DNA Genetics with Frank101 (INTERVIEW)

Jul 12, 2017

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DNA Genetics

DNA Genetics

Brian Kaiser is Philly, born and raised. After attending Temple University, in 2007 he moved west to Hollywood to open up the Sunset Boulevard dispensary the Alternate Root. After two years of applying his knowledge of all things cannabis to serve his neighborhood in Echo Park, the city forced Brian to shut down his business.

Brian uses his connections to push for cannabis legalization on both a state and national level, a process that begins by just sharing information. We are happy to have Brian as our latest columnist, as he presents the new column This Week in Weed.

It seems right that I start this column on marijuana with seeds. The first records of marijuana or cannabis is in seed form as a protein source for the native people of China to eat as early as 6,000B.C., 3000 years later the same people recorded its use in the medicinal field. As its medicinal applications and uses as a super fiber gained popularity, the seeds became a sought after commodity amongst traders and explorers. The seeds made their way into India and Africa and then to Europe around 500A.D. Its use is mentioned in the Bible and in Exodus, and was in the United States at its inception.

The marijuana seed is essential to the development of new strains and a necessary part in keeping new high quality genetics fresh and ever-evolving. Even the best strains in the world can be improved, so there can always be new generations of the strain with stronger smells and flavors as well as higher potency in THC, CBD, and CBNs. We rely on seed breeders to make these discoveries, and yet the seeds are available to everyone in most cases so anyone with the right amount of skill can discover newly improved strains themselves.

Medical marijuana is now legal and available in 18 states and is pending in six more. In all but two of those states, the patients are given the ability to grow their own plants and where growing is legal so are the seeds. In recent years, several seed companies have been popping up all over the US. At the front of the pack is DNA Genetics, made up of two guys from Southern California that moved to Amsterdam, Netherlands to legally open a seed business.

The company was formed in 2003 and won their fist High Times Cannabis Cup a year later for their Indica LA Confidential. Since then they have won over 50 awards for their strains. What’s the secret to their success? Bringing the finest California cannabis genetics to the world stage in Amsterdam and letting it shine, be sold, be bred, and compete with other DNA. This is their story.

What’s your name and what do you do?
My name is Aaron and I’m from DNA Genetics. We are the world’s leader in medical cannabis seeds and are based out of Amsterdam. We produce multiple Cannabis Cup and Medicinal Cup winning strains that are highly sought after in the cannabis world.

Where are you from?
Hollyweed, California.

When did you first start growing?
I guess when I first started was when I was throwing seeds out my friends’ and I’s windows when we were smoking as teenagers. Then one day someone was like “You got a pot plant growing outside your window.” I guess those were the first plants I grew, and once growing gets in your blood at an early age, you get a green thumb. Then you can’t live without growing—it becomes part of you.

Do you remember what you first grew?
Shwag [laughs] bag seed from whatever weed you got. When I first started, I wasn’t fortunate enough to be smoking what we’re smoking today. I would go down to like Pico, Fedora, or Hoover to get some brick weed with plenty of seeds. It would take ten to 20 minutes to separate enough for a joint; you roll it up and smoke it, and the next thing you know you’re growing plants. I guess by the time I was 18 or 19 I was growing plants in the garage—I’m not even sure what they were.

What was the first strain you remember growing?
Hmmm you know it’s hard for me to remember the first one, but like the second or third strain was a cross between Skunk and Northern Lights that we called Cotton Candy. It was good, but it wasn’t super stable; almost all the plants would produce male flowers late in flowering, so you would get some seeds. Then it progressed to strains like Jack Herer and White Widow, stuff like that.

How long had you been growing before you started DNA? 
Almost 20 years.

When did the business start? 2003-04.

How did you know when it was time to turn things into a business?
You know, we are some of the luckiest motherfuckers in the world living in Southern California. The whole lifestyle and culture here, the attitude towards marijuana does not exist that often elsewhere in the world. My partner Don and I traveled to Amsterdam to check out the scene, and we were shocked to see such little representation of American genetics. They were missing something that we had. It was the beginning of the dispensary era in Los Angeles, and it was either open a dispensary or move and take a chance of a lifetime. So we moved and took our Cali vibe and style with us, along with the California medical marijuana genetics that deserved to be shown to the world.

When you got to Amsterdam, what were they growing? What was popular?
Sage (which is a great strain), Power Plant, and some Hazes. Amsterdam was way more about Sativa then we had been used to back in Cali.

Can you give us a brief idea about how breeding takes place?
Well, you start as a grower. You have to be a grower first before you’re a breeder—just knowing how to keep a mother alive and cloning off the mother, so that you can keep that gem alive and keep her alive for a very long time, for years. Cloning is easy to do.

What is the actual breeding process though? How did you find the right parents?
Seed breeding is when you take two unrelated strains and bring them together to create these hybrids. They exhibit new traits like smells and flavors and some are overloaded with crystals, high CBD, high THC. So you have male and female cannabis plants. The female pot plants are the ones with the white hairs, and if you have ever seen a plant without hairs that has what looks like balls coming out of the stem, that’s a male. They produce pollen and impregnate the females by a process in which the pollen falls off the male plants, into the air, and is carried to the female plant. The female catches the pollen on the pistil or white hair connected to a caylax, and once that pollination occurs, a new plant is born. It takes four weeks for a seed to mature; it’s always nice to have it go longer and have a more secured birth rather than rushing it.

DNA sells a lot of feminized seeds as well. Can you tell us about those?
Yeah, 90-95 percent of our business is based on feminized seeds. A feminized seed will grow to be a female for sure, no guess necessary. If you’re a grower, you don’t need to grow as many seeds to get the amount of plants you want. If you’re growing regular seeds, for instance, and you want 50 plants, you will need to grow out at least 100 seeds. And that’s with a 50/50 average for male to female plants. Sometimes the laws of nature go against you, and you need to grow even more to get your 50. The majority of the world wants feminized seeds; it’s easier for them to grow. It’s a no-brainer, a lot of them don’t even know what a male plant looks like, and it’s often their first time growing. So with feminized seeds you can still get the benefits of growing from seed, and you can also be sure every seed you buy is female and not have to gamble on your investment.

What was your first strain and how did it come about? 
I guess the first thing we put out was a kilo of seed that we gave away for free to about 30,000 people. There were 50,000 seeds and the pack was called "Who's Your Daddy?” I just got an email from somebody who says they still have it growing because it’s so dank. That was the first official DNA release and after that we came out with Chocolate Thai, Cantaloupe Haze and LA Confidential.

I think we officially opened as a company in Amsterdam in 2004 and later that same year we won a Cannabis Cup for LA Con. It was kind of an inside joke between our friends, most of them were busy opening up dispensaries in LA, and we were like we are going to Amsterdam to start a seed company—let’s see who makes it. And in two years we won the Cannabis Cup first place like we said we were going to, and we won it with a Sativa over there where Sativa genetics are so much more well known. The Martian Mean Green was very unique and had very high THC. If we had won with an Indica first, everyone would have expected it but we won with a Sativa—something very familiar to them. So it was a fair playing field and we still won so it was very validating.

Name me some of your more popular strains?
Chocolope, Holy Grail Kush, Kosher Kush, LA Confidential, Sleestack, Sour Diesel, OG 18, and the soon to be released 24K Tangerine.

What do you look for today in a new strain? 
I think all cannabis right now gets you high, whatever you smoke—Indica, Sativa, Sativa hybrid—they are all gonna get you high, and so something that smells and has a great flavor, I think that’s the greatest factor in breeding for us right now. You don’t just breed something that’s like, "whatever"; there has to be uniqueness. You wouldn't eat a steak that tastes like shit, so why would you want to medicate or smoke something that tastes like shit? That’s what we were thinking when we developed the 24K Tangerine.

Tell me about the Tangerine, where did it come from?
The Tangerine or “Tangie” is a Cali Orange x Skunk hybrid; it’s a Sativa-dominant strain with an incredible tangerine citrus flavor, aroma, and taste. It converts a lot of non-smokers to try it just based on the amazing aroma, which is undeniable. Our friend Crockett420 on Instagram, a.k.a. the Tangerine man, is the breeder.

We worked with him to develop it and we are working on some new crosses now. The strain is old though, we were smoking it in LA back in 1995. Crocket just held on to the genetics and kept his mothers alive since then. Crocket and I have been friends for a few years and one day, I don’t know where we were, a Cannabis Cup or something, he came up to me and told me he had something to show me. When he did, I put it up to my nose and I knew exactly what I was smelling. I smiled and then I passed it to my friend Sergio who I knew would remember it, and he threw his hands up in the air and yelled, "the Tangie is back!" Anyway, Crocket’s responsible for the Tangie.

You have been all around the world and have seen the marijuana business everywhere. How is California genetics viewed by the Amsterdam crowd and the rest of the world? I think people everywhere, including in Amsterdam, look up to California for its genetics. We have been everywhere in the world in search of superior strains and wherever we go the best stuff available is always from the same place in the United States—California.

Source: Frank101

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