California has a beautiful Mediterranean climate, with wondrously mild seasons and fresh ocean air. Paired with its rich, nutritious soil, California has long been a grower’s paradise — and thanks to the Golden States laid-back, liberal culture, it has long been a pot grower’s paradise, too. In fact, many of the most beloved weed strains around the world started right here in California.
As a challenge, I spend my weekend searching the recreational dispensaries near me for some legendary strains that are Cali-born and Cali-bred. Here are some of my favorites, which you should search out, too:
The story of OG Kush is a true love letter to marijuana in an age when the good green was a serious legal issue. In the late ‘90s, a California grower named Josh D. was traveling the world on the hunt for the best strains, and he came across a Florida strain technically named Kryptonite but was more often called Kush. Josh brought both Kush and its grower, “Bubba” Berger back to Los Angeles, the pair developed a style of indoor cultivation that increased the potency of the plant and revolutionized the industry on the West Coast. Like other legendary strains, OG Kush has dozens of copycats — more than 91, to be precise — but the OG remains one of the best strains in the biz.
Girl Scout Cookies
Named for its delightful smell, which many say closely mimic the seasonal treats (which go so well with a good high), Girl Scout Cookies (often abbreviated to GSC) is a famous strain with a hazy history. Undoubtedly, GSC comes from California, likely in the northern climes which are widely believed to be a sort of marijuana Mecca. The most common family tree ascribed to GSC says it descends from the South African sativa Durban Poison and Cali’s own OG Kush, but some speculate that GSC’s genetics have a bit of a Florida strain called F1 as well as the famous indica Granddaddy Purple. GSC has been so popular that it has spawned a lineage of sweet-smelling strains, including Thin Mint and Platinum Cookies.
Blue Dream is a wonderfully balanced strain that helps you feel relaxed and content without bringing on the intense euphoria or couch-lock that other legendary strains have a reputation for. First appearing in Santa Cruz in 2003, Blue Dream has gained renown in a relatively short time. This is largely due to the strain’s genetics: Silver Haze and Blueberry combine to create a delectably sweet aroma and a mellow, comforting high. In recent years, growers have tried to revitalize Blue Dream by rebranding with new names, like Azure Haze, but in truth, Blue Dream is a classic that stands the test of time.
Unlike other strains on this list, Sour Diesel (nicknamed SourD) smells and tastes unmistakably like fuel — but you’ll forgive that once you start to experience its effects. In truth, before Sour Diesel, the term “diesel” was marijuana slang for exceptionally good weed. According to legend, on a Grateful Dead tour in 1991, a Chem Dog plant accidentally crossed with another cannabis strain (possibly Super Skunk, possibly Northern Lights) and Sour Diesel was born. SourD tends to act fast, relieving stress and pain while stimulating creativity and euphoria — a near-perfect California weed strain.
SFV OG, and by extension its equally beloved offspring SFV OG Kush, is so proud to be from California that it makes its origins part of its name. SFV stands for San Fernando Valley, the region just north of Los Angeles where the city’s elite tend to make their homes and where the strain was originally bred and cultivated. The OG is an opulent indica-dominant hybrid strain, and when it was bred with another Cali legend OG Kush, the resulting SFV OG Kush is a well-balanced true hybrid that smells like pine and lemon.
While Skywalker OG is related to OG Kush, it has made a name for itself thanks to its strong hazy visuals and powerful mental clarity. Skywalker gained its name thanks to its father, a grower named Luke who developed it from two prominent Dutch cannabis plants (Mazar Papa and Blueberry) as well as the adored OG Kush somewhere in California around Y2K. As yet, Disney hasn’t pursued the Skywalker strain for copyright infringement (an emerging trend thanks to changing marijuana laws), so it might be that this strain never will go away.
California’s climate and progressive attitudes have long made it a marijuana grower’s haven, and given that California’s weed laws are some of the most liberal in the country, the Golden State should continue to be a golden place to grow. We should keep a lookout for the next greatest strain, which is sure to come out of the best coast.