Who is Subcool? The legendary cannabis breeder, explained.
Despite suffering from personal setbacks and deterioration in health, legendary cannabis breeder Subcool held onto his passion for cannabis his entire life, taking time to grow recognized strains and give back to medical cannabis patients. In death, he remembers his tireless commitment to the plant and his desire to bring relief and hope to breeders and patients alike.
Subcool’s story is one of positive devotion, despite the misfortune that plagued him. His tenacity and passion are still felt throughout the industry, showing how a full and thoughtful breeder can make beneficial and community-oriented progress in an increasingly cold industry.
Subcool’s cannabis heritage
In late September 2019, the High Times published an interview with legendary cannabis breeder and cultivator Subcool. In the play, he expressed enthusiasm and optimism for the future, despite some challenging setbacks in the past few years and a serious condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a progressive lung disease, and a genetic type of emphysema that he has had since 2013 struggled. Unfortunately, less than six months later, Subcool succumbed to the disease on February 1, 2020, leaving a legacy few in the cannabis industry had achieved.
The Montgomery Ball native was also called Dave Bowman and is known in the cannabis world as Subcool. An unparalleled breeder and breeder, he was the founder of Team Green Avenger seeds (TGA Subcool Seeds / TGA Genetics / The Dank) and the genius behind strains like Jack the Ripper and Space Queen.
Subcool’s passion for cannabis dates back to the 1970s when he started growing and selling cannabis, an activity that landed him in jail under the then illegality. Undeterred by his release, Subcool immediately returned to growth and was once again incarcerated, which later resulted in a prison sentence. Far from being “rehabilitated”, Subcool grew passionate and determined to change cannabis laws for the better.
Industry celebrations and personal setbacks
Among his numerous awards, Subcool was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the High Times Seed Bank in 2009, won the High Times San Francisco Medical Cannabis Cup in 2010 with its sativa strain Vortex and later received the High Times Dr. Lester Grinspoon Lifetime Achievement Award 2017, he also authored the books Thanks: The Quest for the Very Best Marijuana: A Breeder’s Story and Thanks 2.0: The Quest for the Very Best Marijuana continues, demonstrating his love for growing and breeding in the world on his YouTube channel a show called Weed Nerd.
Subcool’s High Times interview also found that his diagnosis of lung disease in 2013 was only the first in a series of setbacks to unfold over the years to come. Both his health and his relationship with his wife and business partner MzJill had deteriorated, despite continuing to work together on TGA Genetics (The Green Avengers).
But it was the Tubbs Fire – the most destructive wildfire in California history at the time – that pierced Santa Rosa, California on October 8, 2017, catalyzing the events that would shape Subcool’s life in his final years. MzJill and Subcool were personally unharmed by the fire, but their home was burned down and they lost everything including physical business goods such as nearly four million cannabis seeds and male and female cultivars. The couple separated soon after.
Now homeless and sick, Subcool started picking up the pieces. Shortly after the fire, he entered into a business partnership with William Rouland and managed to recreate and sell “44 Dank” strains worldwide. They were eventually able to rebuild Subcool’s core strains like Jack the Ripper, Vortex, and Querkle while he continued to experiment and create new strains.
He also worked with Kyle Kushman in a partnership nicknamed “Dank Brothers” in which he traded his strawberry daiquiri variety (Strawberry Cough x Space Queen) for Strawberry Cough. The Dank Brothers were also partners of the fruity Strelka variety, a cross between Subcools Space Queen and Kushmans Stardawg.
Remember Subcool and Pay It Forward
Even when he managed to rebuild part of the legacy lost in the fire, he gave up the TGA Genetics IP during a bitter and public divorce with MzJill in mediation. He also gave up the rights to the Ace of Spades, Agent Orange, Black Dahlia, Brian Berry Cough, Jillybean, Orange Velvet, Plushberry and Timewreck varieties. Despite further setbacks, he carried on and vowed to continue working with his 44 Dank strains.
Subcool moved to Arizona, where he became a medical cannabis patient and began a state-approved growth of 60 plants in a pool he drained. Companies like Solis Tek, Smart Pot, and Dragonfly Earth Medicine donated supplies, and Subcool gave the cannabis from its cultivation to medical cannabis patients for free to pay for it forward.
Towards the end of his life, Subcool worked with William Rouland and Eli Harding to work on new acreage in an old bowling alley. He said to Danny Danko, a member of the High Times, “We will grow in my super soil using my methods and grow as close to organic plants as possible, even though it is not required in Arizona. The thanks will set new standards for packaging, testing and distribution. ”
After his death, his industry peers remembered him as a pioneer who inspired a new generation of younger growers to experiment creatively and plant the seed forever.
Featured image by Damien Robertson / Weedmaps