Story by Patrick L. Myers
CannaBiz Journal sat down with a seasoned Californian grower who identified himself simply as “Bubba Joe” for the purpose of anonymity. The tale of how he came to be referred to as Bubba Joe by all the dispensaries that he vended to mostly has to do with one of the strains that is a staple of Bubba Joe’s: Pre ‘98 Bubba Kush.
“The dispensary that I was selling to was really into the names of all the strains that came through their cannabis club,” said Bubba, “I was growing Pre ‘98 Bubba Kush and so he called me Bubba Joe.”
Bubba Joe simply refers to himself as a grower, “I’m a grower. I distribute to dispensaries as well. Medicinally it’s not legal to sell the bud that you’ve grown: you should technically be a caregiver, growing for a medicinal patient and not profiting off of the growing of the cannabis,” said Bubba. It’s still a gray area until it becomes recreational.”
Bubba Joe claims to have years of experience under his belt, allegedly starting his career at 10 years old. Bubba learned most of his techniques in Hawaii, his place of residence at the time, “I eventually moved to California,” said Bubba.
Bubba Joe signed onto the medical scene in California when Senate Bill 420 passed in 2004. Senate Bill 420 amended a Proposition 215, which made it legal for medical marijuana patients to possess and cultivate marijuana for their personal medical use when given the recommendation or approval of a California-licensed physician. Senate Bill 420 allowed for patients to form medical cultivation “collectives” and “cooperatives” and also established a state ID card system that was regulated by county.
Bubba mentioned earlier on that money and product transactions are made by “donations” and are in a sort of “gray” area as far as legality. Currently, it is generally accepted that an average gram of marijuana would be worth a $10 donation. Qualities and forms of the marijuana fluctuate, as well as prices, and donation prices can be completely controlled by the establishment. In certain situations, medicine to treat certain illnesses could be donated from the dispensary to a patient for free.
Bubba Joe was 18 when the Senate Bill 420 made it legal for him to partner with dispensaries and grow for them.
“I was growing prior to the medicinal initiative and there were a lot of laws and penalties against growing marijuana. You could even serve jail time. Now it’s legal for me to grow marijuana and I don’t have to worry. Technically I’m safe within the law,” Bubba explained.
Once the senate bill passed, Bubba Joe partnered with a dispensary in Hollywood.
Bubba Joe is named after his Pre’98 Bubba Kush, but his main strain is OG Kush.
In the times of new “green cards” and excitement over being able to acquire marijuana legally.
“I was hired to build a sound studio for him the day he got his first medicinal license. He went to the dispensary and came back telling me that they had clones of OG Kush. He didn’tget any clones of his own, he just bought a bunch of weed. So I made sure to go down and snag one for myself,” said Bubba Joe.
Bubba Joe had been searching for the OG Kush strain because he believed that it possesses qualities that most marijuana does not possess. Not only that, but as a testament to the quality of the marijuana, Bubba was able to bring in a good income.
“It was the best strain I’d ever seen; only one club sold it. I knew it was the best, and it was held tightly by a select few growers. That club happened to have a clone of OG Kush so I bought it. I continued to clone it out, and for years I was getting $6,400 per pound for it.”
Bubba Joe grew the OG Kush with hydroponics, but soon found out that it was troublesome to grow that way, even though it yielded the best quality.
“I was working with all kinds of methods to perfect one that OG Kush would grow in. It all ended up being some form of hydroponics. OG is the most finicky plant there is to grow. You can grow it successfully and in great quantities with hydroponics but if one thing goes wrong, it ruins the whole plant instantly,” said Bubba Joe. He then went on to explain that going to a soil-less hydroponic grow helped the plant with its sensitivity.
“I think the quality with my soilless hydroponics is the best I’ve ever seen and I’m also beating my own records for yield.”
Shortly after clones of OG Kush were popularized, offshoots of the strain started popping up everywhere.
“I distributed that OG to Reseda Discount, and a bunch of OG strains emerged after that. Names like Tahoe OG, San Fernando Valley OG, all of these strains started to emerge.”
Bubba Joe continues to work on perfecting his craft and growing his strains in Southern Cali.