By Danny Danko
In the Beginning…
Since the dawn of organized agriculture, farmers have traded quality seeds to ensure better harvests. In the United States, hippie folklore places the beginnings of American cannabis breeding for seeds in the early 1960s. Later, the smuggling organization known as the Brotherhood of Eternal Love brought cannabis seeds back from Afghanistan, Nepal and other stops on the Hippie Trail.
Around that same time, the Dutch Provos opened the Afrikaanse Druk Store in Amsterdam and began selling buds as well as distributing cannabis plants for one guilder per plant (at that time, the equivalent of 30 cents). A few years later, Wernard Bruining opened the “tea house” Mellow Yellow and jump-started the coffeeshop revolution.
It wasn’t until the early 1970’s that the first official seed company, Sam Skunkman’s Sacred Seeds, began to distribute the genetic material in Holland to grow the acclaimed hybrids, such as Haze and Skunk #1, that were winning secret harvest festivals up and down the West Coast. Then came the Seed Bank, started by the legendary breeder Nevil—the first seed company to advertise directly to the public in HIGH TIMES magazine.
The Super Sativa Seed Club (SSSC) breeder collective, located in the Hague, continued the work done by Sacred Seeds and became famous for their Durban x Thai varieties as well as the legendary William’s Wonder and M39. Other banks, such as Lowlands Seed Company (Old Ed, RIP, June 7, 2007) and Cultivator’s Choice, continued the work of these pioneers. The names may have changed over the years, but the work done back then ensured that more of our beloved cannabis strains weren’t lost forever.
And so we are proud to induct the following five companies into the HIGH TIMES Seed Bank Hall of Fame as Esteemed Seed Bank Pioneers:
Sacred Seeds/Cultivator’s Choice
The Seed Bank
Super Sativa Seed Club (SSSC)
Lowlands Weed/Seed Company
And now for the first inaugural entrants into the HIGH TIMES Seed Bank Hall of Fame…
Sensi Seeds/Sensi Seed Club
Out of the spent ashes of these earliest seed bank pioneers rose the almighty Sensi Seeds. Founder Ben Dronkers and sons Alan and Ravi created and manage an empire that’s extended into store ownership and a thriving hemp/flax business. Ben began collecting genetics in the 1970’s and officially began Sensi Seed Club in 1988, then partnered up with The Seed Bank in 1991 to form Sensi Seed Bank. Winners of more pot prizes than any other seed company in history and founders of the Hash Marijuana Hemp Museum, Sensi is also one of the oldest of the seed companies still doing business today. Strains such as Superskunk and Hindu Kush solidify their place in ganja genetics history, but they’re not done yet – Sensi introduced new strains this year and plan to continue well into the future.
“Sensi Seed Bank is delighted to accept this induction into the Seed Bank Hall of Fame. On behalf of everyone at Sensi, I’d like to thank HIGH TIMES and its readers, as well as all the activists and cannabis lovers around the world who work towards the reacceptance and celebration of cannabis.
It’s a long, tough fight we’re in, and even though it may sometimes seem hopeless, we the friends of cannabis are in the right and we will win. As a great man once said ‘First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.’
Most of all, Sensi Seed Bank would like to thank all the growers who have taken our F1 hybrids and pedigree cultivars to every corner of the globe and helped them to flourish and multiply. Breeding is only part of the equation; the spread of gourmet ganja always requires the skill, love and attention of dedicated growers.” -Ben Dronkers, Sensi Seeds President and Founder
Eddie worked originally with Sam Skunkman over 35 years ago at Cultivator’s Choice and honed his skills on the strains that became the basic building blocks of almost all Dutch seeds. Since 1984, Flying Dutchmen has provided quality genetics that harken back to those days of old when strains like Skunk and Haze ruled the world. Nowadays, the Flying Dutchmen shop in Amsterdam sells incredible seeds over the counter as well as glass, hemp clothes, books and nutrients. Look for their Original Haze, The Real McCoy and Thai-tanic for a taste of old-school genetics that have been chosen from large selections over the course of many years. These strains are the exotic flavors you’ve been looking for. You will not be disappointed…
The first of the breeders to commercially “feminize” seeds, Henk from Dutch Passion began his enterprise in 1987 and continues to produce premium pot seeds 20 years later. Strains such as Durban Poison and Purple Star kept Dutch Passion at the top of their field and their Super Haze won the Cannabis Cup in 1992. Later, in 1999 their Mazar took 2nd place further solidifying the Dutch Passion name into the annals of pot seed history. Lately, they’ve been working with Strawberry Cough and their newest version of Hempstar called Brainstorm. Another Dutch Passion strain called Euphoria evokes the original Skunk #1 heritage with the sought-after “Roadkill” skunk smell and taste. Years of service to the cannabis community reveal the true passion behind this innovative company.
TH Seeds/ CIA KGB
Established in 1993 and originally known as CIA/KGB or Cannabis In Amsterdam/Know Good Buds, this seed bank became known for their Original Bubblegum but continued to put out winner after winner. Doug and Adam’s MK Ultra and S.A.G.E. (Sativa Afghani Genetic Equilibrium) earned numerous Cannabis Cups and new projects such as Burmese Kush and Sage ‘n Sour continue to rack up the awards for TH Seeds. Their HOG strain caused quite a stir as well after winning the indica seed bank category of the 2002 Cup. California’s best strains are finally represented in Holland and TH Seeds are the grower and smoker’s choice for quality and potency. Stop by their amazing shop Hempworks for the best cannabis-related products in Amsterdam.
“To protect genetics and serve mankind that is our motto. Over the years, many strains have come and gone. Some pop back up to be reborn and others are just legends. It’s important to remember that these seeds represent a lot of work done by many people; Some know each other, others only know the plant itself, but it is work non-stop nevertheless.
So I would like to thank the growers/breeders who have gotten us this far and through their efforts pre-selected and sorted through the thousands of examples to bring to the table all the great flavors such as Sour Diesel, OG Kush, Hogsbreath, and the Purps, and give us an opportunity to work with these already established strains. The seed industry is about growing, sometimes growing together, sometimes growing apart and sometimes alone, but always growing.” –Adam from TH Seeds
Luc founded Paradise Seeds also in 1994, a seminal year (pun intended) that saw the establishment of several prominent seed banks still existing today. The goal was to spread stronger seeds with more power and flavor than the earliest crossbreeds available at the time. Strains such as Sensi Star and Nebula quickly began winning harvest contests as the high resin counts and subtle tastes of Paradise’s offerings became better known. They recently introduced several feminized versions of their quality strains for farmers with no time to waste growing out males. Paradise Seeds have won multiple Cannabis Cups as well as prizes in pot tastings and contests all over the World.
“Paradise Seeds maintains strict selection criteria on characteristics such as potency and taste. This results in the creation of powerful strains which will satisfy everyone who wants to enjoy the sweetest fruits of the Dutch Garden of Eden. Our seeds are grown organically and tested regularly for viability.” –Luc, Paradise Seeds
Collecting seeds since traveling through Africa in 1986,
Simon, the breeder behind Serious Seeds, was teaching biology at a high school when Alan Dronkers asked him to come work for Sensi. Simon joined up with the juggernaut for a while but soon found it was time to go his own way. In 1995, Simon founded Serious Seeds with the intention of providing ganja growers with potent yet consistent strains. Famous for focusing on just a few varieties, Simon’s strains are known for their uniform growth and genetic stability. Serious Seeds have won over a dozen cups with legendary strains such as the devastating AK-47 and Kali Mist, one of the world’s finest and most unique sativas. Bubble Gum, Chronic and White Russian round out their illustrious stable of seeds.
Years ago, master grower and breeder Soma migrated to Holland from the Pacific Northwest fleeing oppression and bringing with him many of his treasured genetics to infuse Dutch strains with new vigor. Founded in 1995 as Seeds of Courage, Soma Seeds has always been fueled by an intense desire to protect and preserve genetics for future generations. Strains such as Lavender, G13/Haze, Somango, and Amnesia Haze ensure that Soma’s hard work and lifelong love of the plant remain as a legacy for generations of cannabis afficianados and freedom fighters.
“Soma's Sacred Seeds is proud to have been chosen for the High Times Seed Bank Hall Of Fame. Having been a freedom fighter all these long years is starting to bring me some justice. I love the sacred herb and will do all I can to protect her for all of eternity. Much Thanks to you All, Soma”
After years of winning Cannabis Cups with his coffeeshops, Arjan decided in 1995 to establish a separate seed company to produce quality genetics worthy of the Greenhouse name. Glories soon followed as strains such as White Widow and Super Silver Haze claimed prize after prize in cannabis competitions around the world including dozens of HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cups. Arjan and his right hand man Franco are constantly on the search for new strains and travel extensively in the pot-producing regions for breeding stock. Check out White Rhino, Hawaiian Snow, and The Church or look into new varieties such as Argan’s Ultra Haze or the original Trainwreck, coming soon.
Legends/ DJ Short
Although breeding since the early 1970’s, Canadian breeder DJ Short burst onto the seed scene with his Blueberry in the ‘90s, culminating in a Cannabis Cup win in 2000 in the Indica Seed Company category. Several companies sell “Blueberry” but none with the careful selection from large populations that are the hallmarks of DJ Short’s process. Fantastic newer hybrids such as Blue Moonshine, F-13, Flo and Grape Krush prove that his methods are sound and necessary for proper pot evolution to take place. Try his Old Time Moonshine (OTM) if you’re interested in a hashy indica with a great taste and high. DJ Short teaming up with Legends Seeds only added to the arsenal as strains such as Legends Ultimate Indica (LUI), Sweet Skunk and Highend continue to be cultivated and celebrated worldwide. Stay tuned for an amazing article by DJ Short about some breeding work he did on his Blueberry in the November 07 issue of HIGH TIMES.
Reeferman Seeds began as Prairie Fire Seeds around TK in the Canadian wilderness, where a former hog farmer used his breeding expertise and love for old-school genetics to produce stable varieties with potency and bag appeal galore. Strains such as Love Potion #1, Petrolia Headstash, Willie Nelson and Charles’ Kush win awards and accolades all over the world, with numerous Cannabis Cup victories since first entering in 2004. In the near future, Reef plans to release seeds of his breeding stock, something no other seed company would do (Imagine Coca Cola giving out their soda recipe!) He also plans to drastically reduce the price-per-bean to unprecedented levels in the near future.
"Reeferman Seed Company is proud to be considered for this Hall of Fame. We believe in true breeding principals through population-based selection. Our success has been work-based on deeds, not talk. We believe the only way to guarantee the future of the cannabis gene pool is through actual research.” -Reeferman
Yet another American immigrant to Holland fleeing the tyranny of the War on Pot, Tony established Sagarmatha Seeds with the intention of bringing more varieties from the Pacific Northwest into the Dutch seed mix. Yumboldt, winner of the 2001 Cannabis Cup in the Seed Company indica category, represents the finest of Northern California genes. Western Winds, an amazing almost pure sativa with a soaring high and intense flavor, further establishes Sagarmatha as among the highest of seeds. Other amazing “Sag” varieties include Stonehenge, Matanuska Tundra and Bubbleberry.
Possible Future Hall of Famers
With only ten open slots this year, some tough decisions had to be made as to which companies to include. Below is a list of some of the companies in consideration for next year’s inductions.
Chimera Seeds, DNA Genetics, KC Brains, Mr. Nice Seeds Co., Cannabiogen (Spain), Mandala Seeds, Subcool/TGA Seeds, Big Buddha Seeds, Magus Genetics, Ace Seeds (Spain), Homegrown Fantaseeds, Next Generation Seed Company, Vancouver Island Seed Company, BC Bud Depot, Doc Greenthumb, Kiwi Seeds, Barney’s Farm Seeds, Spice Brothers, Ceres Seeds, Federation Seeds (Canada), Lowrider Seeds, Spice of Life (Breeder Steve), Willy Jack Seeds, Wallyduck Seeds (Australia), Apothecary Seeds, Afropips or Four Crowns Seeds.
5 new Companies will be inducted in the August 09 issue of HIGH TIMES Magazine.
To vote for your favorite company for future entry into the HIGH TIMES Seed Bank Hall of Fame (whether listed above or not), email firstname.lastname@example.org