Coastal Cannabis is a small tier-two recreational producer located in Seattle’s Sodo District. One of the company’s owners, JJ West, is an outdoorsman and spends ample time in the mountains, skiing, and backpacking through the seasons. His favorite smoking ritual is rolling up some joints, hiking to the top of a mountain, smoking at the top, and enjoying the high while descending. Cannabis is part of his lifestyle, a lifestyle many of us share in Washington. The strains that West and his team craft at Coastal Cannabis reflect the coastal lifestyle and themes of the Pacific Northwest.
Coastal Cannabis has been around since the beginning of Washington’s recreational market, and their company’s beginning sounds like the start of a stoner comedy. It all started with two buddies, JJ and George, Papa West, and Keith, a guy they met on Craigslist.
West got his start in the cannabis industry like a lot of hands-on stoners, after he decided growing his own weed was much more cost-effective. He ran Super Lemon Haze through his two-light garage grow and eventually expanded into a four-light operation. West started selling weed through Washingon’s medical industry once he dialed in his small six light operation.
George was West’s friend and roommate, living at the house where the four-light grow was situated. They decided to “go big” on an I-502 license and take this business into the legal recreational market. West and George had a plan and needed to upgrade their six light grow into a full-fledged tier-two facility, something they knew little about. It just so happened that Papa West was a career engineer at Boeing, where he spent his years designing giant warehouses that housed airplanes. Once West told his father what he and George had planned, he decided he would design and help build a facility, as long as he could stay involved with the business after it was built. West and George agreed.
Next, the three had to secure the land for their facility, something that is easier said than done, due to the strict 502 zoning laws. The search came down to crunch time, the final last three days. At the end of those 72 hours, their license would be revoked and given to somebody else.
George came across a fellow on Craigslist named Kieth, who was around the same age as Papa west. Not only was Kieth a cool guy who didn’t murder them or solicit them for sexual advances, Kieth had the necessary lease to start a cannabis grow. (If this were a comedy, that’s exactly what Kieth would have done.)
Kieth had the space, but lacked the skill set to take on a 502 license. Kieth’s lease was the final piece of the puzzle. Paired with George’s accounting and business acumen and The West’s building and growing skill sets, Coastal Cannabis was born. The four of them designed and built their facility by hand, and remain in business together to this day.
Coastal Cannabis had another influential member that is no longer with them. West had a homie from the medical days, James, who introduced them to pheno-hunting and landrace genetics. James had the original landrace pollen that was used to create some of their original strains. James is no longer with Coastal Cannabis, but he and West remain close, and Coastal Cannabis honors him by continuing the horticulture cultivation techniques he showed them.
The techniques in question deal with breeding popular strains back with landrace genetics to unlock traits that enhance the plant’s natural ability to resist pests and produce larger yields. Inbreeding and selecting strains for potency alone has dumbed down the plants in a sense and weakened their natural fortitude against bugs and other pests.
Experimenting with landrace genetics have lead to a lot of one-of-a-kind strains in their garden. Sour Malawi, Blueberry Diesel, Panamango, and Limesicle are four strains West raved about in detail.
Sour Malawi was created in-house, from scratch, through breeding Killer Malawi with Sour Bubble and completing a pheno-hunt with the offspring. Over 300 phenotypes were narrowed down to the final few. The final three to five phenotypes are grown in test batches, smoked, and judged. This process takes anywhere from six months to a full year. Sour Malawi is one of the first strains that was left in the ground for nine weeks compared to eight. The result was a more robust, higher yielding strain with dark greenish-blue buds caked in trichome frosting, with dense orange hairs.
Blueberry Diesel has beautiful dense purple buds. A cross between Sour Diesel and Blueberry, this strain is one of the closest things to an indica Coastal Cannabis offers. West classified this strain as a 60-40 indica-leaning hybrid.
Limesicle is a throwback to West’s garage grows. This strain brings together his old go-to, Super Lemon Haze with Chernobyl. The buds are long and pinecone shaped, dripping frosty trichomes and terpenes that permeate lemon-lime candy aromas. This strain is for all you terp-chasers out there.
Panamango doesn’t jump out at you visually like some of their other strains, but the high is what sets it apart. Panamango is a clash between new and old schools. Panama Red, a landrace sativa from South America was bread with Cinderella 99. The high is truly sativa, humming below your consciousness and never creating the fog associated with indica effects. This is another strain that stays planted an extra week before it’s harvested.
“It’s a really uplifting, clearheaded, and energetic high. Those pure sativas aren’t for everyone, but if you got stuff to do, need to stay clear-headed and don’t want anyone to know you’re baked, it’s a real winner. It’s stupid clear- headed and unique,” West said.
The guys at Coastal Cannabis have a small operation that allows them to take their time and tailor a cultivation strategy around every strain individually. Each strain has different requirements to unlock its full potential. Some of these requirements include different nutrients, different nutrient cycles, and strains like Panamango and Sour Malawi stay in the ground for an extra week. All of their strains get thoroughly flushed, a step West learned to take extra precautions with from his medical growing experience.
West witnessed sleazy growers pumping their plants full of nutrients right before harvest to cook the yield numbers. This practice leaves heavy metals in the plants, and obviously, those aren’t good for you. Coastal Cannabis flushes their plants for an entire week before harvest and makes sure they cycle through all of the “run-off” nutrients as well. Run-off nutrients are the remaining nutrients left in the soil or growing medium that the plant will absorb while it’s being flushed. This operation only pushes out about 50 pounds per month, which allows them to spend extra time growing and flushing the plants.
Coastal Cannabis is running six strains currently. They’ve grown as many as 14 at one time and as few as 4. Their goal is to create a well rounded eight strain lineup: two hardcore sativas, two hardcore indicas, two sativa-leaning hybrids and two indica-leaning hybrids.
“If you go any more than that, it begins to be kind of a clusterfuck,” West said.
Coastal Cannabis is planning to expand their processor collaborations. They’ve solely worked with Xtracted Laboratories to this point, but because of their sheer popularity, are currently exploring partnerships to reduce turnaround time.
Coastal Cannabis is happy with the spot they’re in with no need of immediate expansion. West stressed the importance of maximizing the space they have and perfecting an eight strain lineup that will please all of their retail partners for years to come.
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Sodo Sour Dubb #12 aka Sour Dubble/Sour Dubb. We recreated this classic in house by pollinating our Sour Diesel mother with @bogseeds Sour Bubble male. This will soon be in full production. 2018, here we come! #coastalcannabis #coastalcannabisseattle #discoveryourstrain #weed #legalweed #recreationalmarijuana #i502 #weedstagram #instaweed #seattle #pnw #raincity #bredinhouse @coastalcannabisseattle