I Picked Out My Favorite Pot in California Right Now

I hope all is well everyone!

It’s been a week since the Harvest Moon! Lots of amazing cannabis is currently being chopped down across the hills of Northern California. The state’s Central Valley, home to California’s titanic agricultural economy, will also produce more cannabis than ever this year.

With all this excitement on deck, I thought it would be a good time to rundown the strains I’ve been super hyped on lately. Over the past month, I’ve done a few different rundowns.  

In The Strains of Summer, I covered everything that has blown me away since May. This includes the amazing Ziablo pictured above from IC Collective. I’ve had the privilege of seeing the Ziablo a few times lately.

It was shown to me for the first time by the breeders at IC Collective in August. Then again at Hall of Flowers it was some of the best cannabis in the room. And finally, it won the inaugural edition of my new invite-only Transbay Challenge. A cannabis contest featuring some of the San Francisco’s Bay Area’s best cultivators. Expect Ziablo’s stock to continue to shoot up in the months ahead. 

Be sure to go check out my other picks for Summer you won’t be mad.

Next up was Hall of Flowers. The event provides a snapshot of the quality of legal marijuana at that given moment in time. Generally speaking, it was better than I expected for sure. There was definitely still some stuff I was surprised people would want to represent themselves with, but for the most part, there was less bad pot than I expected. 

There were even a few surprises when it came to quality. I searched every aisle for the best cannabis I could find. After locating over 40 things that got me interested, I narrowed the list down to about 20. You can read them all here:

So that’s a lot of the weed I’m excited about right now! I wanted to share before the harvest kicked into full gear. Have a great Fall everyone!

A Midsummer Hype’s Update

Greetings Champions!,

I hope all is well with you, I’ve had an action-packed couple months since my last update and wanted to go back and cover some of the stuff I was most excited about. This includes everything from stains, new political allies for the movement, and potential policy changes in places you might not have expected it.

The biggest thing to happen in a lot of people’s eyes was the passage of the Blumenauer-McClintock amendment in the House. The amendment is very similar to Blumenauer’s previous effort to prevent federal interference in state-legal medical marijuana programs, except this time around it’s for the recreational markets. Essentially the new amendment would block the feds from going after marijuana providers in full compliance with state law by preventing them from spending money on it.

Many have referred to the passage of the amendment in the House as the biggest day ever for cannabis on Capitol Hill, but Congress still has a ton of cannabis reform bills that have been filed this year.

Most exciting? Well, that would have to be House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler’s MORE Act, that he introduced in the House. “Top-tier” Presidential candidate Kamala Harris introduced the bill in the Senate. With the plan to deschedule marijuana being backed by the highest-ranking Democrat in the House on criminal justice issues, it really has the wind in its sails.

It’s currently under review by the House Judiciary, Energy and Commerce, Agriculture, Education and Labor, Ways and Means, Small Business, Natural Resources, and Oversight and Reform committees.

Even the co-chairs of the Cannabis Caucus are saying the bill is awesome, Rep. Barbara Lee said Nadler’s staff was diligent in reaching out the caucus for input. His staff also had the benefit of cherry-picking the best language from all the different marijuana bills that have been filed in recent years. Blumenauer even called it better than the SAFE Banking Act.

But even if it is, the discussions that have been happening around the SAFE Banking Act have been critical. Getting access to proper banking services is obviously a big deal for everybody, but it’s even more important for the mom and pop operations out there struggling to stay afloat in the transitioning industry. The size of their businesses makes them more susceptible to dealing with bad actors offering financial services.

Just hearing Congress talking like this has seen banks begin to soften their stance. Interestingly, one expert told me the credit unions working with the industry right now will likely still be the best after the regulations change. So stick with the people that were there for you when it mattered.

Sadly not everything was all groovy since my last check-in. The Emerald Triangle has been devastated by raids in recent weeks. Most of the raids happened on private parcels, so it’s a tough sell they were meant to go after cartels in national forests.

But there was plenty of positive progress all over the country. In Florida looks like legalization might make the ballot their next year! And one of the main dudes that helped pass medical just joined the team. They’ve already collected enough signatures to trigger a review of the language by Florida’s Supreme Court.

Finally, a positive note discovered IC Collective’s Ziablo. It’s my favorite strain of Summer along with Alien Labs’ Area 41. Enjoy the rest of Summer! Next time you hear from me the harvest should be in full swing!

Happy Planting Season!

Hey all!

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!

Reflections on Cannabis in 2018

As I sit here a week before Christmas, I look at the year in cannabis and think plenty of stuff went great, but we definitely left some folks behind.

Generally speaking, 2018 was super fun and a lot of folks totally crushed it. We have even more access to medical marijuana across the U.S., even now pending in places like Utah! I can’t help but think of how wild things look for next year. I mean we already know Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York plans to legalize marijuana in the first 100 days of his new term.

ConnectedGardenDSC_0234_082
Gelato x Lemon Tree

AutumnLights18HikeEmrldCupjudg_0109_109
Emerald Cup 2018 Finalists

EmeraldCup2018DSC_0217_072
Tropical Sleigh Ride – Greenshock Farms/Mendo Dope

FlowerFinal1
Emerald Cup Final Judging

For all the excitement about legalization, it did leave some behind. Many Northern Californians that have cultivated cannabis for generations sat the year out hoping for a better view of the regulatory framework in 2019. Some closed up shop presuming their time was limited or they wouldn’t have a shot in the market formed since election night 2016. And still, others who may have hoped to give it their best shot in the legal industry lost all to fire. Seemingly a tale we tell yearly from June to October these days.

And let’s not forget corrupt politicians who banked millions in licensing fees only to quash any hopes folks had of being a legal business. We can only presume there is a special place in Hell for them.

The actual pot this year was pretty great. Some would argue average quality is down due to the massive uptake in production. I would say that’s true, but anything that bad isn’t making it to the market. The space on dispensary shelves is at a premium these days, so unless you’re selling your own midsy pot, there is no reason you should have to have anything sub-par in your shop. A lot of the not-so-great stuff will end up in oil or a flyover state.

Meadowlands_001_06Meadowlands_001_08PinoleFlowers_030GrizPeakDoubleDreamGrizzlyPeak_003GlassGames2018_066

Another thing that balances out the quality drop is the competition to be the best. Plenty of people are obsessed with not being compared to the aforementioned midsy pot. They did great this year. In the face of new regulations, they continued to produce the best flower in the world.

The event scene was devastated in 2018. Outside The Emerald Cup and High Times Cannabis Cup, things were pretty trash. Some of the local events managed to scrape by, most of the time in the shadows. But local crackdowns and the state kept everyone on edge. Nevertheless, I did go to one licensed event so poorly done I was almost impressed.

I had an awesome year. I had a great time trying to break stories as often as possible. When I wasn’t doing that I was covering the things I just enjoy following in general like cannabis policy, great genetics, and the continuing intersection of cannabis and society as the plant becomes normalized.

I got some new bylines in great publications and think I told at least a few cool stories in 2018, here are some more pictures from the year. Hope your 2019 is dope!

EmeraldCup2018DSC_0112_037
Banana Jam #9 – Woodman Peak Farm

EmeraldCup2018DSC_0074_021
NF1

EmeraldCup2018DSC_0092_030

EmeraldCup2018DSC_0066_016
Wedding Crasher – The Village

The Happy Planting Season Update!

Hey all!

Hope you had a dope February and March has been fantastic so far! I had a great time!

In February I headed out to cover The Glass Games Masters Final hosted by CHAMPS Tradeshows. The final is the culmination of a series of events around the country through the course of the year! Everyone competing in Vegas won one of those satellite events and you could see it in the quality of the work being presented.

Here are some of my shots from this year’s Glass Games Masters Final, including a great one of Josh McDaniel showing the function on his LSD inspired self-portrait that took home first place!

There was a bunch of crazy news over the last couple months I was lucky enough to cover! More research came out linking the ease of access to medical cannabis, ie loose dispensary regulations, to drops in overdose rates. Unfortunately, the trend has reversed since 2010 when authorities started cracking down a bit more.

California’s District Attorney’s have been debating in their local municipalities whether they want to clean everyone’s records of low-level marijuana offenses in one swoop. You would think it would be a no-brainer!

We also recently saw Berkeley become a Cannabis Sanctuary City. I told NBC Bay Area that it was all bells and whistles since Berkeley had proven to be a cannabis sanctuary for years via a legal action as opposed to public decrees.  But props to Berkeley on continuing to push the chains.

One of my biggest stories of the month was about NORML getting its push together for the 2018 Midterm Election. They put a fantastic packet together for lawmakers to dial in their pro-cannabis platform and talking points. Expect big things from the effort when voters hit the polls in November!

Finally, Cannabis Now let me get together a list of the strains I miss the most. Please find these and grow them, then call me! Thanks!

 

 

I Covered Lots of Cannabis History This Month!

2017 ended with a bang!

For California cannabis professionals, it was likely their earliest New Years Eve since they were kids as the world’s largest legal pot market went online at 6 AM January 1st.

I enjoyed the occasion over at Berkeley Patients Group where I started my coverage of the day’s festivities for GreenState and Cannabis Now Magazine. BPG hosted what will be among those debated as the first legal sale in California. The purchase was made by longtime activists Mikki Norris and Chris Conrad. The compatriots of Jack Herer marked the occasion by buying three prerolled-joints named after the activist.

Jan1BPGSale
One of California’s first legal cannabis sales at Berkeley Patient’s Group.

From there I helped track the actual sales. First, we took a guess at GreenState at the total sales numbers from New Year’s Day. Later on in the month, we took a look at what people all over California are spending on pot given the array of new taxes being levied by both the state and municipalities.

The legal market has proven challenging for many. Not only those who denied the forthcoming realities of legalization but even those who thought they had their ducks in a row are struggling. And now, a yet to bloom distribution system is struggling to access the quality cannabis the California market demands.  Much of the time this is due to regulatory challenges and costs put on the producers that have provided the state’s cannabis for decades.

On a more positive note, I got to cover the Puffco Peak this month. Puffco has had a seat at the big kids’ table with their award-winning vape pens for years.  Their new tabletop edition is fantastic and made waves at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, even though they weren’t technically allowed into the show! Puffco’s founder Roger gave me the whole tale of the Peak and it was really something.

I also covered the first Mothership Drop at The Cave’s new second location in Walnut Creek California. The drop included the eight pieces of the Dragon Scale collection. I met a Game of Thrones fan who traveled from Texas to make sure he didn’t miss out!

 

This month I’ll be heading to Las Vegas to cover CHAMPS Glass Games final and the Secret Cup Final. I’m looking forward to both so hit me up if you’ll be in town!

 

 

Chasing Gelato’s Story: The Sherbinski Sitdown

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with the breeder of the world class cannabis strain Gelato for Cannabis Now Magazine’s print edition. The piece has now made its way to the web so I just thought I’d share the true origins here also.

Mr. Sherbinski was a pleasure to interview. He’ll be remembered among the best urban breeders of his generation due to efforts like Sunset Sherbert and Gelato. I had the chance to peek at the most developed offerings from the family, Mochi and Gello.

You can hear the story below and read the article over on Cannabis Now. I have some more big stories to come in the months ahead and look forward to sharing them with everyone.

As always thanks for reading my stuff. You can see what cannabis stories I’m reading and what I’m smoking out of over on the GreenState.com daily briefing and review sections. For my continued weekly policy coverage from across the US and beyond head over to CannabisNow.com