5 Cannabis Growers Who Changed the Game


  • Last modified: February 11, 2021

People who talk about being cannabis growers at home thinking that the task of growing weed is simple. The reality is that cannabis cultivation takes specific knowledge about working with seeds and getting plants to grow to their full potential. While knowing a strain’s effects along with cultivation techniques is helpful, knowing who created them is less well known. Cannabis growers are rarely given proper acknowledgment for their accomplishments in the industry.

People who discuss weed will often ask about someone’s favorite strain but not about their favorite grower. Growing the best cannabis is not about money. It is about the accomplishment and satisfaction gained from growing award-winning cannabis. A grower’s attention to detail and devotion of time to their plants is something that brings more than cash rewards.

The cannabis growers that changed the game not only were great growers but were also innovators. They fought for legal change, taught others the secrets of growing, and changed how the industry grows cannabis overall. They had more than just growing great cannabis to be proud of.

5 Cannabis Growers who Change the Game

1. The inventor of Sinsemilla – Sinsemilla is Spanish for “without seeds”. This process in which growers take all male plants from the grow area early on so the female plants can mature. This is important as only the female cannabis flowers produce higher THC for smoking. This process will stop if the females are pollinated by male plants. Removing the male plants gives the female plants space to grow with no worry about pollination. This lets them produce the most resin possible without the worry of having seeds.

After the 1970s, people became accustomed to better quality, higher THC, and seed-free sinsemilla. While the creator of sinsemilla is one of the game-changers, there is no specific name attached to it. Stories say sinsemilla was created by an unknown grower in the Sativa fields in Mexico with others saying a Humboldt County hermit figured out the technique. In reality, seedless growing probably comes from even farther back. There are old pictures of fields in India and Morocco that show large buds proving that the growers knew to pull the males for maximum resin.

2. George Van Patten (Jorge Cervantes) – This grower has sold over one million cannabis cultivation books for growers around the globe. His teachings have given growers good information leading to large amounts of high-grade cannabis. He wrote the “bible” on cannabis growing through years of collecting field notes while working as a hidden grower in Mexico and California. He used to photocopy his notes for his growing friends and then decided to print a book that he could hand out rather than always photocopying. It became a best seller.

He specializes in small grow areas like basements, backyards, and small gardens rather than the big grow ops. He was always looking to help the little guy. It was never about big money or the cannabis industry for him. George just wanted to make growing easy for those who wanted a small part of the business.

3. Mahmoud ElSohly – The first fully legal cannabis grower in the United States. Mahmoud is a professor of pharmaceutics and head of the University of Mississippi cannabis facility since 1980. It was the only federally licensed grow facility to ever exist. It opened in 1968 to supply legal cannabis to federally approved research studies. He has had to match the product on the street moving his grow from 3-4% THC to 8%. While the product quality has been questioned at some points, they remain the sole supplier of cannabis for research.

4. Ed Rosenthal – An expert cannabis grower who loves to share his knowledge. He has had books published, written for magazines, and created a publishing company so he can help other cannabis authors and researchers get published. He is an advocate and activist around medical cannabis and legalization.

Living in California, he had been named as an Officer of the City and has been appointed to grow cannabis for local medical patients. The federal government raided his grow op and would not allow him to discuss how or for who he was growing for during his trial. He was convicted, appealed, and had the conviction overturned. Unfortunately, he was retired and convicted once again. It was a warning to other medical growers.

Ed changed the game when it comes to legalization with his civil disobedience fighting for the right to grow.

5. Professor Afghani – This grower was the first to take growing indoors. Never revealed by their true name, Afghani pioneered indoor growing. Learning through trial and error created sophisticated hydroponics systems that took soil out of the growing game for many. The article “The Million Dollar Growroom” highlights Professor Afghani’s step by step process that went over the basics of growing indoors. Mother plants, rooting clones, irrigation of the plant room, equipment, proper ventilation, and C02 were all discussed in a basic, understandable way.

Professor Afghani never allowed his true identity to be known but he made sure to share his wisdom learned as a cannabis grower with as many as he could. He brought the world of indoor growing to a new level that worked not only on a corporate level but made growing understandable for the most beginning level of grower.

Final Thoughts

Most do not put a lot of thought into who was influential in the world of cannabis growers. The focus tends to be on the legality and the product itself. However, if cannabis growers did not experiment grow and share knowledge, both the corporate world and small growers would not be growing like they are today.

Cannabis authors who share their knowledge, people who have done hands-on growing and researching, along with those who have reshaped the way to grow all have a hand in how the game of cannabis cultivation has changed over the years. Together with that they have formed communities and networks that support the growers efforts. As relaxed laws come into place and the stranglehold on controlling cannabis is reduced, these 5 cannabis growers who changed the game should continue to be acknowledged for their innovation, hard work, and their help in getting both medical and recreational cannabis into the mainstream marketplace.

Olivia Solero

Olivia Solero is the Co-founder of Cannabis Stack. Olivia has an unusual blend of creative thinking and the ability to put that thinking into effect. She likes to write; loves to edit; she knows how to lead, follow or get out of the way; she is good with a buck and wicked smart when it comes to data.


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