Are you ready to explore the hidden world of wizard cannabis breeders creating connoisseur marijuana seeds and strains you’ve probably never heard of? Then get ready for an adventure into cannabis strains that’ll make you drool with desire, because today we’re exploring the clandestine cannaverse by publishing an exclusive interview with one of its top breeders: The HazeMan.
HazeMan and his network of underground cannabis seeds breeders are cannabis-obsessed—and they’ve been trading rare cuts, phenotypes, and seeds for decades.
These fanatical cannabis questers spend all their time combining genetics to create strains that are stronger, more interesting, more fun, and higher-yielding than famous generic strains like Blue Dream, Jack Herer, Skywalker OG, and Golden Goat.
Most of these breeders remain in obscurity, but due to the overwhelming strength of his marijuana seeds menu, HazeMan made it to the big time—his seeds are sold by The Attitude Seed Bank, the world’s largest and most successful cannabis seeds retailer.
HazeMan seeds are also sold by one of North America’s most elite domestic seed banks, DCSE, located in Washington, D.C. When you look at strain names and genetic lineage from HazeMan and other dedicated breeders at DCSE, you see cannabis varietals you never imagined.
Read what HazeMan told us, and you’ll work like mad to get hold of his seeds. And now, the interview (our questions are in italics)…
Tell us how you got started growing and breeding cannabis.
It all began in Detroit, Michigan in 1976, when I was 17. Back then all we would get is rag weed from Mexico. I started growing those seeds in my back yard but they were all Sativa seeds, so due to cold temperatures and the light cycle in Michigan, they would never flower.
But that didn’t stop me from growing and smoking whatever they produced. The first year I grew imported bag seed, some plants ended up more than 20 feet tall.
Weed was sold in “lids” back then, supposedly an ounce, for ten dollars. These were primitive times for growers; we were just beginning to learn how to grow hydroponically indoors.
In Michigan at Christmas the most beloved gifts were potent indoor buds. I worked with hydro, but it wasn’t my cup of tea, and eventually made the right seeds for the Michigan climate and grew successfully outdoors.
This was before marijuana was legal anywhere in the USA. You could go to prison for a very long time, like your entire life. So I was deep underground.
For years, the only way you could get weed from me was if I’d known you for a long time. Living in the city, I knew a lot of hippies who loved weed, so I had an easy business selling dime bags, quarter pounds, and pounds.
I met another underground cannabis breeder when I was already making seeds for myself. He and I traded seeds and clones, then I started making seeds for him. When medical marijuana legalization started happening, I decided it was time to sell my own seed strains.
I like to breed strains that echo old-school stuff I grew up with, super skunky and crushingly strong. Insiders from around the world started trading seeds with me and giving me clones to work with. That’s still how it is today—I know many connoisseur breeders so I get the real-deal rarest clones and seed genetics.
Like, this is how it works: a long-time buddy who I got original G-13 and Bubba Kush from 20 years ago just got in touch with me again after many years. He sent me original Northern Lights and Death Breath seeds I will breed with. This kind of thing happens all the time.
And after growing for nearly 50 years, I read marijuana plants like a book. Marijuana plants let you know what they want or need. I can walk into any grow room, look at the plants, and immediately see what’s going right and what’s growing wrong.
With the many bulk seed breeders selling autoflowering and feminized seeds, our tests show that 95% of seeds sold are garbage, and hermaphroditism is a huge problem, even with famous name brands.
I don’t like feminized seeds because they tend to hermie. I have grown supposedly top-shelf fem seed from well-known breeders, and my entire grow ended up pollinated from hermie clusters on the supposedly feminized seeds.
I don’t want feminized seeds and I don’t make them. The last thing I want to do is sell you seeds that go hermie.
Regular seeds are better than fem seeds. I like all-natural seed breeding, like Mother Nature intended, and that’s why I only make regular seeds.
The larger problem is there are big, commercial marijuana seed outlets with fancy packaging and a lot of hype who capture people’s attention, but they’re selling inferior seeds. I think so little of these brands that I call what they sell hemp seeds.
If anybody is going to make non-hermie feminized seeds, the only way to do it is by rodelization, when you leave the plant blooming long past its harvest date and it starts making its own pollen sacs in a desperate attempt at pollination.
Seeds made by rodelization tend not to go hermie. They weren’t made by using chemicals or other unnatural tricks to get the plants to reverse so they’d create so-called female seeds.
Your job involves a lot more than avoiding hermie seeds, right?
Yes, putting male pollen onto a female flower creates seeds, but you don’t know what the offspring of that cross will be because each seed will follow its own specific set of genetics.
That’s why we do phenotype hunts, to select the best offspring, and it’s also why people keep rare cuts, because no matter how great of a breeder you are, you never get the exact same plant again from seed.
That’s why I’ve been keeping cuts and mothers alive for 20 years. The hunt for superb phenos is why I love breeding. I get seeds from all over the world, make seeds from them, then grow out multiple plants to find the best phenos.
Intelligently selecting male plants and collecting pollen is a mystery to most growers.
I select a male mostly by how vigorously it grows, its phenotype and structural traits, and if it has super-potent smell. I don’t select males that start pre-flowering during grow phase.
To select female plants, I grow them to harvest at least once before I decide if I want to make seeds with them. I want to see how tall or short. If the buds are tight and sticky or loose, the potency, how well they resist buds and diseases, how long bloom phase lasts, whether they have something special.
Sometimes I store pollen. I put the male plant on top of wax paper, shake it, collect the pollen, fold up the wax paper, then vacuum-seal and shrink-wrap the package and store it in the freezer. Later on I can open up that package and hand brush the pollen onto female flowers.
This method works, but it isn’t the way Mother Nature intended, which is open pollination in which a male and female plant are together.
How do you make sure that you get exactly what you want from breeding?
If you want to have the exact F1 again, you need to keep the same male and female alive so you can pollinate again. Filial (F1) seeds are first generation hybrids.
Filial F2 hybrids come from crossing two phenotypes of the F1’s with each other. You can keep breeding like this until you are in the F5 generation, in which case, your seeds are an inbred line or IBL.
You can also do backcrosses (BX) in which you produce a new F1 hybrid, then breed that offspring with itself or one of its parents.
By inbreeding new hybrids over generations, the children become more likely to pass on the breeder’s desired traits to the next generation of seeds and plants.
Seed strains never produce a crop of plants as identical as cloning will, but seed plants have more genetic diversity, resilience, and potential.
Have you ever had a heartbreak moment when you lost a rare phenotype or set of seeds?
When I first started breeding cannabis, I traded seeds with someone, and all it said on the package was “Grapefruit.” I got one phenomenal phenotype out of those seeds. If I hadn’t been worried about being an illegal breeder, which prevented me from releasing that phenotype, it would have been the Holy Grail clone-only line that people would line up for forever.
I shared those buds with a few people and they absolutely loved it. But then I got way too busy and distracted and made the mistake of not maintaining that phenotype. And still to this day I’m trying to find it again. Big loss!
It sounds like your whole life is taken up by your passion for cannabis.
The space and time it takes to keep and maintain clones and mothers is a full-time job in itself. It is a major sacrifice and constant duty, especially when you do all the gardening alone.
Being a professional seed breeder is just like having a needy pet—you can’t leave the house for very long, if at all.
Maybe I could water heavy and then take a couple of days away, but even that is hard to achieve because I don’t have an automated system for feeding and monitoring my plants.
But even with such sacrifices, you would never give up cannabis breeding?
My dad’s side of the family were Ohio farmers. I’d spend time on my aunt and uncle’s big farm for summer vacation. When I helped my aunt in the garden was when I began to love gardening, even though it was only vegetables.
One reason I love breeding cannabis is you don’t know exactly what you’re going to get when you start each project. It’s always a surprise party, an adventure to see how the genetic roll of the dice will play out.
Look at the wild diversity of tastes, scents, morphology, and different highs cannabis produces!
I love the constant search for the most heroic plants, the Holy Grail of strains. Just like a farmer who grows great vegetables so everyone every year comes back to his stand for his veggies, I want to be the guy that everyone wants to come to for marijuana seeds.
Your seed menu is fascinating because even though I grow at least 25 new strains a year and constantly look for the newest, best strains, most of yours I’ve never heard of, and they contain genetics I haven’t heard of either. What’s the newest thing you’re working on?
The newest thing I have been working on is a Skunk strain that will be the nastiest-smelling, best-tasting, knock your socks off weed. I have been working on it for a few years now. Part of that is collecting Skunk seeds and cuts.
I can’t tell when it will be ready for sale, because just like with my Fat Purple strain that took more than six years to complete, you’re wise not to give a definite release time. When the breeding project is done, you know it, and then you release.
I also have a preservation project to keep heritage strains fresh and safe. I just got old Northern Lights #5 seeds from Pacific, that he and I want to keep around. Also G-13/Hash Plant seeds that another breeder made.
Do you think the small scale connoisseur seed breeder industry, comprised of individuals such as yourself, will survive the apparent corporate takeover of the marijuana industry?
The short answer is “Yes!” Corporate growers have the latest grow technology, fancy packaging, and impressive marketing, but that all costs money and they are greedy, so they have higher prices. They are not my competition, because their strains are generic and bland, while mine are fire and rare.
I keep making seeds so I can bring people better strains at more affordable prices than they can get from corporate growers. Just like moonshiners have their networks of customers, but still produce finer product on a small scale, I will endure.
How can growers who’ve never grown your seeds have assurance you’re legit and your strains really are fire?
Time tells all. I have been breeding fine marijuana for 20 years and growing for 47 years. I have kept clones and mothers for as long as 20 years. I am rigorous about finding the best phenos.
I know how crucial it is for growers to have totally reliable seeds and strains, and if there is a legit problem with my seeds, I immediately send out a new pack.
This despite the fact that most so-called seed problems are actually grower mistakes, and my seeds aren’t the cause.
This is especially true for hermie problems caused when the grower has stressed the plants or let them go too long. But still, because I want the grower to be happy, I will send them another strain of their choice, or more seeds of the same strain.
Word of mouth is your best advertisement. Make the strains growers want, don’t cheat anybody, and your rewards will come back a million fold.
I have customers who have been buying seeds from me so long, I have their name and address memorized.
And I am happy to say that out of all these years of breeding I can count on one hand the replacement seeds I have had to send out. I provide the best genetics and strains…for a price anyone can afford.
Contact me through my IG, and let’s get you growing strains that exceed your expectations and past grow op outcomes!