At the HIGH TIMES US Cannabis Cup in Denver, our Senior Cultivation Editor Danny Danko sat down with marijuana breeding legend DJ Short, the man responsible for such strains as Blueberry, Flo and Old Time Moonshine to discuss the old and the new in cannabis connoisseurship and production.
HT: DJ, did you ever think you would see the day when you could purchase cannabis legally at a storefront with a credit card?
DJ: Yeah! I hoped and dreamed and never gave up hope. I can't deny that there were some dark times The '80s were really tough. The worst year I remember was 1992; The end of the Bush One era. There was a drought. Literally no pot nationwide it seemed. The end of prohibition is so overdue. I don't want to say anti-climactic, but the balloon has burst and we're just now recovering from the pop.
HT: Is marijuana better or stronger than it was 30 years ago?
DJ: Stronger maybe, but not better. Hash is another story but we'll never replicate the real sativas of yore. If we can get Colombia to legalize and export the way Uruguay is trying to do, we'll see some of that. the herb now doesn't have the character of the true old-school tropical sativas. Blending is the answer: Breeders can take the characteristics they want and combine then to find something new an interesting.
HT: What do you see as the future of cannabis cultivation in the absence of marijuana prohibition?
DJ: In the past, the value of our product was measured in grams of flower. In the future, we'll measure in milligrams of cannabinoids. The doors are now open to see all kinds of new and interesting things from this plant. I like to say that the best is yet to come.
HT: What's your advice to someone who is a Colorado resident over 21 years old that's interested in growing their own 6 plants legally?
DJ: Do it outdoors if possible. If they'll let you. The elevation is conducive to better essential oil production. The high UVA and UVB exposure produces a more interesting and nuanced oil. Think about it, what is unique about the tropics? The the sun directly overhead filtered by the least amount of atmosphere. The high elevation and UV exposure creates an amazing connoisseur-quality flower.
HT: What's your favorite strain of marijuana, old and new?
DJ: I have a soft spot for the highland Oaxacan with the red tips from Mexico. I love the Highland Thai and Colombian Gold as well from back in the day. My favorite of the new domestic varieties is my Vanilluna or "Vanilla Moon." The name came to me in a dream. It's my usual concoction combining Highland Thai, Highland Oaxacan, Chocolate Thai and Afghan.