One stall with a constant crowd caught my eye: Lady Sativa Genetics. Originally from the UK, this award-winning breeding and growing collective are now based in Amsterdam. Eager growers and curious attendees were huddled around asking about the medical qualities, flavours, and aromas of the illegal plant that the legal seed eventually produces.
Jah Hoover, the breeder of the company, invited me out to dinner to talk about the work they do. “We are a seedbank and we sell seeds. That is completely legal in the UK – what you do with them is up to you – but we sell them as souvenirs of our cup-winning genetics,” he told me.
“We don’t do anything illegal,” he continued. “I have my other family business, and I have my hobby. This is my hobby. I love being a part of the cannabis community and breeding new connoisseur genetics. We are putting UK on the map.”
Breeding cannabis genetics involves growing and testing plants through a drawn out process – so how does one reach the final product without breaking the UK law? “We do grow, but that is all done in places where it is permitted, mainly Amsterdam.”
“I’m not an activist, this is just my hobby that I love, and we are becoming successful with our passion,” says Jah. He does, however, add that he thinks, “obviously the law needs to change”.
The UK’s cannabis industry is currently playing catch up with the rest of the world. The common theme that tainted every single conversation I had with people over the weekend was that they were sick of prohibition and being held back. But if things do change, grassroots movements and entrepeneurs such as these will have helped push the boundaries.