OG Kush

OG Kush is, arguably the queen of the NorCal and US cannabis scenes…at least as far as the illicit market is concerned.  In terms of market recognition, flower beauty and structure, aroma, taste, effect, price, sales velocity and yield, no other strain is her equal.   

As a habitual smoker since my teen years in 1992 I’m a huge fan of old school skunk, trainwreck and white strains.  That said, nothing compares to a bowl of fresh SFV OG topped with its own dry sift.  For me personally, not even the most exquisite live rez dab rivals the flavor and effect of this combo when grown exceptionally well.  As such, SFV OG, Lemon Larry, Ghost, or the traditional herself are my very favorite strains to grow.  In terms of producing showcase retail flower and creating exceptional economic value, core OG Kush phenotypes are also a complete joy to farm.

While simple to grow like all cannabis plants (give them what they want when they want it), OG’s are finicky, they attract significant predation, and they don’t boast of the strongest epidural layer.  Combined with relatively poor farming skills, this combination has led to enormous amounts of shit weed coming out of Humboldt County.  Many growers, hobbyist, professional and commercial alike, produce tremendously small, twiggy, sterile, and ugly OG that ultimately gets dumped for bottom dollar.

Seed stock OG’s are not the real deal in terms of nose or bag appeal and leave middlemen and buyers exasperated as people run to hell and back trying to fill a couple box order.  I recently heard of an illicit market showing where of the 1,000 units requested, 2 of the 700 pounds located by my friend were actually purchased.

Humboldt, you are screwing up big time.  Both white and black markets want OG, and we have largely proven inadequacy in terms of meeting market demand.

With burgeoning supply of decent OG’s coming out of the central valley and elsewhere, and with ever more white market distribution platforms coming on line, not as many people need to trek to our neck of the woods for product.  To the extent that finding good OG in Humboldt continues to be nearly impossible (yes I know there’s tens of thousands of pounds of last year’s product floating around), folks will simply go elsewhere to purchase.

Finding OG with predictable quality at acceptable volume and price is not a task for the faint at heart.   Friends of mine scramble to hell and back, rounding up dozens of samples – at multiple price points – to be rejected far, far more than not.

Buyers want large, chunky, stinky, naked, lime colored OG’s that appear white given their magnificent outer trichome layer.  OG should get you high every hit on the exhale, and it should taste like candy and go down smooth as it annihilates you.  While high levels of limonene (like in the SFV) can be harsh for some users, well done organic OG will require little nitrogen masking and should be both smooth and tasty…even just days into drying.

Because many buyers are failing to find good OG in Humboldt and can find shitloads of decent product elsewhere, our weed market is in big, big trouble.  Many I know have even quit trying to farm OG and are opting for something less desirable they feel is easier to work with. Ouch!

In the midst of what promises to be a painful economic collapse for Humboldt and the larger Emerald Triangle, few growers I know are putting the puzzle together.  They feel picked on, scared, and angry, and many are whining like little kids while harkening back to the glory days in conversation. Instead of getting real with themselves and honing their skills, many have become bitter and have shown their true lack of professionalism, determination, and grit.  Some blame politics and corporations, while none I know, at least publicly, blame their own incompetence or inability to dance successfully with the most desirable strain in the marketplace.

My advice to growers in Humboldt is to learn how to grow OG Kush and other “sensitive cultivars” at a very high level.  Don’t grow some bullshit seed stock or bogus pheno with the wrong nose and wrong bag appeal.  Grow one of the core phenotypes mentioned previously or something else absolutely, unequivocally, and universally accepted by buyers, farmers, and consumers as the real deal.

And chill the hell out.  G’s like it easy, like a nice day on the ocean.  Find the steep hill video of a phosphorus loaded, red dogged piece of shit of a nug representative of much market OG, versus the more natural and spectacularly beautiful chunk to its side.  Also stop being lazy and start working with your damn plants.  If you want to sell outdoor flower, it better not look like it.  And no, your dep probably doesn’t look anything like indoor either.  Slam the energy down on em thru manipulation, drive it back up in transition with thinning, and keep the bugs and pathogens away.  You will have predictably huge, chunky, heavy, beautiful OG buds more representative of the weed that made Humboldt famous before tens of thousands of us were playing the game.

If Humboldt could truly bring the magic back in terms of actually producing marketable flower, things wouldn’t tank quite as fast.  The tremendously painful economic realignment we are just now facing would be lessened to some extent and our reputation would start clawing its way out of the gutter. 

Because we were largely secluded and because many us of grew the best stuff out of our friend groups, we became overconfident and arrogant.  We thought we actually grew good weed, which was a faulty premise for most operating in the space.

The reason Oregon craft farmers are now failing en masse is because they aren’t and never were craft producers.  Their weed is shit, or marginal at best, which is not much of a selling proposition these days.  Same story here in Humboldt and elsewhere in the triangle… too many who are all bark and no bite.

Larfy, twiggy, moderately frosty outdoor with poor structure, mixed phenotypes and questionable nose is no longer in vogue.  Outdoor makes up approximately 20% of the white market by transaction and prices are now averaging around $650 a pound nationwide.  What the less skilled hate to accept though is that the current range for outdoor flower is from $300-$1700 according to data from cannabisbenchmarks.  Somewhere the Jedi knights of cannabis are crushing it, as are some white market indoor operators garnering $2,500 a unit versus an average a grand cheaper.  The lesson is clear – the market has segmented and will continue to do so.  Market weed is essentially worthless and will drive the small operators producing it out of business in short order…it already is.  For fantastic producers, opportunity is abound, at least for now.  Many will be coming for that prize though, so be prepared and keep grinding.

Execute daily, stay true to your process and above all, keep rocking that stellar OG Kush.

Jesse Duncan

SFV OG Mid Flower

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