The untold story of the first autoflowering cannabis strain by Doctor's Choice

Prepare for an exclusive interview as our judge Vincent delves deep into the captivating journey of Sasha, also known as Dr. Choice, unveiling the fascinating narrative behind the creation of the very first autoflowering cannabis strain. Explore the birth of groundbreaking genetics that forever transformed the cannabis industry. Get ready to be captivated by the behind-the-scenes account of how this revolutionary strain reshaped the world of cannabis cultivation. 

Vince: Welcome, Sasha. Welcome to have you here with my tour crew. I introduced you a little bit. I told them a little bit what I already made my research and where I got to know you in Barcelona. It was really nice to get in touch with you as a judge during the Autoflower World Cup 2023. Nice to have you here. 

Sasha: Oh, thanks a lot. Thanks, Vince. It's nice to be here on Vince and Talks. 

Vince: Yeah. So, introduce yourself a little bit, tell the people where you're coming from, how long you are in the industry, and later we will get deeper in all the stuff with your genetics and your work with you have been doing the last couple of years. 

Sasha: Sure. Well, my name is Sasha. I also call myself the Joint Doctor in the world of cannabis breeding and seeds. I'm Canadian. Actually, I still live in Canada where I am right now. But also, in Europe, I'm very active with our seed bank called Doctor's Choice, and it's mainly automatic auto-flowering strains, but we have a growing catalog. So, that's where I'm at now. I've been cannabis breeder and lover and student pretty much all my life, and I've been lucky enough to make a career out of it. 


Yeah. The same I can say also if we didn't legalize till now, I'm already able to feed my family with that and I'm really blessed. Yeah, Sasha. So, you said you live in Canada. So, which time do we have at the moment on your side of the globe? 


It's actually quarter past one in the afternoon.  


And that the people just get the clue where we are connected through right now. You're sitting in a facility, in a legal cannabis facility right now. Huh?


I am. I'm sitting at J2Science. This is actually my friend's facility and I've been helping them out a part of the time. So, basically, this is a processing facility. Actually, we don't grow right here. We process various types of extracts and package them for sale in the various legal stores in Canada. So, it's a pretty new business, but that's why it's so sparkling and clean. They have very strict regulations about that. 


I assume it's like the vertical integration. It's a part of the chain. So, after growing, you have processing and you bring it just so that it's for the shelf ready. 


Yeah. The way that the licensing works in Canada for commercial production, you have the cultivation is generally separate. It's by itself. Cultivation happens in separate facilities, high security, etc. And very high standards of cleanliness. It's pretty much a sterile environment. We have here, this is a processing license. So, it's a different license. We don't grow it. We purchase our product from growers but we're an independent small private company.

Vince: Nice. So, the people right now know that you are working already also in the legal industry. Just to warm up a little bit, how many years now? You have in fifth year, I would say, in Canada of a legal market? 

Sasha: I think that's correct. Yes. 

Vince: Yeah. Something around five years. 

Sasha: Not quite I don't think it's five years yet. Yeah, it's been about four years, I would say. But regardless, before that, there was medical permits that were allowed, there was a system that was only you could grow your own or grow some for a medical patient, which was not a commercial type of license. So, now with full legalization, what that means is only legal places to buy cannabis products is in the government license stores, and in each province, they have these stores that are mostly controlled by the provincial government. So, we're dealing with government that various levels. 

Vince:  Levels. I don't want to go too deep into that, but we are aware that also a lot of regulations will hit Germany, and we already had here also on Twitch a lot of streams. And we have heard already, just to make it short for the people, the government is buying the product from the growers, so it's going through the bottleneck of the government. Or is it still, right? 

Sasha: Well, yeah, but I have to make a precision there because the federal government, Canada, right, it regulates it. It does make all the rules and it collects taxes, duty. On each gram of cannabis that's sold, there's a stamp on there and that's how the federal government, they make the rules and they get their money that way. Now, we don't sell, they don't buy, the federal government is not a weed dealer. Now, that's the province's governments, right? Because each province is allowed to have little bit different regulations like 18 years old, 19, 21. There's differences. Quebec here, we don't allow concentrates above 30%. Now, we have to deal here, like we have to deal individually with each of those provincial governments and they make the orders or they have the agency that makes orders for their stores. So, sometimes they have different labeling requirements different province--


Vince: For each province. Okay. I get it. So, a lot of regulation and also, I would say, what I think when I hear something about such a system is that the product has a long way from being ready to consume to the end consumer. Is this the right assumption?

Sasha: Yes. Indeed. It's expensive to grow in this sort of legal format because there's so many requirements that have nothing to do with the actual delivery of product. 

Vince: Grow, drying, selling, being happy. 

Sasha: Exactly. There's a lot of artificial barriers that make it expensive. And, I mean, there's still a gray black market, whatever you want to call it. They're still there because they can offer better prices, right? The government can't beat the street prices. 

Vince: And the last question about this topic, how would you rate the quality from the gray market compared to the, at the moment, provided products at the legal market? 

Sasha: I would say that, well, from what I hear from a lot of people that I know they get through the gray market and they have great choice, better prices, often better quality. But I can't generalize because now it's been like four or five years, so there's more and more good products out there. 

Vince: Yes. As a German cannabis patient, I can tell you that a lot of, well, not all, but mainly the cannabis, the good quality cannabis is grown in Canada and shipped through the medical system to Germany. And by that, I also can say that in the last couple of years, really the quality was really rising and got on a certain level where I say, okay, this is a product where an average consumer would say, well, this is a great product I would buy in a legal recreational system. Yeah. 

Sasha: Absolutely. It's good quality, good quality. You could say it's mass produced for the most part.

Vince: 100%. It's not crafted, but I hear a good thing that in Canada also now the crafted growers really got their possibilities to get into the market and really because at the beginning it was really big cannabis.

Sasha: Yeah. Exactly. 

Vince: And the crafted growers is what the people are asking for. This is why they still are going to the gray market because there's the crafted cannabis. 

Sasha: Of course, of course. I mean, a lot of people who invested in this legal cannabis market in the beginning, they made the assumption that bigger will be better, and it's absolutely not the case. People don't want industrial weed. They want to know who grew the weed. They want to shake the hand of the farmer. This is what makes something extra special when you see you know where it comes from. Yes, those micro producers are the future, small producers, but it's very hard for them to get in the market because actually advertising is, you can't advertise. It's very hard to get the word out there about new products, right? It's like alcohol, cigarettes, they still have ways, but they're treating cannabis as worse than that. I guess they're being too careful in the beginning and things will hopefully relax in the future.

Vince:  So, how many years are you now in the industry overall working or how many years are you in touch with the plant really working on the plant? 

Sasha: I guess I started out watering my father's plants probably when I was 15. So, that would be almost 40 years ago. So, yeah. 

Vince: Second generation or third generation already? 

Sasha: Yeah. Second generation. My father came from Poland and he discovered weed and we became farmers, organic farmers, and he was always-- he started growing product that a lot of people would come to see as I remember when I was young. So, very interesting characters would come and-- Because there wasn't a lot of good grass in those days since media. So, my father got pretty good at it. Ultimately, he paid a price for that. He got busted so that affected my life. I tried to find a way to continue my passion with this plant in a safe way for my family. And my father's still, he's still a great gardener and he tests my seeds out for me, right in his garden.

Vince: Great. And when it became really that you start to work on genetics because this will be a huge part of our topic today, I think that you influence the section of the automatic, not photoperiod genetics. And how started your story to become a breeder?

Sasha: Well, yeah. Initially, I was growing for flower, and obviously, we were just-- I say we because I was part of a generation of guys like me who were very interested in weed who grew up in the country and a lot of us grew weed. It was a nice something to do in the summers back then. We have a good climate and so I started to look for strains. And I was especially looking for smaller strains because these big plants that we grew in the beginning, I mean, they were hard to grow because it was many risks involved in growing something that you have to wait five months and get a huge plant that's ready only in September. So, I was always looking towards like trying to find some shorter strains. And a couple of my friends also were in that sharing that interest, so we traded. So, I ended up start collecting seeds and trading seeds with friends. And one of the strains that I got from this guy, Antonio, was Mexican Canadian. The strain was called Mexican ruderalis. And I've got to tell you about this because it's really the first ancestor of Lowryder, which is considered like the first 100% auto-flowering strain. Lowryder came out in like 2003, but actually the story goes back further than that. 

I ended up moving to different places and taking my seed collection with me. I lived in Vancouver and I ended up this one time we spent-- this one year I spent-- we were growing in a spare room. Vancouver was very tolerant city to weed back then. It still is. I moved there just because of that, just because of the whole like hemp BC phenomenon that was happening and the tolerance. And I ended up making a lot of different hybrids with this Mexican ruderalis. Of course, we didn't know what it would turn out to be, but later on, through selection, it became something that I kept on working for a couple of generations. And fast forward to about 1996, '97, I was growing in my friend, Dave's Basement. Dave became my photographer and partner over the years, a brilliant guy cannabis, lover as well. So, we planted these seeds that were actually a William's Wonder crossed with Northern--

Vince: Yeah. I made a little bit my research. I had to go and dig a little bit so that I'm not completely naked when it comes to the Stream. It's really nice to have you here. And by the way, guys, if you want to give Sasha a follow, my night bot is regularly posting right now also today's guest. You see two accounts. The first will be his private one and the second one is from his company, from his seed bank. So, to come back to the topic. So, your Lowryder, it's a cross between William's wonder and the Northern Lights too. So, the William's Wonder is--

Sasha: And the Mexican ruderalis.

Vince:  Ah, okay. 

Sasha: Mexican ruderalis.

Vince: Yeah. I see it. Give me a second. I told you I can show the people also something in the Stream. So, here we see on SeedFinder, we see the William's Wonder unknown indica, Northern Lights and downstairs, it's Mexican ruderalis. So, thank you very much too. It's really tiny on your screen, but the people saw it. So, that's is the important part. 

Sasha: Yeah. I mean, so Mexican ruderalis, nobody knows exactly what Mexican ruderalis is, but it happened to be a plant you could go-- Antonio was a guy that he had different strains, but this one year that it was a very dry summer, meaning there was no weed around, nothing to smoke, but I went to see Antonio and he had these plants that were ready in July. They were small plants. 

Vince: Whoa. Okay. 

Sasha: Yeah. I mean, so this is very unusual, but-- So, it was really a nice smoke, but it was really not a very strong plant, like it was very short-lived high, but it tasted good, and we didn't have anything to smoke, so nobody complained. Right? It was just kind of-- We never knew what the full story behind this Mexican ruderalis, actually ruderalis is-- But all we knew was Antonio was from Mexico and he met a lot of people in his life. So, that's maybe-- I won't go too deeply into that. What we discovered that was different about this strain was that it happened when we were growing over the winter in my buddy Dave's basement, and we're just growing under 24 hours of light starting our seedlings. Right? Just under fluorescence. 

Vince: Yeah, just to vegetate them. 

Sasha: It wasn't anything fancy, you know? We were growing underground, small scale. And after two weeks, I kid you not, these tiny little plants were like 15 centimeters tall, and three of them started to put out male flowers. This was crazy because as how can a seedling go straight to flowering under 24 hours? This was against--

Vince: And we know that males come first mostly.

Sasha: Yeah. Male come first and the females start flowering a week later. But everyone understood cannabis as being a photoperiod plant. And this is where we're like, aha, no, actually these are non-photoperiod cannabis as well. Just by crossing those small plants together, we were able to get that 100% auto-flowering trait in that first generation. Of course, I didn't have many seeds. We didn't start selling seeds or anything yet.

Vince: You were growing for the flower and to provide yourself with--

Sasha: Yeah. It was just, it was actually good smoke. Especially the first generation was actually really good. Surprisingly, contrary to what you would hear, those first generations there was some hybrid vigor in there, and the goodness from like the William's Wonder came through. William's Wonder was one of my favorite plants, right? Of course, we have to multiply it, because I'm like, hey, we got to get these seeds out there. I was on forums back there a lot, trading seeds with this-- Internet phenomenon was like blowing up. 

Vince: Yeah, man. For boards, people exchanging knowledge, sharing the first-time cuts and seeds internationally went also really good through the Internet early days. 


Sasha: Yeah. Unfortunately, some of the all those sites don't exist anymore because they got too popular. We got too big. Everything was underground back then. Anyway, the seeds start to get out there and Dave was involved in seed business. So, first batch of seeds I produced was probably like 300 or 400 seeds and those went out and--

Vince: Small plants, small batches of seeds. 

Sasha: Small batches of seeds. The package of seeds says eight weeks from seeding to harvest. That was the selling point. It was like, this is the fastest strain in the world. 

Vince: [German 00:32:15] from seed to harvest. Small plants, by the way, for sure, not to compare with photoperiod, but it's a unique niche also for balconies and all the stuff. I also, Sasha, I remember the days when I started to grow indoor, when I switched from outdoor to indoor, I was really looking for small and fast-flowering plants because I was growing also in a tiny environment. It was a closet just built to a grow box here. But I don't want to interrupt, but I feel connected to the need of small fast-flowering plants.

Sasha: Well, yeah. It's like guys like you and me and anybody who wants to grow a plant on their balcony, that's what made auto flowers popular. It's not big commercial growers that adopt.

Vince: Cheers. 

Sasha: Cheers. Yeah.  

Vince: To this, we will come also a little bit later where you see the benefits and the right use cases for auto-flowerings. I think there are a lot of misconceptions. And also, I have to say, I'm not sure if I would really say for each type of beginner, if it's the right thing, it depends which environment, what do you want to do. Do you really want to get deep into the knowledge of growing cannabis? Or do you just want to throw something into the soil and you have a balcony or you have a garden and you want just to have something extra? And I have to admit that at the Autoflower Cup, there have been some genetics which haven't been able to separate by a regular smoke. To this we will come later. So, you have been growing. You moved to Vancouver. I'm right? 

Sasha: Right. 

Vince:  So, just to be at the epicenter of cannabis in Canada, I can completely understand that. I can tell you a lot of people from Bavaria, yeah, from the south of Germany, they moved to Berlin, 100% of the same reason. And I just will give the people here also a small nugget. In Berlin, there is a huge underground scene of cannabis enthusiasts, I just will call it like that, in any directions, but they meet there because in this big city, they can live really in the shadow, and it's crazy. It's something like you are telling us. 

Sasha: Exactly. A city like Berlin, city like Vancouver have the police force realizes that they have bigger problems than cannabis. Cannabis is not-- is a minor problem compared to homelessness, compared to addictive narcotics and a lot of issues. So, luckily, Vancouver is a tolerant place and because of that, this movement grew and this sort of rebellious spirit where it was just like we're being tolerated right now and we're going to just-- A lot of us moved there to take advantage of that situation and try to make a living or just-- That's why the best growers still is in Vancouver.  

Vince: Yeah. I can hear a lot of good things about the growers, especially all in Canada. I also know a few of them, so I can't wait to visit you one day over there. So, yeah. So, then you started to sell your packs of seeds with the unique selling point ready to harvest and five flowers from seed to harvest eight flowers. So, how did the story develop? 

Sasha: Yeah. Well it's been-- The story of how Lowryder got out there is actually it's a series of adventures over the years, but after I sent this first batch, and I believe it was-- I first got in touch with the UK seed market because there was already a few seed companies, like Seedman had just started up and they were some of the first guys who were interested in my seeds. And I only had one variety. I was just selling Lowryder at the beginning. And so, a lot of the seeds went to Europe. Next thing you know--

Vince: One question before we go into that, which makes me really curious, how do you-- Is there something you have to have an eye on when you are breeding automatics? Because from the moment you were aware of your treasure that you have there something special, did you had a clue, a feeling how to keep breeding your lines? Or was it something which came with the time? 

Sasha: Yeah. It took a couple of generations. It came over time because the way we saw auto has changed. In the beginning, we saw it as, well, it was kind of as a novelty, but it is a small plant. It was a cute plant. Nice, good, but a novelty. That's something that we tended to grow in small pots and didn't know exactly how to maximize the output of these plants, right? As we, over the generations, like, took a couple years to realize that, look, the more you can give this plant in that whatever 60 days that you have, because it's a short life, whatever you do you're going to get bigger bucks. So, now there's phenomenon of like bigger and bigger autos and autos that delay a little more before they start flowering.

Vince:  So, they can get bigger. 

Sasha: Yeah. Bigger. And so, in the beginning, it was like, this is how it started. We used the first males to flower because those are for sure autos, right? But then we learn that's not very good to do because you don't want plants that are too small. We started to have like there was a percentage of very small. We call them micro plants.

Vince: Lollipops. Just a little head button. That's it. 

Sasha: Yeah. Exactly. You got a few of those in the beginning and we learned that you had to be careful and you had to do good selection. But that's hard to do when you're growing on a small scale like we were doing back then. 

Vince: What's small scale? 

Sasha: Small scale was talking about like, small scale would be 50 or 100 plants. 

Vince: Okay. Perfect. Thank you. 

Sasha: Yeah. So, it became a difficult thing to-- As it became bigger, and let's remember that this was still an underground thing, it was difficult for me to grow vertically. I started to work with other growers like myself as I started to work on different varieties and then I took on more the role of just sort of overseeing the growth because I couldn't grow it all myself. I still wanted to stay safe. And in Canada, as long as I kept, in my mind, at this time, as I kept under 100 plants, I was relatively safe. And this was before medical license was possible. So, it's like I couldn't get too big. But meanwhile, Lowryder auto-farm was going crazy, so a lot of people took my genetics and used them to produce. There was a lot of you could say copying going on, but that's a little negative connotation. Of course, I was happy for people to use my breeds and maybe come up with something better, better and bigger breeders than myself--

Vince: Thank you very much for this comment because there is a lot of times in the breeding, let's say, section, some breeders go exactly with this attitude is same, I would say I go with this. If somebody buys my work and creates something new with it, you as somebody who is part of this process can be proud.  And I think clap to people who create something even better with your product than being mad that they work with you because we have to think about everybody started with somebody else's seeds in the breeding world where we have now over 20,000 different strains. Who has been in the mountain hunting their own fucking first seeds from nature? Nobody to be true, not really. So, yeah. 

Sasha: Absolutely. Yeah. We can't let our egos get too big, right? 

Vince: Thank you very much. So, let's get back a little bit to because it's really interesting. Do you remember a site--? I don't know because you said UK was the first country abroad where you were selling your genetics. I think also Pick 'n' Mix seeds is from the UK. This was a site where you could pick really-- they opened the packs for you, and they sold the single seed. And this was something great because especially as a beginner, you want to test so many stuff. And I think that I bought also some Lowryder really long time ago, because I wanted to test them. And then you go by Pick n Mix, and you could buy one seed, one seed, one seed and you got a pack. This was crazy. But Seedman I also remember 100%.

Sasha: That was the first. I know the guy you were talking about who started to sell them by a single seed, it was pretty much a new concept. Before that, it was always 10 seeds. But yeah, pretty soon after the UK, I start to get calls from Italians and from Russians who wanted to become the biggest distributor of Lowryder. I had no idea it would go so crazy, but actually it became one of the bestselling strains of all time. And that wasn't the first generation, it was Lowryder number 2, a little later, but yeah, it was quite a ride. 

Vince: Sasha, I'm sorry to interrupt you. I don't want to be unpolite, but somebody wrote a German "who haven't been growing or who haven't had Lowryder in his life throw the first stone". So, a lot of people who are a certain age for sure because growers are all the time, or especially home growers are curious. And if you get access in the early days to a seed bank where you could pick from different brands, for sure, you had all the time like a little mix of everything. You were looking where you got with your budget. Can I buy from three different breeders or three different strains or a package with? It was also good at the end when they lowered the amount of seeds in a pack, so you could split your budget on different strains. It was a nice time when this occurred.

Sasha: It's true. They made seeds more accessible to just anybody, not just big growers.


Vince: So, have been there a moment where somebody came to you and said, "Sasha, look what I did with your genetic as part of his new lineage?" 

Sasha: Yeah. Quite a few times. It happens quite a bit. I used to be more involved in the online world. To be honest, I'm not so much anymore because I just don't have the time. It can really consume every bit of time you have. But for a while, I had a forum called hybrid.net, and what it was, it was like this, it was a brain trust, if you will, a repository of information about autos, and it was constantly evolving. And there was a lot of people on there, some were from all, it was Germans, there was a lot of Americans, who were doing their own Lowryder, their own auto-flowering experiments and sharing it online. And I was kind of like hosting all that, and I never took a negative stance against that because, look at today, that's how auto flowers got out there. It's basically like open source. It's like in software, right, where this is open-source genetics. So, that was meant to be shared. 

Vince: Great metaphor. I don't know how the word but it's a nice association. It's open source. Yeah. If somebody have the code, he can work with it. 

Sasha: Exactly. Exactly. Chances are someone will do a better job than me. In a way, my job is done. I can sit back and watch this creation evolve because I was part of it, but there's always another chapter for me.

Vince:   So, how was it going after? You developed a Lowryder 2? 

Sasha: Yeah. So, at the time, I was growing in Canada, and I started to be able to grow safely, I got a medical permit to grow. That was, I think, in the late 2000s. I started to get a permit where I could do a little more research. I built myself a greenhouse and I started to cross it with some of the other strains that we had, some popular strains back then like Diesel. We created a Diesel Ryder, we created a Purple Ryder and a little bit later, a Chronic Ryder. So, these were auto-flowering versions of strains that already existed. That's how I started to grow my catalog. 

Vince: I'm sorry. Did you use to create this crosses because you, let's say you had the Chronic or you had the Diesel, so you popped some seeds or did you get to clone a female and you went with a male automatic through it? Or did you-- Sasha, this is something really the people-- This is the golden nugget of the show today. So, the people really want to know, did you use more to get the automatic trait, the male side? Or tell us something about your combination and what your work was these days when you created Lowryder crosses with other genetics. 

Sasha: Right. Well, you all understand the concept that just an autoflowing version of a strain of a flavor that you already know and love. So, here is just a version that you can grow quicker. Of course, it's not that simple to do. I mean, it takes more than one generation because the auto-flowering trait is recessive. So, let's say you take it and cross a Lowryder with Diesel Ryder, you're going to get something that well, a lot of times it will taste more like the mother for genetic reasons. So, you have a clone. We worked with the clones because everyone who was serious about growing and was growing clones back then. And there were only a few good ones that were going around like Diesel. And so, you take the mother clone, cross it with a pollen from a fully automatic plant. The next generation is not actually going to be automatic. Maybe quicker flowering, quicker to mature, but it's not going to be--

Vince: A fast version, a little bit faster. 

Sasha: Exactly. Now we call it a fast version, right? Or some seeds call it fast version. 

Vince: Yeah. So, one question because really, I enjoy, especially the part of the Stream where we are right now. So, I think it's really hard to breed automatic because you can't hold-- In a project with feminized, or let's call regular seeds, you have the possibility that if you have a great mother or a great father who is dominant or recessive, you can use both and my Stream also know. If not, I will answer it later or someone else someday. You can hold this plant. If you have a major plant which have some good traces, you hold this plant in vegetation and you make some cuttings, and then you create some pollen, you can work whenever you want again. But with automatics, you get as an example, the Diesel cut. You can hold the Diesel cut as a mother as long as you want, because you can hold it as a mother, but then you have to pop and throw some seeds into the soil from the automatic side, select with your experience the father because it will be there just one season to give you the pollen, and then create a new line. Or how can I understand this process because I never have done that? 

Sasha: Well, that f1, the first generation that you're talking about, now, they're not automatic yet, but if you cross them together, the next generation, because 50% of those plants will have the automatic gene just in recessive format. Now you can have third generation or f2, you're going to have 25% of the plants are going to be auto. So, if you just keep those 25%, now you have a population that's auto-flowering so the next generation, you can multiply it and you have enough seeds for sale in theory, but that's not long enough because you still you haven't really done much selection. You just created an auto-flowering strain. You didn't test it out. So, really, it can take three, four, five, six generations, and you shouldn't take longer. Obviously, I learned that bigger populations and the more time you have, the better plants you can create, but we didn't necessarily have that luxury of time. 

Vince: In the underground hub. 

Sasha: Exactly. Anyway, you see like how-- I understand your point of it's very different breeding methodology. Work with just clones, you can keep those clones almost forever, and keep producing that same batch of seeds and that they will be the same. Right? But with autos, you just got to keep making new generations. I always need [crosstalk 00:54:12]. 

Vince: For me, this sounds extremely, yeah, it sounds extremely work intense.

Sasha: Oh, well, it's work intense, but, I mean, there are some advantages to breeding with autos because the life cycles are very short. So, you could do it on a small scale. But what you got to watch out for, I wanted to make this point earlier on, is auto-flowering has an ancestor which is ruderalis, which is a wild plant. It doesn't have the most desirable traits for smoking, right? Because it's a natural plant. It hasn't been selected for that purpose. And those genes are really strong. Those wild genes are really strong. And if you don't select against that, after a couple of generations, your weed will the potency will go down and they'll look not as nice. They'll look less like the Diesel mother and they'll look more like--

Vince: Oh, yeah. Like this, you mean?

Sasha: Just strange, weird. I mean, they can still be good. Not really great for production. Those wild genes, you have to sort of fight them. And now we're many, many generations later and there's just incredible strains out there. 

Vince: Really nice. And then in the legal system when you got your I think it was something like a caregiver license which brought you into the legal system in the early days? Or how was it? 

Sasha: Like medical license? 

Vince: Yeah. When you had the possibility to grow your 100 plants or something like that. 

Sasha: Yeah. Yeah. It's because how it worked was if you were sick and you were able to-- Well, not sick. If you had some kind of condition and your doctor was willing to sign for you, then you could either apply to grow your own or you could designate somebody else to grow it for you if you can't do it. So, I became a designated grower.  

Vince: Sorry. 

Sasha: Bless you. Okay. Thanks. 

Sasha: To be safe, it was just about being a medical grower back then and it was you were allowed to grow a certain amount of plants, a number of plants based on the size of your prescription. Do you know what I mean? 

Vince: Yeah. 

Sasha: But the whole system was flawed and it kept me safe for several years.

Vince: So, what do you think about the auto genetics today? So, a lot of things changed to them. A lot of other breeders started to work. I think a lot of names we also saw at the automatic cup in Barcelona. So, from your side because you are in this field since years. To be true, I was growing some automatics in the early days and I had this experience where oh man, tiny plants, not that much yield, and sissy, really sissy plants. And some strains when you didn't-- And we know the roots today. Try to bring them into the first part from the beginning because the-- I don't know the word in English, the main root, which is looking for [crosstalk 00:58:16] 

Yeah. So, I translated really easy. When the roots are feeling okay, here the soil is over and the plant gets some signals from somewhere, okay, now hurry up and more isn't possible to grow higher because the root is also important for when it's windy. So, if the root gets the signal I can't dig deeper, the plant above the ground won't get bigger. So, this changed also a lot. But this is, just to finish that, this is also the reason why sometimes if a person is capable of growing any plants, an automatic can be a good choice. Yeah? If a person isn't really good in gardening, to give her automatic plant, it could be really a nightmare because she don't water well, she treats the plant with too many stress symptoms, and then automatics can be a little bit sissy. We know that. 

Sasha: That's true. That's true. I mean, it can go both ways. I've seen beginners with very good luck, like beginner's luck growing just on their balcony like they would grow their flowers and having very good success and they don't have preconceptions about how to grow them. They're just growing them like they would grow their tomatoes, for example, right?

Vince: Exactly. 

Sasha: They don't have to unlearn anything. Whereas some people just have a green thumb. But you can learn. Everybody can learn. I think it's all in us to a certain degree, the inner farmer, I call it. Everybody should try growing something once at least in your life, having a garden because it's just good for the soul, it's about giving a little bit of yourself every day and working and then reaping something that's it's so much better because you grew it yourself, something you're proud of. 

Vince: Best experience. Best experience with fruits, vegetables and also cannabis. 100%. So, the nice thing is really that also this is a therapeutic thing because at the end you have something that gives you joy. It's a beautiful experience. I can really recommend that. I forgot where I wanted to talk about next because there was something really interesting. You were talking about the experience of growing in the garden, your own stuff. Ah, yeah. So, I wanted to go a little bit into this direction. The best thing what you said about if you grow autos, the most important thing is don't over care. If you treat it like a tomato where, okay, I have to keep the plant alive and water it, but don't do too much to the plant. This could be beneficial for the first try, especially if you are aware that this is cannabis and I have to get everything out of this plant. You over treat the plant. So, this is something I would take with me if somebody ask me what to do, I will say, "Don't do that much. Just let it grow like a tomato." This is a good advice. 

Sasha: Don't do too much. It's not rocket science. 

Vince: Yeah. At the end, I think if the free ingredients are soil, light, fertilizer, and a little bit of love, and especially, if you have a legal state or country you're living in and you have a garden or a balcony, automatic is never a wrong choice to have fun and also to make your first experience, but also if you are experienced as well, you can figure out which genetics perform really well.  This is something I wanted to ask you. Do you have some good advices for automatic genetics?  So, also stuff maybe where your cross was used or where you said, "Man, I know this is a good automatic for our community." For advice. 

Sasha: Growing advice?

Vince: No. Genetic advice. 

Sasha: Genetics advice. I take it usually on a case-by-case basis because every individual might be looking for something different. Some people like to grow cannabis just because it's beautiful plant. It could be an ornamental plant in your garden. If that's the case, I would say grow some Purple Ryder, because each one is going to be a different color purple. If you're somebody who really wants just to get that original, the seed that started the whole thing, well, we still got Lowryder. It's improved Lowryder, but I mean, we sell it non-feminized form, so people could make their own seeds or use it to breed to their versions. Actually, we're some of the only guys who encourage people to make their own seeds, because we know that if they like our seeds, they like our brand, they'll come back. But we like to hear the stories, the success stories, and there's always more people that want to try to grow for the first start. 

Vince: So, guys, you heard Sasha. If you have one day in a legal situation in Germany, the dream of just playing around because this is how it starts, buy some seeds from Sasha, some Lowryder one regular, and he really asks you to work with it and to have fun in the garden. Great attitude. 

Sasha: Yeah. Through our website, we have a support program and we answer questions, we're accessible. You can talk to us, you can get advice and who knows, you might be growing the next best strain. There are new breeders out there that have come onto the scene and now that are working with us. So, that's how I started and that's how many other small growers get their start. You just need to just have a plan. You're breeding something specific, some specific flavor, just be patient, just keep your eyes on that goal.

Vince:  On that face. 

Sasha: Yeah. You'll absolutely reap the benefits and [crosstalk 01:05:21].

Vince: It's fun. It's really fun. We talked about how satisfying it is already to harvest a tomato, a grape, a papaya, a watermelon, or fucking weed, which gives you joy, not just satisfaction, also and a higher-level joy. I can say, this is one of the biggest lessons which cannabis brought into my life is, nobody could make it interesting for me to grow a plant, a vegetable, or a fruit because with ADHD to wait three, four months, it was, no, no, it's nothing for me. Today or tomorrow, it has to happen. But cannabis really teaches me to be patient over months to get rewarded at the end, a really important lesson in life. And this brought cannabis into my life, and I'm really thankful for that. 

Sasha: Yeah. That's true.

Vince: And also, breeding is the next level shit. I want to encourage also the regular home grower to start your own breeding project. Buy regular seeds, make some pollen chucking in the basement. It's fun. It's fun for yourself because at the end, you'd share the seeds with some friends and it starts somewhere the story of your own cross and then some friends come back to you and tell you, "Bro, I have some fino in your seeds. It's really killing it. "And then you get a cut and you work with it, and maybe, dreams to reality guys. Just play around and have fun with this plant also. I really can encourage you.

Sasha: Oh, yeah. I know there's a lot of good growers out there and it's not about being technical knowledge so much as just being patient and just having that passion that you and I share for this plant. It's a wonderful way that weed has brought in a lot of young, urban people into growing, into agriculture. And just like you said, learning to nurture something over several months and then reaping the benefits of that, I mean--

Vince: Sasha, you said something beautiful. I can't think that there is another plant in this world which brought so many people who live in urban environment, the interest of agriculture. I think this is a really good claim you brought on the desk. There is no other plant which brings so much interest into the young generation about agriculture, I think, overall, average in our society than cannabis. Same with me. I never, I never would thought that I would get so deep into fertilizer, plant biology, chemistry, breeding, shelving, everything. It's crazy. 

Sasha: Yeah. So, for you, it was like it was an opening a door that was opening to many, many different domains. How do you call that? It's like they say cannabis is a gateway drug Do you know what I mean? 

Vince: Yeah. 

Sasha: It's a gate to [crosstalk 01:09:10].

Vince: It's a gate to gateway to knowledge absorption. 

Sasha: Good life. Good living. Maybe a better alternative to other drugs. 

Vince: Or also a profession. We both can say that this plant brought today us into a situation where we can feed our family with it. 

Sasha: Yeah. We can feed our family, and it brought us together. A lot of people are here with us today.

Vince:  Guys, you have to imagine Sasha and I, we met at the Automatic Flower World Cup this year in the beginning of the season in March, in Barcelona, and it was really nice, we were sitting there. And this is something I really would like to end also our evening today. I would like to talk a little bit about what we both experienced at the Automatic Flower World Cup because we didn't had really opportunity to talk afterwards. We met when we got the samples, we sampled the first categories, sativa, and then everybody spread it away. How was it for you? 

Sasha: It was actually my first experience being a judge at this type of event. And it was it blew my mind because in reality, we only had two days, it was almost 40 different varieties. And we were also busy working a trade show at the same time and dealing with people and giving interviews. I had so any people putting cameras in my face. I'm like, "Have you no mercy, man? Don't you know I've just smoke 17 different varieties today?" But it was amazing. Luckily, I had my main man, Aziz, with me. You need an assistant for that kind of thing. It was fun when we got together, we smoked, we shared some-- We spent a couple of hours together with the judges, right? We looked at the different strains. It was really a lot of fun. But after you tested five or six strains, you start to be-- you forget to take notes. When you look at your notes later, it's like, you can't even read them. So, you really have to have someone with you, helping you write down the numbers and everything. It's difficult to evaluate the high individual strain. That's the hardest thing. 

Vince: We made it like we talked about that. I said to myself, if I smoke this strain and it tastes okay, it gets a four and if it's a highlight, it just gets a five on the effect. Because otherwise, you can't compare and differentiate. No way. 

Sasha: No. You can check out the appearance, the look, the smell, the taste, how it smokes. Absolutely. So, I was about the same as you. I tried to get just everything an even score for the high effect because we didn't have enough time, obviously. But I can tell you after smoking all of those joints and at that awards ceremony, I never tried so many strains in 24 hours. I felt great, man. I've never felt so amazing. I was just like I was reaping all the fruits of all these people who are growing autos and the best autos is all coming back to me. Man, I was very high.

Vince: And sativa category. So, we were really [puffing sound].  I can tell you, Sasha, because I'm also a grower from the bottom of my heart, just a sentence. I stopped growing five years when I started to show face for the German Cannabis movement. But I can tell you I'm blessed and also at the Grower, let's say Croptoberfest, at the Croptoberfest every year from when the growers meet, I smoked a lot of strains during one day. But to smoke 40 strains in 24, let's say, 30 hours, not in whole 48 hours, but it was hard. Now we come to the interesting part. I thought, okay, in the sativa section, there have been for sure place one, two, three, they have been okay, especially the first and second. But for me, the bangers came later to be true. This was crazy. Let's talk about the indica section. It was really the level of, from my perspective, it was sativa, indica, and then the new section. This was how boom. 

Sasha: There was a lot of the indica. I don't know what you-- I think a lot of them were hard to differentiate. I mean, there was a lot of similarities. It's difficult to focus because when you're judging, you just want to find that one winner that's going to stand out from everything else, but there was actually very high-quality samples. 

Vince: The puzzle was a lot of dry flowers. And I have to tell you, if I bring something to the table, one of the most important factors is to bring it on the table with the right humidity activity because if you don't have it on the right-- the immediately loss of terps when it gets too dry, in a competition, this is a disadvantage. 

Sasha: It is, you're right. Yeah, it's touching, but it's very important to get that humidity right. In general, if you're selling product out there, it has to have small amount of humidity in it and you have to make sure that it doesn't dry out completely before it gets to the market. 

Vince:  Yeah. And by the way, 200 people are listening because they really want to know what we think about automatics and how we judge them. In the indica category, you said a lot of stuff similar to each other, and I can underline that, but I tell you what I was looking for. And in the indica category, it really started to appear. I told my community when I would be at the Automatic World Cup in Barcelona, for me, which is really the benchmark where it starts to become good is in the moment I can't differentiate it to a feminized or regular cultivar. Because from there, we hit the bar that, okay, I grow cannabis which is enjoyable as every other cannabis, every good cannabis strain. And I thought in the indica section, there have been really five samples, the top five, I would say, which were really smoke till the end, you share it, or you said to your body, to your assistant, "Please give it back to me. It's a good one." So, that was it for me. And this was really nice. 

Sasha: That's a good point. I think this year I felt the same way. And it was neat because it's 2023, 20 years exactly since Lowryder came out, the first recognized auto. And here we are, it was like, now the autoflower cup, world autoflower Cup, it's a world class event, I was very impressed. And the quality of the entries were like, they're just as good as at any kind of cup, we're there now. And people don't look down on autoflowers anymore. This is nothing new. Some people, this is what they grew up with, and this is what they know. It's a new reality. 

Vince: Because it's interesting, and we are coming slightly to an end, but I want to show the people something, Sasha. I'm sorry that in this scene you are not perfectly in the frame. But look, in the best sativa we have at the first place the Sweet Seed Sweet Gelato Auto. The second place was your genetic Doctor's Choice, DC 1. Which is DC standing for? 

Sasha: Doctor's Choice. It's just simply Doctor's Choice #1. 

Vince: Okay. But not the Lowryder? Not that I get confused. 

Sasha: Absolutely not. It's not Lowryder. The Lowryder, you'll see it on our catalog. We have it in--

Vince: Wait. I have it here DC. Diesel Ryder. I'm just on SeedFinder. I don't know if they have the whole catalog from you. 

Sasha: Diesel Ryder hasn't been available for a while. We're working on a new version. We're actually working on updating the Chronic Ryder, the Diesel Ryder with new improved versions by backcrossing it again to the original Diesel, to the original Chronic, etc. So, yeah, we're bringing back some of our old strains. We also have some photoperiod strains. We only have two right now, but they're highly recommended.  

Vince: So, really nice that really you got on second place with your genetics. And now we come to the indica. So, that the people just know that what we have been smoking there as judges, the first place was the Tropicana Cookies from Fast Buds, the second, the Auto Kerosene Krash from Dutch Passion and Exotic Seed, Herz OG. I have to say really-- Oh, sorry. There we are.  Sorry. I have to say really nice smoke at the end. This have been different to other regular seeds for me. So, what do you think about the new section? There have been a few samples, but really, what do you say in the news section? There have been like seven or nine samples just at the end or? I don't remember too much at the end. 

Sasha: I have some questions about that myself. I mean, what qualifies as new and how we were supposed to--

Sasha: I think new is just is a new genetic which haven't been in the market. This is the same I asked myself. Because you can place them in indica or sativa, so.

Sasha: Yeah. I don't know about you. Maybe there seem to be a lot of categories, and it's simple when you're just having the sativa categories, but the new strain section. Because we didn't have the names when we were doing the actual testing, I didn't know what I was tasting at what time. So, I still have to make the connections. 

Vince: Okay. Yeah. I can tell you, okay, I know what's your problem was. You just pick the bags. Guys, you have to imagine we had a shopping bag, a shopping bag with samples with, like you said, 42, 45 sample bags, one to two grams inside. I would say at least two grams regularly. And when I came to judging, I really started to separate them because at home-- Or I started already in the club. I ask somebody from the Cup, "Can you bring me free bags?" And I started in the cup sativa, indica, new, just to sort them out because for me, I have to test them in the same bubble, in the same run. But I can imagine that you just were testing by number, so it was just one after another. 

Sasha: It was but, no, I did divide things up a little bit like you, but the new strains I left till the very end. It was the last batch that I was tasting. And it was literally like we were taking a talk past the joint, take a talk. What do you think? Good. No good. Then we'd give the joint away to somebody, just somebody walking by, "What do you think?" "Good?" And we go next strain. Unfortunately, it was very little time and I wanted to give in results that were significant though, that meant something. I'd rather I have to test every single strain. So, I really wanted the results at the Autoflower Cup to reflect some kind of reality.

Vince: I have to be true.  Some strains didn't come till the moment that I smoke them, especially in each category, the lower ones because they have been so dry. I tried to smell. I smelled this, and this is one of the last topics, a little bit of this indica ruderalis trace. I call it herby, natural, woody. I don't know. 

Sasha: Patchouli. 

Vince: Patchouli. Yeah. So, the patchouli. But I really have to say something to the end. And I will switch again just one moment to the new strain at the indica guys. The indica strains, I really can recommend the winners have been, and also the sativa, the top 3 have been really good smokes. But on the new category, the Triton Biscotto Lime Auto, POLAR GELATO, and Cookies Gelato, and this is something I want to come to you now. This was something what surprise me really. In the new strain category, I really was tasting the gelato and cookie terps. I don't know how it was for you. But there I was sitting, "Oh, bro. That's fucking great." 

Sasha: Nice. Yeah. Yeah. So, you didn't taste that sort of patchouli tastes anymore. You're like, this is full on [crosstalk 01:24:57].

Vince: Also, in the indica and sativa in the top 3, but there it was really like the new deserve flavors went into the automatic, the knacks were looking frosty, decent knack, no fluffiness. I was there, wow. 

Sasha: Yeah. Absolutely. And even the names were pretty impressive. Yeah. Seedstockers did a good job taking the first place there. That was incredible strain. I wish I had more of that. 

Vince: Yeah. To be true, this is a good point from the top winners in each category, and this is a good sign of a good strain. You say, okay, man, the baggy is empty. Damn. I just wanted to give the people a good impression. So, if you take a screenshot from exactly what you see right now, I really can say if you're in a legal state, it could be interesting for you for your balcony, garden. Sasha, we could keep on going on going on going really to talk with somebody like you where as a person who's driven by passion who's growing since say two decades now? No. Since 15, so four decades.

Sasha: Yeah. Since the '80s, man, since the '80s. 

Vince: Crazy. I really would like to see you one day again here on the Stream. If you have an interesting topic or something where you say, Vince, we need to talk about, you are all the time really invited to come around. 

Sasha: Absolutely. 

Vince: The time was flying by, like I said to you an hour will be nothing. 

Sasha: Yeah. Well, I'd love to come back. It's always a pleasure chatting with you, Vince. We're brothers and we share that passion and, yeah, I'd be happy to come. So, we'll be in touch. We'll do this again.

Vince: Thank you. Thank you to the Autoflower World Cup for bringing us together, not just to the Barcelona cup, also today. I really want to say thank you to the whole team. It was for me a nice experience also to dig deep into what's going on in this section. So, yeah. Sasha, do you have something to tell the German community at last, and then I will let you into your working day because it's also a regular working day on your side?

Sasha: Thanks. Yes. Well, I'll say thanks everybody, especially people from Germany listening to this podcast. Over the years, there's been so many passionate growers that I've met from Germany. Although the scene isn't the best, isn't always the best for category scores, it can be difficult. Some of the most knowledgeable and passionate people seem to come from Germany. It's always a pleasure and I look forward to doing this again. Danke schön.

Vince: Thank you very much. Danke dir. Thank you very much, Sasha. It was a pleasure to have you on board. Like I said, if you haven't done that till now, please give him a follow on Instagram. I hope to see you next year again in Spain. Yeah? 

Sasha: Yeah. Absolutely.

Vince: Yeah. I can't say it enough. When we get the possibility to grow legal, Sasha, I want some seeds from your R&D section. I want to see something. 

Sasha: No problem. No problem. We'll send you a selection. And the only condition is you have to tell us how it went. Tell us the story. 

Vince: I will. Trust me. Trust me. Okay. Guys, have a beautiful evening. Stay in the Stream, guys. We have something else today. And, Sasha, have a great day. Next time, we will talk about everything else. We can go what you want also aside of automatic cultivation and breeding because I think where you are sitting right now already and also Canada has enough potential for the next season together here. 

Sasha: Okay. Well, sounds good. Danke schön. Thank you, everybody. 

Vince: Bye-bye. 

Sasha: All right.