Born from the green majesty and mystery of Northern California’s Emerald Triangle and its rich cannabis legacy, the Emerald Cup Awards (often thought of as the Oscars of California cannabis) are a celebration of cannabis, from seed to shelf.
After submitting their SFV OG, there was an evaluation by a panel of expert judges who reviewed more than 700 strains in multiple categories. House of Kush – SFV OG won sixth place amongst an impressive field of competitors that boasted some of California’s most esteemed cultivators. Presented at the historic Montalban Theater’s dramatic rooftop venue, the awards show marked the first-ever Southern California event for Emerald Cup. The show was highlighted by the presentation of the Willie Nelson Award for lifetime achievement to actor and longtime cannabis advocate Woody Harrelson.
“We expect this is just the first of many success stories for our legacy genetics,” Reggie Harris, CEO & Co-Founder of House of Kush, said. For House of Kush, bringing their SFV OG strain, cultivated in collaboration with California’s pioneering Harborside Farms, was an exhilarating journey.
By late autumn of 2021, House of Kush Chief Executive Officer Reggie Harris and Chief Strategy Officer Steve Gardner, both company co-founders, had established House of Kush in Kansas City, initially with two proprietary legacy Kush strains, legendary OG Kush and Bubba Kush. Since then they have added a wide portfolio of other legacy genetics. All their genetics will have the ‘Kush Certified’ logo on the packaging so consumers will know they are getting the real deal.
A trip for Harris and Gardner to the Emerald Cup competition in December 2021, held in Santa Rosa, California, planted the seed that grew into the company’s first House of Kush SFV OG strain collaboration. SFV OG was developed using House of Kush’s licensing business model, which partners with cultivators and manufacturers to produce plants and products from the proprietary old school strains.
“With our first entry in the California market being our collaboration with Harborside, we felt pretty confident that we had a good strain,” Harris said. “We wanted to launch the brand because we knew this was a great product. And given California’s reputation for having the best cannabis in the world, why not start with the best? If you could make a splash quality-wise in California, we know we’re good enough to do very well in any other state. This was the perfect proving ground for us to prove the high quality of our genetics.”
Grown in Salinas, California, at Harborside’s greenhouse facilities, SFV OG was entered in the “sun-grown greenhouse flower” category. Harris lauded Harborside Farms Vice President of Production Travis Higginbotham Jr. for his efforts to optimize cultivation and production processes at Harborside.
“We’re proud of the fact that we were able to get a high-quality flower in the greenhouse environment, because it allowed Travis and his team to dial in the genetics and get exactly what we wanted.”
Top Hat Nursery, in Salinas who, according to Harris, were instrumental in the development of SFV OG.
“Top Hat Nursery is our main breeder that we work with in California,” he explained. “So, these genetics have been tested and passed our ‘Kush Certified’ test. Everyone tells us that it has really good nose. When you open that jar, the rush takes people back to those legacy genetics. Being able to bring that into a modern-day application is pretty big for us, and we wanted to make sure that the taste and the smell was true to that legacy.”
House of Kush flower is currently available in California, at Harborside and Urbn Leaf retail dispensaries, with plans to expand to more than 100 California retail outlets through 2023. Eventually, Harris said, the brand will expand to markets in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Maryland, Ohio, Oklahoma and Michigan. Further collaboration with Harborside is on track to introduce three more House of Kush strains, including Kings Kush, Pre-98 Bubba Kush, and Rolls Choice by the end of this year.
In addition to legacy Kush genetics, the House of Kush brand offers its Kush-certified program, collaborative product launch and support services, specialized product and sales training, as well as marketing support and celebrity endorsements. The company also works to give back to culture and community with its committed social equity efforts, which have benefited legal reform nonprofit Last Prisoner Project and is also taking a tour to HBCUs in 2023 in partnership with Propel Center in Atlanta. The focus will be on creating economic benefit in Black and brown communities that have been so damaged by the war on drugs.
Written by Joanne Cachapero