Out in the starkly beautiful Arizona desert, where 120°F heat bakes red-rock canyons and the bare bones of dead animals send a warning that you don’t want to be stranded out here without shade and lots of water, North America’s most-famous marijuana seeds guru walks into a former bowling alley to behold aisles of marijuana plants growing where bowlers used to prowl.
In 2017, marijuana seeds guru, High Times award-winner, and YouTube reality television star Subcool (aka the Weed Nerd) fled California wildfires that burned his grow ranch and many of his most valuable cannabis genetics to the ground. Exiled by the fire, Subcool was also making big changes in his business model and personal life, and trying to stay alive, as he dealt with a genetically-caused lung disorder that he says is likely to kill him.
Disgusted with the regulations and excessive costs put onto the marijuana industry by so-called California marijuana legalization, Subcool’s main goal was to maintain his cannabis seeds research, breeding and breeder/tester network. New regulations in California, Oregon and other places are designed to crush the home grower and replace homegrown cannabis with industrial cannabis. It’s even hard to buy clones in some legalized states now. Subcool’s advice: “Never forget to grow from seeds.”
He’s spent years making his own strains and also marketing seeds specifically made for him by other professional breeders, and his seed company had become a worldwide empire with hundreds of thousands of growers worldwide eagerly buying the more than 50 superb marijuana strains he offers. In recent years, he’s been releasing delicious high-CBD (cannabidiol) strains that offer varying ratios of THC and CBD.
In the past, Subcool marketed his seeds through TGA Genetics, but he told me he wants everybody to know that as of 2019, Subcool has absolutely nothing to do with TGA Genetics. Instead, he has a wonderful new seeds portal that highlights his premium marijuana seeds and other products.
After he moved to Arizona, he expanded his product line to include CBD and terpenoid cannabis concentrates, and created an Arizona haven for fellow “weed nerds.” Dedicated members of The Weed Nerd nation emigrated to Arizona to work with Subcool as he created a partially subterranean grow op in a large, waterless swimming pool. One of those migrants was a beautiful young woman who was in love with Subcool and wanted to make his life easier and better. Now Subcool has a cannabis goddess in his life, and he’s smiling wayyy more than he used to!
Powerful, wealthy cannabis industry magnates reached out to Subcool, seeking his exclusive marijuana genetics for use in major projects. One of these projects was put into play by a well-connected cannabis business consortium that’s transformed an abandoned bowling alley in a Wild West Arizona town into a high-tech legal grow op.
Globe, Arizona’s sole bowling alley last hosted the sound of strikes and spares more than a decade ago, and has been abandoned in the cruel desert sun ever since. But now it’s home to thousands of cannabis plants, Subcool says.
“The bowling alley grow op was created by a transformation team led by Eli Harding,” Subcool explains. “The man is a genius at building and running the biggest legal grows. He’s already running other licensed Arizona grow ops, with nearly 100,000 square feet of grow space in Phoenix and another 60,000 in El Mirage. Our bowling alley facility is going to be at least 10,000 square feet of space for cultivation, concentrates processing and cutting edge research.”
Even though the bowling alley was a decaying relic with no benefit to the community before Subcool and his business partners decided to make it into a high-tech marijuana grow op, Subcool’s consortium still had to work hard to persuade the Globe Planning Commission and City Council to approve the grow op conversion.
During a public meeting, a handful of Globe residents expressed typical anti-cannabis objections, claiming without evidence that legal cannabis dispensaries and grow ops create crime, addiction, and harm to children and the environment.
“Some townspeople said they’re afraid of marijuana businesses for the usual unfounded reasons that fade away when people find out the truth,” Subcool explained. “Once the objectors realized regulations on our licensed cannabis venture are stricter than they are for any other industry, they were reassured. This isn’t a dispensary, so there won’t be retail traffic. And everyone who works for us has to pass strict background checks. Nobody’s going to smell cannabis. We have the cleanest, greenest industry in Globe.”
Subcool reports that one anti-cannabis person complained that the grow op would result in marijuana being more easily available in Globe, which currently has no marijuana dispensary. Subcool and Harding effectively soothed those concerns, explaining that the bowling alley facility has to comply with stringent regulations that block criminal activity—and that the facility’s cannabis is securely transported to legal dispensaries outside Globe.
Globe officials are stoked about the economic benefits the marijuana industry brings to small towns, Subcool says. “Some days during the reconstruction period, there were more people are working on the reconstruction than were working in the entire rest of the town. When the facility is fully operational, it’ll provide stable employment to as many as 30 people.”
Subcool says the entire grow op is surrounded by a formidable wall that completely blocks view of the facility, while also blocking unauthorized access. Armed guards patrol the outside of the facility and provide other security 24 hours a day every day of the year. “Eli even created a video monitor security wall from which the security team can surveil the entire building from multiple cameras and camera angles,” he said.
Subcool says the facility is high-tech, energy efficient, and secure, thanks mostly to Harding’s expertise.
“He spent months using local labor and contractors to renovate the space to create several large growing areas, a home and full kitchen, offices, and a hashish production lab. We’re using lots of glass walls inside so we can better monitor the gardens, and do photographs and video for social media. The cannabis is grown in super soil as close to 100% organic as possible,” Subcool says. “We’re using the latest horticultural technology, such as ozone generators and heavy-duty carbonized filters. We have 45 tons of air conditioning capacity that cost us $200,000. We’ve hundreds of grow lights. We had to put in an $80,000 fire hydrant and a special water main and pipe to supply it. The power company had to put in a 2200 amp upgrade and special wiring to deliver enough electricity to the site. Tons of spray foam insulation are being used to increase energy efficiency. We have our own wastewater treatment plant to prevent fertilizer run-off. Our massive grow rooms have floor drains and 2000-gallon reservoirs aerially mounted to gravity feed the grow rooms.”
Subcool says the bowling alley grow op features isolated microclimates, pollination rooms, pollen filtration units, natural sunlight rooms, and quality-control testing facilities. “Gleaming, beautiful wood that used to be the surface of the bowling lanes is being used to make desks and counter tops,” he says.
And he’s glad he and his partners didn’t have to buy a massive reverse osmosis system. “We’ve got clean well-water coming out of a 12-inch pipe that goes way deep into the ground,” Subcool reports.
Speaking of clean, Subcool has always been a big promoter of pristine, solvent-free cannabis concentrates such as live resins, frosin, bubble hash, and dry sift. On his YouTube Weed Nerd shows, he routinely highlights vividly-colored, delicious, ultra-potent concentrates made without harsh solvents.
“We won’t be making solvent concentrates in our renovated bowling alley. Instead, we’ll make natural, safe, full-taste marijuana concentrates such as bubble hash, rosin, kief and frosin. We’ll be producing at least 2200 pounds of buds per year at full capacity, and the products we create will be available for purchase by the more than one hundred licensed Arizona dispensaries,” he says.
At the California grow ranch that burnt down, Subcool had a handful of normal-sized indoor cultivation rooms, and ran a marijuana tree garden outdoors during warm weather.
“The fire destroyed mother plants and pollen plants, rare seeds and clones. Since then, I’ve reached out across the world for the dankest genetics and the best breeding collaborators. My new strains are dynamite. I secured heirloom clones such as Exodus Cheese, Tiny Bomb and Bloodwreck so I can grow grow pure Cheese strains as well as delicious hybrids I’ve made from Cheese genetics, such as Lemon Stilton. Long-time growers who’ve been growing my strains for years are very happy with the new strains we’ve released in the past two years.”
Subcool, who suffers from a potentially fatal genetically-triggered respiratory disease and was in very poor health after fleeing the deadly California fires, says leaving California rejuvenated him.
“I tried so hard to comply with California’s legalized cannabis program, and spent a lot of money on compliance attorneys, but the state’s regulators make it hard for connoisseur, high-quality growers and breeders like me to operate there. Here in Arizona, I have wonderful new friends, the smartest business partners, and huge grow ops to enjoy and work in,” Subcool says.