How does a Cannabis Cup-winning ganjapreneur celebrate the morning after winning two first-place trophies? By drinking his coffee and eating his Cheerios directly from the shiny, new Cannabis Cups, of course.
This was the scene in Christian Hageseth’s breakfast nook Wednesday morning: After a late night at the paired-down Cypress Hill concert and Cannabis Cup awards show at Denver’s Ogden Theatre, the owner of Denver marijuana shops Green Man Cannabis was struck with gastronomical inspiration.
“I started my day with the breakfast of champions,” Hageseth told The Cannabist on Wednesday. “I drank my coffee and ate my Cheerios out of the Cannabis Cups. It was one of the most satisfying cups of coffee I’d ever had.”
His coffee was in Green Man’s fifth-ever first-place Cannabis Cup — for the best sativa flower in Colorado. His Cheerios were in Green Man’s sixth first-place Cup — for best hybrid flower.
“Funny thing is,” Hageseth noted on his Facebook page, “it all tastes like the tequila Team #GreenMan was drinking from the cups last night.”
After High Times magazine moved its massive U.S. Cannabis Cup from Colorado to California earlier this year, its annual Denver awards ceremony was attached to a hip-hop show that was downsized from a suburban arena to an intimate theater in central Denver on Tuesday night.
And since Green Man is on something of an awards streak — this is the third consecutive year Green Man took home the first-place Cup for best sativa for its Ghost Train Haze — we caught up with Hageseth to talk on the sweet smell of victory, the power of Rare Dankness genetics and even growing tips for home-growers looking to amp up their harvest.
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The Cannabist: Congrats on your fifth and sixth Cups.
Christian Hageseth: Thanks! And for (Green Man master grower) Corey Buffkin those were numbers 11 and 12. He was just in California on Sunday — he went out there with a dispensary in Oregon called Phresh Cannabis — and through them he won two firsts and a third out in California.
Cannabist: There are so many awards in the marijuana industry now. What does a Cannabis Cup mean in 2016?
Hageseth: It’s confirmation, validation that we’re doing the best job we can. Our whole organization cares a lot about our patients, each other and the products we put out there. And this, for us, is confirmation that we’re on the right path. It’s also just fun, because we all love it. We’re all really passionate about it. It’s fantastic. It brings a lot of joy to the whole team.
Cannabist: Last year the Cannabis Cups were handed out after the world’s largest ticketed marijuana event spread over three days and tens of thousands of people. This year they were handed out under different and much smaller circumstances.
Hageseth: It’s so different than in years past. In years past we’ve finished two or three days of showcasing our stuff and smoking people out and then having an awards ceremony. This was really a concert separated by two different awards ceremonies. We saw a lot of the other owners and growers last night. The group that was there was industry-centric, lots of familiar people. Jake Salazar was there for MMJ America. We won sativa and hybrid and Jake won indica. And seven years ago Jake was the one who got me into this business.
Cannabist: Really? I’ve never heard that story. Jake got you into the business?
Hageseth: Yeah, I was playing golf, and it turns out Jake knew my attorney. He was telling me about how he was getting into the marijuana business, and it sounded incredible. It all started with some golf and smoking some of his weed, which was some of the best weed in the world at that time. And now here we are sharing these moments with each other on the Cannabis Cup stage.
Cannabist: This is Green Man’s third year in a row with the state’s top sativa. What’s so special about your Ghost Train Haze?
Hageseth: For one, that’s a Rare Dankness strain from Scott Reach, who is the breeder. Secondly, It’s a unique strain that Corey grows with an amazing touch. The strain has these flavor elements that punch you in the tongue and leave a very distinct flavor in your mouth. When judging, that sharpness of Ghost Train Haze stands out from the crowd of other entrants – and it’s why in judged competitions it stands out so much. Come to our dispensaries and we’ll let you look at and smell our best bud. Most people stop at Ghost Train and comment, ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’
Cannabist: What else is new at Green Man?
Hageseth: We’re just about to move into a new grow here in Colorado, so we’re really excited about growing a lot more great weed and sharing that with the market.
Cannabist: How big’s the grow?
Hageseth: It’s big, man. It’s 118,000 square feet.
Cannabist: Looking forward to checking it out. But with these big Cannabis Cup wins under your belt, do you have any advice for home-growers who want to take their marijuana plants to the next level?
Hageseth: The marijuana plant takes diligence every day, and if you’re a hobby grower, your hobby needs to be looking at your plants every day. Our success is that we’ve done this so many times and we eliminate problems before they’re created. If the plant ever gets behind for a day or a week, it never recovers. So people growing their own want to make sure the temperature, humidity and light is right. Every day you have to check your plants for pests and pathogens and mold and mildew. It’s labor, but for successful growers it’s a labor of love.
Cannabist: What’s next for the two Cups? Are they taking some kind of a victory tour this week?
Hageseth: I’m going to be taking the trophies by the facilities later today, making sure the whole team gets to look at them and take a picture with them. In two or three days they’ll go home to a newly expanded trophy case at the Hampden location. But first we have to buy a new trophy case — talk about first-world problems.
Cannabist: You are legitimately buying a new trophy case because the old one is too crowded?
Hageseth: We cleaned up earlier this year at the THC Awards. I said, ‘If we win another award, where do we put it?’ These two put us over the edge.