Outdoor growing is evolving too, as licensed growers take advantage of setting up professional, high-security greenhouse style operations. Full sun and a virtually unlimited ceiling to grow big with means considerably less costs for growers and the grid too. This could be the future of Canadian regulated bud production.
Indoors with the BC growing elite, “The AK” (Afghan-Kush selection) is making rounds-although it rarely gets too far on account of the delicious fruity hash flavor it packs in dense, purple to blue nugs that appear silvery with resin. Naturally, you can expect the draw to be strong when you are looking down the barrel of buds that have been testing at 24+ percent THC.
Standards like Pink Kush, Early Purple Kush, and of course OG Kush remain widely available. Reliability for medicating and a familiar bag appeal that is the current standard for recreational users continue to keep these strains alive in many grow rooms-and in some instances on astonishing scales.
Zen Hash plant is a clone-only legend in these parts and it has been spread via seed with an injection of NYSD parental genetics for some new vigor. Everybody who gets a whiff of a dried buds is impressed with the dense light green crystal covered pine cone nugs. Something sharp with a hint of fruity skunkiness and earth tones stands out on a connoisseur’s coffee table. Great all round buzz that doesn’t crash and burn. Growers love the fast growth rates and dependable yields too.
Sativa dominant strains are getting more attention than previous, as wide open Federally Authorized Canadian Medicinal growing creates a more favorable situation for producing more unruly strains that may require more time in production and a higher level of cannabis growing standards to bring out what can be framed as more delicate Sativa qualities in the buds once dried and properly cured.
Jack Herer is an eternal classic, and with so many great reasons in growth, quality and potency. Vietnam Black has had some influence on the West Coast gene pool as of late. This strain was a big contributor in developing Willie Nelson, a cup winning Sativa. The genetics impart a tell-tale silvery blue hue and a big bump up in exotic cannabinoid profiles of the strains it crosses with.
Insider Tip: Look out for one particular strain that made it’s way out of BC in seed form from a long time famous name in cannabis breeding. G-13 AlphaDawg. Holy shit! Seriously impressive. BIG giant super buds on plants that get prolific after 12/12. Very pungent and a great balance in effects for a mid to high potency level strain. Buds are reminiscent of UBC Chemo-but they come from different gene pools. Rumor is seeds are long gone, so grab a cut if it’s available in a friendly grow room.
When it comes to outdoor and greenhouse crops-there’s a lot of personal sized gardens out there and almost as many strains. Parties are still great places to sample the local flavors and fare. Proven reliable outdoor strains like Island Sweet Skunk, Kodiak, and TimeWarp maintain popularity with Western Canadian outdoor bud growers. Erik Biksa
Though it’s generally not the first place that comes to mind when people think of marijuana, New England has a long history of progressive views on the subject and an even longer history of people growing and smoking their own pot, regardless of the government’s views on its legality. Since July 2013, when New Hampshire passed a medical marijuana bill, all six New England states have favorable cannabis laws on the books. Maine and Rhode Island have been the vanguard, with caregivers in both those states actively producing pot for their patients, but Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut are making great strides in their acceptance that the marijuana industry is here to stay.
The “Beast Coast” continues to represent with strong strains like the many Chem Dog phenotypes, Strawberry Cough and Mass Super Skunk. New varieties popping up from elsewhere, such as Girl Scout Cookies and Gorilla Glue #4, are adding to the many flavors already available here. Outdoor growers have learned over the years to extend their seasons using cold frames early in the spring and greenhouses in the summer and fall, and light-deprivation techniques from the West Coast are finally catching on here as well.
Activists in New England congregate every September in Boston Common for the Freedom Rally, and 2014 was the second year in a row that the popular event — free to the public — expanded into a two-day pro-pot celebration featuring speakers, bands, and booths. All over the region, marijuana enthusiasts are scrambling to keep up with changes to their local laws, and new businesses are forming to fulfill the demand for more cannabis. Cultivation schools, grow consultants and dispensaries all compete for the attention of patients looking for clean, potent meds. The future looks bright for New England as it continues to advance toward the end of marijuana prohibition and the creation of a regional cannabis industry that will thrive for years to come. Danny Danko
New York City
The great state of New York is catching up — at last — to the rest of the progressive eastern states, finally recognizing the medicinal value of marijuana with its first medical marijuana law, passed earlier this summer.
Aside from the obvious benefits that this legislation offers for patients, the hope among many in New York City is that this will also lead to laxer views on recreational use by adults, and gentler penalties on cultivation. This thinking, however, is likely a pipe dream, as new medical laws usually lead to initial crackdowns on anything outside their provisions. So, with business as usual likely to continue in NYC, the underground delivery services still reign supreme for casual weekend tokers, while the daily stoners, recreationalists, partygoers and other, more hardcore aficionados can score zips of primo ganja from dealers importing from the likes of California, Colorado, Canada and, yes, even Mexico.
Another interesting development is that the bottom has completely fallen out of the bud market in the city. The price per pound for indoor weed has dropped dramatically thanks to competition from the rock-bottom prices afforded by outdoor imports. And while even more sophisticated methods for the transportation of out-of-state ganja have been employed in the past few years—including planes and 18-wheelers packed to the gills—the quality of the buds have remained on par with years past.
Top-shelf indoor strains like OG Kush, Guava Chem and the many purple varieties go to market with the average cost of around $3,000 per pound, while outdoors flavors such as Blue Dream and other sativa-heavy strains suited for a longer grow season hit the streets at around $2,500 wholesale. The only strain to hold the line is New York’s own Sour Diesel, which still commands top dollar above and beyond all the rest. Nico Escondido
Montreal has long been a cannabis hub for the East Coast of North America.
After 15 years of legal medical cannabis in Canada, the Canadian government has altered its policy regarding how medical marijuana can be grown. Instead of caregivers or patients being permitted to grow their own medicine, the federal government has now put a system in place that proposes to limit all cultivation to a handful of licensed producers. Thankfully, an injunction has been won by a large group of patients staying the implementation of that policy — so, at least for the moment, many Canadian patients and caregivers continue to grow their own.
Due to a large amount of space available, most of the commercial medical growrooms operating here are quite large — anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 square feet. They are also state-of-the-art facilities, using large, industrial-size HVAC units as well as advanced CO2-infusion systems to ensure that the indoor environment is perfectly controlled and that the yields are as large as possible.
When it comes to strains, the Kush varieties — especially Purple Kush — remain very popular with local growers. Another famous Quebec strain is the Jean Guy, a sativa-dominant hybrid that has a Christmas-tree structure and dark-colored leaves. Growers in Montreal tend to favor raising large plants that have been trained and cut into sizable bushes. The preferred nutrient line is still Advanced Nutrients, a Canadian company out of BC, but there have been hints that some savvy medical growers will soon be turning to organics as well as choosing quality over quantity. Regardless of how that pans out, Montreal remains a reliable source of some of the best medical-grade cannabis in the world. Harry Resin
Down here in Mexico, we have a name for the sun: We call him Tonatiuh.
He shines on Pacha Mama, the earth, and makes la mota grow. Electricity is extremely expensive, and the more you use, the more you pay. A small growroom can cost as much as $1,000 a month for the power alone — so down here, we grow outdoors. The roots of la mota thread into Pacha Mama, while the gummy, seedless flowers reach up toward Tonatiuh. As the days get shorter in the fall, the flowers begin to develop, and the strongest cannabis is harvested in November and December.
Our new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has removed the army from the mountains, and the many murders and narco-deaths that this country has suffered have decreased as a result.
We’ve lived in Oaxaca for 30 years, and these might be some of the best days. The government now distinguishes between users and dealers, and personal-use stashes of all recreational drugs are legal — even heroin and LSD. A nice bag of reefer is no longer a crime; even so, the mostly Catholic Mexicans remain more drug-free than Americans. Yet hash and edibles have become more widely available.
A pound of beautiful, gooey sinsemilla or semi-seeded flowers costs $50 down in Oaxaca! In our compound, we have grown under lights and made hash and cookies, even dabs, but mostly we roll big joints from the hybrid strains grown in the highland mountains. Native sativas have been crossed with indicas for years and now produce a plant that is spiky in shape, with broad leaves. The farmers call it criollo (creole). It’s a resinous plant that produces a thick smoke and an undeniably powerful high.
President Peña Nieto is young and handsome, married to a movie star, and has four years left in his term. Legislation for medical marijuana is under consideration in a number of Mexican states, and political-action groups like AMMO (Asociasión de Marihuana Medicinal de Oaxaca) are lobbying for export permits to send la mota Mexicana north to enlightened countries like Canada, and possibly even the medical and legal states in the US as well. Everything is cheaper here — doctors, dentists, haircuts and marijuana — but you have to come visit to partake. Things are better than ever, so come on down. Our casa is tu casa. Jack Chastaine
Barcelona, which is fast overtaking Amsterdam as the new marijuana mecca of Europe, now has over 200 “social clubs” serving cannabis to both recreational and medicinal users. And while Spain has long been known for its outdoor weed, in recent years that has changed significantly. Now, thanks to the abundance of social clubs, indoor cannabis has achieved new heights of quality here.
One of the most famous strains to come out of Spain is Critical Mass, a mostly indica hybrid resulting from the cross of a Skunk #1 phenotype and a big-yielding Afghani. The Afghani side of the strain is most dominant, and the plant grows like a hefty bush. There are also several top-quality sativas that have been popping up, including Jackonesia and a new variety called Master Haze, which is available to locals through various private clubs.
Historically, Spanish growers prefer to grow in soil with organic nutrients, and this remains the predominant choice, even indoors. Some newer techniques have started permeating the indoor scene, however. These include the use of digital bulb-and-ballast setups as well as the OptiClimate system developed in Holland (and described in more detail below), which allows growers to perfectly dial in the atmospheric conditions of their rooms. There have also been a number of advances made in the area of BHO extractions, with many small companies investing in the proper equipment (including vacuum ovens, ventilation systems and high-quality solvents), leading to some amazing shatter products never seen before in Spain. Harry Resin
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Amsterdam has long been the vanguard of quasi-legal cannabis with its vast network of coffee shops, and it has also been a haven for breeders and cannabis expats seeking the freedom that the coffee shop scene offered them. In recent years, however, this scene has changed dramatically, with many of the shops closing down and the southern provinces of the Netherlands banning foreigners from their premises.
This doesn’t mean that the quality of the bud has suffered, however. In fact, there have been tremendous improvements in the Dutch cultivation scene. This has largely occurred as a result of the cultivation gear developed by Dutch engineers, especially the OptiClimate and DimLux. The OptiClimate is a complete cooling, heating, dehumidifying, and air-circulating and -purifying system rolled into one in-room appliance that provides a big boost to the often small, non-commercial-size grow spaces that are the norm in the city center. When paired with the DimLux digital-lighting system, the grower can create a closed- loop setup that allows for growroom air to be recycled with only a tiny amount of outside air being used. With these latest advances, growers can routinely produce huge yields — as much as 1.5 grams per watt. And with the Dutch police stepping up their efforts to find growrooms, these systems have added a new measure of security as well. As a result, pot production in Amsterdam has ramped up this year, even with the clampdown on the weed scene.
As for strains, while it took a bit longer than it did almost everywhere else, the Kush explosion has finally hit Amsterdam. Many different variations on the OG can now be found on the menus of coffee shops, sometimes reaching up to 18 euros a gram ($25 US)! Additionally, there have been advances in the production of concentrates, with extraction labs popping up here and there and producing some very clean shatters that are mostly available through local connections. All in all, Amsterdam has been bouncing back from a rough couple of years, and the city remains a bucket-list item for stoners around the world — and for good reason. There’s still nothing like popping into an Amsterdam coffee shop, ordering a hot chocolate, rolling a joint and then sitting back to enjoy the scene where it all started. Harry Resin