Hello To Our Friends in the Cannabis Community!
We’re very grateful that so many of you have told us that you like the information and ideas that we’re sharing in our new series of articles. We thought that the New Year would be a good time to talk about why we believe so strongly in this mission.
We see ourselves as a group of friends who are always learning, not as experts engaged in one-way conversations and not as sellers of proprietary information.
We believe in the power of shared knowledge to bring about positive change. We also know that change is achieved only by action, after being initiated with words and ideas.
Our approach with these articles is to help one another understand every aspect of the science and practice behind Cannabis, our shared passion. With every article we intend to create a credible, shareable growing information resource that we hope will become ever more complete as people in the growing community contribute their perspectives and knowledge.
With legalization sweeping the land, our goal is to help people to learn how to grow their own in order to be able to share their harvest with friends and family. We are working to help people learn and apply good growing practices that will give them consistently high quality, clean and healthy flowers. We'll discuss new findings on the Cannabis plant and flower microbiome and how growers can detect and manage both beneficial and pathogenic microbes, viruses, viroids, molds and fungi. We’ll look closely at the newest science in areas where we think there are potential practical applications for growers and pass that information along.
We’ll advocate for the use of natural and biological pathogen and mold controls, and we will communicate the science around both fact and myth in this area. We’ll also share knowledge around the health impact of inhaled pesticides and fungicides and we'll share the medical science behind exposure risks to growers and consumers. We believe that at a minimum transparently responsible growing practices are an essential precondition for producing high quality medical-grade Cannabis.
We’ll talk about solutions found by people like caregivers for elderly parents, or those who pharmaceuticals haven’t helped and who have learned to create their own medicine gardens.
Our purpose in researching and writing these articles is to share decades of experience to help the community sort through and apply useful information that is often buried in obscure technical & scientific research journal papers.
We do this by bringing that science together with the combined wealth of growing experience in our core Authentic Genetics community of growers - people who we communicate with regularly around ever-evolving best practices.
Our goal is to empower both experienced and first-time growers with actionable and just plain interesting information and ideas. We are dedicated to empowering people in any of life’s circumstances to be able to grow their own Cannabis and to grow it for others. We realize and respect that most people have limited time and resources. Our articles will document and share the true economics of indoor and outdoor small-scale & home growing. We’ll cut through the BS and share practical how-to information like realistic growing equipment options and experience-based best practices for indoor, outdoor and greenhouse crop management.
Finally, and most important to us, we hope that you will be inspired to contribute your experience and ideas to this growing community resource.
Personal notes from Authentic Genetics contributors:
From Bill Drake:
I wrote Cultivators Handbook in 1969-70 to empower people to become growers for themselves and their friends and family in the belief that if we didn’t learn to grow our own we would become consumer slaves to government and corporate cannabis. I simply wanted to say to my fellow travelers in the 1970s that unlike growing our own food, which many were also struggling to do, growing our own Cannabis is easy, and it is our best way to come together as a community and defy the machine. I saw the chemicals and pesticides being used on Cannabis wherever it was being grown, and knew that unless we grew our own clean flowers, generations of innocent smokers ahead would be fed toxic contaminated weed by drug cartels. I hadn’t anticipated that the government would spray lethal poisons on Cannabis crops, but with the new “War On Drugs” that shouldn’t have been a surprise. I badly underestimated the depths of cruelty and greed that were and still are at work.
I have always believed in the power of the people to overcome, and in the power of the spirit of Cannabis to prevail.
I first started growing cannabis after trading a $20 dollar bag of pot for a Mel Frank grow book back in January of 1984 and my life was never the same again. As a child in the 70’s, I had ten different tumors throughout my body between ages 2 and 15 that caused me to start using cannabis under my mother’s supervision while undergoing both chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Her idea to give me cannabis during cancer therapy was because she had read in a “Good Housekeeping” (February 1978) article that Cancer patients had been given marijuana during treatment with positive results. My mother talked to my doctor about the article and he felt that cannabis was not a bad option to assist with the violent nausea associated with chemotherapy. So in 1979, on my way home from a combination chemotherapy & radiation therapy session, my mother gave me a joint and told me to sip it like it was a straw. The anti-nausea effect was instantaneous and before we made it home I already started to feel better. This experience caused me to become a lifetime student of cannabis and its medical effectiveness for a variety of conditions.
I wrote my first book, “How to Grow Medical Marijuana” in 1997 in an effort to bring more attention to the medical utility of cannabis and the simplicity of cultivating it at home. And now, 25 years later, it is still my goal to bring information as empowerment to the community and to help others to realize the healing powers of nature available at their fingertips.
From Mel Frank:
How it began for me:
The last 9 months of my 4 years in the Navy were on shore duty in Baltimore while my ship was undergoing a major renovation. Almost all of the more than 200 crew were transferred to other ships, except 8 of us, who literally had nothing to do, so we read.
It was 1967 and cultural news that summer was dominated by stories of young people using marijuana, LSD, and other drugs. Despite the always included warnings of dire consequences, I couldn’t wait to get out and join the party. I completed my service that September, stayed with my family for several weeks before moving to Manhattan, NY. I lucked into finding a 7-room, rent-controlled apartment, got a job, and proceeded to look for some of this marijuana and LSD.
My apartment had unobstructed eastern views with lots of sunlight, and I filled the rooms with plants, as an incredibly cheap way to decorate and fill the apartment. I even started growing little flowering plants under fluorescent lights in shelves in shaded areas.
Near the end of 1967 a friend’s brother brought marijuana, showed me how to roll a joint, and left after I had rolled 5 joints. I shared all 5 in one sitting with my girlfriend and her best friend. We couldn’t carry on a conversation because of our uncontrolled, nonstop laughing. I was “hooked.”
A dealer at work began supplying me Mexican for $20/ounce, but most of that weight was in seeds and stems. I began thinking about trying to grow these seeds. I only knew that hemp was a field crop and grew tall. So in April, 1968, I tried to recreate a field by making a rectangular frame with 1 X 8 boards to hold the soil over a plastic sheet. The bed was “hidden” in the smallest room which had no sunlight. I hung two 4-foot fluorescents set on 16 hours. After 5 months, only a few male flowers had shown. It was winter with short days and outside the growing season was over. So I tried reducing the hours of light to 13 hours. Every plant flowered in what seemed like only days.
After that first awkward try, I grew constantly. The growing room improved with each crop, eventually having six 8-foot fluorescent tubes on a 4x8 plywood sheet. The ballasts were mounted on a wall to make a lightweight system easy to raise and lower. The bed was replaced after the second crop because the plants grew at such different rates that movable pots were necessary to keep the plant tops close to the now slanted light systems. The plants’ health also constantly improved and my harvests went from leaf, male flowers, and immature buds to actual ripe buds.
I quit my job in 1970 and worked various temporary jobs. One night talking with a journalist friend, I mentioned that I needed to do something to make rent. Writing being easy for him, he suggested that I write an article and we would sell it. I laughed and said I can’t write and don’t know anything to write about. But he encouraged me to just think about something I did know and he’d help with my writing. After a few days, I decided to write about growing, which I’d been doing for almost 4 years, brought my article to him for editing and took the article to Rolling Stone’s New York office. A few weeks later the publisher called, saying that the article would be a two part series in the New York Flyer of Rolling Stone, then he asked, “What name do you want to use.” I hadn’t thought of that, but looking at my 3 cats -- Melon, Frank, and Yammie – almost immediately I said, “Mel Frank.”
At the same time, Ed Rosenthal also went to Rolling Stone’s office with an article to promote his work, where he sold growing systems, which consisted of a 4-foot fluorescent fixture over 4-inch pots that he would set up in your apartment. The publisher gave him my contact info and, when we met, he almost immediately suggested we write a book together. I didn’t want that, but Ed was persistent, so months later we flushed out my article with some outdoor info and off Ed went, looking for a publisher. He found Level Press in San Francisco, which published and named the book The Indoor Outdoor Highest Quality Marijuana Grower’s Guide. It sold for $3.95
By the time that first little Grower's Guide was published in 1974, I had learned a lot more since 1971 when it was written. I had had another 3 years of growing and was in college at CCNY, taking all the botany and biology that were offered. That little 94 page book was embarrassing to me and I was determined to write the best book I could, including history, botany, chemistry, and growing indoors or out.
I spent the summer of 1975 in California with Ed Rosenthal and visited a couple of backyard grows and a few primitive wilderness grows. I graduated that December and moved to San Francisco, then Oakland, where Ed and I bought a house. We converted a decent-sized outbuilding to a greenhouse by replacing the roof with junkyard windows and non-see-through side windows, where I proceeded to grow lots of landraces as almost everything was a landrace then. I bought a camera for needed photos as there weren’t any available to illustrate the writing, and also got a used microscope for photo-micrographs to illustrate the resin glands. In 1976 and 1977, I visited all the guerrilla marijuana grows I could, almost all in California, to both learn and photograph. The resulting Marijuana Grower’s Guide Deluxe began shipping in 1977.