A decade ago writing about cannabis was scary business, because anything related to the substance could get you robbed, killed or thrown in jail. A lot of the professionals related to cannabis were very secretive people, because they knew that since they were somewhat famous, the federal government would love to incarcerate them for a million years as a lesson to others.
This mentality extended to shutting down cannabis collectives that had made the mistake of hosting press interviews or making too much money. When federal troops raided the world-famous Oaksterdam University up in Oakland, California, it was the culimantion of an extended effort by the government to slam down on an industry that was a threat to their allies, the Sinaloa Drug Cartel. Apparently, according to whistleblowers connected to an operation known as Fast and Furious, the Mexican cartels that sold cannabis lost so much money to their nonviolent, American rivals that were growing the stuff for patients cheaply up in the states that they appealed to our government to raid the collectives in order to protect their profits.
All across the country, growers were arrested and put in federal prison as if they were drug dealers straight out of Miami Vice. Shops were raided, small businesses were smashed out of existence, and many very normal, well-meaning people vanished into the prison industrial complex. What made things worse is that because co-ops were kind of illegal, they had to deal in cash only. As a resul they were frequently robbed. Some people were even shot buying cannabis in these otherwise peaceful, very nonviolent clinics.
So meeting with the legendary DJ Short was not a calming experience. I had to meet him at a co-op up in San Bernardino, California, the most violent county in the USA (where I grew up), to perform the interview. Out in the parking lot, an armed guard led everybody to their cars. Inside the place, the owners greeted me, ran a background check to make sure I was legit, and then let me talk to DJ Short after mentioning the many loaded semiautomatic assault rifles that had prepared in case local gang members decided to raid the place. Don't worry, they said. I was safe.
DJ Short’s Cannabis Cultivation Workshop: The Place to Go to Know How to Grow Some of Mother Nature’s Best Medicine
Since his first experiences with cannabis in 1973, DJ Short has been on the front lines and in the trenches, bringing education and information to the struggle as a soldier, scientist and leader. His Cultivating Exceptional Cannabis Workshop is more than just a solid course on growing quality cannabis; it is also a lesson in morals and ethics…a philosophy that is obviously in short supply throughout today’s corporate America.
DJ Short’s lessons are solid science, as evidenced by his world-respected “Blueberry,” a legendary strain that took 1st Place at the 2000 Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam. His book, “Cultivating Exceptional Cannabis: An Expert Breeder Shares His Secrets” is required reading for anyone who is serious about being a successful, informed cannabis breeder.
Tell me about your anonymity amongst the mainstream culture, despite your legendary status in the cannabis community.
Every once in a while I google my name, and one time I found an abstract written by a professor called, “Transgressive Segregation,” and it was all about human beings manipulating genes to make bunnies glow in the dark, and how it was so Frankenstein, and how that was so extreme, but then he used me as another example of an extreme, and how you have me, DJ Short, but I’m not a DJ in a conventional sense, I don’t spin vinyl, I spin genetics. He uses this phrase, and I’ve used it ever since, he says that I “…possess a paradoxical anonymous celebrity status.” The professor is an English Professor from Penn State.
So he’s a little like Aldous Huxley?
I would imagine so, because that piece got published in a book put out by M.I.T. I was really quite flattered.
Tell me more about what you do.
Aside from living and breathing, I breed cannabis. I also teach about the merits and benefits of quality cannabis. My goal is to increase the quality of cannabis, but not necessarily the potency. When I lecture on the quality of cannabis, though, I begin with ethics. When someone asks me why I do this, I say that it’s all about the healing.
When I began breeding it was to satisfy my own head. I developed my palette early on by sampling all the cannabis strains going on from the land races of ancient yore. There’s nothing out there like those strains. We are getting closer with Hash. We can have A-Grade Hash, but I seriously question whether we can have A-grade bud outside of the tropics.
Combing your teachings with ethics is very reminiscent of the Greek concept of knowledge. That with all understanding, you had to start with ethics.
When people come to learn from me they are often seeking information, but they also really want enlightenment. The knowledge I possess from sampling the great works of yore, the trial and error I’ve seen, well, as people did for me in my time, I try to do now.
One of the things I really attribute to my success is just being born at the right time. I started smoking herb in 1971. It was beneficial to me in that those who came before me paved the way, they made the mistakes that I didn’t have to make.
Back then, there was a tremendous variety, of because of the work of the people before me, quality was an issue. That’s why I’m here and that’s what I teach.
A very special thanks to The House of Holland Collectives in Riverside, which was kind enough to host this interview. Check out www.houseofholland.com.