HT’s senior cultivation editor Danny Danko tracks down the goods on a legendary marijuana strain with an almost psychedelic punch.
Our tale begins in the late 1960s in Santa Cruz, where a mild climate and a dry autumn combine to allow farmers to extend their outdoor growing season beyond October. Here, along the California coastline, the Haze Brothers cultivated an exotic variety of pot that quickly earned fame within the area’s small circle of cannabis connoisseurs at that time. The Original Haze, rumored to contain tropical genetics from Thailand, Mexico, and Colombia, delivered an electric sativa jolt. The high was cerebral and uplifting, with almost no ceiling to the buzz.
Joe Haze, one of the aforementioned Haze Brothers, was quoted in Grow American #63 (dated November of 1980) as follows: “The stuff they grow up there [in Northern Cali] is mostly indica, but it’s harvested early to get it in before the frost. In our county the flowers pump out resin until December, and Haze pot is from sativa seeds.” Four Haze phenotypes arose, nicknamed Gold, Silver, Purple, and Blue.
Despite the buzz, Haze seeds remained scarce for years until the late 1970s, when famed breeder Sam Skunkman started creating and refining his own batches. By 1984, he had taken them to Holland and started selling them under his Sacred Seeds moniker. With a flowering time from 12 to as much as 16 weeks, the Original Haze earned a reputation as a finicky, difficult plant to grow, and many preferred planting Skunk and Northern Lights seeds instead. (The Original Haze is still available today in seed form from Flying Dutchmen Seeds.)
However, those who did grow the Haze to fruition were rewarded with long, sticky spears of spicy nuggets. These colas had to be coaxed out of the plant, with growers being careful not to overfeed or overwater the lanky limbs; also, stakes or trellises are a must, to keep the tops from falling down under their own weight. These long, thin leaves and wispy buds are characteristic of pure sativas such as the Haze.
The Haze Craze
In the 1980s, the legendary seed producer Nevil Schoenmakers bought a selection of beans from a connoisseur in New York that included the Haze Brothers’ Original Haze. After he took those seeds to Amsterdam and embarked on a breeding project to stabilize them, Schoenmakers released Nevil’s Haze to the general cannabis-smoking public, and everything changed. As marijuana historian Mr. Haze 420 said to me, “Nevil’s Haze is some of the most powerful sativa I’ve ever smoked.”
By the end of the decade, Haze hybrids were making it easier for growers and smokers to truly appreciate the amazing qualities of the strain. Nevil’s Seed Bank released NL #5 x Haze in 1989, and Sensi Seeds followed shortly thereafter with their Silver Haze, winning the HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup that same year. In the 1990s, Green House Seeds ruled the sativa scene with their Super Silver Haze.
Around that same time, industrious growers in Florida began producing a kelpy, bright orange product called Miami Haze. These tight little nuggets traveled up the I-95 corridor to East Coast hubs such as New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia, and quickly changed the sensi scene with their characteristic “up” high. Nicknames such as Crippies, Piff and Pude (pronounced pu-day) denote a higher-quality product with almost psychedelic effects. Many a smoker has thought he was having a panic attack after experiencing the racing heart associated with these nearly pure sativas.
These days, Haze hybrids abound, winning Cannabis Cups regularly and wowing the visitors to Amsterdam’s coffeeshops. They’re a perfect daytime smoke, inspiring creativity and wonderful walks in the park or museum visits. Subtle flavors of root beer, chocolate and sandalwood dance on the tongue long after a Haze spliff is smoked, and the hashish made from Haze plants is a wonder to behold. Haze will continue to win awards and is an excellent source of breeding material in creating new flavors and aromas.
As for the notorious Purple Haze debate, here’s what Sam Skunkman had to say on a popular weed forum: “Yes, Purple Original Haze was absolutely a reality. It was around for more than a decade in the late ’60s and ’70s, and from then on in the form of hybrids. It came in silver, blue, reddish, as well as purple and almost black. I grew, smoked, saw them all. They were real. Purple Haze was Original Haze with Colombian bloodlines [i.e., phenotype].”