In 2018, we started the long and rigorous process of building Ganjier — The Cannabis Sommelier Certification — because we saw a significant need in the cannabis industry for a new class of cannabis professional; one who is trained and certified to assess the true quality of cannabis, and able to serve as a master of cannabis to consumers.
As we spent more and more time studying sommelier programs from other industries, in particular, wine, beer, and chocolate, a number of very important questions started to emerge about how these same methodologies could be applied to the unique qualities of cannabis.
In particular, we pondered:
- Which variables truly dictate high-quality cannabis? These standards had in fact, never been developed and adopted by the cannabis industry.
- How can we systematically assess the quality of cannabis flower and concentrates? Can we create a standardized criteria to serve this purpose?
- What are the qualities of truly good cannabis service? Can we develop protocols that ensure every customer, regardless of cannabis experience or background, can get the best products for them?
- What is the proper terminology to use in the cannabis industry? Are we being accurate based on facts and science?
- What other cannabis knowledge is important for a master of cannabis service to attain? Should they understand the growing process, history, origins of cannabis, etc.?
In exploring these major cannabis questions filled with delicate nuances and intricacies, one thing became crystal clear — no single individual has all the answers.
That’s when we set our sights on assembling a committee of the smartest and most experienced leaders in cannabis to discuss and debate the proper way of tackling these issues to serve the industry in an entirely new fashion.
Enter The Ganjier Council
Spanning over 600+ years of collective experience from every facet of the cannabis industry, we assembled a voluntary committee of 18 of the most respected minds to contribute to this worthy mission.
The mastermind behind the original Ganjier concept, renowned breeder and cultivator Kevin Jodrey brings over 30 years of experience uncovering, unlocking, and curating the exquisite qualities, traits, and potential within cannabis varietals — including a penchant for resuscitating rare and exotic legacy strains from around the world.
Master hashishin Frenchy Cannoli brings a deep understanding and appreciation of the traditional hash production techniques he has learned and practiced over the last 40 years. A revered expert in the field, Frenchy has spent decades traversing the globe, learning ancient techniques and processes of turning cannabis resin into premium hashish with local and tribal artisans who have been honing their craft for generations. His trained eye and experienced palate make him highly sought-after as a judge at prestigious cannabis competitions around the world, and his hash making courses are consistently hot tickets.
A self-described “original hippie,” Swami Chaitanya moved to San Francisco in 1967. He went on to travel the world, living in South America, Europe, and India, eventually settling in the heart of Mendocino’s famed Emerald Triangle region. Establishing his iconic, eponymous cannabis brand — Swami Select — he is a familiar figure at festivals and a perennial judge of the cannabis industry’s most prestigious competitions. Espousing the virtues of sun-grown organic cannabis, Swami also speaks and teaches on cannabis consciousness and spiritual growth.
Patrick King (AKA The Soil King)
With his hands deep in the soil since childhood, Patrick King has been unearthing the secrets and complexities of organic gardening for decades and applying his insight to cannabis cultivation since 2005. A colorful, prolific, and larger than life presence in enterprise and media, King’s experience encompasses a full spectrum from breeding and growing to owning every type of license including cultivation, distribution, manufacturing, nursery, and non-storefront retail.
Mel Frank literally wrote the book on cannabis cultivation with his seminal bestseller The Marijuana Grower’s Insider’s Guide in 1974. Inducted into the Cannabis Breeders Hall of Fame in 2019, Frank’s award-winning photos, publications, and cultivation techniques have become the cornerstone of knowledge in any solid cannabis education.
A biochemist with over a decade in the cannabis industry, Jeffrey Raber is Co-Founder and President of The Werc Shop, a lab-testing facility based in Los Angeles. He is also an Executive Officer with the Association of Commercial Cannabis Laboratories . Receiving his PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Southern California and being a patient himself, Dr. Raber recognized the need for more transparency in the cannabis industry and better quality control. He helped develop effective regulatory solutions for the safe, sustainable delivery of medical cannabis to qualified patients and consumers.
An internationally recognized cannabis expert and public health researcher, Amanda Reiman has taught courses on drug policy at UC Berkeley for 10 years and has consulted for various cities and states on the development of medical marijuana policy. Dr. Reiman has also conducted numerous studies on medical marijuana dispensaries, patients, and the use of marijuana as a treatment for addiction.
As Executive Director of Origins Council — a nonprofit education, research, and policy advocacy organization dedicated to sustainable rural economic development within cannabis producing regions — Genine Coleman is committed to establishing Appellation of Origin designations for cannabis that are globally recognized, legally defensible, standards-based, geographic indication systems. Before taking up cannabis patient and policy advocacy, Coleman cultivated cannabis for over 20 years.
Nick Tanem (AKA Nikka T)
Nikka T is a multi-award winning hash master who has won over a dozen Cannabis Cup awards for his potent “solventless” hash. Following his love for cannabis, he traveled to Amsterdam as a young man to learn hash-making methodology from legendary crafters, and has continued to grow and improve on those techniques. These days, he is the one traveling worldwide teaching those who want to learn more about the art of solventless extraction. When he’s not working the cannabis event circuit or with patients, he spends his time continuing to innovate the extraction process, a passion that resulted in the creation of Essential Extracts, the first legal solventless hash company in the U.S.
Originally a journalist for The San Francisco Chronicle, Nikki Lastreto left to travel the world, ultimately settling back in Mendocino California where she and Swami Chaitanya founded their iconic Swami Select cannabis brand. As a proponent of living soil, regenerative cultivation methods, and sustainable practices to produce organic craft cannabis, Nikki’s discerning eye and palate have made her a well-known judge at The Emerald Cup and other major cannabis competitions.
Justin co-founded the Emerald Exchange, which hosts farmer’s market-style events to connect craft cannabis cultivators from Northern California with cannabis enthusiasts across the state. Calvino also co-founded the Mendocino Appellations Project, which would establish distinctive production regions (similar to wine country terroir), set regulations to preserve the quality and legacy of the cannabis, and place a premium on the product. His latest endeavor is The Appellations Group, a consultancy designed to support small farmers throughout the world in the development of Appellation of Origin petitions and systems.
A widely respected cannabis legal expert and defense attorney, Omar Figueroa is a Stanford Law graduate with over two decades of experience in the field. Author of Cannabis Codes of California – the first comprehensive book on the state’s cannabis laws – Omar appears frequently in the media and at conferences as a cannabis industry advocate. He also counsels companies on cannabis law and best practices, and holds the distinction of being a Founding Lifetime Member of the National Cannabis Bar Association.
As a lifelong connoisseur and aficionado of finely crafted chocolate, Kimberly has embraced the science behind developing an expert palate. She worked for more than 30 years in the transportation logistics industry focused on organizational development, process analysis, and training design. Currently, Kimberly is the CEO of Frenchy Cannoli Brand.
Co-founder of Dockside Cannabis in Seattle, Aaron Varney has co-launched multiple state-licensed retail stores under the Dockside design/architectural brand. For over 20 years, Varney has been immersed in cannabis cultivation, medical cannabis education and outreach, retail design, and all things operational. He has an MBA in sustainable business and is a board member at the Center for Cannabis and Social Policy.
A second generation, regenerative farmer residing in Southern Humboldt County, Wendy Kornberg oversees her family-run, Full Sun Farms, producing high-grade, medical cannabis for herself and California patients. Tending to her off-grid location through organic and natural farming methods, she cultivates hot new cultivars and heritage strains, using farming techniques and seed stock that have been preserved and passed down since the 1970s. Wendy also consults and sits on the boards of many non-profits, as well as being the Regenerative Cannabis Advisor for Sensi Magazine.
As President and Co-Founder of SC Labs — which developed the cannabis industry’s first testing standards, now widely adopted by the cannabis community — Josh Wurzer manages the company’s regulatory compliance, R&D, and intellectual property. Wurzer’s background in synthetic and analytical chemistry, coupled with experience in the pharmaceutical and electronic materials industries, have led him to author several cannabis-related patent applications.
Alec Dixon is Co-Founder of SC Labs, which developed the cannabis industry’s first testing standards. These guidelines are now widely adopted by the cannabis community, regulators, governments, and a host of top organizations. As Director of Client Relations, he relies on his many years of experience as a successful sales consultant in the hydroponic industry. This professional background combined with his service in the U.S. Navy, have been integral in Alec’s other role as Outreach Director for Veterans for Medical Marijuana.
A successful second-generation California cultivator, Derek Gilman is the on-air host and creator of such popular cannabis programs as The Grower’s Quest, High Rollers, and Quick Hits, featuring vanguard cannabis personalities including Kevin Jodrey, Kyle Kushman, Mel Frank, Frenchy Cannoli, and others. His latest role finds him at the head of the Council table with some of the cannabis industry’s most respected names, as Curriculum architect and Managing Director of the Ganjier cannabis sommelier training program.
Over The Next Two Years
The Ganjier Council contributed a whopping 8,000+ hours of time, energy, and input into the Ganjier development process, ensuring that the curriculum, methodologies, tools, and training were perfectly crafted to help create this new class of cannabis professional — The Ganjier.
The result of all this remarkable effort is a cannabis training and certification program like no other — one that promises to bring a new level of sophistication and quality to the cannabis industry, and create an entirely new class of cannabis professional — a “Master of Cannabis Service”
Enrollment for the first certified Ganjier class will open in Winter 2020. Capacity is limited. Join the interest list if you want to be among the first Ganjiers to transform the cannabis industry as we know it.