DJ Short continues his sacred mission of teaching how to cultivate nature’s best medicine
By Jasen T. Davis
Since his first experiences with cannabis in 1973, DJ Short has been on the front lines and in the trenches, bringing education and information to the struggle as a soldier, scientist and leader. His Cultivating Exceptional Cannabis Workshop is more than just a solid course on growing quality cannabis; it is also a lesson in morals and ethics . . . a philosophy that is obviously in short supply throughout today’s corporate America.
DJ Short’s lessons are solid science, as evidenced by his world-respected “Blueberry,” a legendary strain that took 1st Place at the 2000 Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam. His book, Cultivating Exceptional Cannabis: An Expert Breeder Shares His Secrets is required reading for anyone who is serious about being a successful, informed cannabis cultivator.
CULTURE Magazine recently caught up with the famed cultivator during the Southern California leg of his traveling cultivation workshops, one-day training courses made available last month at Pasadena, Palm Springs and Riverside locations. We chatted with Short at The House of Holland Collectives in Riverside, which hosted the interview.
Despite your legendary status in the cannabis community, you prefer to remain anonymous. Tell us about that.
Every once in a while I Google my name, and one time I found an abstract written by a professor called “Transgressive Segregation,” and it was all about human beings manipulating genes to make bunnies glow in the dark, and how it was so Frankenstein, and how that was so extreme, but then he used me as another example of an extreme, and how you have me, DJ Short, but I’m not a DJ in a conventional sense, I don’t spin vinyl, I spin genetics. He uses this phrase, and I’ve used it ever since, he says that I “ possess a paradoxical anonymous celebrity status.” The professor is an English professor from Penn State.
So he’s a little like Aldous Huxley?
I would imagine so, because that piece got published in a book put out by M.I.T. I was really quite flattered.
Tell me more about what you do.
Aside from living and breathing, I breed cannabis. I also teach about the merits and benefits of quality cannabis. My goal is to increase the quality of cannabis, but not necessarily the potency. When I lecture on the quality of cannabis, though, I begin with ethics. When someone asks me why I do this, I say that it’s all about the healing.
When I began breeding it was to satisfy my own head. I developed my palette early on by sampling all the cannabis strains going on from the land races of ancient yore. There’s nothing out there like those strains. We are getting closer with hash. We can have A-Grade Hash, but I seriously question whether we can have A-grade bud outside of the tropics.
Combining your teachings with ethics is very reminiscent of the Greek concept of knowledge. That with all understanding, you had to start with ethics.
When people come to learn from me they are often seeking information, but they also really want enlightenment. The knowledge I possess from sampling the great works of yore, the trial and error I’ve seen, well, as people did for me in my time, I try to do now.
One of the things I really attribute to my success is just being born at the right time. I started smoking herb in 1971. It was beneficial to me in that those who came before me paved the way, they made the mistakes that I didn’t have to make.
Back then, there was a tremendous variety because of the work of the people before me; quality was an issue. That’s why I’m here and that’s what I teach.
One of DJ Short’s most famous strains is Blueberry. In an article he wrote about its origins, the esteemed cultivator said the strain was discovered and stabilized from a cross between a female Juicy Fruit Thai (or a female Purple Thai) and a male Afghani Indica. Its smooth smoke and euphoric effects are legendary—but the blueberry muffin taste is where the name came from.