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Seed exchange in Laytonville, California. Photo by Emily Hobelmann.
Seed exchange in Laytonville, California. Photo by Emily Hobelmann.

As a Ganjier and cannabis flower connoisseur, I’m stoked to see the results of intentional efforts by farmers who love what they do. We stand as holders of cultural knowledge that disappeared with Prohibition. America used to have the finest hemp cultivars in the world because of our varied population.

Humans have always carried their favorite seeds with them and America was the breeding ground for hemp hybridization. As late as the 1940’s we were still known for having the best strains in the world. Those seeds have long rotted and are no longer viable.

Emerald Triangle Still Home to Heritage Strains

We in the Emerald Triangle have a unique opportunity because we all have so many old strains. The seeds that have been collected in our hills and valleys represent cultivars adapted to all forms of microclimates because there are so many kinds of parcels in our terrain. These strains came in from all over the world and were bred to have different effects by individual growers. They’ve been waiting for us to rediscover them and propagate them for America; a strain for every locale in the country.

I’ve seen cannabis with snow on it and I’ve had my plants frosted. They are hardy and capable because our upland climate is variable; a multitude of branches from the same magical tree of knowledge exist on small cannabis farms. We are all keepers of different shades of the same light, refracting out into the universe to do good works.

There are many cannabis seed projects underway; this is my call to action for all of us.  We must bring our efforts together as farmers and create a breeding project that will support our people.  We need to assess the trove of genetics and build a prescriptive program from which we can make broad recommendations for cultivation practices.

A Call for a Cannabis Seed Library

I applaud the work of the many seed companies and amateur breeders who have helped to create the ever-proliferating branches of the cannabis tree.  I am certain that there are cannabis seed-banks already happening; I suggest the establishment of an official Cannabis Genetics Seed Library to be maintained by the farmer-owned Emerald Grown Coop. The Library would be supported by the Appellations efforts of the Emerald Growers Association. This nonprofit approach would center from the Emerald Triangle and radiate outward as a bastion of cultural goodwill and educative resource.

This would be a long-ranging plan that would gather our resources and abilities over the next decade to serve as genetic ambassadors to an invigorated American populace who will find their roots through the cannabis portal just like we did. I stand for our opportunity to serve the world with the knowledge we’ve kept through the decades of Prohibition.

Gathering and sharing must be our focus as we approach this time of transition. Establishing trust in each other will help us create replicable standards of stewardship, practice, and human right to meaningful employment. This process guarantees a quality product produced by happy communities in healthy environments.

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