’s happened over the last decade in pot first hand. From the lows of losing Prop 19 by a few points on election night 2010, or the Oaksterdam raid, to the highs of winning in 2016. To be able to see and understand these things through my own eyes so I might tell the tale now and in the future accurately is immensely important to me and I’ll be forever grateful I was here to take part.
And once you get past the challenges longtime providers faced, crazy taxes, and people who thought the bar would be low enough for for them to get a shot in the industry not making it, there is a lot of positive stuff.
There is a lot of great weed. I smelled thousands of jars of different phenos over the last decade personally. As I now walk through the aisles of events like The Emerald Cup or Hall of Flowers these days, I am regularly reminded the highest bar for quality cannabis gets pushed up annually. But there is still a lot of folks missing the mark, and the naysayers will say those boof jars are completely representative of the legal industry.
I don’t buy that train of thought. I look at the flower coming out of places like Alien Lab, Fig Farms, and Ember Valley and what I see is absolute flame. To try and paint the legal market as one giant Mids Fest is a lie, and maybe sometimes the people doing it are just being haters that couldn’t jump through the hoops required to do it again.
I think it’s going to get more and more wild. Some folks who kept their cards close to their chest are ready to play some big hands. There will be a few more survivors yet, and they’ll do it on the back of their awesome pot the market deserves to have access to.
I’m excited to continue hunting the flame. I got to judge The Cannabis Cup and Emerald Cup last year, in addition to putting on my own events with The Transbay Challenge and Desert Smoke-Off with L.A. Weekly. Keep me in loop if you are up to any wild genetics projects. I’m constantly on the lookout for awesome new strains or just amazing phenotypes of the ones we already love!
Also I started a Patreon. If you want to support my personal editorial projects in 2020, all of the resources from that will be going towards camera gear and travel.
Long time, no talk! I hope all is well with you as we get into one of my favorite times of the year, planting season!
For most great farmers, be it indoor or outdoor, the process of growing marijuana starts well before any plants are in the ground. Getting your soil ready, stress testing new phenotypes for potential in the greenhouse, there is plenty to do this time of year.
One of the things I enjoy the most is hearing friends whittle down their lists of potential strains they’ll grow out in the summer. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying your plants from a nursery, especially when you know the length they are going to provide you with clean genetics. Nevertheless, hearing someone run down the traits they’re hoping to see maximized from a genetic lineage they’ve been working with for years is a whole other level of fun.
Some of the cuts I’m most excited to see this year are the various Kush Mints crosses from Seed Junky, and Cherry Punch, which I presume there will be a lot of. I think the first Cherry Punch drop from Symbiotic Genetics was a bit late in the spring in 2018, so I’m really excited to see what people are able to do with it this year with a bit more time to get ready. I’ve seen a few legit all-star phenos of Cherry Punch for sure. One of my buddies has like three different versions he is looking forward to growing, and I’m looking forward to smoking!
One of the reasons I don’t post too much on here is because I’m writing a ton in general. You can keep up to date will all my stuff in Cannabis Now, L.A. Weekly, and everywhere else on my Muckrack page. And if you want the convenience of having that content in your Facebook feed just like my page!
Keep crushing and keep an eye out for a bunch of 4/20 stuff I’m working on!
Over the last few years, certain stories have fallen in my lap every year that are always such a pleasure to write. One I’m always the most excited to put together is my strain list for the year.
I spend most of my year trying to break cannabis news, but in many cases, I’m finding new angles on things I was a little late on or being the first U.S. coverage on something interesting and worthwhile. Which is an absolutely beautiful life I’m so thankful for, but I don’t really get to cover strains too much.
Usually, when I get to dive in on genetics and quality it’s around event coverage. I hit every booth at every event I go to and really dive into the spread. Then when I come across true Triple AAA grade cannabis I try and get as much info as they’re willing to share. Where did they get the cut? How many seeds did they pop to find that world-class phenotype? Maybe, if I’m lucky, they bred it! Then I try and recapture the enthusiasm as I go back and reflect on that experience from event to event for articles.
The other times I get to cover post are profiles. I really love diving in with some of the great breeders of the generation. When people like DJ Short, Mr. Sherbinski, or 3rd Gen Family are willing to give you their time to learn about their new projects or thoughts on the moment it’s obviously awesome. Those are also just a handful a year, but I try and put a lot in on those, especially for print.
So that is why this recap is so fun. It really encapsulates something I wish I could do 24/7, hunt down the best cannabis on the planet.
It’s been a pretty wild few months on the cannabis front since we last checked in Champions.
Lots to talk about all over the place, but I’m pretty California-centric these days with the worlds biggest cannabis market struggling to figure itself out at the moment. That being said, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the pace of federal progress in recent months. In particular people like Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker, and Cory Gardner taking the lead is fantastic. Trump coming out in support of the Gardner/Warren bill blew my mind. Hopefully, the discussion continues through summer and both parties use it to bait voters for midterms then follow through.
I went to the first legal High Times Cannabis Cup in Sacramento in May. It was amazing. It seemed like a different world than what we’ve witnessed recently amidst the July 1 regulations kicking in, nevertheless a good time. Alien Labs crushed taking home all three flower trophies, it was very impressive. The Gelato #41 is really something special when grown by true artists. The Village, of Symbiotic Genetics, crushed it too with some savage Mimosa 6! I also had the chance to interview The Village about developing Purple Punch into the now famous V2 that was the strain of the year everywhere in 2017. Keep an eye out for that in the next issue of Cannabis Now in stores soon.
On sadder note recently we’ve seen more great companies not able to make it in the age of regulated cannabis. Not because they couldn’t comply, in many cases they were either priced out of the permit process or screwed by a close-minded county that decided to not take part in the regulated marijuana industry. Furthermore, some communities like Oakland threw their golden tickets in the shredder or punched the gift horse in the mouth many times with numerous companies bailing in response to over-regulation.
Also if you’re in California, be sure to support SB289 if you want to save California compassion programs that provide free medical cannabis to the seriously ill. The current tax climate treats the cannabis given to these people as if it were entering the market. This means producers trying to help the sick are being devastated by taxes and fees, basically making their efforts to help impossible.
This month I’m going to start hitting farms and am super excited for this year’s crop. Let me know if you want me to swing by your spot, I might get as far up as Washington this summer but we’ll see.
Tomorrow I’ll moderate my first of two panels at New West Summit. It’ll focus on the social impact of lab testing which can’t be underestimated. Back in the day a big softball argument on the pro-prohibition side was, “We don’t even know what’s in the stuff, chemicals, toxins.” Thanks to labs like Steep Hill, SC, and CW, we no longer have to hear that long winded argument. Diving into the different aspects of lab testing and where they’re going will be fantastic.
On Saturday, I’ll be moderating a Tech to 420 panel following up on the one I hosted last year. Keith McCarty from Eaze returns for his second year on this one, he’s been up to a lot since the last New West Summit so it will be great to hear the recap from him. The other panelists on this one are also great and I look forward to diving down the weed tech rabbit hole with them
Go check out the rest of New West Summit 2.0, it’s sure to be a great time and very informative.
So last month the usually hip Oregon decided to ban about 20 strain names, this set in forth a motion of events that led to me getting the facts on Bruce Banner.
I had personally always been a fan of the strain, so when the Cannabis Now editorial squad hit me up to write about it I was amped. It actually worked out funny, I missed the email notification and the homies grabbed a bunch of strains I would have jumped at. It worked out.
As far as the strains of the moment, Bruce Banner was at the top of the mountain flying first class for a few years, and now still enjoys generous leg room in economy coach. I was surprised by the amount of inaccurate info on the strain, mainly in regard to how open many reputable breeders were in getting down to detail.
Anyway if you want the full scoop on one of the greatest medical cannabis strains ever to come out of Denver, or at least launch there, go check out the article.
Big thanks to the Dark Horse Genetics for filling me in.
With other California cities looking to jump on the cannabis cash bandwagon, a recent report from L.A. Weekly proves that despite forcing their dispensaries in to a legal gray area LA is ready to make a buck.
Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson is planning on introducing a motion that will direct city staffers to explore a ballot measure that would ask voters to amend marijuana dispensary rules and possibly legalize back-end cannabis businesses in town.
Herb has been hearing it a lot. SoCal municipalities are lining up to get their hands on a piece of the industry. Places like Adelanto are putting on there racing goggles, as of February they had distributed 27 permits for the large scale industrial cultivation of cannabis. This could lead to over 300,000 pounds of indoor marijuana, even at the top end of the outdoor price spectrum these days you would be looking at roughly $360,000,000. The town is primed to take a fat chunk of that in taxes, and create the jobs and other revenue to replace its fading prison industry.
The Council President is also hearing it from an industry desperate to be brought into the legal fold. Almost half of the 135 businesses allowed under the Prop D permitting structure from 2013 have joined to form the United Cannabis Business Alliance. The trade organization was put together with the purpose of pressuring LA lawmakers to rectify the situation prior to 2018’s enforcement of Governor Jerry Brown’s Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, in what very well could be a post legalization world pending the Adult Use of Marijuana Act outcome on election day.