May 25, 2021 10:30 am ETEstimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
Cannabis has come a long way since back in the day. The quality of the cannabis we consume today has increased exponentially in both potency and flavor. Yesteryear’s cannabis looked like seedy blades of grass wrapped around sticks compared to the frosty trichome-covered, resin-packed nugs we have today. This didn’t happen on its own, though. Well, it kind of did, but it required a lot of help along the way from some very dedicated individuals with a love for growing things. In particular, the individuals I’m speaking about have a passion for cannabis cultivation. There are several old-school legends in the field of cannabis breeding that helped cannabis become what it is today.
All too often, many of us are unaware of the history behind how some of our favorite cannabis strains came to be. We’re not aware of the work and effort that went into stabilizing the many lines of genetics so that it could be enjoyed for generations to come. With cannabis legalization happening in more places across America, and around the world than ever before, it’s time to start teaching consumers about the past. They say you never really will understand where you’re going if you don’t understand where you came from. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some OG legends in the field of cannabis cultivation and breeding.
Maple Leaf Wilson
Cannabis has evolved over the years. In part, major thanks go to individuals such as an old hashish trade route hippie by the name of Maple Leaf Wilson who helped introduce Indica varieties of cannabis into California. Maple Leaf Wilson got the nickname because he was growing pot plants that had leaves remarkably similar to maple leaves. This was uncommon in the area at the time because most of the cannabis was long fingery sativa plants. Maple Leaf Wilson was bringing indica genetics from Canada into California. When people saw the look of the plant when growing, they quickly gave him the nickname Maple Leaf Wilson.
Sam the Skunk Man – David Watson
David Watson, AKA “Sam The Skunk Man”, is another individual that gave cannabis a push to where it is today. In the early ’80s, Sacred Seeds Seed Bank out of California was one of the biggest names in the industry. They were selling seeds through High Times magazine during a heightened time of prohibition. They ended up getting raided and having their business shut down. David Watson was one of the individuals working on genetics at the time with Sacred Seeds. He managed to grab a ton of genetics and make his way over to Amsterdam. He took five old-school original strains from California and introduced them to knowledgeable and successful cannabis breeders Neville Schoenmakers and Scott Blakely. Early Pearl, Early Girl, Northern Lights, Haze, and Skunk were the five strains that made it to Amsterdam. These five strains, along with the genetic profiles collected by Scott Blakely and Neville Schumacher, helped to populate cannabis as we know it today.
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Mendocino “Romulan” Joe
Mendocino Joe AKA Romulan Joe is a cannabis breeder out of California who worked with the group at Sacred Seeds on stabilizing the Skunk line of genetics. After Sacred Seeds was raided and David Watson took off for Amsterdam, Mendocino Joe headed north to Canada, where he sold his Skunk genetics to Federation Seed Company. He also had the nickname of Romulan Joe because he is said to be the creator of the cannabis strain Romulan that was popular in the ’70s and ’80s. This strain’s name was based on an alien species on the popular TV series Star Trek. It is said that smoking Romulan would cause your forehead to wrinkle up slightly, resembling the Romulan characters from the series.
Neville Martin Schoenmakers
Neville Martin Schoenmakers is often referred to as the grandfather of cannabis. He was the founder of Amsterdam’s original Seed Bank, “The Seed Bank of Holland.” From an early age, Neville had a passion for growing and cultivating seeds of all sorts. This passion led to the cultivation of cannabis. Neville collected cannabis genetics from around the world. His extensive collection, without a doubt, helped cannabis evolve into the beautiful buds we enjoy today. This legend passed away on March 30th of 2019, leaving behind an impressive legacy that will forever shape the future for cannabis.
Shantibaba – Scott Blakely
Scott Blakey, AKA Shantibaba, is another OG legendary cannabis breeder. He is accredited with the infamous strain White Widow. Scott worked alongside Neville with the Skunk genetics and many others before parting ways in the late 90s. He has been involved in virtually every aspect of cannabis cultivation and research. In 2019, Scott went into his newest venture Sciva Corporation, where he furthers his knowledge into the cultivation and study of medicinal cannabis.
The next time you get ready to sesh, remember that what you’re smoking or vaping on wouldn’t be as good as it is if not for the work of cannabis breeders and cultivators like the OG legends mentioned above.
Ashley Priest is a patient, mother, entrepreneur, and activist that fights to end prohibition globally for a better future for all. Ashley has a passion for sharing education pertaining to the goddess plant known as cannabis. She believes that a single seed can tip the scales and that together through education we can end the stigma that is preventing cannabis from flowering to its full potential globally.
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