Seed Synergy

Upon exhaling a deep drag from a joint of Blueberry Cookies grown by City Farmers BCN the smoke from my hit travels upward into the rafters of a 16th century modernist palace in the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter. As the smoke rises, I contemplate the significance of the moment and celebrate the freedom of enjoying weed in a country where cannabis still exists within a gray area, decriminalized for personal use and cultivation, but illegal for commercial sales. I’m in Barcelona, Spain for an international gathering focused on cannabis genetics. More specifically, I’m within the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum at a party celebrating the collaborative efforts that bridged a domestic-international divide to unite two storied cannabis seed companies, Sensi Seeds and Humboldt Seed Company. Within their collaboration lies the dawning of a new chapter in the history of marijuana, one which continues the tradition of legendary fusions of Californian and European genetics that started in the 1970s when the hybridization of cannabis began.

Courtesy Hash Marijuana & Hemp Museum

The collaborative project is called Breeding Grounds and resulted in the release of four new feminized seeds: The Bird (OG Kush x Humboldt Dream x Larry Bird), Auto Pineapple Kush Cake (Pineapple Muffin autoflower x Banana Kush Cake autoflower), Auto Amnesia Jelly (Mint Jelly autoflower x Amnesia autoflower XXL), and one that lies within the highly popular and heavily lauded Z terp family, Purple Berry Muffinz (Purple Bud x Blueberry Muffin x Zkittlez). But arguably more significant than the lineage of the new cannabis cultivars is the symbolism of what they represent. Sensi Seeds, which inherited the genetics of the world’s first cannabis seed bank—Nevil Schoenmakers’s The Seed Bank of Holland—brought the world classic cultivars such as the sativa-dominant Jack Herer and has been in the business of selling cannabis seeds from its home base in Holland since the 1980s. Humboldt Seed Company, founded in California’s Emerald Triangle in 2001, has built a reputation as a trusted breeder via enormous phenohunts and award-winning cannabis such as its signature strain Blueberry Muffin. The fusion of the two companies in 2023 harkens back to the beginnings of cannabis breeding in the 1970s, when people like Sam the Skunkman and Ed Rosenthal became the catalysts for fusing European and Californian cannabis genetics, an action that created the world’s first cannabis hybrids.

The Bird / Courtesy Humboldt Seed Company

“The first time I heard about The Seed Bank, which is the precursor to what is now Sensi Seeds… my uncle had a shed where he would keep all the gardening stuff and in that shed he would stash High Times magazines and I remember sneaking into his shed—because we would sometimes you know, borrow some weed from our uncle—and we’re looking at his High Times and in the back of High Times we saw an advertisement for The Seed Bank,” explains Benjamin Lind, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Humboldt Seed Company. “And it just kind of clicked like, ‘Whoa, you can actually order seeds.’”

From a young age, Lind was observing his family members making their own cannabis crosses and learning about the importance of seeds to ensure the next year’s harvest. Sensi Seeds, he says over an early morning eating lychee fruit acquired from one of Barcelona’s famed food markets, was the first cannabis seed company that ever came into his vision. And, once he met the people behind the company and toured their facility decades later, he learned that the breeding work they had been doing aligned with his own.

Ben Lind / Photo by Mike Rosatti

“A lot of our processes are very similar,” he says. “All breeders come at breeding cannabis differently and very few have similar beliefs or similar philosophies, but we mesh really well.”

This meshing of two similar minds in the cannabis breeding world was more than a coincidence, it’s the result of years of effort put in by none other than cannabis cultivation expert Ed Rosenthal, who tells me he’s done writing books and is now more interested in acquisitions and mergers. Rosenthal’s relationship with Sensi Seeds goes back years. A mutual friend who had a cannabis club and magazine introduced Rosenthal to Ben Dronkers, the founder of Sensi Seeds, back in the 1980s. Once introduced, the two began to collaborate with each other on a museum in Amsterdam dedicated to the history of the cannabis plant which first opened in 1987.

“At the same time Nevil [Schoenmakers] was indicted so he sold his business, The Seed Bank, to [Sensi Seeds] and he took off for the wilds of Australia and he was never brought to the U.S.,” Rosenthal explains. “We stayed close and then [Dronkers] hired me off and on at different times to do things and then also put in, I think, $50,000 to $100,000 into my defense.”

The defense Rosenthal is referring to was a federal trial that began in the early 2000s when he was found guilty of three felonies related to the cultivation and sale of marijuana. After the trial, the jurors—who had not been provided with the crucial information that Rosenthal had been deputized by the city of Oakland, California to grow medical marijuana—denounced their verdict and in 2003 Rosenthal was ultimately sentenced to a single day in prison, time served.

Rosenthal calls Sensi Seeds, which is now run by Dronkers’s son Ravi Dronkers, a “legacy family,” and says when he saw them interacting with Humboldt Seed Company he realized the “cultures weren’t that different.”

“I knew this was the one to go and I just did everything so that it didn’t get fucked up,” he says. “I’m really excited about this. This is going to be very big.”

The announcement for the collaboration came in mid-March at the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum’s second iteration in Barcelona and included flutes of cava alongside a bowl filled with the Spanish-grown Blueberry Cookies so guests could roll their own joints. Guests in attendance included Jack Herer’s son, Dan Herer, who was spotted taking a photograph of a framed picture of his father on display within one of the rooms devoted to hemp. In a country that resides within the legal gray market for cannabis, smoking and enjoying flowers and concentrates takes place within private social clubs and spaces that are cannabis-friendly. This clearly includes the cannabis-themed museum during a private event, but also includes restaurants which will pull down their rollup doors to offer discretion for diners to smoke weed at the table while the waitstaff also lights up.

Courtesy Humboldt Seed Company

Over a candid evening conversation after one of those smoky Barcelona dinners, Rosenthal gets in a discussion with Nathaniel Pennington, co-founder and CEO of Humboldt Seed Company, about cannabis breeding. The basics of cannabis breeding involve creating new expressions of the botanical by crossing, or pollinating, the female flower with pollen from a male plant. An F1, or first generation, occurs when breeders cross two landraces—cultivars that are native to specific regions and have not been bred—or when breeders cross two inbred lines. The final hybridized result that’s released by reputable seed companies comes after at least four generations of inbreeding. The reason that the lines are inbred, or bred from plants that share similar genetics, is to stabilize the seeds ensuring that, once the seeds are grown into plants, they retain similar physical characteristics. Cannabis plants have a complex set of DNA and, like two sisters from the same family, when two cultivars are brought together the results will not be genetically identical, but rather, similar but different expressions known as phenotypes. The art of creating cannabis seeds involves the painstaking work of getting to a point where the expression of all the seeds will be the same, a process that is known as stabilizing the genetics.

(From left) Ben Lind, Ravi Dronkers, Nathaniel Pennington and Sander Landsaat celebrate their seed collaboration project at the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum in Barcelona, Spain. / Courtesy Humboldt Seed Company

“With breeding it’s not true science until it’s repeatable,” Pennington explains. “[True breeding doesn’t occur] until you can perform the same experiment, which I would say is the same seed population times the same seed population and find the same phenotypic outcome. And if you can’t reproduce that experiment then you haven’t really accomplished anything except for you’ve made a clone line which can be forever propagated as a clone, but that’s a bit of a handicap if you ask me.”

In a world filled with companies making dubious claims about the stability of their seed lines some companies, like Sensi Seeds and Humboldt Seed Company, stick to the science. In doing so, these seed banks bless humanity with reliable cultivars that cross oceans and territorial boundaries to contribute to the diverse genetic expression of the world’s most favored flower.

“Both of our families have worked for generations to preserve the very best lines and bring them to the modern market,” Lind said through a press release about the Breeding Grounds project. “We both evolved on different continents, with different selective pressures. Even though we live a world apart we have a very similar philosophy based on love and respect for the plant. It was natural we would cross-pollinate the best from Amsterdam with the best of Northern California.”

Auto Pineapple Kush Cake / Courtesy Humboldt Seed Company

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How to Make Cannabis Tinctures With Everclear Grain Alcohol 

Until the reefer madness rhetoric began and prohibition reared its ugly head, tinctures were the most popular form of cannabis consumption in North America. And for good reason, too. Tinctures are a discreet and convenient way to consume cannabis. Today, cannabis tinctures are regaining popularity, mainly because they’re a smokeless consumption method—plus, they’re easy to make at home. 

Because of its high alcohol content and purity, Everclear grain alcohol has been a staple within the cannabis community for years. The odorless, flavorless and colorless nature of this premier, high-proof grain alcohol is perfect for creating a wide range of cannabis products, including cocktails, edibles, infusions and tinctures. 

Cannabis tinctures are traditionally made with food-grade, high-proof grain alcohol to remove terpenes and cannabinoids from the plant’s foliage. With a concentration of 95% alcohol by volume (190 proof) and 75.5% (151 proof), Everclear is one of the best choices for making tinctures. That’s because the higher the alcohol percentage, the more effectively it dissolves the plant’s compounds—resulting in a more efficacious end product.

The Benefits of Using Cannabis Tinctures

There are a suite of benefits to using tinctures over other forms of ingestion. Don’t like vaping or smoking cannabis? No problem! Simply add your tincture to gummies, juice, soup, sauces and dressings. Tinctures can also be used in a variety of cannabis cocktails. So, if you’re watching your sugar levels, try adding them to your smoothies and other healthy snacks.

Worried about the risk of overconsumption? Or perhaps you’ve had a bad experience with edibles in the past and you’re looking for a more precise way to medicate? Rather than playing the waiting game, tinctures, allow you to accurately measure your dosage and consume a few drops at a time until the desired results are achieved. Cannabis tinctures also have a faster onset, meaning you may feel the effects in a matter of minutes. Compare this to an hour or more for most weed edibles! When tinctures are sublingually dosed—that is, placed under the tongue—cannabinoids travel directly into the bloodstream through the highly permeable tissue membranes under the tongue, rather than having to go through the digestive process. 

Everclear is one of the best choices for making tinctures.

How to Make Cannabis Tinctures Using Everclear Grain Alcohol

Cannabis tinctures can be made in a variety of ways, from relatively straightforward and low-tech to elaborate distillation facilities that yield highly refined cannabis oil. When it comes to making tinctures at home, an alcohol soak is the simplest approach.

Some debate exists around the best way to make cannabis tinctures. The traditional method of using heat to evaporate off the excess alcohol was the tried-and-true method for years—but the dangers of heating alcohol, including the risk of explosion and the risk of inhaling alcohol fumes, make it an extremely risky option. Fortunately, recent scientific testing reveals that the practice of heating alcohol during extraction is unnecessary, and it’s possible to eliminate that step when making cannabis tinctures.

Additionally, depending on your desired results, you may or may not want to decarb your cannabis before soaking it in Everclear. Decarbing may be skipped if you have a low tolerance level, or are primarily searching for other benefits from your herb. Ed Rosenthal, “The Guru of Ganja,” has an easy-to-follow technique for making tinctures. He recommends using ten fluid ounces of alcohol for every ounce of herb. 

Dosing With Tinctures

Whether you’re a recreational or medical user, tinctures are an excellent ingestion method for those seeking smokeless ways to consume the herb. 

To get the most out of tinctures, hold them beneath your tongue for 30 seconds, preferably while rubbing them into the tissue. While the effects of sublingual cannabis tinctures are more immediate, they don’t last as long as those of edible baked items. However, The effects do seem to last longer than vaping or smoking. If your tolerance is low or you’re unsure how much you can handle, start with a drop or two of tincture and wait 1-1.5 hours to see how it affects you.  

Everclear grain alcohol is available nationwide so wherever you are, you can get creative making your own cannabis tinctures. The possibilities are endless!

PLEASE ENJOY RESPONSIBLY. Everclear® Grain Alcohol is 75.5%-95% Alc./Vol. (120-190 Proof), ©2023 Luxco®, Inc., St. Louis, MO.

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Hall of Fame: The Mount Rushmore of Cannabis Legends

Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg and Tommy Chong may be some of the more obvious honorees for Cannabis Now’s Legacy: Hall Of Fame, but they’re hardly alone. Cannabis giants Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, Ed Rosenthal, Dale Sky Jones and Steve DeAngelo also make the cut of the Cannabis Now “Hall of Fame” for 2023.

Tommy Chong

The grandfather of weed and one-half of the most iconic stoner comedy duo in history needs no introduction. READ MORE.

Hall of Fame: Steve DeAngelo

Steve DeAngelo

The cannabis advocate and author was dubbed “the father of the legal industry” by the former Speaker of the California Assembly. READ MORE.

Snoop Dogg

The Long Beach native and hip-hop superstar’s love of cannabis is legendary. READ MORE.

Melissa Etheridge

The breast cancer survivor and Grammy-award-winning singer/songwriter attributes cannabis to opening her conscientiousness when writing music. READ MORE.

Hall of Fame: Dale Sky Jones

Dale Sky Jones

The President and CEO of Oaksterdam University provided the model for cannabis reform as the spokesperson for the first statewide legalization initiative, California’s Prop 19. READ MORE.

Ann Lee

Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (RAMP) founder Ann Lee is an unexpected ally in the fight again prohibition. READ MORE

Dr. Raphael Mechoulam

The father of cannabis research paved the road for scientists to better understand the herb’s immense resource for medical purposes. READ MORE.

Willie Nelson

The country music outlaw has been an outspoken cannabis advocate for decades—and out-smoked a few notable names. READ MORE.

Ed Rosenthal

The author and activist is widely regarded as the world’s leading expert on cannabis cultivation. READ MORE.

Mike “BigMike” Straumeitis

The renowned and respected CEO of Advanced Nutrients is as passionate about philanthropy as he is about the cannabis plant. READ MORE.

Keith Stroup

The founder of NORML has spent much of his professional life working to legalize cannabis. READ MORE.

Nikki Lastreto and Swami

The Emerald Triangle power couple is a cornerstone of California’s craft cannabis community. READ MORE.

Ricky Williams

The retired NFL star has used his platform and extensive experience to change the conversation around cannabis for athletes and patients. READ MORE.

This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.

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From the Archives: New Year’s Dead (1991)

I had neglected to tell my friend Ed a little dark secret of mine. I figured it wouldn’t matter. I was absolutely convinced that, miracle of miracles, we’d find a way to get in to the New Year’s Eve Grateful Dead show at the Oakland Coliseum—despite arriving without ducats.

But we failed, and so there we were sitting in our rental car in the parking lot, listening to the show on the radio. There was only one word for our collective state: bummed. I decided to confess.

“I probably should have told you that I generally don’t have very good luck on New Year’s. In fact, I have a history of bad New Year’s Eves—ever since the parties we had. Those were the best New Year’s Eves.” (Ed and I grew up together in New York. We threw a series of deranged New Year’s parties when we were in college.)

“You’ve had bad New Year’s Eves since?” Ed asked.

“Ever since,” I said. Ed couldn’t hold back a big laugh. “Can’t remember a good one.” And he laughed again.

“Since you were 17?”

“Right. Forgot to tell you that.”

“Now you tell me.”

We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I came up with the plan to hop the airbus and join our Deadhead family in Mecca for the New Year’s shows. Ed immediately fired out a money order for tickets. I called another friend who lives in the Bay Area and asked him to make ticket inquiries on our behalf. Then I went to HIGH TIMES editor Steve Hager and suggested the magazine send me out to California to cover the shows. “Got tickets?” Hager wondered. “Not yet,” I said. “We’re taking care of that. Don’t worry.”

Ed’s ticket request came back empty, but my friend was able to score a pair for the Friday night show. (New Year’s Eve was Monday.) We were in. We were booked.

Friday morning, December 28, Ed and I took off for Cali. It had snowed pretty heavily the night before, but the runway was clear. We landed in Oaktown three hours before showtime. It didn’t take long for us to run into the hemp folks on the vending lot—Jack Herer in one corner, Cannabis Action Network in the other, both doing their own thing.

The highlight of a rather laid-back show was “China Cat Sunflower,” which opened the second set (amazingly, Maria and Rick of CAN both predicted this would happen). We hung out in the hallways with the space dancers and spinners, with children and their folks at a makeshift Rainbow-style Kid Village. The mellowness—quite a change from East Coast harshness—was contagious.

The news that Branford Marsalis—the brilliant jazz saxophonist who guested with the Dead in April ’90-would be opening the New Year’s show topped off our heady day. I’ll keep this story short. A few years back, I interviewed Branford for an article about his more-famous brother, Wynton.

Since then we’ve become friends, chatting at Knicks games, even throwing a football around one Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn. When I heard Branford was in town, I figured I was in. Miracles do happen.

The next day, I tracked Branford down at a nearby jazz club where his quartet was jamming nightly. After staring at me quizzically (like, “What the hell are you doing here?”), he asked, “What’s wrong with the Knicks, man?” In between sets, Branford explained that “Dark Star” is his favorite Dead song and the main thing he likes about the Dead is “their vibe.”

About the upcoming New Year’s gig, Branford told me, “We go on sometime around eight. Other than that, I don’t know jack. I think I’m playing with [the Dead]; It’s up to the cats.” Would Branford be my miracle passage into the Coliseum?

“It’s gonna be tight,” he cautioned. “I’ll help you if I can. If I can’t….”

On New Year’s Eve day, Ed and I visited HIGH TIMES’ Guru of Ganja, Ed Rosenthal, who lives in Oakland.

He gave us a tour of his magical cactus garden and some words of advice about attending New Year’s shows without tickets. “I won’t do it,” he said. “It’s too depressing if you don’t get in.” What bothered me as we searched for the freeway was if the Guru of Ganja couldn’t cop a New Year’s ticket, what made us think we could?

We had two plans: The Branford plan, and another that involved hooking up with Brett, a friend’s brother who had promised me his spare ticket. Both fell through. Apparently, I didn’t make Branford’s ticket cut. Adding insult to injury, Denis McNally, the Dead’s publicist, scolded me for relying on a musician for tickets. “There isn’t a spare ticket in the house,” he said, walking away. As far as the other plan was concerned, we never did find Brett.

Depression quickly overcame us. Slowly, we walked back to the lot, where thousands of ’heads were celebrating the beginning of the show. Suddenly, it dawned on me that we weren’t exactly going to miss the concert. Every colorful car, van and bus in the lot was tuned to KPFA, the local station broadcasting live New Year’s Dead to the entire country and probably a few others. The squeak of Branford’s soprano sax tweaked my brain. We walked on.

There was only one way to salvage the situation: acid and burritos. We surveyed the lot, checking for the familiar sight of Lee’s double-decker, veggie-chow wagon. It didn’t take long to spot it. Lee, Keith and others inside were partying hard. They invited us in (we stayed for most of the night). As the seven-hour show progressed, we drew solace from the ’heads around us. They too had been shut out, but “bummed” and “depression” didn’t seem part of their vocabulary—at least, not on this special night. We banded together—as those inside undoubtedly were doing—raising our spirits to rare heights.

The music certainly helped. After a surprising electric set that featured guitarist Robin Eubanks, Branford joined Jerry, Bobby, Phil, Bruce, Vince, Mickey, Bill and guest drummer Olatunji for two spectacular sets. “Eyes of the World,” “Dark Star,”

“Drums,” “Space,” “The Other One,” “Not Fade Away” (great tribal dance/chant, closed the show), “The Weight,” “Johnny B. Goode” (encores). Jerry, Phil, Branford and Bruce got lost in the stars, improvising most of the night. An unwieldy, complicated fusion of styles, New Year’s Dead reveled in the past, present and future. It left me hopeful that this sort of musical summit can happen more than once a year.

But I still wished we’d gotten in. The CAN crew didn’t even bother trying; they went to the Red Hot Chili Peppers show in San Francisco instead. Now I know that acquiring New Year’s Dead tickets takes almost fanatical advance planning. There’s something painfully democratic about having to compete for tickets like everyone else. If only I’d listened to ticket maven David, who advised me to start scouting for tix the moment we touched down in Oakland….

Well, that’s all bongwater under the wharf now. Wish me better luck next year. Even if it is New Year’s Eve. 

High Times Magazine, May 1991

Read the full issue here.

The post From the Archives: New Year’s Dead (1991) appeared first on High Times.

Rejoice! Cannabis Seeds are Legal

Ed Rosenthal is a legend in cannabis known for bucking the rules. The longtime cultivation author went up against the feds for providing marijuana to medical patients in 2003 and was ultimately sentenced to a single day in prison, time served. Rosenthal’s devoted his life promoting cannabis—he’s responsible for proliferating the classic South African landrace Durban Poison, partnered with at least 50 European seed companies for multiple books in his Big Book of Buds series, and even has a cultivar, Ed Rosenthal Super Bud, named after him—but he’s never released his own genetics. That is, until now. Back in April, the DEA quietly acknowledged that cannabis seeds are legal. Rosenthal began releasing seed packs alongside his books in May. Since then, rapper and Cookies clothing mogul Berner has also embraced the idea, offering seed packs along with his recent From Seed to Sale album release. 

The DEA’s reasoning behind the affirmation that cannabis seeds are legal in the U.S. had to do with the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp, defining and separating it from the pot we smoke as Cannabis sativa with less than .03% delta-9 THC. When questioned about the legality of seeds, tissue culture, and “other genetic material” the agency response was that marihuana (yes, they still spell it like that) seeds that contain less than .03% delta-9 THC meet the definition of hemp and are therefore, not a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. 

Sprouting the Seed: Reviving & Distributing Genetics

While speaking in his tropical sunroom filled with the lush multicolored tie-dye like leaves of caladiums and yellow and pink ombre neon hued plumeria blossoms on an overcast December day, Rosenthal explains about how the idea to distribute cannabis seeds as a free bonus with his most recent book began. We’re longtime friends and co-collaborators on a number of projects including the 2022 release of the Cannabis Grower’s Handbook, and I start off our conversation/smoke session by asking about a story he once told me of selling seeds in the Bronx as a child.

“I lived in a residential area and there were people with yards with different plants—a lot of annuals, things like marigold, zinnias—and I would go and collect the seeds from plants when they didn’t clip the flowers off and then I made them into packs,” he says. “It was a place where loads of people went out and hung out on benches and everything and I would sell them the seeds, for which they had no use because they were living in apartments but (laughs).”

Now in his late 70s, Rosenthal was just 8 years old at the time and even received an unofficial certificate for his seed business which, believe it or not, was called Homegrown Seed Company. This was the beginning of a longtime career promoting plant cultivation. He co-founded High Times Magazine in 1974 and the 1978 New York Times review of the Marijuana Grower’s Guide he co-authored with Mel Frank catapulted his publishing career. Through all these years of smoking tough he’s settled on one cultivar that’s arguably his favorite strain, J-27. Back in California’s medical marijuana era, growers needed patients to up their plant counts and one in particular found a number of them amongst the employees of Rosenthal’s publishing company. This grower would deliver ounces, but never the cut. Within the last year, he finally acquired the sole J-27 plant, which he describes as a “treat” with a similar terpene profile to Wedding Cake.

“I gave it to two good breeders, but they were so frustrated by it that they gave it back and I had the only plant,” he says. “And I said, ‘You know what? I’m exactly the wrong person to be doing this because I’m too much of a slacker.’”

To revive the almost lost cultivar he partnered with Humboldt Seed Company and hopes to release hybrid J-27 seeds by 2023. 

“They’ve had a hard time with the plant because it’s a cut from the cut, from the cut from 20 years ago,” Rosenthal explains. “The plant is saying, ‘Oh please let me die.’ But they did coax a few clones from it and they have the same problems, but now that they have clones they can breed it.” 

His own homegrown seed promotion, which Rosenthal has coined the “Million Marijuana Seed Giveaway,” started with a female Jack Herer crossed with “two males, that were vigorous and early,” from Humboldt Seed Company, Very Cherry and Blueberry Muffin, to create Double Dipper. 

Rosenthal with Double Dipper / Courtesy Ed Rosenthal

“As far as the Million Marijuana Seed Giveaway, all of the crosses are really good crosses and they’re hybrids,” he says. “They’re not F1 hybrids [first generation], but they’re F2 hybrids. The next [generation] they sort of sort out and you get a lot of variation. So there’s going to be variation in these plants and then a grower can choose which plants he or she would like to continue with.”

When Rosenthal grew some of his seeds for his own backyard phenohunt this past summer, he did so in a style that allows for more buds and less vegetation. Using light deprivation techniques he brought the plants into flower early, which produced single stalks of long buds. This method allowed him to grow many plants close together. It also enabled the plants to grow more efficiently, using their carbon dioxide resources to grow buds, as opposed to leaves and branches. This method is also economical as the reduced amount of time spent in vegetation gives indoor and greenhouse growers enough time for an extra harvest, he explains.

Prisoners of Weed Packs

Rosenthal’s wife and publishing partner Jane Klein says the seed strategy has worked in terms of boosting book sales. Each seed drop, of which there have been four thus far, averages about 400 packs containing 10 seeds each. In the sale of the “Prisoners of Weed” packs, 10% of each sale is given to the Last Prisoner Project, an organization which advocates to free those incarcerated for marijuana convictions. 

“So many people who are getting the seeds to grow, but also as a collection, already had the books, so then we created the grow tips booklet,” Klein says of a short booklet that includes two seed packs with purchase. 

The booklet has a QR code that will send people to an expanding library of material. 

“We definitely were inspired by the DEA,” Klein says of the book bundle/seed promotion in relation to the April 2022 DEA letter. “I like it that they were saying that seeds don’t fall under the Controlled Substances Act so now we have the whole conversation of should [cannabis] be rescheduled or descheduled? Why should it be even included in the Controlled Substances Act?”

Seeds vs. Clones   

In this new legal space for seeds Rosenthal predicts a future where they go down in price, leading more growers to choose seeds over clones. 

“Let’s say that you have a variety that’s very uniform, there’s a lot of advantages of starting from seed,” he explains. “There’s a lot less of a chance of infection because many viruses don’t transfer to the seed so that’s one thing. Another thing is that they’re easy to store, transport, and things like that. Seeds will wait, but clones won’t.”

He takes his prediction further stating that as the genetics of cannabis seeds get more uniform we might see people offering germinated seeds, or seedlings, in the same way that tomato seedlings are sold at nurseries.

Rebellious entrepreneurs like Rosenthal and Klein will surely keep pushing the boundaries of where cannabis seeds might pop up next. Watch for where that might be; growing your own weed in 2023 makes for a great New Year’s resolution. 

“I think another interesting thing with the DEA ruling is [thinking about] will more hydro stores start to sell seeds?” Klein says. “This would definitely be a new product that wouldn’t take up a lot of shelf space for them and would inspire people to come into the store and maybe buy other things.”

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From the Archives: The Steps to Legalization (1989)

By Ed Rosenthal

For a long time, activists have been waiting for NORML to start a political legalization drive. Years ago, California NORML had a functional organization. However, currently it’s in the hands of a Board of Directors who combine the worst qualities; uncreative amateurs who have only a marginal interest in the issue. Activists such as Dennis Peron, Jack Herer and Dr. Todd Mikuriya are consistently barred from any policy-making role. The president of the local, Dale Gerringer, complains about the Board, but for the most part appreciates their hands-off approach to his administration.

In March and April, several pieces of regressive legislation were proposed to the California State Senate and Assembly. One bill would have made it a separate criminal offense to possess any amount of marijuana in three separate packages suitable for sale. For instance, three joints or three containers of seeds. Another bill would have made it a crime to solicit to buy pot.

The third bill, which had versions in both legislative houses, would have limited diversion to growers captured with ten plants or less. In California, diversion is a judicial process for people caught possessing or cultivating marijuana for their own use. Instead of going through the court process, the charges are waived as long as the person stays out of trouble for two years. The court decides eligibility based on a preponderance of evidence. This law has saved California’s taxpayers millions of dollars since its enactment, and has saved thousands of Californians the heartache of judicial proceedings and their aftermath.

As the Senate bills began coming up for a vote, Dale became desperate. He could not get to the capital because of medical reasons, and the Board members who were suitable for legislative duty were either busy or uninterested. As a result, Dale asked me to see what I could do.

First I called up the legislative analyst of the bill and spoke with him at length. (A legislative analyst describes a bill and guesses at its effects on government and society.)

He asked me to write a statement about the proposals and let me know how to register to speak before the legislature. He also gave me advice on procedure.

The analyst asked me to write a statement about the measure and my opinion of its effects. I sent this out to him promptly. Then, searching the back of my closet, I found a serviceable suit, tie, white shirt, and shoes, and made the drive to Sacramento.

The bills were scheduled to come to committee at 1 P.M. I arrived in the hallowed halls at 9 A.M. and immediately started lobbying. I never got to see any legislators, but talked at length with a number of their aides. The first ones I went to see were those who I thought would be opposed to the bills. They were courteous, concerned about the issues, and very helpful in their comments.

Next I went to see the aides of legislators likely to be in favor of the bills. They too were courteous and engaged in frank discussions of the bills and the marijuana issue in general. I was surprised by their willingness to participate in give-and-take conversations.

The discussions with the aides were good practice for speaking before the Senators. First the proponent of the bill spoke. Then came representatives of the police, attorney general’s office, and the CAMP people. Representatives of the California Criminal Lawyers Association and the ACLU spoke against the bill. A concerned NORML lawyer, Bob Cogan, also opposed them.

The bills were fatally flawed and as the speakers discussed them, it became apparent that they would not make it out of committee. All were withdrawn. Three weeks later, the same thing happened in Assembly.

For the most part, I found the legislators abysmally ignorant about the subject of marijuana. Usually they’re led around by the state attorney general, the police, and “parent’s groups” because nobody else speaks up on the issue. Once legislators become more informed, their attitudes loosen up a bit. With concerted work, their votes can be changed.

These experiences have convinced me that continual lobbying efforts in the state legislatures could change the marijuana laws very rapidly. Prohibition is a model. In the spring of 1932, Roosevelt was opposed to a “wet” plank because he thought it would lose him votes. Within a few months, public opinion had turned. The corruption, killings, and lack of liquor made the public disgusted. Roosevelt won not only on anti-Hoover depression votes, but also because of the promise to repeal the 18th Amendment. If that history is too ancient, remember that in 1980 Reagan won partly on an anti-Commie plank. Now the Russians are our best friends.

The anti-pot groups have had a field day for years. They have faced no opposition in the government and media and have been able to deal in hysterics. Now you can help cut short their non-joyride. We need thousands of people to talk until their throats are dry.

I envision an army of lobbyists first descending on the state governments then the federal government. And I mean YOU. Everyone can do it. Simply by reading High Times, you can be an effective citizen-lobbyist.

In order to approach the government most effectively, you have to sort of play their game. Here are some rules and pointers for talking with elected government officials and their aides.

1) Everyone at the legislature is dressed in business clothes. In most legislatures, this means suits or work dresses. Attempting to approach these people in jeans makes their eyes glaze over. I know that this is going to turn a lot of people off, but dress and grooming are important. It’s a signal to them that you are ready to talk the same language.

On the other hand, legislators usually have office days in their local office. You can go visit them there to voice your concerns. These meetings are usually more informal than the ones in the capital. However, going up to the capital emphasizes the “importance” of the issue.

2) Rehearse your arguments so that you know them by heart, and do not have to think about them when you are talking with the representatives.

3) Listen to what they have to say and do not interrupt. Once they have made their argument or asked their question, then answer it or make your rebuttal.

4) Try to de-polarize the issue by first talking about what you agree on. When I was talking to conservatives, I started the discussion by bringing up some areas on which I knew we’d see eye to eye: “There is a tremendous drug problem that is out of control”; “Cocaine, especially crack, is the most dangerous drug around to both society and the people who use it,” or “The government has limited resources, and they should be used where they will do the most good.”

5) Talk in sound bytes. Legislators have a limited attention span. Instead of hearing the whole build-up of an argument, they would prefer a chunk, preferably no longer than 18 seconds.

6) Don’t make an ass out of yourself by blowing up or getting mad if things don’t go your way. The marijuana laws were not made in a day, and they won’t go away in a day. Fighting marijuana laws is a long-term effort.

7) Any comments made about your style should be taken to heart if they are well-intended.

There are six major reasons why marijuana should be legalized—they are criminal, economic, sociological, constitutional, national security and health. In future issues of the magazine, we will cover each of them thoroughly. We will also make room for comments about your experiences fighting these unjust laws in the legislature.

So get ready and get your suit and tie pressed. We’re going to the capital in September and October.

One last experience. I was walking down the hall with the Special Assistant to the Attorney General. He had just given a talk about drugs. He had been talking about rehabilitating drug users and I said to him, “There is one difference between marijuana and almost any other drug, including the legal ones, alcohol and tobacco. If you ask a nicotine addict, alcoholic, junkie, crack freak, or almost any other drug user, ‘If you could wake up tomorrow unaddicted and without cravings, would you take the option?’, for the most part these people would say yes. However, if you ask a marijuana user the same question, s/he will say no thanks, because marijuana users, for the most part, do not think the substance is hurting them.”

He said, “I never thought of that, but most of my friends who smoke it do feel the same way.” A little bit of progress was made at that moment.

High Times Magazine, September 1989

Read the full issue here.

The post From the Archives: The Steps to Legalization (1989) appeared first on High Times.

The Great Skunk Hunt

In the 1960s and ’70s, humanity finally pulled it together and began hybridlizing different types of cannabis. Although use of the plant has been prevalent for thousands of years, it wasn’t until this time that cannabis breeders began to take marijuana’s original expressions, the landrace cultivars, and blend them together. The incredible diversity of the types of marijuana we have today started with the first few cannabis seed companies and hybrids they created. Skunk #1 is one of the most widely recognized hybrids of those early days of cannabis breeding. An artistic creation that fused together landrace cannabis from different areas of the world, Skunk #1 is legendary pot.

“It’s in everything,” horticulture authority Ed Rosenthal tells me during a recent smoke session in the sunroom of his publishing headquarters and home.

Together we’re traveling through time back to the 1980s. I’ve brought over a sampling of six Skunk #1 phenotypes grown by Frank at Purple Caper Seeds in his epic 2022 Skunk hunt. Frank grew out 25 different packs of Skunk #1 seeds, some more than 20 years old, on a quest for the original flavor he loved when he first started smoking pot in the late ’80s.

Courtesy of High Times

“It’s been over 20 years now I haven’t had that flavor,” Frank says of his quest to bring back the weed he remembers. “First I started sniffing around. I heard the buzz that everybody’s starting to talk about Skunk again. I’ve always missed it, but I haven’t tried to bring it back. It’s expensive [to do], and there wasn’t a demand. And I talked to my people in Canada, I talked to my people in Amsterdam and asked them if there were any old packs in their freezers.”

Eventually, Frank was able to collect a lineup of seeds to grow fabled classics spread across the centerfolds of this very magazine in the ’80s and ’90s: Green House Seeds’ Exodus Cheese, Nirvana Super Skunk, Paradise Seeds Original Cheese (IBF), Dutch Passion’s Skunk #1, and Skunk #1 from Sensi Seeds. Amsterdam-based seed companies like Dutch Passion and Sensi Seeds, which received the Skunk genetics in the 1980s, still sell Skunk #1 seed packs to this day.

A Marijuana Marketing Milestone

The winner of the first High Times Cannabis Cup in the Netherlands in 1987, Skunk #1 was proliferated by a guy whom cannabis lore calls “Sam the Skunkman,” but whose real name is Dave Watson. Skunk #1 is a combination of two South American landraces, Acapulco Gold and Colombian Gold, as well as an Afghani. Rosenthal suspects some Thai may also be in the cross, but this has never been publicly acknowledged.

When this cultivar got into the hands of Watson at Sacred Seeds Collective in Santa Cruz, California, the genetics were developed and stabilized through inbreeding (in cannabis that generally means crossing the plant back with itself to maintain its traits in future offspring). As part of the great exchange that shaped the world of cannabis cultivars at that time—the fusion of minds and marijuana from California and Amsterdam—Watson brought Skunk #1 from California to Holland in 1985. By the late ’80s, it was in many seed banks throughout Holland.

The phenotypes Rosenthal and I are sampling have names that sound terrible: Fresh Kill, Rotten Carcass, Vomit, Burnt Rubber, Donkey Dick, and least offensively, Cheese. But they don’t have the acidic, rotten smell of a skunk’s spray or any of the other noxious odors their names suggest. They smell floral, some are decidedly cheesy, and they taste sweet. Rosenthal explains that Watson naming the strain Skunk #1 was an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of a type of cannabis around in the 1970s, which actually smelled like a skunk.

“People would say, ‘Is there a dead body or a skunk or something around? That’s what the original skunks smelled like. That’s why they were called skunks,” Rosenthal says. “So when [Watson] named it Skunk, I mean there’s no right or wrong on this, but it wasn’t what the animal smelled like.”

Vomit / Photo by Justin Cannabis

Recently scientists at ABSTRAX, a laboratory devoted to terpene research and botanical extraction, pinpointed the origins of that skunky, gasoline-like scent and, as it turns out, it comes from a class of compounds in cannabis that has just been discovered, volatile sulfuric compounds (VSCs). The ABSTRAX study, which appeared in the American Chemical Society journal, shows that the skunky smell in cannabis also has similarities to the heady, pungent smell of garlic.

“When people are referring to the skunky/gassy scent of cannabis they are actually smelling this class of VSCs that we are referring to in the industry as cannasulfur compounds,” explains T.J. Martin, VP of Research and Development at ABSTRAX.

“While they are not the same identical compounds in garlic, they have very similar structures and an eerily similar family of VSCs. The main difference is that the structure of cannabis VSCs contain what are called prenyl groups (i.e. prenyl thiol, diphenyl sulfide, etc.) and garlic has allyl groups (i.e. allyl thiol, diallyl sulfide, etc.).

“What makes it so interesting is that chemically they may be different, but they are also very similar, and they follow the same trend. Current research in garlic shows that its VSCs may possibly contribute to the cardiovascular and proposed anti-cancerous benefits found in garlic. With these families being so similar, with just a small minor change, we were wondering if maybe this contributes to some of the medicinal benefits of cannabis.”

Rotten Carcass / Photo by Justin Cannabis

At our sunroom smoke sesh, Rosenthal says the study shows Afghan Skunk (aka Afghani Skunk) had a lot of cannasulfurs in it.

“You’d have a bag of it, you’d open the bag, close the bag, the room would stink, you couldn’t get the smell out of the room,” Rosenthal says of Afghan Skunk. “I haven’t seen that in 15 or 20 years.”

For Rosenthal, Skunk #1 itself is decidedly more common. He says he last smoked Skunk #1, a strain that came out when I was still a young child that I’ve never tried until now, two months ago. Like White Widow, it was widely used for breeding. When Rosenthal and other cannabis experts I’ve spoken to in the past wax nostalgic about a strain from yesteryear, it’s usually Northern Lights #5 x Haze (aka NL #5 Haze). Northern Lights #5 is Afghani x Thai, and NL #5 Haze combines that strain pairing with the Haze that came out of Santa Cruz in the 1960s.

“The reason you don’t see NL #5 Haze is because it’s very difficult to grow indoors because it takes so much longer,” Rosenthal says of those long-flowering equatorial sativa genetics present in the Haze family. “It takes a long time to finish, and it’s a moderate yield. But if you’re growing outdoors like in Southern California, that would be a great variety to grow. It has an unbelievably zonky high, [With NL #5 x Haze] like you say, ‘Oh, that’s what my brain was looking for.’”

Together Haze, Skunk #1, and Northern Lights #5 are the first main types of hybrid cannabis and, therefore, some most influential types of weed of all time.

These seeds were grown out on the hunt to find the best Skunk #1 phenotype. / Photo by Justin Cannabis

Skunk #1 in 2022

To rediscover the Skunk #1 experiences of his youth Purple Caper’s Frank gathered the seeds, including 1996 seeds from expert grower and cannabis author Mel Frank, and grew them out at Haze Dispensary in San Jose, California.

“We procured the best 25 packs of Skunk that we could find and popped them,” Frank says. “Of over 200 seeds, we found 70 keeper females and 20 keeper males, 90 plants total. Out of those 90 plants, 10 males and 10 female keepers are isolated.”

Those 10 female plants are now being tested in clone and breeding projects in all types of growing environments, outdoor full-term, light-dep, and indoors. The final plants Frank will use for Purple Caper’s planned Skunk #1 seed release will be from one male and six females.

“The keepers we found are better than expected,” Frank says. “These had long, big colas, especially the Donkey Dick. I mean, that plant had just three branches. Each one had a 24-inch cola, like the size of a baseball bat almost. The Donkey Dick was just a beautiful plant. It’s been so long since I’ve seen that.”

After we share a laugh about the ridiculous names of the Skunk phenos, Frank further explains how breeding cannabis, or in this case resurrecting a strain from the past, is an extensive process of selection. For the final stages of his epic Skunk hunt, Frank will cross one male plant with six female plants with the intention of growing an additional 300 phenotypes. The hope is to bring back the strain he’s loved and lost. “I want to resurrect it, and I want to have the flagship version of it. I don’t want anybody to have a better Skunk,” he says.

This article appears in the August 2022 issue of High Times. Subscribe here.

The post The Great Skunk Hunt appeared first on High Times.

How to Know Which Plants to Grow

There are more cannabis cultivars available now than ever before through seed banks and nurseries in Europe and North America.

Growing from seed has its advantages, but also some issues. Seeds are easier to transport and store than cuttings (clones) from a nursery. Unlike clones, cannabis grown from seed is not genetically identical. The degree of homogeneity varies from breeder to breeder. Although plants of the same variety will be closely related, only skilled breeders can create a uniform crop. Starting plants from seed results in decreased uniformity in the canopy, which is undesirable because it can reduce yield in larger operations. Home growers and those with smaller farms may not mind the decreased uniformity in the crop.

Large-scale farmers are more likely to prefer uniformity, so choosing varieties from a nursery that takes cuttings from mother plants or from tissue culture will help provide those identical genetics that drive uniformity in the canopy.

Whether growing from seeds or from clones, choosing the right cultivar is paramount because they differ not only in their effects but also in how they grow.

Cultivar vs. Strain

The word “cultivar” is derived from “cultivated variety.” Although in popular culture cannabis cultivars are referred to as “strains,” the term “strain” is more appropriately used when referencing viruses, bacteria, or fungi. The use of “strains” in the cannabis industry is widely accepted and understood, however. This book uses “varieties” to refer to groups of related plants and the term “cultivar” to refer to specific varieties that are named landraces or the result of a dedicated breeding program.

Cultivars that do best in outdoor gardens tend to need more light than cultivars that grow better indoors. Some cultivars have very little branching, while others prefer to spread their branches and leaves horizontally. Some are heavy yielders with large colas that will need support as the flowers approach final maturity.

While some varieties may finish in 50 days, it can take as long as 12 weeks before the plant can be harvested. Choosing the variety of cannabis best suited to the grower’s goals can be a daunting task; however, it almost always is a pleasurable one. The right variety is the variety of cannabis that meets those goals, whether they are the plants’ medicinal properties, style of growing, taste, aroma, or any other trait desired by the breeder. There is no single perfect variety of cannabis other than the variety that works perfectly for the grower.

Choosing Cultivars

Choosing which cultivar to grow is one of the most important decisions to make when designing a garden. The two most important factors are the quality of the effects and suitability for the growing environment. 

Strain: Blueberry Muffin bred by Humboldt Seeds

Find cultivars that produce desired flavors, aromas, highs, or medicinal qualities. Each cultivar has a genetic blueprint that determines how the plant will react to its environment, and therefore each cultivar will respond differently to different climates and garden setups.

New cultivars are the result of the intense competition among seed breeders hoping to find the next big thing.

How cannabis has been bred and for which traits has changed over the years as well. In 1964, THC was isolated and its molecular structure was described. It was understood that THC was driving all of the plant’s effects, which drove breeders to narrowly focus on THC content.

New cultivars were also bred for many other characteristics such as yield, flavor, aroma, medicinal effects, size, and maturation length, but no other aspect of the cannabis flower has been selected for more than THC potency. Popular varieties from the ’60s and ’70s usually had a THC potency that ranged between 6 and 12%, but ordinary Mexican tested in the range of 2 to 4%. 

Breeders selected for a wide variety of desirable traits in new varieties. At first they concentrated on increasing potency, decreasing ripening time, and decreasing the growth-to-yield ratio. Later they developed more of an interest in terpenes, which provide the odor as well as “personality” of the high, as well as for cannabinoids other than THC, such as CBD and CBG. Outdoor environments have come into favor due to legalization, as well as a proliferation of autoflowering varieties, homogeneity, and a more scientific approach to obtaining intentional results and micro-adaptation to specific outdoor environments.

Cannabis is particularly easy to breed because it is dioecious, meaning unlike almost all other annual plants, plants are either male or female. This makes it easy to control pollination; separate all males from the females and only use pollen from selected males to pollinate females. Cannabis is wind-pollinated, so a male in proximity to a female plant will pollinate it. Flowers can also be hand pollinated. For this reason, it is relatively easy for a grower to experiment with breeding.

Compare cannabis breeding to tomatoes. Not only does each tomato plant carry both sexes, but tomatoes have “perfect” flowers, meaning each flower carries both sexes. To breed them, the stamen from the designated female must be removed before it matures, which requires tweezers and a sharp eye. Then pollen must be collected from the candidate male, which is painstaking.

As a result of the ease of breeding there are literally thousands of companies producing cannabis seed for commercial sales, so obtaining seeds has never been easier. They are available over the internet as well as in dispensaries. Many of these companies advertise in magazines that feature cultivation articles.

Clones are also available. Just as many people prefer to use tomato starts rather than germinate seed, clones provide a head start and save 10–15 days of cultivation. Another advantage of clones is that they have identical genetics and respond to the environment in a uniform way.

The “ideal” environment for one variety may not be optimal for another. Having cultivars that are genetically identical optimizes large-scale production, since all the plants will thrive under the conditions that the cultivator provides. Creating many microclimates to accommodate the different varieties is expensive and difficult to do if the commercial grower’s goal is to increase yield without compromising quality.

Home gardeners’ preferences tend to be more varied, and their cultivar selections reflect that diversity. Home gardeners have different goals in mind, which is why growing from seed or having many different varieties in the same garden is perfectly acceptable. Home gardeners may be less interested in crop yields than they are with crop quality. They tend to grow different varieties so they can harvest at different times and choose from a selection of cannabinoid potencies, qualities of the high, tastes, and aromas.

It is true that the heterogeneity of maturation times and types of cannabis grown in the same garden often result in smaller yields than from a homogeneous garden. Heterogeneous gardens require more individualized attention to the different cultivars, resulting in more individual care. Most home gardeners don’t mind, especially when they see the fruits (or flowers) of their labor.

Plant Size

The height and spread of the canopy are two varietal characteristics to consider when choosing which cultivar works best in the garden. This is particularly important whether the garden is indoors or outdoors. Sativa-dominant cultivars tend to grow taller and stretch farther than indicas. An outdoor garden with abundant sun and plenty of room for plants to spread out works well with strong sativa varieties such as Sour Diesel, Lemon Skunk, Vanilla Frosting, Lemon Tree, Runtz, Orange Creamsicle, or Lemongrass. These tall cultivars thrive in outdoor gardens with no height restrictions, and the extra intensity of direct sunlight keeps the plants from stretching too much. If they are pruned early in vegetative growth, they will bush out more rather than grow tall. The higher light intensity promotes shorter branching and thus denser buds.

Strain: Ayahuasca Purple bred by Barney’s Farm
Strain: Ayahuasca Purple bred by Barney’s Farm

Indoor gardens typically have size restrictions. Tall varieties can potentially grow close to or into the lights, causing damage to the plants and undesirable flowers that are light and airy. Shorter varieties such as those associated with most indica-dominant and many hybrid varieties are ideal for smaller indoor grows. Cultivars such as Do-Si-Dos, Wedding Cake, Grease Monkey, Lava Cake, Northern Lights, or Super Skunk have indica characteristics and thrive in indoor climates. However, an indoor garden does not mean it has to be relegated to only growing indicas. There are plenty of sativas and hybrids such as Sour Diesel and OG Kush that thrive in even the smallest of indoor settings if they can be grown with either the SOG or ScrOG method.

Maturation Speed

Cannabis varieties have different rates of maturation once they are set to flower. Typically, this ranges from seven to 11 weeks. The time it takes to reach maturity affects the choice of variety in a couple of significant ways. First and foremost, quicker-maturing varieties allow for more harvests per year. If a grower is looking to maximize yield, and streamline production, quicker plants are a big plus. The other significant reason is that late-season varieties are inappropriate to grow in areas with short growing seasons.

Outdoor growers consider maturation speed depending on the weather in autumn, which can be cold and moist, but varies regionally. Gardens in climates that remain warm through the fall may work best with varieties that have longer flowering times. Finishing the flowering cycle while temperatures are still hot outside can cause the flowers to be less dense and lose a lot of their terpenes (aroma and flavor). Flowering later when temperatures are cool will delay ripening. Conversely, outdoor growers in climates that experience early frosts should plant cultivars that are ready to harvest early in the fall. A lot of the autoflowering varieties flower quickly and still have a lot of the original qualities that make them so great.


Once the size and maturation speed of the varieties have been decided, maximizing yields is often the next decision that needs to be considered when choosing which cultivar works best for a garden. High-yielding crops provide more medicine after harvest. These varieties are vigorous growers and will usually have higher cannabinoid potencies as well.

Maturation speed has a negative correlation with crop yield. In other words, the faster the maturation time, the lower the yield tends to be, and vice versa. Slower maturing varieties have more time to develop flowers, and thus the yields tend to be larger. However, a quick maturation time and low yield are not mutually exclusive. If it is a necessity to have a quick maturation time, the resulting smaller plants can be more densely planted to fill out the given canopy with more buds.

Examples of heavy yielders are Blue Dream, Sour Diesel, Big Bud, Critical Kush, Super Silver Haze, and White Widow.

Flavor, Aroma & High

The quality of the flower is more important than the yield for many growers. The flavor and aroma of cannabis comes exclusively from the terpene profiles of the varieties. Some cultivars have very distinct noses. The decision to grow a specific variety based on flavor and aroma is a personal decision that is best decided by the end user.

Some people prefer fruity cultivars such as Strawberry Cough or Blackberry Kush. Others prefer a sweet flavor from varieties such as Durban Poison, GSC, or some of the “cake” varieties such as Wedding Cake or Ice Cream Cake. Sour Diesel, Chemdawg 4, and Hindu Kush all have gassy noses due to a relatively high concentration of limonene. Flavor and aroma preferences are personal, but they are also very closely related to the high that comes from smoking/vaping these varieties as well.

The high from cannabis comes from the interplay of the different cannabinoids and terpenes found in the plant. With hundreds of active ingredients, there are practically endless terpene and cannabinoid combinations. Finding the high that works best for different situations is part of the fun of exploring cannabis. Terpenes such as a-pinene and limonene are bronchodilators and tend to give an uplifting energetic high. B-caryophyllene and linalool are smooth muscle relaxers and are generally found in varieties that provide a relaxing, calming high. Cannabinol (CBN) is the only cannabinoid that is regularly mentioned in lab testing that is also a smooth muscle relaxer and can cause that calming high. Many consumers use cannabis to ease anxiety and will look to cultivars with higher than average cannabidiol (CBD) content, such as AC/DC, Cannatonic, Sour Tsunami, Harlequin, and Ringo’s Gift.

Mold Resistance

Cannabis is susceptible to gray mold (Botrytis cinerea) and powdery mildew, which is caused by a number of fungal species. Both of these fungal infections thrive in stagnant, high-humidity environments. Gardens with humidity controls or naturally low humidity and substantial air movement around the plants are less susceptible to mold and fungi. However, cannabis is grown all over the world, and there are a number of regions where high-quality cannabis is grown in high-humidity environments. Cultivars that are grown in high humidity gardens need to have some level of mold resistance.

Cultivars derived from varieties and hybrids from Thailand, Vietnam, and other countries in Southeast Asian where it is humid have a higher resistance to mold. Varieties such as Pineapple Thai, Super Lemon Haze, Voodoo, and Juicy Fruit have Thai ancestry and are less prone to fungal infection.

Cannabis Grower's Handbook by Ed Rosenthal

This excerpt of the Cannabis Grower’s Handbook by Ed Rosenthal was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.

The post How to Know Which Plants to Grow appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Higher Profile: Ed & Jane Rosenthal, Quick Trading Publishing

Ed Rosenthal is an icon—an OG in the cannabis space with more than a dozen educational books on growing the plant in print. He’s known as an authority on the subject, teaching long-running classes at prestigious Oaksterdam University in Oakland, California, where he makes his home with his wife and partner of more than 30 years, Jane Klein.

As one of the founders of High Times Magazine in New York City in 1974, Ed was dubbed the Guru of Ganja, writing his “Ask Ed” column for more than 20 years—long before online community forums or social media were places to gather and share information.

“Tom Forcade, Ron Lichty, and myself developed the concept for the magazine,” Ed shared. “I’d been doing statistical analysis based on a paper by Peter Knocke comparing the number of imported rolling papers over five to six years. The implication was that any increase in imports was generated by increased cannabis use. We looked at other factors as well to guesstimate the number of people using cannabis, including how many joints a day someone would smoke. Our conclusion was that the number of cannabis was vastly underestimated and a large enough community to support a monthly magazine.”

This scientific approach to the early stages of launching a national magazine entirely about weed was encouraging to the team, who were already fringe journalists and cannabis rights activists in the 1970s and had run the Underground Press Syndicate for many years.

“We mapped out 100 stories we thought we could publish, including my column,” Ed added. “Those stories became the first two years of the magazine. We didn’t have any ads at first, so we used national mainstream ads without permission, and that brought in a lot of advertisers to follow.”

As a journalist, Ed was embedded in the underground, reporting on grows that were considered illegal activities at the time. His “Ask Ed” column became the go-to for growers large and small at a time when doing so could land you in Federal prison. Ed knew that though the plant was illegal, people would grow it anyway; showing how to grow it better was a much needed service.

When asked about the decades worth of misinformation about cannabis as a medicinal plant, Ed responded vehemently, “It’s not misinformation, they lied to us to achieve the goal of discriminating against minorities and cannabis users! Even more shameful was the fact that the government knew about the medicinal benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids, patenting them while lying to the public.”

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Shafer Commission’s report, published in 1972, calling for the decriminalization of cannabis, as it was about to be put on the Department of Health’s Schedule 1. Authored by then former Pennsylvania Governor Raymond P. Shafer, the report was ignored by the administration under Pres. Richard Nixon—who appointed Governor Shafer to the task, then proceeded to keep cannabis on the list of dangerous drugs with no medicinal value.

For those of us like Ed, who have been penning articles and columns to the contrary for years, positive changes have been slow in coming, but we persist.

Courtesy of Ed Rosenthal

Deputized, then Raided

In 2002, Ed was raided at his nursery where he grew plants for patients that got distributed through medical dispensaries in the San Francisco Bay area. The subsequent court case was one of the most high-profile at the time, as Ed had been Deputized prior to the raid by the City of Oakland as an officer, able to distribute legal medical cannabis under California’s Proposition 215, as voted on in 1996.

The Federally selected jury, however, was not privy to this State recognition, and Ed was convicted in 2003 with all charges overturned by the Federal Appeals Court in 2006. This was due to a cannabis-sympathetic juror questioning the trial to a lawyer friend, who provided misinformation about juror responsibilities. But, Ed had a firm belief that he’d never do time for the plant. 

“The judge lost friends over my trial—he and his wife were socialites in San Francisco, but they stopped being invited to parties. Everyone was against convicting me for this plant,” he said. “I was an educator and an activist—I did everything with the plant but sell it. For me, the trial was just another way to help change the public opinion of the law.

Unlike many who’ve been raided, persecuted, and judged for working with the plant, Ed went back to life as usual, publishing, educating, and advocating for the right to grow and use cannabis.

Nuptials, Lilies, and Weed

Through all the trials and tribulations, one little-known aspect of Ed’s life is the one he’s shared with his longtime partner and wife of 33 years, Jane Klein.

Ed was born and raised in the Bronx, New York, and Jane grew up in Hempsted, Long Island—but the two might as well have been from two different worlds.

They met through mutual friends, but Jane said he was too much of a hippie for her at the time.

In actuality, Ed’s past life included working as an Assistant Compliance Officer for a stock brokerage company. The year was 1967, and a co-worker brought Jane over to visit; but it wasn’t until the 1980s, after Jane and Ed had both put down roots in California that they became close.

One rumor within the cannabis community is that Jane also grew cannabis when they met, but the truth is, Jane grows other kinds of flowers, and they both grow vegetables together in their at-home hydroponics garden.

“I love to grow lilies, and Ed has a hydro bumper crop of tomatoes growing now,” Jane said. “Ed made onion soup the other night from scallions, zucchini, and peppers from the garden.”

Jane has been indispensable as CEO of their Quick Trading Publishing company, publishing most of Ed’s and other writer’s books for more than 25 years. 

“We don’t just regurgitate his old columns or how-to books,” she said. “Each book is updated to the times, as lighting and growing practices are always changing.”

His current effort, The Cannabis Grower’s Handbook, with Dr. Robert Flannery and Angela Bacca, includes a preface by Steve DeAngelo, a forward by none other than Tommy Chong, and an introduction by Angela Bacca. It’s an epic, updated compilation of just about everything you’d like to know about growing cannabis, and then some.

Ed has collaborated with many talented writers over the years in the space, including Angela Bacca, Ellen Holland, and David Downs.

As for their longevity in the space, both Ed and Jane agree the plant has something to do with that, as well.

“We are very fortunate to be in our 70s and aren’t taking any pharmaceutical medications,” Jane concluded. “Cannabis has taken the steam off tension, anxiety, stress—which can all cause illness, disorders, and psychological damage.”

In classic Ed form, he chided, “Besides my relationship with Jane, cannabis is the longest running relationship I’ve had with a woman in my entire life.” As he said this, Jane chuckled beside him.

Courtesy of Ed Rosenthal

Backyard Weed for All

Ed’s accomplishments over the years as an activist are too numerous to name, and he has no intention of stopping yet. Recently on stage during the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) in Barcelona, Spain, he quipped to an amused audience, “Everything they told us about weed is wrong. They said weed would lead to hard drugs, but we all know weed leads to hash.”

“Ed has just launched a lifetime dream towards fulfilling the goal of helping people to grow free backyard weed for all,” Jane shared. “Legalization in the U.S. is almost the law of the land now, and we are focusing on the POWs—the Prisoners of Weed.”

Ed’s Prisoners of Weed book pack includes two of his books, Cannabis Grower’s Handbook and Ask Ed: Marijuana Success, and a pack of seeds—genetics approved by Ed. Ten percent of proceeds go to the Last Prisoner Project, supporting the release and financial help to POWs.

“This is a real win-win-win,” Ed surmised. “I didn’t have to do time after I was raided, and I looked at it as just another form of activism. But, there are still people out there doing time for a plant many are profiting on now, and that’s wrong. We need to change that yesterday.”

For more information on Ed visit 

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The post Higher Profile: Ed & Jane Rosenthal, Quick Trading Publishing appeared first on High Times.

See, Taste and Touch the Difference with Cryo Cure Cannabis

Cryo Cure is changing traditional cannabis drying and curing techniques with its revolutionary freeze-dried technology that removes water content to preserve cannabis at an optimal moisture level. The drying and curing process is arguably one of the most critical steps for all cannabis cultivators—from home growers to large-scale corporate operations.

This phase ensures that the fragile trichomes and terpene potency are preserved for maximum taste and efficacy. If not performed properly, those beautiful buds are at risk of developing mold and degradation. With Cryo Cure, cultivators can expect perfectly preserved, premium cannabis or hemp that dries in 12-16 hours and is completely ready for packaging or retail in just 24 hours. That’s a fraction of the time that the weekslong drying and curing process traditionally takes.

Not Your Typical Freeze-Dried Weed

A macro shot of Cryo-cured Lemoncello. PHOTO Courtesy of Cryo Cure.

The basic principle of freeze-drying removes water from a product as a vapor via a high-pressure vacuum. During the process, the product is solidly frozen, eliminating or minimizing shrinkage and resulting in near-perfect preservation. This novel approach to drying and curing cannabis has various advantages: It keeps fresher for longer; it inhales smoothly; and the fluffy buds have great aesthetic appeal. 

However, traditional freeze-dried cannabis is not without its drawbacks. The amount of moisture that freeze dryers remove is detrimental to the cannabis flower’s integrity—in terms of both looks and potency.

Cryo Cure is different. Utilizing proprietary freeze-drying technology in its cannabis and hemp curing machines, the right amount of moisture from flower or trim is extracted. This revolutionary cannabis drying and curing process perfectly balances moisture levels for terpene and phytocannabinoid preservation, creating a “fresh from the farm” feeling that’s a delight for the senses. This process can take as little as 12-16 hours, shaving weeks off the typical hang drying phase.

The Cryo Cure Process

Cryo Cure high capacity machine.
Cryo Cure’s high capacity freeze-drying machine. PHOTO Courtesy of Cryo Cure.

By dialing in the ideal measurement of time, temperature and pressure, “Cryo Cured” flower is far superior to freeze-dried cannabis in terms of quality and experience. Cryo Cure’s patented machines don’t merely zap moisture away and call it a day. They keep cannabis aromatic, tasty, strong and euphoric. Let’s review how. 


The first step in the Cryo Cure process is to freeze the cannabis or industrial hemp to -20 to -30 degrees Fahrenheit for no less than 10 hours. This preserves the flower’s shape and integrity. Select Cryo Cure models have a built-in freezer for this purpose, or you can use a separate freezer that’s the right size and meets specifications for sub-critical temperatures.


The now-frozen product is placed into the material chamber under vacuum pressure in order to facilitate sublimation.


Sublimation is a process during which a solid is turned into a gas, skipping the liquid stage in between. Controlled radiant heat is applied during this process, converting the frozen moisture in the product directly into vapor.


The vapor is condensed back into a solid and collected in the ice bank.


The ice in the ice bank is melted and drained from the ice bank in the form of a hydrosol liquid. Any terpenes lost in the sublimation process can be reclaimed from the hydrosol to be used in other processed products such as vape pens and oils.

Cryo Cure has developed different sized cannabis freeze-drying machines that cater to all curing needs. The bestselling models are the CC360, which can hold between 66 and 132 pounds of wet weigh-in per cycle, and the HC10 which can hold 1,000 pounds of wet weigh-in per cycle. There are also two commercial walk-in freezer options available in both 10’ x 10’, and 10’ x 20’ models.

The Cryo Cure Difference

Cryo Cure cannabis
Cryo-cured cannabis is ready for packaging or retail in just 24 hours. PHOTO Brie Brewer.

With Cryo Cure, the color, taste and texture of cannabis that are typically lost during traditional processes are perfectly preserved, resulting in higher yields and less time between harvest and product distribution and sales. In other words, you can expect more money in your pocket sooner. This is a game-changer for commercial grow ops, as top-shelf cannabis customers will notice the vibrant, fluffy, aromatic buds that have up to 95% terpene retention. 

Currently, Cryo Cured top shelf cannabis and hemp brands are available at limited dispensaries in Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Michigan and Massachusetts. Additionally, there are planned rollouts in Washington State, California and Rhode Island, Maine, Canada and Jamaica by the end of 2022. Look for the Cryo Cured seal of approval.

Ed Rosenthal, the Guru of Ganja, said, “Cryo Cure is a revolution in curing technology that keeps terpenes trichomes and THC content more intact than any other process.” 

In a market of good weed, Cryo Cure will make yours stand out for being great.

The post See, Taste and Touch the Difference with Cryo Cure Cannabis appeared first on Cannabis Now.