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5 Cannabis Breeders Who Changed the Game

C annabis—like asparagus, dates, mulberry, ginkgo, persimmons, and spinach—is a dioecious species, meaning that the male and female reproductive structures involved in propagation are typically found on different individual plants, rather than on a single plant (as in a monoecious species). Cannabis is also an annual, so it dies off each winter, but not before dropping seeds that will sprout the following spring, allowing the cycle of life to continue for another year.

Only the most successful cannabis hybrids will be stabilized and grow popular enough to earn a permanent place in the hearts of cannabis enthusiasts.

In nature, those seeds form in the late autumn—when the male plants pollinate the females. Each time such pollination takes place the result is a genetically unique seed—one that contains DNA from both of its parents—but without the direct involvement of human beings, the amount of genetic diversity seen from generation to generation is practically pretty limited.

In theory, each time two unique varieties are crossed in this way, the result is a wholly new strain. But in practice, only the most successful of these hybrids will be stabilized and grow popular enough to earn a permanent place in the hearts of cannabis enthusiasts. Adding to the complexity (and potential confusion) of this process is the fact that until relatively recently, all of this breeding still took place in the underground, so the documentation of who created what and how is often unknown or in dispute.

But that’s just all the more reason to properly identify and honor the amazing cannabis breeders of yore who performed the alchemical feat of bringing into the world all-new, genetically distinct cannabis varietals that truly changed the game.

Dave Watson (a.k.a. “Sam the Skunkman”)

One of the most fascinating and controversial figures in cannabis history, Dave Watson (far better known as “Sam the Skunkman”) is lauded by some and vilified by others, but nobody can dispute the outsized role he’s played in the once very small world of cannabis breeders.

Watson’s journey began in Santa Cruz, California in the 1970s, where he was linked to two of the earliest cannabis breeding outfits to ever gain notoriety—the Haze Brothers and Sacred Seed Collective—both of which were instrumental in developing the early hybrid strains that helped transform American “homegrown” cannabis from a ditchweed laughingstock to the envy of the world.

In 1985, Watson was reportedly arrested on cannabis charges in California. A month later, he landed at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, allegedly with a box of 250,000 seeds that included Skunk #1 , Original Haze , and Afghani #1 —all of which had been bred or stabilized by his cannabis compatriots. Watson met immediately with emissaries from Amsterdam’s burgeoning cannabis scene, which at the time relied largely on imported hashish to supply its coffeeshops.

Along with Robert Colonel Clarke (Author of Hashish! and Marijuana Botany ), he would go on to form Hortapharm , a company dedicated to collecting cannabis seeds from around the world, both to create a stable genetic library and to breed new hybrids with desirable traits. By the late 1990s, they were doing business with Dr. Geoffrey Guy, founder and chairman of GW Pharmaceuticals , which is now licensed by the British government to cultivate cannabis for use in making “whole-plant extracts” with specific ratios of THC and CBD for use as prescription medicines.

GW has since created “the first cannabis plant-derived medicine ever approved by the FDA,” but at the time, the company was in its earliest stages and still looking for cannabis seed stock to use in developing its pharmaceutical preparations.

Ben Dronkers

In the late 1960s, Netherlands native Ben Dronkers sailed on merchant ships to exotic ports of call, where he initially sought out fabric to start his own clothing company, but eventually began collecting local cannabis seeds instead. In time, his collection was truly unparalleled and boasted genetics from throughout Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. He then used those landrace strains to breed his own hybrids.

In 1985, Dronkers formed Sensi Seed Bank and began offering for sale the strains he’d collected and hybrids he’d created, including after crossing his own discoveries with recently arrived American varietals.

Among his most endearing and enduring contributions: Jack Herer , one of the all time most popular cannabis strains, named for one of the all-time most influential cannabis activists.

DJ Short

“#DjShortNewberry #DjShort. The red hue is from unintentional light bleaching. Photo and grow cred goes to: @secondgenerationgenetics” (@secondgenerationgenetics/Instagram)

According to a lengthy 2013 Grantland profile titled “The Willie Wonka of Pot,” DJ Short—the legendary, nearly mythical cannabis breeder behind Blueberry and many other classic strains—is part of a long line of plant medicine workers. His great-grandmother “used to grow pot, opium, tobacco, sage, and lavender in a backyard garden. The curtains in his grandmother’s house were made of hemp. His family used to joke, ‘If the house catches on fire, stay in for a little while and breathe.’”

In 1973, he bought a box of cereal that came with a seed sprouter as the prize inside. That inspired him to try growing the seeds he’d collected.

Eventually he began collecting cannabis seeds from the bags of cannabis he bought as a teenager, carefully logging them and making detailed notes, as much later related in his own 2003 book Cultivating Exceptional Cannabis: An Expert Breeder Shares His Secrets :

Colombian Gold (“The smell was that of sandalwood incense, almost frankincense, and the flavor was that of a peppery incense cedar … truly psychedelic, powerful and long lasting”), Chocolate Thai (“deep, rich, chocolate, nutty, woody/spicy”); Jamaican (“Too damned strong and speedy! … It is a heart-lifting herb and I have a sensitive heart. So I am careful with the samples of the commercial J-ganga that I try”).

Then one day, in 1973, after moving to Oregon, he bought a box of cereal that came with a seed sprouter as the prize inside. That inspired him to try growing the sativa seeds he’d collected as a youth, but he found they took too long to mature and yielded too little. Next he tried smoking some indica, but found it didn’t stoke his inspiration or spark his imagination the same way as sativa.

So he set up a 16-square-foot closet grow and began to breed his own strains, mixing sativa and indica varietals and scrupulously smoking the results until he produced not just Blueberry, a marquee strain with the hue and aroma of fresh berries, but also Flo , Blue Velvet , Azure Haze , Whitaker Blues , Vanilluna , and many other varieties that have collectively changed the game—as has DJ Short’s tireless research into cultivation and breeding practices, a lifelong pursuit he continues today.

DNA Genetics

Don and Aaron (the D and A of DNA Genetics) met in Southern California and initially enjoyed the symbiotic relationship of weed dealer and customer. Then they became friends. And finally business partners.

There was never any question that they’d enter the cannabis business, as both men share a true and abiding passion for the plant. But rather than try to compete in the still grey market medical cannabis industry developing in the United States at the time, in 2004 they decided to pull up stakes and open up shop in The Netherlands.

The move put them in direct contact with Amsterdam’s legendary cannabis scene, which had been serving as a center of breeding and seed banks since the days of Dave Watson and Ben Dronkers back in the 1980s.

As new kids on the block, Don and Aaron brought with them not just enthusiasm and youthful energy, but also a whole new generation of prized California genetics which they used to create next-level cannabis hybrids like LA Confidential , Chocolope , Tangie , and Kosher Kush .

More recently, they’ve moved their operations back to California, where they’re firmly established among the largest and most respected cannabis brands in the game today.

Lawrence Ringo

Before humans began actively breeding cannabis strains for desired traits, the plant produced much less THC than it does now, and lots more CBD—perhaps even a 1:1 ratio of its two best known and most plentiful cannabinoids. But because CBD isn’t intoxicating like THC, underground breeders seeking higher highs for decades unwittingly bred CBD out of the cannabis gene pool.

Sour Tsunami, bred by Lawrence Ringo, was the first stabilized CBD-rich strain found in California—a discovery that led to a revolution in medical cannabis.

Well aware of CBD’s therapeutic potential, however, in 2010 a non-profit organization called Project CBD formed to boost research into the compound, and help identify and proliferate what few CBD-rich cannabis varietals remained in circulation. From its inception, Project CBD partnered with California’s commercial cannabis testing labs to flag any bud testing high in CBD, in order to build up a breeding stock of high-CBD strains.

Sour Tsunami —bred by Lawrence Ringo of Southern Humboldt Seed Collective—was the first stabilized CBD-rich strain they found in California, a discovery that led to a revolution in medical cannabis.

Ringo himself had begun growing as early as 1971, though he remained largely in the underground until 2010 when he founded his seed company. That’s also when he had his crops lab tested for the first time, and discovered the unique medicinal properties of Sour Tsunami were due to its high CBD content (around 11%). From then until the end of his life in 2014, he focused on developing additional CBD-rich strains, including Harle-Tsu , Canna-Tsu , Swiss-Tsu , and ACDC .

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Need advice about transporting seeds

If they are inside a sealed balloon they will be fine and they only need to be in your mouth at the inspection points.

Barney’s Farm have well respected (by some) genetics and sampling the Dr Grinspoon would be an opportunity not to miss – probably a pain to grow but definitely one to smoke.

spliffbazz
Well-Known Member
Grumpy Old Dreamer
Well-Known Member
Gr0wer
Member
LarryTheStoner
Well-Known Member

one time my friend flew back from holland to the US with seeds and this is how he did it.

you know the bottom part of a nice pair of shorts or pants? I dont know the specific name for it on the clothes but it is an area at the bottom where the fabric is lapped over and creates about a 1 inch area where the fabric is on both sides and the inside is a small hallow area.

this may not make any sense but pick up a pair of shorts or pants and look at the bottom and try to see what im talking about. Blue jeans or corduroys probably wont have this area at the bottom so try to use a pair of khaki or chino pants or shorts. I dont know where you shop but im sure some of your clothes are made this way.

He made a small cut in the bottom of his shorts and slid the seeds in and sowed the small hole back up. The area at the bottom where he placed his seeds acted as a very stealth hidden pocket

nothing he did was noticeable at all and he had no problems going to air port security or US customs. Seeds are so small they would never be able to detect them if you were patted down. and if they are in a small capsule no dog is going to smell them.(some breeders such as the joint doctor sell their seeds in tiny vials which are perfect for this)

seeds are easy to move around dont worry about it. just dont push your luck and try to bring some stinky nugs back

everyone always hates crossing borders especially germany (I was only 15 but they seemed pretty strict) so the best of luck to you

Happy growing
-Larry

Medi 1
Well-Known Member

why do poep-le openly post about how they hide seeds. not hidden now is it. no wodner shit gets stopped in the mail or elshwere.

no offence guys but why out the secrets.

Jack in the Bud
Active Member

If you take the train over to Holland you won’t even go thru a border checkpoint. Going from one European Union Country to another is not like it is here in the US when you want to go into either Canada or Mexico. You’re probably going to be surprised at just how freely the people over there move among the different countries.

I’ve bought seeds at the Dampkring grow store and was quite happy with them. I also bought some seeds at a little hole in the wall head shop called "Aliens" and not a one of them germinated. Their prices were so much lower than the other stores I looked in that I should have known some thing wasn’t right.

The Dampkring (grow store) is about a 5 minute walk from the train station in Amsterdam. Here’s the link so you can see what they’ve got and what the prices are. There’s even a map showing where it’s located at the bottom of the page.

LarryTheStoner
Well-Known Member

hey medi 1 I could understand why you would think me sharing that info is stupid but if you read my post I was talking about my friend who did this.

I have never smuggled something illegal across a boarder and I never intend to do so. Im simply helping Gr0wer the best I can.

what would this website be if no ones questions got answered.

I would be surprised if the authorities are not already aware that people use thier clothing to smuggle shit. people were doing it a long time before any of us were (ever hear of midnight express?)

Im not giving him a detailed instructions about how to package pounds for shipping. its just a nifty little trick.

jeff f
New Member

why do poep-le openly post about how they hide seeds. not hidden now is it. no wodner shit gets stopped in the mail or elshwere.

no offence guys but why out the secrets.

seriously? how dumb do you think cops are that they wouldnt think of this? this isnt rocket science.

the shorts idea is good. another way to smuggle seeds is in a cheap belt. they have 2 or more layers sandwiched together. take a razor and slice through the inside layer. separate the two layers of material and you have a nice "tunnel" to slide stuff in. dogs wont sniff your person so you dont have to worry about them. if the belt is in your luggage, you may get found if they use a dog.

dont be too paranoid about seeds. they will only chuck them in the garbage if found. not like singapore where they will sentence you to death or give you a royal ass whooping with canes. you will be fine in germany.

Medi 1
Well-Known Member
jeff f
New Member

so your legal, but you have to hide them and you know people in jail for the same "legal" thing? huh weird, we dont do that in my country. youre on your own.

yea whatever dude, flag this site. youre a fucking idiot.

Gr0wer
Member
Feminiseed
Member

Dude, if you’re travelling from Holland to Germany you won’t be checked at all. Not 100% sure about air travel as you prolly have an American passport, but if you take a train or car, you can buy all the seeds you like, no problem. Especially if you can go by car, there isn’t even a real border between Holland and Germany anymore. Also if you don’t need to go to Amsterdam you can buy seeds in one of the towns nearer to the border.

Feminiseed
Member
HerbalBeast
Well-Known Member
Medi 1
Well-Known Member

holly fuk another morron. sdededs are still illegal here idiot. know the laws before shooting your shit hole off,.what does me beinhg legal have to do with someone else in jail. duh.
who said anyt5hing about me hiding anything either. duh again. i dont need to buy seed.
so you klnow all people i know to say i dont know if this or any other site is flagged then. ok. whos the idiot

ya i know you dont do that in your country as no one down there is lkegal. fed legal i mean. your still tryinj to keep up to us. lol, doin a poor job to with people like you. no offence to any others here. i just cant stand pee on kids with snotty mouths that think they know others lives more than themselves.

jeff f
New Member

holly fuk another morron. sdededs are still illegal here idiot. know the laws before shooting your shit hole off,.what does me beinhg legal have to do with someone else in jail. duh.
who said anyt5hing about me hiding anything either. duh again. i dont need to buy seed.
so you klnow all people i know to say i dont know if this or any other site is flagged then. ok. whos the idiot

ya i know you dont do that in your country as no one down there is lkegal. fed legal i mean. your still tryinj to keep up to us. lol, doin a poor job to with people like you. no offence to any others here. i just cant stand pee on kids with snotty mouths that think they know others lives more than themselves.

from the moderator of 420 magizine news team

Cannabis was illegal throughout Germany until the federal constitutional court decided on 28 April 1994 that people need no longer be prosecuted for possession of soft drugs for personal use. Since then, most German regional governments have tolerated the sale and use of soft drugs.

In some cities, cannabis supply is now tolerated in a similar way to the Netherlands. In other places the courts still treat possession as an offence. For example, in one state, Schleswig-Holstein, no charges are usually brought for possession of less than 30 g, but in Thuringia people are prosecuted for possessing even tiny amounts.2

In March 1999, Germany’s drug tsar, Christa Nickels, said she considered it sensible to use cannabis products such as marijuana and hashish for therapeutic purposes in medicine. Source

Chris Fowlie’s Tour: Germany: Uber Hanf
By Chris Fowlie

Germany was once thought to be on its way to becoming the next Netherlands, but it is now considered one of the harshest countries in Europe, with its citizens living in fear of roadside sweat tests and police sniffer dogs.

Having said that, it is rare to be prosecuted for possession, let alone go to jail for it, and there is a thriving German ganja culture with huge Hanf celebrations and parades all over the country.

In the northern cities of Hamburg and Berlin you can smoke reasonably openly and there are quasi-coffeeshops that keep really quiet in order to stay open. Hamburg police will tolerate up to 30 grams as a personal amount – it will be confiscated but no charges laid. The further south you go in Germany, the less tolerance there is, but even in Bavaria it would still be unusual to be arrested for possessing a small amount.

Pipes and bongs are legal even for cannabis use, and the stores selling them all appear to be doing a brisk trade. The Germans are also on the forefront of developing great vaporisers, with two excellent models, personally tried and tested by myself, called the Aromed and the Volcano. Both use electricity to heat the air which is drawn through the finely chopped herb. The Volcano fills a balloon, which is handy for medical users who may not always be able to use delicate nozzles and buttons.

The hemp industry is also big, but unlike in Switzerland, the German hemp is low-THC. Most of it is grown in the south and used to make nutritious food products. Hemp businesses have invested in processing plant and can now manufacture their own hemp clothing, insulation and building materials as well as hempseed foods and cosmetics.

Cannabis seeds were legal in Germany up to a couple of years ago, but they remain legal almost everywhere else in Europe so they are easy for Germans to get. Grow lights are sold next to bongs with no illusion about what they are for. Hash seems the most common form of cannabis, with the black hashes of India and Nepal preferred to the Moroccan. Marijuana seemed harder to come by, and much of it originates from the Netherlands and Switzerland.

The fact that Germany shares open borders with so many countries with liberal drug policies has a lot to do with their tolerance for possessing small amounts. They have no hope of stemming the flow of cannabis from the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Czech, Poland, Denmark – all countries that have long stopped chasing cannabis smokers, so by tolerating cannabis smokers the police can concentrate on hard drugs.

thanks for playing goof

btw i am 47 and been to germany a few times on vacation. never seen anyone handcuffed, stripped searched, flogged, or otherwise harrassed for weed. my uncle, his wife and 2 kids (32, 30 yrs old) lived there for 4 years when stationed in frankfurt and still goes back to visit friends and SMOKE POT.