Jorge Cervantes

Here's the list you've been waiting for. Find out where to get seeds, which varieties people are talking about and tips on security.
When the Department of Defense started the World Wide Web, little did they know that it would turn into a simple, easy platform to sell marijuana seeds and trade THC theories worldwide, virtually instantaneously. To prohibitionists, the Net has been a shot in the foot; to the ever-increasing legions of cannabis connoisseurs around the globe, it has bestowed a blessing of independence. Cannabis aficionados feel the buzz of freedom every time they fire up the World Wide Web.

Search for "marijuana seed" in the google.com search engine on the Internet and you get more than 30,000 listings. That's twice as many as I found about a year ago when I made the same search, and the number of seed companies on the net continues to grow. Seed companies are producing more and better product than ever before. There appears to be no end in sight!

"The seed business is growing," says Henk from Dutch Passion. "We have noticed a marked increase in sales." After talking to numerous seed-company owners and growers over the last year, my best guess is that growth has been about 25% overall, and the trend continues.

But it's hard to believe that all of the thousands of "marijuana seed" listings on the Internet are legit. The Web can be a minefield that leaves ripped-off patrons in its wake.

How do you tell the difference between a good and bad seed company? Who do you trust? How do you pare 30,000 listings down to a reasonable number of scrupulous seed sellers? What about legal aspects? Is the DEA on the other end of your mouse?

The Netherlands was the first mecca for seed breeders. Persecuted refugee growers found sanctuary there in the 1970s, after Richard Nixon escalated the War on Drugs. Over the last three decades, seed companies have come and gone. Those that withstood the test of time are a testament to their viability. During the 1990s, Canada provided the next haven for breeders and seed sellers, thanks to hazy laws. In the late 1990s, a loophole was found in Swiss law. It does not distinguish between low-THC-yielding hemp seed and high-THC-bearing marijuana seed, which paved the way for breeders and growers to produce seed.

Dutch politicians caved in to international pressure and outlawed growing seed stock in the Netherlands three years ago, ironically leaving seed sales legal. The same pressure has kept Swiss breeders and growers in limbo. From the late 1990s through 2001, Swiss-based breeders met no official resistance. But the winter of 2001-2002 brought breeders several legal setbacks. Some have been arrested, and one activist/grower/breeder, Bernard Rappaz, who has been growing since the 1970s, has been on a two-month hunger strike while in jail awaiting trial. Learn more about this marijuana warrior's plight at multimania.com/fdcc/home2pENGage.htm. The future of most Swiss breeding programs is uncertain.

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In Canada, growing is illegal, but seed sales are not. Today, the law is loosening, and Canadian-produced seed is becoming an equal of its Dutch counterpart. In fact, Canada has the distinction of being the largest host of seed companies on the Internet, according to the International Narcotics Control Board, a United Nations agency.

What about seed-challenged US residents?

Viable marijuana seed is illegal in the USA, and many companies will not send seeds into the country. Others ship worldwide; as seeds are legal in their own country, they can be sold without question. Once in the mail, they are very hard to track. Virtually all seeds sent illegally into the US are passing borders without being weeded out by electronic surveillance or neutering electronic rays. The few recipients that have reported interceptions get a letter from the postal inspector stating their seed has been confiscated and no further action will be taken. Few US citizens are comforted by this official letter, and use a mail drop or other security measures. Check out loompanics.com for more information on mail security, and cotse.com/ to find security software. Smart growers never give out any information that will help DEA agents to identify them.

Mail-order seed businesses have been under increased pressure since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the apparently unassociated anthrax deaths. Mail delivery is slower, and under increased scrutiny. Nonetheless, seeds are reported to make it across international lines. X-ray scans and other security measures have not been reported to kill seeds.

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SEED COMPANIES

This year's list has grown to 29. The listings are made in alphabetical order and do not reflect any other ranking.

AMSTERDAM SEED CO.. -- Canada: If you were at the Cannabis Cup 2001 you might have met Karen, the blonde bombshell owner, and her stable of Sativa Sisters, but don't let her good looks fool you. She personally checks out all of the seeds and keeps an iron grip on quality control. She carries seeds from 14 different tried-and-true seed companies. She procures original seed direct from Dutch, Canadian and Swiss breeders. The Amsterdam stands behind their wares and provides prompt service. Contact them at 4253-349 W. Georgia St., Vancouver, BC V6B 3Z7, Canada (catalog $5); phone, (604) 728-5617; Website, theamsterdam.com. To stay at their bed & breakfast, call (604) 783-9567 for reservations.

AFRICAN SEEDS -- Africa: A good site and company for sativa varieties. Some of the standouts include the world-famous Durban Poison and Swazi Skunk. Several of the retail seed sellers carry their wares, or order direct from African Seeds, PO Box 3364, Witkoppen 2068, Johannesburg, South Africa. Hit their site at africanseeds.com for a good look and descriptions of their wares. Seeds are a bargain at $40-$60 for 20.

DJ SHORT-- Canada: DJ Short spent years perfecting Blueberry, one of the standard varieties many breeders use. Potent, heavy-yielding and fast-maturing Blueberry is my favorite. Others may prefer Flo and Blue Moonshine. DJ is a contentious breeder with impeccable integrity. You can't go wrong with any of his wares. Site: theamsterdam.com. 10 seeds range in price from $60-90, a true bargain!

DUTCH PASSION -- Holland: This company has withstood the test of time. Henk, the owner, was the first to develop "feminized" seed that produces virtually 100% female plants. Henk notes his personal smoking favorites as Euphoria and Blueberry, even though Passion #1 (outdoor) and Skunk #1 (indoor) are his bestsellers. Check their site, dutch-passion.nl, and find more of their European varieties available than in North America. Next time you are in Amsterdam, check out their one-stop retail shop, Seeds of Passion (seedsofpassion.nl), Utrechtsetraat 26, 1017 VN Amsterdam, where they sell seeds from Dutch, Canadian, Swiss and South African breeders. Dutch Passion, B.V., Postbus 1579, 1000 BN Amsterdam, Holland. 10 seeds will cost from $40-$200

FEDERATION SEED COMPANY OF CANADA -- Canada: Produces consistent, good-quality seeds, including one of my late-night favorites, Romulan, a very strong buzz. Romulan may have found its calling as breeding stock for several varieties that are in the works now. A true-value company; a dozen seeds cost from $25-$40. Note: Federation seeds tend to have a tough outer coating, requiring scarification to speed germination. To scarify, lightly rub seeds with fine sandpaper, or nick them with a knife to allow moisture to penetrate the inner seed. Find Federation seeds at theamsterdam.com.

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FLYING DUTCHMEN -- Holland: Eddie, the owner, is an old hand at the cannabis trade. Well-organized and charming, he puts years of pragmatic, practical knowledge into his fine seed strains. The beautiful red-brick building is easy to spot; it's just across the street from the Cannabis College, O.Z. Achterburgwal 124, in the heart of the red-light district in Amsterdam. A savvy, honest head, Eddie runs a tight ship and stands behind his seeds. Although relatively new to the retail seed business, he has been breeding for more than 15 years. Site: flyingdutchmen.com or theamsterdam.com.

GANJALAND -- Canada: After a bumpy past, this company has sorted out supply/shipping problems. I have not seen complaints about it for many months. Check out their site for seed, growing and political information. Site: ganjaland.com.

GREENHOUSE -- Holland: In years past, Greenhouse seeds/buds swept virtually all categories of the Cannabis Cup. Most of their varieties were based on White Widow genetics, one of the stalwarts of the cannabis-seed industry. This premium seed company (10 seeds $110-$250) is run by frontman Arjan and several others who prefer to stay in the background. No new outstanding varieties are available, and the company rests on their laurels. Check out their bud at one of three coffeeshops in Amsterdam. Site: greenhouse.org, or find their seeds at the Flying Dutchman in Amsterdam, Amsterdam Seed Co., Kind Seed Co., and several others.

HEAVEN'S STAIRWAY -- Canada: This reputable company carries a complete line of seeds from 14 different breeders. Their Website, hempqc.com, is well organized and packed with text and photos of varieties. They have a good delivery system and privacy. Heavens Stairway, PO Box 91, Cartierville Station, St. Laurent, Quebec, H4R 2V7, Canada.

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HEMP DEPOT -- Canada: Carries seed from more than 15 Canadian and Dutch breeders. Everything I have heard about this company is good. They have special offers regularly and sell hemp-related products too. Hit their site and see for yourself: hempdepot.ca; or write HD, 1430 Prince of Wales Drive # 38070, Ottawa, Ontario K2C 1N0, Canada

HOMEGROWN FANTASEEDS-- Holland: Winner of the Cannabis Cup 2001 Best Sativa with Blue Haze, a Haze/Blueberry cross. It's just one more Cup of many won by this sprouting seed company. They have a full line of seeds at reasonable prices. Check out their retail locale, Fantaseeds Garden, Mieuwe Nieuwstraat 25, 1012 NG Amsterdam for personal service, or contact them by mail at PO Box 3204, 1001 AA Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Hit their site, homegrown-fantaseeds.com, for a complete rundown on their varieties. Give them a call when in Amsterdam to sample their exquisite wares. Dial 011-31-20-627-4677 from the US, or when in A'dam, (020) 627-4677.

IRON SEEDS SALES -- Canada: Ron has an impeccable reputation for honesty and making sure you get the seeds you want. He stands behind his seeds, selling everything from bargain-basement stock to top-of-the-line genetics. His joint agreement with Quebec Seed Bank keeps him well stocked and stable. Go visit him personally at his retail locale, 327 Lakeshore Blvd. West, Toronto, ON, M8W 1N1, Canada for personal service and well-informed opinions on his wares. He is almost always running a seed special. They definitely get a high rating. Site: ironseedsales.com/; phone, (416) 256-3429.

K.C. BRAINS -- Holland: K.C. is so dedicated to cannabis breeding that he left beautiful Brazil to brave the harsh weather of Holland. He was sharp to bring fantastic genetics from equatorial Brazil as a base for his breeding program. One such example, lemony-tasting Leda Uno, mixed with these genetics, took number two honors in the most recent Cannabis Cup Best Sativa category. Contact the company at K.C. Brains, PO Box 637, 4200 AP Gorinchem, The Netherlands; phone, 011-31-65-473-0608; fax, 011-31-18-363-6510. K.C. only sells seeds via fax or telephone. Check out their complete catalog at kcbrains.com. His seeds, the most economical from Europe ($30-$50 for 10), are also available at many retail locations.

KIND SEED CO. -- Canadian: This relatively new seed retailer has a great selection of quality Canadian and Dutch seeds. Dr. Atomic seed is their domestic value seed line. They guarantee all of their wares and note that all seeds have a 90% germination rate. Mail-order clients can call them at (604) 408-1198 or send orders to Kind Seed, Box 233-2906, West Broadway, Vancouver, BC, V6K 2G8, Canada. If leery about dropping cash in the mail, visit their retail locale at #5-311 Hastings Street West in downtown Vancouver, next door to smoke-friendly Blunt Bros., "A Respectable Joint." For a complete listing of their seeds, check kindseed.com.

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LEGENDS -- Canada: This quality seed company is packed with value and premium seed deals. A regular at the Cannabis Cup, the owner, Red, is sitting at their booth heavily engaged in the highest of conversations. He always has a good supply of mature, viable Spice of Life seeds, because his favorite toke just happens to be Sweet Tooth. Hit their well-designed site, legendsseeds.com for the complete story, or contact them at Green Karma, Inc., PO Box 3114, 349 W. Georgia St., Vancouver, BC, V6B 3X6, Canada.

MR. NICE -- United Kingdom: The notorious Howard Marks, who once controlled 10% of the world's hash trade, has teamed up with the legendary Shantibaba to produce some of the highest-quality varieties of marijuana in the world. If names like Super Silver Haze, Medicine Man, Critical Mass, Dreamtime, Black Widow, Shark, Shock, La Nina, Early Queen, Shit, Devil, Spice and Walkabout sound familiar to you, then this is your hit, seedsdirect.to. The premium seeds are also available at many other retail outlets.

NIRVANA -- Holland: This discount company sells seeds that range in price from $20-$60. This is the Dutch version of Willy Jack seeds. They produce discount seeds using other breeders' varieties. Hit their site, nirvana-shop.com, for more information, or write to Nirvana, Postbus 2108, 1500 GC Zaandam, the Netherlands. Or if you want to see their Amsterdam outlet, stop by Toldwarstraat 24; phone, 011-31-20-364-0233; fax, 011-31-20-671-3745.

OWL PRODUCTION -- Switzerland: Felix lives to breed cannabis. I'm sure he dreams about plant sex. Somewhat slowed by political moves to stifle cannabis breeders, he no longer contracts with local farmers to grow fields of breeding stock. He has countered by entering joint ventures with other breeders, so he still has thousands of plants from which to choose his stock. He continues to perfect his favorite outdoor variety, Purpurea Ticinesis, which clocked in at well over 20% THC. Felix is one of the premier medical-marijuana breeders in the world. His seeds are available from a growing number of retailers. Check ironseedsales.com for more information. Purpurea Ticinesis grows very well up to 5,000 feet and is very, very cold and mold-resistant.

PARADISE SEEDS -- Holland: Luc smiles and laughs a lot and for good reason: He grows great seeds that produce outstanding dope. With Cannabis Cup 2000 prize-winning Sensi Star and his new Haze-based varieties that are crossed with early-flowering indicas, powerful Paradise seeds are a bargain at $95-$110 for 10. Check out his site at: paradise-seeds.com, or contact him at Paradise Seeds PO box 377, 1000 AJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands; phone/fax, 011-31-20-679-5422

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QUEBEC SEED BANK -- Canada: Alain, the owner, is the energetic force behind the Quebec Cannabis Cup in Montreal. He was arrested for supplying 11 grams each to 500 attendees (12 pounds) at last year's celebration. Check his site, quebecseedbank.com, for information on the Quebec cup and the outcome of his trial. He carries some 300 different varieties of seeds from all over the world. A joint agreement with Iron Seed Sales keeps their stock complete. Some of his favorite stones include Sweet Tooth (Spice of Life), Sensi Star (Paradise), Silver Haze (Sensi) and Blue Haze (Homegrown Fantaseeds). Next time you are in Montreal, stop in to see him at 5751 Monk, Montreal, PQ H4E 3H2, Canada; phone, (514) 761-5140.

SAGARMATHA SEEDS AND PSYCHEDELIC GALLERY -- Holland: Yumbolt, which won first place in the 2001 Cannabis Cup Indica Seed category, will leave you with a mellow smile and no cares in the world. It was stabilized from Northern California genetics that originated in the Himalayan mountains. Tony, the owner, keeps his hands in the soil, doing germination tests and growing out all his varieties personally. Other notable varieties include Matanuska Tundra, derived from the famed Alaskan Matanuska Thunderfuck, and the Swedish star Stupersonic, which matures in 45 days indoors. I also like Sagarmatha's Stonehedge. Their Website, highestseeds.com, is packed with excellent information!

SENSI SEEDS -- Holland: This purveyor of premium seeds is one of the original tried and true seed companies. Sensi Seed varieties won many, many Cannabis Cups for favorite varieties such as Northern Lights #5, Hash Plant, and Jack Herer, to name a few. Forced to close their "official" seed-breeding facility, Sensi was obliged to increase prices some 20%. Ben Dronkers, the mover and shaker owner, is well known by everybody in the hemp/marijuana industries. He and his son Alan always attend the Cannabis Cup, where you can personally ask them questions about their varieties. If you can't make it to the Cup, stop by their retail store at Oudezijds Achterburgwal 148, Amsterdam, next to the Hash Marijuana Hemp Museum, or hit their site at sensiseeds.com. Seeds range from $40 to $220.

SEEDS DIRECT -- United Kingdom: Seeds are legal in the UK, and seed shops are sprouting like weeds there. I will know more about all of them and have a complete report next year. Meantime, check out Seeds Direct, a company that I have heard wonderful things about. Website, seedsdirect.to; mail, Gypsy Nirvana, 55 Surbiton Road, Kingston-Upon-Thames, Surrey, KT1 2HT England, UK

SERIOUS SEEDS -- Holland: The energetic buzz from Kali Mist, a pure sativa, stayed on top of the heap at the 2000 Cannabis Cup and for good reason! The good news is that the owner, Simon, has improved Kali Mist even more! He also improved one of my favorite high-yielding varieties, Chronic, changing the father, making the offspring stronger and increasing yield. White Russian, another favorite, recently won a double-blind test in the UK, tipping the THC level at 22%. Seeds range in price from $120-140 for a pack of 10. Their site: seriousseeds.com, is packed with excellent information on growing their strains.

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SOMA SEEDS-- Holland: This company was inadvertently left out of last year's seed roundup. Expatriate breeder Soma, is responsible for popular varieties like Soma Skunk, Reclining Buddha and NYC Diesel that are unique to Dutch breeding. His varieties are grown organically, which is a major plus for medical-cannabis users. He also has a line of 100%-female seeds. Soma's site, somaseeds.nl, is great, with many bud photos to depict the result of the seed. It is packed with excellent variety descriptions, including average yield, time to maturity, stone and growth characteristics of plants.

SPICE OF LIFE -- Canada: Breeder Steve has continued to perfect varieties such as Sweet Tooth and Shiskaberry (second place in the 2001Cannabis Cup, entered by Amsterdam Seed Co.). A team player, Breeder Steve has been working with other breeders to develop Tropicana, Joint Project and several yet-unnamed varieties that will knock your socks off. I was fortunate enough to tour his indoor and outdoor breeding facilities, where he is able to select the cream of the crop from thousands and thousands of plants. Spice of Life offers some of the best seeds on the market at an excellent price. A dozen seeds are a great value at $60. Many retail companies stock their seeds, including the Amsterdam Seed Co., Hemp Quebec and Iron Seeds. Hit their site for lots more information: spiceoflifeseeds.com.

WEST COAST -- Canada: Focuses on outdoor varieties based on their tough little Mighty Mite genetics. They offer a full range of outdoor seeds at a fair price. Availability is seasonal, because they are outdoor seeds. I have listened to many, many reports from happy growers who planted West Coast seeds. The economical varieties come in packs of 10 and range in price from $40-60. Find their seeds at theamsterdam.com.

WILLY JACK -- Canada: Offers a good value on bargain-basement seeds--similar to the originals they are copied from, but often not as stable. The best part about these knockoff varieties is their affordable price. A growing number of retailers carry their seeds. Look for their entire list at the Amsterdam Seed Co. (Canada), theamsterdam.com; or call (604) 728-5617.

WORLDWIDE SEEDS -- Carries seeds from four Dutch companies and their own brand too. Their site, worldwideseeds.com, is well designed, but lacks photos of varieties. They also carry salvia divinorum.

There are probably more seed companies that deserve a mention here, but we have only so much space. If you were not listed in this year's roundup of seed companies, e-mail me at
jorge@hightimes.com

What would I grow if I could? I'm still in love with my college sweetheart, Haze. I don't care if it takes forever to mature and is difficult to grow. I'm high on Haze.

BEFORE BUYING:

Definitely hit Green Man's site, seedbankupdate.com before plunking down a single dollar. He keeps it updated weekly and lists the scuttlebutt on the seed industry. This site is the absolute most important site you can hit. Do it without delay!

Another site, www.potsmokersnet.com/seedbanks/, lists more than 145 seed banks, most of which are linked. The two sites listed from the United States are weird! When I hit them, one did not work and the other had expensive seeds and also claimed to sell marijuana over the Internet. Very suspicious!