Story by Pamela Jayne
Photos courtesy of Phil Calvin of SCR Photos & Derek Plank
Chronisseur (chron-a-soo-er): An individual highly respected within the marijuana community due to his/her knowledge and experience in the cannabis industry. Areas of expertise include, but are not limited to: growth and cultivation, medical marijuana and legalization advocacy, travel experience and the ability to convey all of these things to the general public.
A quick glance at the resume of San Diegoâ€™s very own green-thumbed expert (yes, he literally has a green thumb) makes it quite obvious why we asked Hopper to be the official NUG Magazine Chronisseur. While his current role is as the director/founder of one of San Diegoâ€™s premier medical marijuana providers, The Green Door Collective in North Park, it is his collective past (pun intended!) that uniquely qualifies him for this particular position. Not only has he been featured in High Times magazine (Nov.â€™06, Aug.â€™08, Dec.â€™09 and in issues not yet on the shelf) and in Cannabis Culture magazine (Aug./Sept.â€™05 and July/Aug.â€™06), but he also has the distinction of having had the Kottonmouth Kings write a song for their album, High Society, about a strain he created called The Kingsblend.
Sadly, the original Kingsblend was lost in the devastating Cedar Fire in October 2003, but he hopes to recreate the legendary bud sometime in the near future. Aside from growing the plant named in their honor, Hopper spent nearly ten years traveling across the country and around the world as KMKsâ€™ tour manager. As you may suspect, that job required the kind of cannabis related aptitude that not many people possess. But then again, Hopper is not your average smoker. Like he says, â€œI got my PhD in THC at SDFU.â€ This statement may sound a bit abrasive, even cocky to some, but those who know Hopper personally know that he is simply using his trademark wit to explain his qualifications for his one true passion: medical marijuana. Not just weed that anyone can get anywhere, but rather high quality, locally grown, specifically cultivated medical cannabis used to treat the ailments of patients he serves at The Green Door.
The GDC is a private, non-profit, memberâ€™s only medical marijuana collective that operates in 100% compliance with the law. Hopper will do whatever it takes to best serve his patients, even if it means turning away prospective new members. In order to provide the highest quality meds for GDC patients, he has decided to stop accepting new members. The only way to become a patient/member is via a personal referral from a current patient. Yes, this upsets some medical marijuana cardholders, but he and the rest of the GDC staff believe that this policy is necessary in order to maintain the quality of products and service that their patients have come to expect. Imagine your mother or grandmother, recently diagnosed with cancer and in search of relief from the physical ravages of the disease and the necessary treatments she must endure. Would you want her waiting in line and being treated like just another customer? Of course you wouldnâ€™t. Neither does Hopper.
In speaking to him, it is obvious that seeing people who are suffering on a daily basis does take its toll. When I asked him how he deals with it, he points out the positive aspects. For instance, he describes speaking to a patient who said that after visiting The Green Door for the first time she feels better than she has in months or another patient I spoke with who said, â€œIâ€™m finally in remission. I couldnâ€™t have done it without my family, friends, and The Green Doorâ€¦and Hopper who operates in a way that helps patients like me get the safe assistance and compassionate service needed to get through this.â€
When I asked Hopper to comment on this he didnâ€™t hesitate before saying, â€œThatâ€™s the point. Thatâ€™s what puts a smile on my face.â€ He goes on to say â€œIâ€™m at the point in my life where I donâ€™t need â€˜thingsâ€™ to make me happy, or feel successful. I feel successful every time a patient walks away feeling confident and comfortable with the meds, information, and service I have provided.â€
In a time when many of San Diegoâ€™s powers-that-be have launched an all out media blitz often filled with fear mongering and half-truths to skew the publicâ€™s opinion of medical marijuana, Hopper insists on being a positive reflection of the medical marijuana community as well as an asset to the neighborhood where the Green Door is located. He has partnered with the San Diego Food Bank, Alpha Project, and Toys for Tots. In fact, the response to the Toys for Tots drive was so overwhelming; it even surprised the Marines who came to collect the mountain of gifts that GDC patients donated. One of them told Hopper that he thought going to a collective would be a waste of time, but admitted he had been wrong and even said that they collected more donations from The GDC than some Wal-Mart locations! Listening to Hopper tell that story was like listening to a proud papa recount his childâ€™s first steps. . . and no doubt, those are the first steps of many to come.
As the hardest working man in the grow business, Hopper definitely has a lot of nugs in his jug so to speak. However, he is honored to add NUG Magazineâ€™s Official Chronisseur to his list of things to do and looks forward to reviewing the best of what the San Diego medical marijuana community has to offer. See you next month!
*To check out video reviews from The Chronisseur go to www.thechronisseur.com which will debut April 20th 2010. Also, visit www.thegreendoorcollective.org for more info on the GDC.
Beginning next month, Hopper will be reviewing strains from anonymous collectives in San Diego. He will never know where the sample came from and will only review the strain itself. He will be choosing 3 strains a month to review from the samples that are brought to him. These samples will be gathered unknown to the collectives. If one of your strains is chosen for review, we will then, and only then, say where it came from!