When Marco Renda booked Northern Lights The Green Team for the 2nd Annual Treating Yourself Expo in Toronto, Canada, I became as giddy as a young child on Christmas Eve. Having performed at the Inaugural Treating Yourself Expo in 2010, I knew what awaited me.
We arrived at The Intercontinental Hotel in Toronto just before 5am on Day 1 of the Expo and checked into our Junior Suites. While the rest of our crew went to bed for some much needed sleep, Cartel & I went on the hunt for some medicine to ease our minds and bodys after the 10 hour drive from the Mountain State.
We checked outside to see if there were any of our smoke friendly friends medicating out infront of our hotel- nobody. So our next stop was the pool which opened at 6am, we ran into our goodfriend Rose, a photographer/ organic grower who put us in touch with a deadly indica and uplifting sativa. Her Blueberry gave the medicinal effects desired for my arthritic hip and her Super Lemon Haze (2008 & 2009 Cannabis Cup winner from Greenhouse Seeds) had the cerebral high that you value when you are trying to stay awake at 6am. While neither of these strains were entered in the Medical Cup this weekend, either could have easily placed Top 5.
We headed a couple blocks away to St Lawrence Market to get what Bobby Flay claims is the world’s best bacon sandwich at Carousel Bakery then back to the hotel.
By the time we finished up our first samples of the weekend, it was time to hit the Expo and make our rounds. This year’s TY Expo was even better and better. Over 200 vendors shared the showroom floor at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, seeds breeders from Amsterdam, seeds banks from Canada, Compassion Clubs from Canada and a whos who of international medical growers. From the $80,000 Growbot (an all in one plug and play 53 ft trailer with 22- 1000 watt HPS lamps) to Greenhouse Seeds new feminized Exodus Cheese seeds, this Expo had everything from the beginner to the expert.
We started off at the Pure Hemp Papers (www.purehemp.com) booth to stock up on some much needed Pure Hemp Unbleached King Size Papers to last us the entire weekend. Once we had our perferred smoking accessory in hand, we headed for the official VIP registration booth to receive our V.I.P. Judge’s Samples.
We reported to the official check in station at 10am for our Judge’s samples. This year’s contest had 16 samples from two divisions: Compassion Club division and Private Grower’s division.
With samples in hand, I headed back to my room to start grading on appearance, smell, smokability, potency, medicinal effect and overall satisfaction.
While taking a break from judging, I ran into my good friend, Remo The Urban Grower (Youtube this man). Remo blessed me with some of last year’s winning strain, Bubba Kush. Remo would join me in my room to medicate and for a chat along with Hippie Bongstockins. This is an opportunity for an American living in oppression to pick the brain of one of the top medical growers in the industry. Remo broke down for me the ins and outs of the medical marijuana situation in Canada as well as gave me an insight to what strains will be on the horizon. Remo, as well as many top insiders feel that Cheese will soon unseed Kush as the strain of choice.
Once Remo left it was back to the Expo floor to meet up with my friend Franco from Greenhouse Seeds & Strain Hunters (Youtube Strain Hunters). After chatting for a brief while about Amsterdam and receiving an inviation to visit, Franco began to inform me about Exodus Cheese. Franco & Arjan, as always, took painstakingly measures to secure the genetics from the original UK Cheese in seed form by tracking down Big Buddha himself. Franco, as does Remo, believes Cheese will soon take over the market.
At this point its now, 3:15, time for our set. We perform all of our smoke friendly tracks, the medicated crowd digs it from start to finish. When the last note of “Ready To Fly” plays, I make a beeline for the world’s largest vapor lounge (4200 sq ft).
I link up with my friend from last year, Fourtwenty Deb, she was working the ROOR Vaporizer table. While she told me about her father’s spectacular garden & his awesome hash balls, my friend Jeff from Skunk Funk in Saskachewan came over and joined us at the table. Jeff’s Blueberry Haze was top notch, tasting as delicious as it sounds with a very strong head high. While Jeff and I sampled some of his other great strains, we had the opportunity to get a lot of time with the all glass ROOR Vaporizer. This vape device is kind of like a water bong that pulls the vapor through the water to cool the vape and remove any impurities. Very clean tasting. The Verdamper piece was also impressive.
After a V.I.P. dinner, the crew headed over to party with our friend and Nug Brand Clothing (www.nugbrand.com) Rep, Mark while I stayed at the hotel and finished up my Judging the samples.
Early in the morning, the buzz around the expo was all about the amazing budder extraction and Mark from Kush.ca & iMedicate’s After Party that night at Vapor Central. Mark from Kush.ca hooked me up with my pass and The Urban Grower hooked up the rest of the group with theirs. Then UG put me in touch with a great guy named Rocky who had Rocky Mountain Kush, but even more impressively that beautiful butter extraction that was over 90% THC. This is the real deal, blow your face off, not for beginners, major pain killer, couch lock medicine. Dr Paul Hornsby said the best strains have 27% THC, Medical grade Hash is usually between 45-53% so imagine something twice as strong as the strongest hash you’ve ever tried.
My friend Nick who was working the B.C. Bud Depot booth stopped by and showed me some very strong medicated hard candy that can be used in any enivornment should medication be neccessary. He also had some very beautiful and lovely smelling Bubble Gum that was text book high grade. Nick introduced me to the head guy at Delta 9 Labs who was showing off some ridiculous Simpson Kush that litterally took your breath. This unusual Kush cross is the original San Fernando Valley OG Kush crossed with Fruit of the Gods.
Now it was time for the invite only Kush.ca & iMedicate After Party at Vapor Central. Vapor Central is a non alcoholic club that caters strickly to cannabis users. Each table had a variety of vaporizers, bong and such. Remo The Urban Grower, Rocky and Mark rolled a Cheech & Chong style 1/2lb joint with 1 ounce of budder in it. My new friend TP showed me his NL #5 from the original cut that won the Cannabis Cup in 1995, the smell was tremendous. Benny from Hitz Imports hooked everyone up with some munchies. While the Rocky Mountain Kush flowed like a massive river, Master Kush, OG Kush and Purple Kush flowed like streams and creeks. Just after 4:20 am I flagged a taxi who took me back to the hotel, where the party was still going in the KDK Distributors 2 level suite.
The final day of the Expo was memorable because of my first meeting with an unnamed man we now refer to as the Cheese Man. His rolling suitcase was home to 15 different varieties of the Cheese strain. Exodus Cheese, Blue Cheese, Monterey Jack Cheese, Mozzeralla Cheese, Willy Jack Cheese. This guy had some of the best medicine in the world, in 12 months time, all of these strains will be household names.
After that I ran into my good friend Luc from Paradise Seeds who was showing of the stinkiest strain of the entire weekend, DelaHaze, a smells like a million funky mangos.
In the afternoon, I got a text from TJ the DJ who was about to land with B.o.B. for a performance the following night with Rhianna. I caught a taxi over to the Four Seasons and caught them up on a wild weekend.
The Awards show closed up the Expo
Sativa Cup went to Paradise Seeds DelaHaze
Indica Cup went to Medical Cannabis Genetics and their yummy Grape Escape
Al Graham from Pace won Michelle Rainey Activist Award
The Private Grower Cup went to JB from MediOne Nutes whos MediKush was out of this word.
The Compassion Club Cup went to iMedicate for Rocky Mountain Kush.
After the Awards show it was back to the KDK Distributors afterpary where there was an abundance of Grape Escape and some out of this world Grape Escape Hash.
My top 10 from the trip:
1. Simpson Kush – Delta 9 Labs
2. Exodus Cheese- Private Grower/ Greenhouse Seeds
3. Bubba Kush- Greenhouse Seeds genetics, UG
4. DelaHaze- Paradise Seeds
5. Rocky Mountain Kush- UG
6. Blueberry – Private Grower
7. Grape Escape- Medical Cannabis Genetics
8. Super Lemon Haze- Greenhouse Seeds, Private Grower
9. Nuken- CCK
10. Monterey Jack Cheese- Private Grower
10. NL #5- Private Grower TP