The Environmental Impact of Cannabis Cultivation

As conscious consumerism enters the cannabis world, purchasing decisions may be based more on fair trade and regenerative farming than on orange hairs and THC percentage. With legalization taking hold, the industry has shifted from trying to protect people from the police to trying to protect small businesses from the behemoths that are inevitably entering the cannabis space. But while a lot of support for small cannabis businesses comes out of a concern for the people involved, there’s another party to be considered: the planet.

Large-scale industrial agriculture has historically been no friend to the environment. But where does the environmental impact of cannabis production really lie? It’s not necessarily size that determines how sustainable a cannabis grow is. A small, indoor operation wastes an incredible amount of electricity, while large-scale outdoor regenerative farming is possible with foresight and planning.

Of course, the cannabis industry right now isn’t set up to reward sustainable practices. California, one of the agricultural centers of the world, has so far allowed cannabis to be cultivated outdoors in only 13 counties, and as of now the products found on the shelves in dispensaries are more likely to come from indoor producers.

When considering the environmental impacts of cannabis cultivation, it’s more relevant to examine the different methods used for cultivation and to remember that, unlike traditional agriculture, cannabis cultivation has another complicated dimension — one created by the remnants of reefer madness.

Elysian Fields, an off-grid homestead in Mendocino County, is run by Jennifer Gray and Simon Evers.

An Energy-Efficient Means of Production 

While greenhouse and indoor operations can take steps to reduce their carbon footprint like collecting and re-using water, soil and other natural resources, growing cannabis outside is the most energy efficient method of production.

The International Cannabis Farmers Association, a California-based organization formed to encourage policies supporting local farmers and sungrown cultivation, conducted a study of the various energy consumption levels for different types of production. Their data showed half an acre of indoor production (22,000 square feet) produces the same energy needs per year as 298 average households. Four season greenhouses account for 82 households’ worth of energy, while greenhouses that use the sun’s light for flowering emit the same as 15 houses. Hoop houses that take in mostly sunlight with some supplemental lighting are using the same as 0.5 houses annually, and of course, cannabis grown under the sun uses no additional lighting energy.

So, if the sungrown method is in line with the sustainability goal of decreased energy consumption, why is it allowed only in certain areas and why are the shelves dominated by indoor product? The answer to both questions stems from an artificial idea of “quality” that dominates the market, along with fears around cannabis being “too free.”

Under prohibition, pop culture and the media decided the characteristics that defined “quality” were primarily THC percentage and bud appearance. This would be like deciding the quality of a wine based on the alcohol percentage and color. This, along with the fears in the public overseeing cannabis growing out in the open, led to policies that support indoor cultivation in large, highly secure facilities.

However, growing cannabis on small farms in the sun — in harmony with the environment and without the use of chemicals — creates an objectively high-quality end product. This is because the full spectrum of the sun’s rays maximizes cannabinoid and terpenoid development and because healthy, nutrient-rich soil translates into cleaner cannabis.

Johnny Casali from Huckleberry Hill Farms in Humboldt County says growing with an extra attention to preserving the natural landscape has an impact on the plants that results in cannabis with a true terroir. Terroir, a French term often applied to wine, refers to the unique impact that environmental factors have on a plant phenotype.

“The ability to grow my cannabis in natural sunlight, on a property unique to any other, allows me to create strains that thrive in this area of Humboldt County,” Casali said. “The sun dictates my special creations by rising in the early mornings and setting just behind the madrone trees at 6 p.m.”

61 Alpenglow, a 80-acre farm in Southern Humboldt, grows cannabis outdoors alongside solar panels. The farm is in the “banana belt” of its region, meaning the property is warmer and more dry than the valley below it.

The Regulations for Growing Under the Sun

Sungrown production is currently allowed in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Growing outdoor herb provides for 1-2 crops per year, compared to the six harvests indoor operations can produce. However, under these states’ laws, cannabis cultivators are taxed based upon the final weight of the cannabis they’re selling, rather than based upon how many production cycles they have. For sungrown cannabis cultivators to compete in this marketplace, they’d need help from more production-based tax incentives.

However, there are a few methods that outdoor growers can incorporate to supplement the natural sunlight and squeeze more harvests in a year. Mixed light operations can range from hoop houses, where farmers pull tarps to create light deprivation, to four season greenhouses that use supplemental lighting to grow cannabis off-season. In addition to supplemental lighting, these facilities may require some seasonal ventilation, heating and cooling. And, like sungrown, this method is only allowed only in some states.

When considering the energy efficiency of different lighting systems, the two types of lights that should be considered are antiquated High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights and Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting. While LEDs are more energy efficient, this method is also more expensive. This means that HPS lights are more common, though LEDs are steadily gaining popularity.

Of course, some cannabis farmers don’t use electric lights at all — for their plants or for themselves — because their farmers believe in a lifestyle free of dependence on artificial energy. One such farmer is Simon Evers of Elysian Fields, a second-generation farm in Mendocino County.

“I choose to live off the grid, in the country,” Evers said. “I believe in homesteading and community a lot. And in that dynamic, [cultivating] sungrown [cannabis] just makes sense.”

Beyond growing under the sun, another way to improve a cannabis farm’s footprint is to adopt regenerative farming practices, which improve the quality of the land even as it is used for cultivation. These regenerative practices include the use of living soils, companion plants, beneficial insects, closed loop compost systems and water recycling.

HappyDay Farms is a small, diversified family farm located in the hills of Northern Mendocino County, California. The farm also grows produce and flowers for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and local farmers’ markets.

Cyril Guthridge, who runs Waterdog Herb Farm in Mendocino County, believes other natural elements beyond the sun influence the expression of his outdoor harvest.

“It’s about the benefits of the sun, the moon and the air,” Guthridge said.

Guthridge said that his use of companion plants improves the terpene expression of his cannabis, as does the stress of the natural environment.

The trend of cannabis farmers growing other crops on their farm is actually an impact of prohibition, as small craft cannabis farmers needed to create systems that would minimize their trips to town to decrease the likelihood of detection. This, along with a culture of land stewardship, has created a swath of earth-friendly, agri-creative cannabis gardens that are perfect examples of 21st-century farming. As Guthridge says, he’s a cannabis farmer “using nature to make nature better.”

Despite the benefits these farmers see from cultivating with regenerative practices, artisan operators are in danger because of many new cannabis regulations. Because of unique policy and licensing hurdles, cannabis farmers are not eligible for tax incentives based on energy conservation, unlike traditional crop farmers. In addition, there are also more environmental hurdles for sungrown farmers to getting licensed in a legalized environment, including more complicated water access permits and inspection processes.

Sungrown cannabis plants at Elysian Fields.

Shifting Perceptions & Blaming Prohibition

In order for sustainable cannabis practices to be feasible in a regulated market, two shifts in perception must occur.

The first perception that needs to change is that “quality” cannabis is defined by THC percentage and bright orange hairs. Instead, the cannabis consuming public must adapt to a new definition that includes the method by which the plant was farmed, the ethics of the companies that will benefit from that purchase and how that product has impacted the land.

The second perception that must be abolished is the opinion held by many local governments that cannabis grown outdoors is somehow a bigger safety and crime risk than cannabis grown indoors. We must start licensing sungrown cannabis, and encouraging new regulations that provide incentives to grow outdoors, as a part of the larger push for responsible environmental policy.

Ultimately, the only party to blame here is prohibition. Prohibition took a crop and forced it indoors under artificial light — and reefer madness is keeping it there. 

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.

The post The Environmental Impact of Cannabis Cultivation appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Wednesday April 14, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, April 14, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Longtime cannabis reform activist Steve Fox dies (Marijuana Business Daily)

** GoFundMe- Support the family of Steve Fox. **

// Biden picks former New Jersey attorney general to lead DEA (Washington Post)

// Illinois Gets More Tax Revenue From Marijuana Than Alcohol State Says (Marijuana Moment)


These headlines are brought to you by Agilent, a Fortune 500 company known for providing top-notch testing solutions to cannabis and hemp testing labs worldwide. Are you considering testing your cannabis in-house for potency? Agilent is giving away a FREE 1260 HPLC system for one year! If you are a Cultivator, processor, or cannabis testing lab you may qualify for this giveaway. Open up bitly.com/cannabis-contest to answer a few quick questions to enter to win!


// Medical Cannabis in Mississippi Faces Constitutional Challenge (Bloomberg Government)

// NJ Cannabis Commission Gets Going Picks Vice Chair Logo (NBC 4 New York)

// urban-gro Pre-Announces Q1 Revenue in Excess of $11.8 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Aphria Stock Slammed On Dismal Third Quarter (Green Market Report)

// Organigram Q2 Revenue Slides 24% Sequentially to C$14.6 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Colorado Marijuana Sales Reached $167 Million In February (Marijuana Moment (Center Square))

// Minnesota Marijuana Legalization Bill Sails Through Fifth Committee, With Floor Vote Expected Next Month (Marijuana Moment)

Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Photo: Boston Globe

Friday April 9, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, April 9, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Mexican Senators Weigh Yet Another Extension Of Marijuana Legalization Deadline (Marijuana Moment)

// California cannabis firm Glass House Group to be bought in $567M deal (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Canopy Growth to Acquire Supreme Cannabis for $435 Million in Stock (New Cannabis Ventures)


These headlines are brought to you by Atlantic Farms, a Maine-based multistate cannabis business with operations in Maine and Massachusetts. Atlantic Farms is looking for people to help it grow and evolve as investors. Open up TheAtlanticFarms.com for more on the company and email info@theatlanticfarms.com to learn about investment opportunities.


// Connecticut Governor Says Marijuana Legalization Will Be Decided By Voters If Lawmakers Fail To Enact Reform (Marijuana Moment)

// Delaware Marijuana Activists Stage Boycott Of Medical Dispensaries That Testified Against Legalization Bill (Marijuana Moment)

// Verano Holdings Reports 2020 Pro Forma Revenue Grew 196% to $355 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// KushCo Holdings Q2 Revenue Increases 23% Sequentially to $32.9 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Maine Lawmakers File Bill To Decriminalize Possession Of All Drugs (Marijuana Moment)

// Texas Lawmakers Unanimously Approve Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill In Committee (Marijuana Moment)

// Most Americans Think Marijuana THC and CBD Are the Same Chemical Poll Says (Newsweek)

Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Photo: VV Nincic/Flickr

Thursday, April 8, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Thursday, April 8, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Virginia moves cannabis legalization to July 1 2021 (Leafly (AP))

// Investigators in Matt Gaetz inquiry looking into Bahamas travel sources say (NBC News)

// Alabama House Committee Approves Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill Already Passed The Senate (Marijuana Moment)


These headlines are brought to you by Atlantic Farms, a Maine-based multistate cannabis business with operations in Maine and Massachusetts. Atlantic Farms is looking for people to help it grow and evolve as investors. Open up TheAtlanticFarms.com for more on the company and email info@theatlanticfarms.com to learn about investment opportunities.


// Texas Lawmakers Tackle Marijuana Decriminalization Medical Cannabis And Hemp In Committee Hearings (Marijuana Moment)

// Plus Products 2020 Revenue Increases 15% to $15.9 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Trulieve Raises C$250 Million Selling Shares at C$50 (New Cannabis Ventures)

// South Carolina Senator Threatens To Block ‘Every Single Other Bill’ If Medical Marijuana Doesn’t Get A Vote (Marijuana Moment)

// Green Thumb poised to build out $50 million cannabis facility in New York (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Denver discusses permanently allowing drive-thru walk-up dispensary sales (Denver Channel 7 ABC)

// States Keep Repeating the Same Mistake With Marijuana Legalization (Slate)

Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Tips for Planning Your Spring Cannabis Garden at Home

There’s a lot to consider before making the decision to create and sustain a cannabis garden. Cultivators can never know too much about growing cannabis, so being educated about the process and diligent about the health of the crop will make a world of difference.

We’ve collected some articles designed to help you prepare your home garden for spring. Happy planting!

PHOTO Gracie Malley

READ: How to Prep Your Home Garden to Grow Cannabis

While cannabis is similar to plenty of other crops that home gardeners might be used to, given that the same key ingredients are soil and light, the cannabis plant still requires some unique expertise. Ahead of the planting season, Cannabis Now spoke with two experts to get their take on how home growers should prepare their gardens for a successful marijuana cultivation season.

PHOTO PD-USGov

READ: Guano is the Way to Go

There are lots of people who have tried their hand at growing cannabis with guano and there are many who have failed for a few simple reasons. Guano, especially bat guano, can actually be a deterrent to your crop rather than the great gift most seem to think it is.

PHOTO Gracie Malley

READ: 10 Things to Know Before You Grow

Some may think that getting into growing marijuana is an easy affair. That idea couldn’t be further from the truth. Cultivating marijuana successfully takes a great deal of detailed planning, skill and consistent effort. Each crop takes eight to 10 weeks to mature, so the grower will have to spend at least an hour a day while caring for them to ensure the plants live up to their potential.

Wick System main
PHOTO Ed Rosenthal

READ: Building a Wick System: An Easy Way to Grow

Leading cannabis horticulture authority Ed Rosenthal has released a new book that delivers useful ideas for starting your own homegrown, like this excerpt about creating a wick system. The wick container system is an easy way to garden because it’s self-watering and removes the uncertainty of when to water.

cannabis male plant cannabis now
PHOTO DoobieDuck

READ: How to Tell if Your Cannabis Plant is Male or Female

Cannabis cultivators the world over know the obsessive, purgatorial feeling of waiting for their plants to mature to discern sex — female, male or hermaphrodite. There’s no way to ascertain if a seedling is male or female with the naked eye. This article lays out the way to tell the difference between sexes in cannabis plants.

The post Tips for Planning Your Spring Cannabis Garden at Home appeared first on Cannabis Now.

How Artificial Intelligence is Transforming the Cannabis Industry

AI is transforming the world—and the cannabis industry. Some view Artificial Intelligence (AI) as an existential risk that could wipe out humanity, others see it as an exciting new frontier to advance civilization. Regardless of one’s views, its prevalence today cannot be understated. Its application is so ubiquitous that even those critical of AI may […]

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Meet Fohse’s New Responsive Grow Light

When it comes to growing cannabis or any other crop, nothing beats the efficiency of the sun.  Natural sunlight is free and plentiful, and plants respond to it with lush and healthy growth. However, the sun isn’t perfect. The intensity of sunlight fluctuates seasonally, and even during the course of the day. Inclement weather can also slow the growth of plants every time the sun is hidden behind clouds.

Dealing with this reality for greenhouse cultivators is a challenge that has been taken on by Fohse, a Nevada-based company that specializes in the design and manufacturing of premium LED grow lights for horticulture. The company got its start providing fixtures for indoor cannabis cultivation that are setting the industry standard, and that success is now available to greenhouse growers with the Pleiades 320-watt LED grow light fixture.

Optimized for Greenhouses

The Pleiades is engineered specifically for use in greenhouse cultivation operations. The slim profile of the fixture is designed to be installed directly to the trusses of the structure so that they do not block the sunlight and no additional shadows are cast on the canopy below. With its highly efficient diodes, the Pleiades supplements the natural sunlight coming into the greenhouse to provide the optimal light intensity for growing plants. 

The Pleiades in-house engineering team, led by Fohse Chief Technology Officer Alex Gerard, designed the LED fixture to be seamlessly integrated into greenhouse cultivation operations. Because they run on less electricity than the conventional high-pressure sodium (HPS) light fixtures often used in comparable applications, several fixtures can be powered together by wiring them in sequence.

“Because it is a lower power fixture, we’re able to daisy-chain the power,” Gerard explained. “So, you only need one outlet to run several light fixtures.”

When the variable voltage Pleiades is operated at 110 volts, up to five fixtures can be connected together and powered by one outlet. And at 480 volts – the highest voltage the Pleiades is designed to operate at – the number of fixtures that can be linked in a daisy chain increases to 22, greatly reducing the electrical infrastructure required for the system.

“It definitely cuts down on the amount of electrical work that has to be in the building, which decreases your install cost,” Gerard noted.

Because he comes from a family with roots in horticulture, Gerard is well versed in the challenges faced by greenhouse cultivators. That knowledge and experience are built into all of Fohse’s LED lighting solutions. While traditional fixtures are subject to dangerous intrusion of moisture and dust inherent to any greenhouse situation, Fohse products boast the highest ingress protection ratings in the industry, ensuring years of efficient and productive operation while safeguarding the grower’s investment.

Cannabis Grow Light by Fohse

Consistent Light Intensity

One key to an efficient and profitable greenhouse operation is ensuring that all plants grow at a consistent rate so that they can be harvested at the same time. Among other factors, this requires ensuring consistent light intensity, which can be a challenge, especially in massive operations where half of a greenhouse can be bathed in sunlight while the rest is shaded by clouds.

Fohse tackles the challenge of maintaining consistent light levels with a feature the company refers to as “light harvesting.” Sensors placed throughout the greenhouse detect the natural light entering the grow, and the fixtures respond to fluctuations by automatically dimming or increasing power to maintain target light levels throughout the operation.

While the sun has been a reliable light source since the dawn of agriculture, it can still use a helping hand from time-to-time. And thanks to Fohse technology and the Pleiades LED grow light, greenhouse operations can stand up to the sun’s challenges, confidently providing the best growing conditions for their plants. 

The post Meet Fohse’s New Responsive Grow Light appeared first on Cannabis Now.

5 weed products legendary breeder MzJill can’t live without

When it comes to weed history, MzJill is definitely one of the pioneers that helped birth this thriving legal industry. Owner of MzJill Genetics, and co-founder of the world famous TGA Genetics, she’s been breeding some of our favorite weed strains for over 25 years. Jill’s been here since the days of hiding plants in bushes and having to be hush-hush on helping medical patients, and she’s still here in the days of big corporate cannabis and the cultural changes that come with it.

“25 years ago, everything was founded for a handshake, we were more out for each other. It wasn’t so cut-throat, there was an unspoken word of loyalty. Now, as we move into the legal market, I do see an influx of people who are not necessarily about the plant or the patient. But I am grateful that medicine is more readily available to patients,” said the seed breeding legend.

The mother of Jilly Bean is an old school grower from the forum days of OverGrow.com. You’re probably most familiar with TGA Genetics and her partnering with the late Subcool (TGA Subcool Seeds/TGA Genetics/The Dank). Her first real plant that she ever grew was a Cinderella 99 BX (backcross), and she and Sub blessed the world with famous strains like Agent Orange, Space Queen, and Vortex.

“Agent Orange was one of the first ones that Sub and I did together. I used his Jack The Ripper and my Orange Velvet mother. It was named to honor my father. He was a Vietnam veteran, and he ended up contracting cancer from the chemical Agent Orange. I named the strain Agent Orange as a shoutout to my father and all of the Vietnam vets.”

Now, in modern times, MzJill still puts out her legendary product through MzJillGenetics. They are available on her website, and through sites like Seeds Here Now and Breeder’s Direct Seed Co. She’s running an entire line of Jilly Bean hybrids, and she’s also bringing all of their original TGA strains under the original logo. Querkle, The Flav, and Jilly Bean have already been released. Next up is Agent Orange, some F2s, and an entire line of Agent Orange hybrids.

MzJill’s favorite weed

Past breeding and growing, MzJill is a daily consumer and long-time medical cannabis patient. “I have scoliosis, so it definitely helps with my back and hip pain. I’ve had several children, I have the [Ehlers-Danlos syndrome]. The Jilly Bean is most amazing for helping women with PMS symptoms. Most pains that involve female organs, it has been very beneficial.”

These are five weed products that legendary breeder MzJill can’t live without.

Her bong

It’s bong over everything with MzJill. Sometimes she’ll smoke from a pipe or roll a joint, but the bong is 100% her favorite delivery system. 

On her daily consumption habits, she told Weedmaps, “I would say I smoke between an eighth and a quarter per day. I love to smoke a few bong hits before I head to the gym, it gives me a much better workout. Some days, if my morning’s starting off a little rough, I may feel like I need to take a few hits before I start the day to set the mood right.”

Organic Cannabis (Dog Walker, Triangle Kush, Jilly Bean)

Jill is primarily a flower smoker. Organic flower, to be specific. Not wanting to be biased towards her own strains, she said, “One of my very favorite [strains] is Dog Walker. Absolutely love the funk of that one. Very unique smell and flavor. And I’d say Triangle Kush is one of my favorites.” And, as mentioned above, she loves her Jilly Bean.

  • Dog Walker is a skunky, gassy cross of Albert Walker OG and Chemdawg 91. 
  • Triangle Kush is a Florida-born Kush that was bred by crossing an Emerald Triangle female with a Hindu Kush. It’s one of the first Kush strains ever.
  • Jilly Bean is a cross of Orange Velvet cut and pollen from a Space Queen male. It has a candy-like scent and flavor.

MzJill Logo Rolling Papers

“I definitely like to have my rolling papers and my grinder so I can roll a J when I’m out and about.”

MzJill uses her own brand of MzJill Logo Rolling Papers. The pack comes with 32 papers and crutches.

Kush Cream Topicals

In addition to flower, there are a plethora of topicals that MzJill enjoys. She definitely enjoys slathering on Kush Creams topicals.

Embrace Lotion

MzJill’s absolute favorite topical is the Embrace lotion from Colorado’s Eureka Effects. She swears by their catalog. “They actually have the full-spectrum CBD. They’re based in Colorado. They have sprays, they have lotions, they have tinctures, they have all kinds of products. They have some available for pets, as well, and have the CBD I found to be really good for my dog. [Toke]’s getting older, and he has some joint issues. The CBD helps him rest more comfortably.” 

Featured photo by Chris Ryan. Graphic by David Lozada/Weedmaps

The post 5 weed products legendary breeder MzJill can’t live without appeared first on Weedmaps News.

Friday, February 19, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, February 19, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// N.J. legal weed revived again as Murphy gets another reprieve from lawmakers. But it’s far from a done deal. (NJ.com)

// Draft of bill aims to curb underage use of concentrated THC set potency cap in Colorado (KOAA News 5 NBC)

// North Dakota Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Legalization Bill In Committee (Marijuana Moment)


These headlines are brought to you by Cova Software, the number one dispensary point-of-sale system in North America! Swing over today to see why two thirds of all Canadian cannabis stores run on Cova software, which is also the fastest growing dispensary software in the U.S., with more than a hundred new client dispensaries open for business in January alone!


// Cannabis bill with no commercial production cap passes committee (Taos News)

// Tax Court Rules Against Harborside In 280E Case (Green Market Report)

// Oklahoma medical marijuana sales surpass $800 million for 2020 (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Oregon marijuana firms enjoy booming market fueled by pandemic consumers shunning illicit suppliers (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Oregon marijuana firms enjoy booming market fueled by pandemic consumers shunning illicit suppliers (Green Market Report)

// Tilray Delivers Solid Quarter As Revenue Rises 20% (Green Market Report)

// NFL Explores How Marijuana And CBD Can Be Used As Opioid Alternatives For Players (Marijuana Moment)

Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Photo: Phil Murphy/Flickr

The 8 best strains with off-putting names, according to weed cultivators and breeders

Slap & Tickle, Granola Funk, Cat Piss, these are three strains that have at least one thing in common; their names garner visceral reactions, and that’s kind of the point. On the one hand, weed that “slaps and tickles” might make for an experience not unlike smoking your typical indica-dominant hybrid. On the other hand, cat piss is such an aggressive smell that’s so hard to get rid of that it’s almost unfathomable that anyone would want to smoke it. But as the weed adage goes, don’t trust a strain by its name. 

As weed comes into the mainstream, breeders are coming out of the shadows and finding ways to express their unique perspective, stand out, and capture the attention of a variety of smokers. Enter strain names. They’re a breeder’s choice, and are often drawn from attributes like taste, smell, lineage, effects, and color, but can also be based on more hazy things like a random memory the breeder had or something they experienced while smoking. 

Naming is a form of branding and self-expression for breeders, and they should retain that creativity and agency; however, novel names can be off-putting, which means people miss out on new experiences and effects they might otherwise benefit from. 

Unique strains and the people who name them

Classic strain names like Sour Diesel and Blue Dream tell you what you can expect, and they’ll always be available. Still, these days, breeders are experimenting and perfecting new crosses, many of which might sound like things you’d want to steer clear of, yet the flavors and effects might surprise you. With this in mind, we chatted with four different cultivators about what funny-named strains they’re breeding and why you should try them. 

Ethan Woods, co-founder, and CEO of Desert Underground worked to get the best genetics he could get his hands on and spent two years conducting R&D before launching Desert Underground. Today, Desert Underground has forty grow rooms and harvests every three weeks, so they’re continuously learning and perfecting the product. 

Parks McMillan, Director of Cultivation at Seed & Smith, doesn’t play it safe when it comes to betting on strains. Seed & Smith’s strain catalog has depth and range because Parks makes sure to cater to connoisseurs, with unique strains, and newer smokers, with strains that have fruitier, sweeter profiles.

The lead Cultivator of Veritas Fine Cannabis, Shane Reynolds, uses his years of experience growing cannabis to acquire quality genetics and uses them to cultivate a number of strains on this list, many of which have names that pack as much punch as the flower itself. 

Kenny Powers, aka Powerzzzup, has cultivated strains for a brand that is as close to a household name as you can get in the cannabis space: Cookies. Not only are his strains rapper approved, but they draw long lines of smokers to Cookies dispensaries. The Cookies Fam regularly garners crowds akin to that of a Jordan release day, before there was a SNKRS app.

Here are eight strains with off-putting names as recommended by the breeders and growers cultivating them.

GMO (Garlic Mushroom Onion aka Garlic Cookies)

We’d be remiss if we didn’t start with GMO, a strain that paved the way for a few of the strains on this list. A cross of GSC and Chemdog, GMO has a pungent, funky smell, similar to that of garlic. You might not come for the flavor, but you should stay for the effects which make the garlicky bite worth enduring. It can clear the mind and melt the body, making way for a calm focus without the intensity you might expect from a high THC strain. 


Garlic Road

After you’ve tried GMO and are ready to hit the old dusty trail, grab Garlic Road, a phenotype of GMO with a name that’s a bit more on the nose. Garlic Road, a cross of GMO and I-95, named after a highway in Colorado, has a sweet aroma and GMO-like effects that lean more uplifting. GMO leaves most people relaxed yet focused, and Garlic Road tends to do the same — but with an added smile and pep in your step.


Yuk Mouth

Yuk Mouth won’t ruin your teeth, but it might give you cottonmouth, so you may want to grab some mints before lighting up. This GMO and Dosidos cross has an aggressive nose, and if that’s not your thing, maybe the cerebral euphoria and full-body relaxation are. 

Described by Reynolds as an “old school creeper,” Yuk Mouth’s effects might be latent, but when they hit, you’ll be forced into a horizontal position, wondering where the nearest drink is. 


Unicorn Poop

Let’s address the unicorn in the room. No, this strain doesn’t smell like poop. Unicorn Poop gives off citrusy, diesel notes thanks to its parents, GMO and Sophisticated Lady. As for the name, it’s a nod to the color and shine of the nugs. Unicorn Poop is a beauty, with a very distinct layer of trichomes that makes it shine. 

If you’re still on the fence, please your inner child who probably would have loved to spend a few hours with a unicorn, and while that’s not what’s happening here, the giggly, euphoric effects are a close second. 


Fly

While the name “Fly” comes from its parents, Florida Kush and The Y, it could also have been foreshadowing how the strain would enter the market: with a lot of buzz and difficult to catch. This Cookies strain, bred by Powerzzzup, hits the body hard, and prepares the mind for takeoff with it’s cerebral effects. The flavor is sweet with gassy notes — a bit more palatable than the name might imply. 


Poon Tang Pie

Come for the pie, stay for the tropical vibes. A cross of Tropicana, Grape Pie, and Papaya, Poon Tang Pie is for flavor chasers. With notes of berry, citrus, and pine, this strain will leave your mouth watering, mood boosted, and ease you into a euphoria that gently washes over the body. The name, believed to be a nod to the comedy film Pootie Tang, references the papaya and grape pie lineage that give the strain its sweet, fruity flavors.


MeatBreath

Who knew weed could taste like a hamburger? We owe a collective thank you to the genius who smoked and thought, “weed should taste like meat.” MeatBreath, a cross of Meatloaf and Mendo Breath, is relaxing yet cerebrally stimulating. It starts behind the eyes but follows up with a jolt of energy, making it perfect for evening creativity or focus time, before easing your eyes closed for the night. This strain is said to be named both as a result of lineage and homage, most notably Lamb’s Breath which had a breakout moment over a decade ago.


Gary Payton

Not off-putting so much as simply unusual. Smoke like multi-hyphenate rapper/businessman Berner, and try Gary Payton. Cookies fam breeder Kenny Powers’ story of choosing the name “Gary Payton” gives us a glimpse into the cultivation process. What is now known as Gary Payton was formerly “strain number 20” of many phenotypes he was testing. Strain number 20 stood out, and it just so happened to be Gary Payton’s old number. 

This collaboration is the real deal, folks. Cookies worked with Gary Payton to license and bring this strain to the market. If you’re familiar with Gary Payton’s revered NBA career, then you might expect this strain to feel like a full-court press, but it’s quite balanced. Gary Payton delivers relaxed energy that eases body pain while providing mental clarity. It’s no surprise that Berner contacts Powers for this strain before his studio sessions.

Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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