One of the best things to make cannabis grow is community, but what better community than one which is open to teach younger generations and first timers.
Community is also one of Wildflower Magazine’s cornerstones, and with a lot of honor we share this interview with Jorge Cervantes, who is an Old School Growing Legend, and our Barcelona neighbor, he is entering his fifth decade writing books and articles for cultivating cannabis.
He has published more than 50 Books and Video Series in 8 different languages. In 2023 he released We Grow Cannabis!, a completely FREE grower's guide with more than 100 pages and 270+ high quality images, which you can download from his webpage Jorge Cervantes.
So without further ado, we share the master’s words with you.
Wildflower Magazine: What can you tell us about your experiences around the world and why have you decided to stay in Barcelona?
Jorge Cervantes: I attended the University of Valencia in the early 1970s, yes this was when Francisco Franco, el Caudillo was still signing death warrants. Funny thing is that I enjoyed more personal freedoms here in Spain than I could in my hometown, Ontario, Oregon, USA. I loved being in Spain and was fortunate to learn basic Spanish during the year I spent in the country. During the following years, I returned to the Peninsula many times. The changes that occurred after November 1975 when Franco died really caught my attention. I remember waiting to use the ATM at the bank and people were smoking joints!
My cannabis journey started on the West Coast of the USA. I grew several years in Santa Barbara, California and later in Oregon and Washington State. I sold my crop the last year I grew cannabis in Santa Barbara and traveled to Mexico, Central America and ultimately to South America. I hung out for several months in Chile, where my business partner was from. Back then Pinochet was the dictator. After this trip, I knew that I did not fit in the USA anymore.
In the late 1970s/early 1980s I started growing in my basement in Portland, Oregon. Fortunately, I always had a green thumb. They call it green fingers here. I started asking questions at the new hydroponic/HID stores that were appearing at the time. I found that many of the owners and employees really did not know what the hell they were talking about. That is when I started to write.I wrote Indoor Marijuana Horticulture and self- published it in 1983. Soon I started writing feature articles for High Times magazine and Sinsemilla Tips magazine too. There is a big history there, but I will focus on the question at hand.
People/growers kept making up untrue stories about cannabis and cannabis seeds, including genetics and their origin. I started spending a lot of time with Neville Shoenmacher owner of the Seed Bank in the Netherlands. I soon met Kees who started the Super Sativa Seed Club (SSSC), and Vernard Broening, who started Mellow Yellow, credited as the first coffeeshop in the Netherlands. I traveled extensively in Europe and the USA during those years.
I moved from Washington State, to Burnaby, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canadaduring the height of cannabis cultivation in the mid 1990s. I learned a lot but hated the weather. After about a year and a half, I decided to move to Amsterdam, Holland. It was great for almost two years. I could go to coffee shops, and growers were everywhere. But the big problem was the weather!
I was always involved in the Cannabis Cup sponsored by High Times magazine in Amsterdam.
One year I started hearing Spanish, a lot of people were talking Castellano! That was in the late 1990s. I made several friends with growers from Spain. They said the cannabis movement had. I just started there and I should come to see what it is like. I thought, “this is a no brainer!” The weather is outstanding, people are nice and I have a place there. I started writing and hanging out with the staff from Cáñamo magazine.
I was in Barcelona for about a month when I was asked to give a lecture at FNAC in Plaça Catalunya. All the seats in the main auditorium were full and people were standing everywhere. The national news station covered the event, which made me a little nervous. You see, I had a very difficult time in the USA. The police were following me, visiting me, doing their best to intimidate me. I was not accustomed to having the freedom to talk publicly about cannabis. For some reason the news report about my lecture played on the television 4-6 times a day for two weeks!
Everybody in the country knew who I was. At first it was unnerving, but after a few days I got accustomed to the fame. I must say it was great to be accepted by everybody here. Here I could be a teacher, help people grow more and better cannabis. In the USA, my home country, I was treated as a disgusting criminal that was ruining society. The choice was simpeI I love being here!
Wildflower Magazine: What is your recommendation/advice/message to the international cannabis community for the next few years?
Jorge Cervantes: Grow your own cannabis, and push for community. Once North America (Canada and US) legalized cannabis, money and banks entered the equation. Big business entered the market. The majority of these businesses are concerned with profit and do not care about helping people. They just want money.
Many small businesses formed and started to compete selling cannabis. There was the euphoria of freedom to grow, and many growers got caught up in the feeling. Many of them had a few profitable years and believed themselves to be invincible. Then big business swooped in. You can compete with big business if you want. Big business will not go away, they are here to stay.
Most of the “commercial” cannabis grown on big farms are not of the same quality you can grow at home. Furthermore, unless tested completely and accurately, the cannabis they produce could easily be contaminated with dangerous chemicals and other substances. In short, most of them grow bad dope!
Jorge Cervantes: Plant today. Grow all you need for you and a few of your friends. Grow under natural sunshine outdoors or in a greenhouse if possible. Do not steal electricity. If you must grow indoors use LED lights. Spending time in your garden is good for your soul.
Jorge Cervantes: According to Cambridge University ”A landrace is a dynamic population(s) of a cultivated plant that has historical origin, distinct identity and lacks formal crop improvement, as well as often being genetically diverse, locally adapted and associated with traditional farming systems”.
Actually, there are few true landraces available today. The term “landrace cannabis” is overused and often misused. Most of the people that use the term/word recently learned the meaning. I know of few true landrace strains/varieties/cultivars available today. In fact, landrace cannabis normally denotes a geographic location. Examples include, Acapulco (Mexico) Gold, Afghani (Afghanistan), Columbian Gold, Durban (South Africa) Poison, Hindu Kush (Kush Mountains), Lamb’s Bread (Jamaica), Panama Red, Thai. Geography is the main point here. There is little precision associated with the terms.
I always was fond of Popo Blue. We smoked at the University of the Americas in Cholula, Puebla, Mexico. The cultivar was named after the volcano, Popocatepetl, which can be viewed from the city, and where it was grown. I remember that the aspect of Popo Blue would change, it depended upon exactly where it was grown.
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