Modern day Pakalolo

Hawaiian herb is among the world's best, despite low yields and a tricky climate.

Shaka budShaka budHawaiian marijuana has long been regarded as the best cannabis on earth. Are these legends true? In a word, yes! Most places claim to have the best herb (you know who you are), but the true connoisseur sees past these claims and seeks out the best. Good Hawaiian bud has a stone that is mind-warping, and tropical flavors that have to be tasted to be believed.
Helicopter harassment

Hawaii is the most isolated island chain in the world, existing 2500 miles from anything of significance. The tropics are ideal for growing marijuana ? even the air is nutrient rich here! However, pretty much everything else is going against us.

There are helicopters (Green Harvest) much like on the West Coast, but they are more intense here because there is much less land to cover. There are thieves that make a lifestyle of hunting out patches of pakalolo (crazy tobacco). Hunters train their dogs to smell the plant. We have mongooses to contend with, ganja loving pigs, goats, slugs, caterpillars, and much of the rest of the animal and insect kingdom.

Close-up of Maui WowieClose-up of Maui WowieThe intensity of the helicopter patrols here in addition to all the other possible snags makes Hawaii one of the most difficult places on earth to pull off a crop. Despite this, as badly as they want our herb, we want it more!

Smaller is better

A typical harvest per plant outdoors in California is one pound of bud. In Hawaii, the average is a quarter ounce! This is mainly because we have four growing seasons a year here, making each season very short.

Most local plants are what we call 90 day wonders, finishing in under 90 days regardless of when they were planted. The harvest is small, but the quality is superb. The plants don't get very large before they flower, making them much less detectable than a 15 foot tall "California-style" plant. We do have one long season, but having your plants out twice as long makes them twice as likely to be taken. They get too large for their own good and are spotted from the sky with ease.

An assortment of Hawaiis best budsAn assortment of Hawaiis best budsCosts & quality

The herb scene varies from island to island, with particular strains endemic to certain areas. Prices range from fair to ridiculous. I've heard of ounces selling for $800. I personally never pay more than $100 a quarter. The big island (Hawaii) usually has the best prices, a reflection of how much more usable land there is there.

Overall, I would have to say that Maui has the best quality (on the planet!) Names like Kauai Electric, Puna Butter, and Maui Wowie are plentiful, and some of them are actual stable strains that kick ass when grown in the Hawaiian climate. If you take a killer Californian strain however, and grow it in Hawaii, the first few generations usually don't do so well. After a while, the strain acclimatizes and will begin to produce da kine!

Shaka budShaka budMagical buds

There is something magic about Hawaiian bud. Just as a Hawaiian mango or papaya is the best you ever had, so is the herb. Most growers in Hawaii are growing completely organic, which is one reason the herb is so good.

There are plenty of pure indicas here, and pure sativas can be found as well. Amsterdam hybrids also abound, but they are seldom as good as a Hawaiian strain. Herb consciousness is very high here, and it is reflected in the quality of the bud.

Close-up of Maui WowieClose-up of Maui WowieTechniques and tricks

Growers in Hawaii use every imaginable technique to grow marijuana, from treetops to lava tubes. Micro-climates are everywhere, and in some areas you are in a completely different climate every five minutes. The trick is to find an area that gets enough rain that you don't have to water your plants much, but not so much that your plants mold. This can be very tricky and frustrating, but as with anything, practice makes perfect.

The soil in Hawaii tends to be acidic, so growers that plant directly in the ground must often lime the soil months ahead of time to prepare it. I prefer the use of grow bags, so that the plants can be moved if necessary.

Close-up of Maui WowieAnother method that can be very effective is starting the plants inside under fluorescents, however even this has its drawbacks. Plants started inside look great and have very short internodal lengths, but often when they are put outside the top node shoots up to receive more light and all that beautiful tight growth at the bottom just dies off. This happens because all the surrounding vegetation blocks out the light to the lower growth of the plants. If growers could plant in open sunlight this wouldn't happen, but the plants would be spotted too easily. So each grower must experiment to find the best growing methods for their particular growing area. This can take years.

Worth the effort

By now I'm sure you understand why almost none of this extraordinary ganja gets exported. We can barely supply ourselves! Anyone that wants to sell their herb can get as much as they want for it right at home, without the need for smuggling or mailing it.

Of 100 seeds started this season, my total harvest was approximately three ounces. I'm forced to wonder if it was even worth it. Then I do a fat bong hit, and as the spicy tropical smoke exudes from my lungs, I think "Hell yeah, it was worth it!"Close-up of Maui Wowie

Micronug has used photography and microscope photography to document hundreds of cannabis strains from around the world, and is currently looking for a publisher or financial backer for "The Cannabible". Contact him at micronug@shaka.com.

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