6 terpene profiles replace Indica and Sativa in new Emerald Cup classes

It’s high time to smoke out the old Indica and Sativa descriptions at cannabis cups. Consumers deserve to know more about the plant than the structure it took on in life. With research now showing how much terpenes drive cannabis sales and quality, the Emerald Cup took a chance to replace Indica and Sativa. Terpenes […]

The post 6 terpene profiles replace Indica and Sativa in new Emerald Cup classes appeared first on Cannabis News, Lifestyle – Headlines, Videos & Cooking.

Is Cannabis Legalization Killing Weed Events?

There was plenty of weed at the recent “Harvest Ball,” the first edition of the newly rechristened mid-December cannabis event which was focused on celebrating northern California’s sungrown harvest, formerly known as the Emerald Cup. (The official “Emerald Cup” happens in May in Los Angeles at Green Street Festival.) This non-Emerald Cup was just the “road to the Cup,” if you follow. The only trouble was getting your hands on any weed without burning an hour waiting in line or running afoul of the law.

The first big cannabis event to happen in California in the COVID-19 era that’s not a business conference, the Harvest Ball was also the first cannabis-consumer forward event to happen under the watchful eye of the new Department of Cannabis Control (DCC), the single state agency formed last summer by Gov. Gavin Newsom. It was also the first “Emerald Cup” event to happen after the brand’s new format signaled a shift away from its Emerald Triangle roots and towards population centers in Southern California.

For all these reasons—COVID, Newsom, rules, commercialization—significant changes were inevitable. Much has happened since the old days of bursting turkey bags and mason jars stuffed with head stashes, lids unscrewed every few minutes so growers can swap sniffs of terpene bouquets or exchange fistfuls of bud for cash, for different bud—or, just as likely, for the joy of sharing.

But according to event organizers as well as attendees, things were so difficult that unless state law is significantly revised—to allow farmers to sell directly to consumers, and to loosen (or at least clarify) rules around what stashes can be sold or not—events such as the Harvest Ball/Emerald Cup/whatever-you-call-them simply won’t work.

“We need modifications so that future events are viable,” said Taylor Blake, the event’s co-producer and daughter of Tim Blake, the Mendocino County grower and founder who now serves as CEO.

What went wrong? And what needs to change so things go right?

Too Much Fuss, Too Much “Bust”

Cannabis events and the law have always had an uneasy relationship but have yet managed to co-exist, if not peacefully and comfortably, at least functionally.

Implicit in most every weed event’s ethos is the acknowledgment that it’s a market.

Vendors pay money for booths so attendees can come and give them money for whatever they’re selling: T-shirts, posters, books or (at a weed event, this is what people really want) weed. Under current California law, the most difficult thing to sell at a cannabis event is cannabis.

Though most every cannabis brand had product available at their booths, not all of those brands have a state sales license. And with good reason—those licenses are expensive. If you’re not in the retail game, why would you have one? That meant anyone who wanted to sell cannabis at the event had limited options.

You could agree to sell under the event license—which would then take a 50% cut of your gross, a fee several aghast attendees described as “predatory.” Or, if you were a small farmer at the designated “small farmer area” (a description that used to apply to the entire Emerald Cup and not a subsection), you could set aside some inventory for the single sales counter, but that inventory had to be properly packaged, tested and entered into the state’s track-and-trace system.

The result was a lot of what retail and tech nerds call “friction”—that is, barriers. Visitors to a booth who saw cannabis they liked had to take notes or remember what they wanted; take that list to a line that could take an hour to work through; and finally give their order to an overworked clerk who was likely unsure if the strain name the customer uttered was still in stock or even properly prepared by the farm. It wasn’t easy and it didn’t make logical sense, but that’s the law.

Worse for some attendees was the omnipresent DCC, whose agents could be identified by their olive-drab jackets, blue hats with tiny fan-leaf logos and deep interest in how much cannabis one might be carrying—and whether it was over the eight-ounce limit imposed by the state’s legalization law.

According to photos and interviews, DCC officials swooped in on several friend circles where attendees said they were merely showing off their weed to one another—not selling nor sharing product marked for sale (which you can’t do; once product is entered into the track-and-trace system, it has to be sold or destroyed). They also may have been a little overzealous, which isn’t the vibe anyone paying $90 and up for a ticket was there for.

“The DCC hassled licensed farmers with booths who were showing their samples of their product,” said Trevor Wittke, a second-generation grower who posts on Instagram as @sungrownmidz and is the former executive director of the Calaveras County Cannabis Alliance. Wittke, too, reported being corralled and questioned by the DCC to see if he was playing by the rules—and shared a photo of what appeared to be an enormous trash bag, full of cannabis products, toted around by a DCC agent.

In a statement, Christina Dempsey, the acting deputy director of external affairs for the Department of Cannabis Control, said the agency didn’t confiscate any cannabis. The terminology the DCC prefers, according to an e-mail exchange, is “voluntarily surrendered,” an exercise in semantics that didn’t win regulators any points with exhausted and exasperated attendees like Wittke.

As for the viability of the event, the DCC is “in the midst of examining the current event regulations in order to improve and clarify the requirements,” Dempsey said. “This will include gathering feedback from licensees who participate in and run cannabis events. We’re also assessing what guidance would help event organizers, retailers and exhibitors better understand requirements and consider innovative approaches to events.”

Fix or Die

To hear the Emerald Cup’s people tell it, the major friction source was around product identification and safety. State law requires anything sold be tested before it can enter the supply chain. That was bound to cause some confusion and irritation with a crowd used to a freewheeling vibe.

One real easy way to fix at least some of that would be to give what small farmers have been screaming for from the beginning: the ability to do what they’ve always done and sell directly to a consumer.

“Fix the cultivation tax and allow us to sell to people directly,” said Casey O’Neill, the owner-operator at HappyDay Farms in Laytonville and one of the more visible and outspoken advocates for small farmers. Other vendors agreed. Simple solutions, maybe, but not so simple to implement.

Fixing the cultivation tax—which currently levies a tax of $10.08 per ounce on cannabis, or $162 and change per pound, a hefty sum in a market where $500 is a good wholesale price for an outdoor-grown pound—will require a 2/3-vote at the California Legislature. It remains to be seen if that’s possible. Fixing rules to make weed events easier would require lawmaker action as well.

And in the COVID-19 era, relaxing rules that some believe have strangled the Emerald Cup and similar gatherings are bound to discourage sponsors, vendors and attendees from even bothering to host or attend public cannabis events.

The post Is Cannabis Legalization Killing Weed Events? appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Best-Of Picks: The Harvest Ball 2021

Earlier this month marked the inaugural Emerald Cup Harvest Ball. The Santa Rosa County Fairgrounds came alive as the epicenter of craft California cannabis. The two-day Harvest Ball event showcased an epic craft cannabis farmer’s market and celebrated the season’s freshest fall flower. It’s an extravaganza of excellence that honors the year’s most dope organic and sun-grown flower.

After two years of smoking in solitude, returning to live events is an exciting prospect for California, the cannabis community and the culture. I made sure to be among the crowd of 10,000-plus excited cannabis enthusiasts in attendance for the inaugural Harvest Ball and Craft Cannabis Marketplace. 

Planning for my trip to the Bay Area, I knew that I would find fire flowers from all over the state. Coming from the East Coast, I was pumped to see what California cannabis was all about. Top priority? Advance my understanding of the quality of the sun-grown smoke coming out of the legendary Emerald Triangle.

Courtesy of Harvest Ball

Sun-grown, Not Schwag

“The sun-grown herb has a whole different effect and flavor,” said Jason Gellman, second-generation Southern Humboldt Cannabis Farmer and Founder of Ridgeline Farms. 

Gellman went on to say, “We have dedicated our lives to growing the finest Cannabis on earth. There are so many amazing farmers in the Emerald Triangle that the quality and potency keep climbing. We grow the best so you can smoke the best.” Color me intrigued.

Jason was kind enough to put me in touch with a handful of other legacy growers from the Emerald Triangle’s Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity Counties. With my leads from Ridgeline in tow, I sent some messages on Instagram and boarded my flight to SFO.

Courtesy of Harvest Ball

Into the Triangle… Kind Of

I woke up the next day to a text from the legendary Johnny Casali of Huckleberry Hill Farm fame. The man is an actual living legend in California cannabis culture, but more on that later. 

Johnny had heard I was here to see the heat grown up on the hill this past season, and he wanted to make sure I saw it perfectly.

He extended an invite to hit the fairgrounds and meet with some cannabis farmers a few hours before general admission. 

Early access to the Harvest Ball Cannabis Marketplace? Awesome! A chance to meet with these legacy growers to see and sample their finest flower? Hell yes!

Harvest Ball
Courtesy of Harvest Ball

Breakfast of Champions

I met the homies for an early breakfast at the now weed-famous Flamingo Hotel. 

Each table in the Flamingo dining room is packed before 9 a.m.—it was a room filled with the architects and arbiters of West Coast cannabis culture, all sharing breakfast together. The feelings of joy permeated the room; it was apparent everyone in attendance was extremely pumped to be back together again.

Breakfast was a vibe, during which, as fate would have it, I was gifted a pre-roll of one of Huckleberry Hill Farms legendary strains: “Whitethorn Rose.”

This heady breakfast joint would be my first experience smoking sun-grown bud from the triangle, and it did not disappoint. Post-puff, I arrived at the fairgrounds parking lot buzzing with excitement and blasted by the berry terpene profile of the classic Casali strain.

Harvest Ball
Courtesy of Harvest Ball

Not in NYC Anymore

I must have simply flown inside the fairgrounds because shortly after parking the car, I found myself right in the heart of the event, literally hours before it opened to the public. 

In an instant, I was surrounded by food trucks, epic outdoor staging and branded consumption lounges galore, met with giant indoor pavilions and a solid selection of epic, custom-built outdoor activations from some of the biggest hitters in the game. Included were the likes of Seed Junky and STIIIZY.

Harvest Ball
Courtesy of Harvest Ball

The Best Indoor Bud and Outdoor Booths

AlienLabs/Connected/Doja Pak shared a fantastic installation for their booth, an epic collaboration with some truly iconic offerings. I grabbed some super stupid good Biskantè indoor-grown by AlienLabs for a friend with serious FOMO who could not attend (shout out, Jon Cappetta).

My runner-up pick for most dope outdoor activations is Cookies. They came through and set up a neon-lit, color-changing geodesic dome. After securing a small stash at the outdoor activations, I continued my way down the central ave.

Compound Genetics was next to catch my eye. They have always had an objectively sick style and consistently clean approach to their brand aesthetic. 

The two-story, multi-purpose structure they assembled on-site from a repurposed shipping container. The creativity of this booth alone makes it my choice for the most dope outdoor activation at the Harvest Ball. 

Harvest Ball
Courtesy of Harvest Ball

Instagram Comes to Life

Inside, on level one of the Compound Genetics booths, I spot two friendly faces, the legendary Breeder and Compound Genetics founder Chris Lynch plus the one and only Jimi Divine, aka one of the hardest-working weed journalists in the game.

We all chatted briefly, and I got the chance to congratulate Chris [Lynch] on the new Apples and Bananas crosses seed drop. Chris told me it was “the culmination of a lot of hard work… extremely excited to be here all together with everyone to celebrate.” 

Chris and his relentless optimism always humble me. This positivity appeared to be echoed by everyone during a magical two days north of the bay. Even the cold NorCal rain that poured down all of day two was no match for the positive vibes this group of humans collectively radiates.

Harvest Ball felt like Instagram had manifested itself into reality. I was scrolling through my feed in person, using my legs, not just my pointer finger. I wandered the grounds, sparking up with old homies, new friends and personal heroes, wading through an epic sea of West Coast weed legends. Truly a trip.

Harvest Ball
Courtesy of Harvest Ball

Small Farms Initiative

By now, it was close to 10 a.m., and I was excited to get a peek behind the “Redwood Curtain.” so we all said goodbye for now and set off to the indoor “Hall of Flowers” Pavilion.

The Small Farms Initiative at The Harvest Ball aims to provide a platform to promote the foundational local growers to the thousands of cannabis connoisseurs attending the event.

Collectively, those selected farmers represented every corner of the Emerald Triangle. Twenty-seven legacy cannabis farms were assembled and given pro-bono exhibition space, all with the vision of lifting and amplifying these small farms in the global marketplace.

Courtesy of Jesse Hershberger

Death by Taxes

It is essential to understand that the past few years have been incredibly tumultuous in California cannabis. Further regulatory hurdles, a flooded market, falling prices and inconceivably high taxes are particularly tough pills (for anyone) to swallow. Given these hurdles, most small, craft cannabis farms have struggled to stay afloat. 

Even from an outsider’s perspective, it’s clear as day that the cultivation tax is broken at best and downright predatory at worst. The state’s idea to raise the tax in January to $161.28/lb Feels like an open slap in the face to most of these legacy farmers, in addition to local taxes. 

I would love to see anybody try and make a case for how an initial tax rate of over 50 percent is even close to reasonable. Anybody? Go on; I’ll wait.

All that said, the resilience of these Emerald Triangle farmers is impressive, and so was their flower. 

Harvest Ball
Courtesy of Harvest Ball

A Warm Welcome from the Farmers

Time seemed to race as I spoke with over a dozen legacy cannabis farmers about growing the best sun-grown bud. Everyone I met was so excited to share their stories, passions and labors of love with me, a relative stranger. Undoubtedly a heart-warming experience amid these strange days of social distancing. 

I have to shout out Johnny Casali personally here, who leveraged his legendary status among his community of Emerald Triangle farmers, granting me access to their world and their weed. 

For those who don’t know, Johnny Casali is a second-generation cannabis grower and breeder. Johnny runs Huckleberry Hill Farm with his girlfriend Rose, where he cultivates and breeds some of the dopest genetics in all of Humboldt.

Casali followed a rocky path to becoming one of the state’s first licensed cannabis operations. In 1992, when cultivation was still very much illegal in California, Casali was arrested after federal agents raided his gardens. Although he was a first-time, nonviolent offender, mandatory minimum guidelines meant he would be sentenced to 10 years to life in federal prison for a plant, and he served eight. Upon release in 2000, Johnny returned to his home in the Emerald Triangle, a folk hero. 

Farms Worth Fighting For

While this community is by no means out of the woods (no pun intended), after meeting the people, hearing the stories and smoking the bud firsthand from the farmer, I can say wholeheartedly that this pillar of the cannabis culture deserves saving.

Regardless, one thing is abundantly clear. These farmers care about their communities with such depth that they’re willing to go above and beyond to work through byzantine and largely pointless regulatory hoops to bring you the heat. 

I need to give everyone an enormous shout out for showing this East Coast kid what West Coast weed is all about. With that said, let’s get down to it. Here is a rundown of the best buds and hottest heat from the 2021 Harvest Ball. This opportunity warmed my heart, and I can’t wait to see everyone again next year!

Harvest Ball
Courtesy of Harvest Ball

Standouts from the Show

This is by no means a complete list of all the heat that one could come upon at the Harvest Ball. We all walk our own path, so by all means, if you saw the heat, and it’s not here, hit me up on Instagram and let me know: @east_coast_kid_

Ridgeline Farms

Second-generation grower Jason Gelman of Ridgeline Farm has come into some minor celebrity as of late. He is what I call weed famous. One of the first legacy growers to team up with Berner’s Cookies through the Humboldt Grown Initiative, Ridgeline’s award-winning genetics speak for themselves. The organic, sun-grown flower was the top-selling SKU in Cookies California retail locations for weeks in 2021. That’s saying something.

For Jason and the team at Ridgeline Farms, “The most exciting thing about this collaboration is how many people that have never smoked sun-grown can now enjoy true craft cannabis,” he told me. That said, Jason’s farm in SoHum focuses on quality over quantity that is clear to see.

Best-in-show buds from Ridgeline included Lantz, Green Lantern and Ridgeline Runtz. My favorite was Green Lantern. This strain is pure gas and a powerful illustration of the best that Kush can be. The nose is Diesel fuel dominant, and the flower reaches THC levels as high as 35 percent. 

Green Lantern was my go-to ganja all weekend. Far from a fan of pre-rolled pot, I proudly puffed at least 15 of them during my two-day stay in the bay. Keep an eye on Ridgeline Farms in the New Year; definitely cop some yourself if you get the chance. 


AlienLabs’ Harvest Ball offerings were impressive. AlienLabs has a stellar reputation for pushing the envelope to create unique exotic strains. The brand is constantly moving the conversation forward, which has earned the team my respect. 

Honestly, I vouch for everything that comes out of its operation. Alien is all about finer things, for those who like their finer things a little weird… this is something I can appreciate.

Native Humboldt Farms

I am incredibly excited to get the opportunity to talk about this next heady contender. Native Humboldt Farms is a small farm in Southeast Humboldt owned and operated by Lindsey Renner and Jon Obliskey. To say this small farm is doing big things is putting it mildly. 

This past season 5,000 square foot of canopy space was dedicated to growing three top-notch genetics for Cookies. This dynamic duo produces storied strains like Cheetah Piss and Sunshine #4 as a collaboration between legacy cultivators in the Emerald Triangle called the Cookies Humboldt Initiative.

My favorite from Native had to be its organic, sun-grown take on the famous Orangutan genetics by Heavyweight heads. I had the opportunity to compare the Orangutan indoor and sun-grown versions side-by-side. Feel free to call me crazy, but the sun-grown smells gassier and just smacks harder than the same genetics grown indoors. Maybe the most full-spectrum experience does come from the sun? I’m a believer.

Briceland Forest Farms

These heads had an excellent setup at The Harvest Ball. An immersive, farmers’ market-style experience highlighted a cornucopia of buds grown under the sun. The growers at Briceland Forest Farms are faithful stewards of their land, and their passion for the plant is palpable. Briceland’s organic and regenerative farming practices make a perfect model for authentic pot permaculture.

My pick is their Mother’s Milk Pheno #31—a cut from the original Bodhi Seeds cross. THC levels in the Mother’s Milk from Briceland Forest Farm’s reserve is a strong 22 to 23 percent with terp levels exceeding four percent on this latest batch. Needless to say, this fresh farm bud blew me away. 

Canna Country Farms

Ted Blair and the team from Canna Country Farm, along with their Forbidden Fruit x Cherimoya cross “The #26,” is a perfect reminder of how variety is the spice of life. 

The team at Canna Country painstakingly bred this bud in a clear labor of love that you can feel when consuming the flower. The #26 won the Breeders Cup and took second place in the sun-grown flower category at last year’s Emerald Cup Awards.

The #26 stands out as a favorite from the event for many reasons. Perhaps most notable is the expression of an incredibly rare terpene called Ocimene. The #26 has a sweet, woodsy fragrance and undoubtedly holds therapeutic properties.

The #26 aside, Blair’s breeding prowess is evident. He and his team entered three cultivars in the Emerald Cup, and all three strains were selected within the top 21. That said, you should consider yourself lucky to get your hands on anything these guys breed. I certainly do. Keep an eye out for Canna Country Farms.


The people over at Connected pretty much always do it proper. I have been a massive fan of their Gelonade x Biscotti cross Lemonatti. Not going to lie, I love the name, and I know it’s not the “newest drop,” but I think it is some of the best bud available at that price point.

The result of a tirelessly epic pheno-hunt (#17, to be exact), I think it is a perfect expression of the best of what both parents have to offer. Get yourself some.

Huckleberry Hill

Earlier, I noted Huckleberry Hill Farms and briefly touched on the legend of Johnny Casali. Casali is Second Generation grower and breeder in Humboldt. Now I want to let everyone know what’s good with his weed.

Every offering Johnny gave me that weekend was packed with pure power and super-expressive flavors. The Whitethorn Rose; if I put things in a box, I categorize this cultivar as “Dessert Wine Weed.” The perfect antidote to the dessert strain hype. 

Courtesy of Jesse Hershberger

His other most notable is “Mom’s Weed”—which Johnny grows as an homage to his beloved mother, who taught him all he knows about the plant. This strain aims to honor the vital, though often overlooked, role that women have historically played and continue to play on cannabis farms.

This is one of many things that make Johnny unique as a cannabis grower. Each strain he breeds and cultivates on his farm is rich in narrative. A born storyteller, he believes in the power of the place. His weed has resonated with many because it is unique to the farmer. Especially in the cannabis market today, authenticity is a veritable currency that must be valued and preserved. 

My favorite of Johnny’s buds? Personally, that pick goes to the Paradise Punch x Zookies cross called Amalfi. Testing at a substantial 27.98 percent total THC, I challenge any skeptic of sun-grown to hit that and still hold that outdated opinion. With an intense aroma of muddled fruit in a gas can, this strain smells and tastes fantastic, with a cerebral effect that certainly smacks. Ask for it by name. Tell them Johnny sent you.

The post Best-Of Picks: The Harvest Ball 2021 appeared first on High Times.

Au Revoir Hash Guru Frenchy Cannoli

The cannabis community is grieving a new loss as we say goodbye to Frenchy Cannoli. A prominent cannabis activist and we’ll respected educator, Frenchy Cannoli was all about hash. He devoted his life to the pursuit of cannabis concentrates and shared his knowledge with anyone who asked. Frenchy Cannoli really cared about making information available […]

The post Au Revoir Hash Guru Frenchy Cannoli appeared first on Latest Cannabis News Today – Headlines, Videos & Stocks.

Updates on the 2020 California Emerald Cup

In order to adapt to this pandemic, the Emerald cup had two choices, cancel the event or, come up with a creative solution. Rather than disappoint everyone, organizers decided to postpone the date to buy some time and get to work. After all, the Emerald Cup is a North California favorite, attracting farmers from all […]

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5 Basic Tips for Finding the Best Cannabis Genetics

The hunt for great cannabis genetics can be daunting for beginners looking to grow. After all, a 10-pack of seeds can cost hundreds of dollars and there’s no real way to know if you’re investment has paid off until you’ve grown out the plant, trimmed and cured the buds and puffed the final result. Because the genetic diversity of the cannabis plant is monumentally vast and there are so many mouth-watering new cultivars, it’s very easy to feel like a kid in a candy store. Even the strain names themselves reflect this metaphorical allusion. At the Emerald Cup this past weekend, Cannarado sold upwards of 20 different Sundae Driver crosses with names like Root Beer Float and Grape Sundae.

Ultimately, when it comes to making a choice about which cultivars to invest in, purchasing seeds — like many aspects of enjoying cannabis — is all about personal preference and discovery.

Do the Research

Award-winning cannabis breeder Mean Gene said it has taken him years to know “what is what” when it comes to cannabis genetics. Gene’s advice was to find someone with an unbiased opinion on a cultivar that they’ve already grown out. At a massive seed purchasing event like the Emerald Cup, Gene recommended standing in line and getting other people’s feedback.

Doing research on the genetics is also key, he said. “You don’t want to go to somebody who is going to be a ‘yes’ man. You want to find what fits your needs the best.”

At the cup, Hepburns founder Allie Butler waited in the line at Gene’s Freeborn Selections booth for the Lime Pop Kush F3 seeds on a hunt for a strain that provided the right amount of “resin production and terpene profile.” “I’m looking for sh*t that keeps you coming back,” she said.

Pay Attention to the Generation

Cannabis strains will combine the best aspects of its parental lineage, but like two sisters in the same family, the seeds will create unique results every time. Breeders work to find the optimal version, or special phenotype, of a strain they create and then stabilize the genetics through subsequent generations. An F1 hybrid is the first generation of a parental cross and the generations that follow are known as F2, F3, etc. Looking for later generations, such as Gene’s Lime Pop Kush F3, means growers are more likely to get consistent results from the plants they grow from seed.

Discover What You Want

Gene described himself as a “plant enthusiast” and said, for him, choosing which strains to grow is as much about how the plant resonates with him aesthetically as it is if it has interesting flavors or terpene profiles. Comparing cannabis to other plants, Gene said if you don’t like the look of artichokes, you might want to grow pepper plants instead. New growers should also be asking questions about a plant’s yield and resistance to mold.

Grow for Your Area

For Nikki Lastreto, one of the cultivators behind Swami Select, choosing genetics means finding the seeds bred in her area. That’s easy for her to say. In this case, Lastreto’s area of Mendocino County is one of the most award-winning cannabis cultivation regions on the planet. However, no matter your location, choosing seeds bred in the region of the world where you’d like to grow them makes good sense anywhere, as those cultivars will be best adapted to the environmental conditions and best able to express the plant’s truest expression of its identity — through embracing the terroir, a set of environmental factors such as climate, soils and terrain unique to a specific place.

“We like to get seed bred in our area because we know they’re going to go well with our terroir,” Lastreto said.

Accept the Results

Growing cannabis from a seed is harder than growing from a clone, a cutting from a female plant, because cannabis is a plant that has both male and female genders. While some companies do create feminized seeds, or seeds that have been created through a process of using colloidal silver to make a female plant produce pollen sacks instead of flowers and then pollinating a female plant with the feminine pollen, Lastreto said she prefers using un-feminized seeds and accepting the surprise gender results.

The longtime Emerald Cup judge compared the process to having a child, saying you can’t look to choose the sex of your cannabis plant any more than you can choose the sex of your baby.

“You have to accept that when you’re growing from seed,” she said. “You don’t know what you’re going to get.”

TELL US, have you ever grown your own cannabis?

The post 5 Basic Tips for Finding the Best Cannabis Genetics appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Inside Kalya Extracts, the Emerald Cup-Winning Hash Company

A month after sweeping the podium in the world’s most competitive solventless hash competition at The Emerald Cup, Kalya Extracts now gives Oakland, California a solid claim to producing the best hash on the planet. 

Kalya Extracts’ big winners this year in the solventless rosin category at Northern California’s prestigious Emerald Cup were a first-place Fruit Stripe rosin collaboration with Sours, a Banana Cream rosin collaboration with Monterey Kush Co. that came in second, and a Garlic Juice rosin with Dancing Dog Ranch that rounded off the podium. They also took 7th place with a Runtz collaboration with Sky High Humboldt. That means that, in addition to sweeping the podium, Kalya won four of the top 10 spots for solventless hash. Kalya also had two spots in the top five of the ice water hash category.

A month after their impressive showing at the Cup, I headed down to Kalya’s production facility in Oakland for the grand tour. While the company has only called Oakland home for a year, it has deep roots in Northern California’s exotic extract scene that thrived in the medical marketplace up until California’s legal market launched in January 2018 and regulations made boutique extract production more challenging.

“I used to be up north,” Kalya Extracts Co-Founder Marc Hammond said. “I ran a company called Medicine Man Extracts, along with running Ahti Hash.”

Ahti Hash famously battled 3rd Gen Family’s concentrate arm Moonshine Melts at the 2017 Emerald Cup, dethroning the reigning champions in the solventless world, and taking home three more spots in the top 10 in the process. Ahti Hash won with a Pink Lemonade collaboration with Tar Hill Cannabis, which also found its way to a third-place spot on the separate rosin podium.

“Funny thing, not a lot of people know about that batch [of Pink Lemonade],” Hammond said. “We were so hyped on it we called it Rainbow Sherbert at first.”

He added that one of his partners didn’t even want to buy the Pink Lemonade flower at first.

“I was like, I’ll buy these packs, these smell f*cking insane,” Hammond said. “I washed it, and we saved some of the water. I took pictures of the water. We were like, ‘Bro, this is going to beat Brandon [of 3rd Gen Family].’”

For so many years, Hammond and his team had watched 3rd Gen Fam absolutely own the top of the solventless mountain. “I was like, ‘This is going to beat it, oh sh*t!’”

Hammond said that, as he was founding Kalya Extracts, he wanted to make sure that it was connected to Ahti Hash. He and his partner named Ahti Hash after the Sanskrit word for “transcendence” in Sanskrit.

“So my little homage to that is Kalya is Sanskrit for perfection,” Hammond says. “Because we’re always chasing the perfect hash or whatever.”

In the end, that quest for perfection can prove daunting at times, but with the trophy shelf now stacked, Hammond says his process has been vindicated again.

“I never want to sacrifice quality,” Hammond said. “I have a lot of pride in every gram that goes on the shelf and such. I love seeing somebody’s face when they’re like, ‘This is some fucking heat.’”

Hammond said that, in order to make sure Kalya’s offerings are up to the standards he’s set, they’ve had to limit Kalya’s releases.

“That’s why there aren’t too many flavors right now,” he said. “We’ve looked at batches and been like, this isn’t making the cut. The scope of material that is good for solventless hash is so small. That’s what’s hard.”

He noted that in the end, that’s one of the reasons you see the elite solventless producers trending towards certain proven strains with a great nose and yield. “That’s why you see so much GMO on the market,” Hammond said. “It dunks.”

TELL US, have you ever smoked hash?

The post Inside Kalya Extracts, the Emerald Cup-Winning Hash Company appeared first on Cannabis Now.

A Tropical Sleigh Ride of THC

It is the middle of September and the heat is intense, sweat is dripping down my forehead as I walk down rows of plants that seem to never end. Myself and my crew, which includes my bandmate Bleezy from our rap group Mendo Dope and our business partner Mark Greyshock of Greenshock Farms, are just finishing up the biggest pheno hunt that any of us have ever done. Our noses are covered in resin after closely examining about 800 plants, searching for the next top strain among the phenos. We literally cannot smell anymore, our nostril hairs are sticky and the tips of our noses are raw.

As the sun sets, the colors in the sky are unreal, almost as if the clouds themselves were on fire glowing in a bright orange. We roll up a Backwood of Sour Apple bud, pack our gear and get ready to head out, reeking of fresh ganja. The road is winding, swerving through the rolling hills with such sharpness that it almost feels like we are on mushrooms as we drive into the night sky.

“We found some winners today,” Bleezy says, still smelling the tips of his fingers that are completely covered in resin.

The Road Before Us

Pheno hunting and creating new strains is a lengthy process. Greyshock explains that creating the award-winning Tropical Sleigh Ride strain came after many years of hard work.

“It all started with the Purple Candy Cane, which has placed in the top three at the Emerald Cup two years in a row,” he says of the strain’s lineage. “We got a hold of a Pineapple plant from [noted California cannabis breeder] Mean Gene and just out of intuition, I knew that there was going to be a winner by crossing these two plants.”

The strain was created in 2016 and grown for the first time during the 2017 harvest. Greyshock says he had more confidence in this particular breeding project than others he has worked on in the past. This confidence was due, in part, to the strain’s unique terpene profile. In fact, in 2017, Greenshock’s Tropical Sleigh Ride won the highest total terpene content award at the prestigious Emerald Cup, with 4.8% terpenes.

The fruit-forward Tropical Sleigh Ride has an ocimene-dominant terpene profile, something that is also found in other plants such as basil, bergamot and lavender. In addition, it has a high level of CBG (a cannabinoid that is a precursor to both THC and CBD), generally 2 to 2.5 %.

“It has an overall very high cannabinoid ratio with the THC itself in the neighborhood of 17% at its lowest and all the way up to 27-28%,” Greyshock says. “With high levels of both terpenes and cannabinoids in one plant, it makes this strain a very dynamic combination. The smell and flavor of this flower is unlike any other.” 

It’s an uplifting strain with a woodsy, floral and tropical smell (think oranges, mangos, guava, pineapple, papaya, lemons and hints of pine) that could be applicable to lift a depressive fog, he says.

“Tropical Sleigh Ride makes you feel happy to be alive. It crushes negativity and brings out positivity. I would say its best medical trait would be treating depression,” Greyshock says. “The flavor is truly delicious and just smelling it will make you feel good. Smoking the Tropical Sleigh Ride is like snowboarding down a mountain of fruit, carving through oranges and mangos jumping over pine trees.”

And, in terms of its growth, Greyshock says the vigorous fast-growing Tropical Sleigh Ride is extremely adaptable.

It handles a variety of conditions very well, performing great in all environments,” he says. “Here in California, we have grown it in the Sierras at 4,200 feet [elevation] and it grew very nicely. This year, we are growing it in San Luis Obispo County in a very hot and dry climate that reaches temperatures of 110 degrees regularly and it is performing great.”

Greyshock says the strain also possess a strong resistance to both bugs and mold, something that becomes very important when picking the winners from a new batch of plants. The buds themselves are generally very solid and chunky.

“Even with the sativa influence, these buds are not loose at all — they are very tight sativa buds,” Greyshock says. “We have had plants started from seed that have grown over 12 feet tall and 10 feet wide, towering over our heads, so she can definitely grow big. One of this strain’s best traits is its ability to fight off mold.”

Two Birds of a Feather

When it comes to the variations in phenotypes on this strain, Greyshock explains there are two basic types: the green pheno and the purple pheno.

The purple pheno shows a lot of color on the leaves and stalk and a decent amount on the bud,” he says. “About 40% of the phenos exhibit the green version of this strain. One pheno that we love is the Passion Orange Guava (POG) and that is an example of a green variation. Another pheno we have took sixth place [in the sungrown category] at the 2018 Emerald Cup and this one has more of a purple influence that we call the Hawaiian Punch pheno.”

And when it comes to picking which pheno is best, you might as well ask a mother which daughter she favors more.

“It is hard to say which variation is better, both purple and green phenos are phenomenal,” Greyshock says. “In terms of the overall size of the buds, I’d say about 10% of the phenos have large big buds and those aren’t generally the ones we keep. It seems to be the tighter, medium, chunky phenos that we are after a lot, which fortunately the majority come out to be.”

Even though the Tropical Sleigh Ride is a fabulous smoke, cannabis breeders are almost always interested in taking their strain further.

Once you have these type of plants in your collection, it is always about trying to make new and better things if you can,” Greyshock says. “Right now, we are playing around with the Tropical Sleigh Ride. This last year, we crossed it with another phenomenal California plant that was bred right here in Mendocino County called the Long Valley Royal Kush. Both of these plants have won awards at the Emerald Cup, so the combination of these two plants is making for some really exciting stuff this year.”

Breeder: Greenshock Farms

Genetics: Purple Candy Cane x Pineapple

Yield: Medium to Heavy

Height: Medium to Tall

Harvest Time: 56 to 60 Days

Profile: Sativa 70%/Indica 30%

TELL US, would you be interested in trying a strain bursting with tropical terps?

Originally published in Issue 40 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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