JJ of Top Dawg Seeds created new cannabis strains such as the well-known Star Dawg and Tres Dawg while in the underground legacy market. He wants a legitimate business in New Jersey now.
While in the underground market of New York City, JJ created the cannabis strains Tres Dawg, Star Dawg, Sour Dawg, White Dawg, Nigerian Haze, African Haze, Guava, ONYCD, and I-95. He won the 2011 San Francisco High Times Cannabis Cup and is in the High Times Breeder Hall of Fame.
Originally from Dover in Morris County, JJ moved to Parsippany and lived there for several years. Before moving to Colorado, JJ always lived in New Jersey while he was part of New York City’s legendary underground market. He had the best results growing at his second house in the Catskills in the Hudson River Valley.
While living in New Jersey and hustling in New York City, JJ ran into legal troubles. He got fed up and eventually moved to Colorado around 2015.
“I knew the potential of breeding and doing all this stuff was going to be the future. The last thing I needed was to be jammed up in New Jersey on some probation,” he said.
While he moved out to Colorado, he is now interested in coming home to New Jersey and the New York metropolitan area. Now that New York and New Jersey have legalized cannabis, JJ is exploring opportunities to launch new ventures back home.
In the Underground Market
He started growing for his use and then began selling it. JJ then transitioned into making seeds and breeding. He began by getting clones from a friend.
“I started growing weed up in New York State and selling weed in New York City,” he said. “I would go to work every day and work construction, and I would go into the city and sell weed.”
One of his first growing efforts in a midtown skyscraper was unsuccessful. It became an issue when people could smell the grow 20 stories up.
Information on how to successfully grow an underground cannabis crop wasn’t widely available in the late 90s. High Times Magazine guided them on how to best harvest, but their grow still had problems.
JJ then began growing inside a house in the Catskills, where he found success. He had tried growing outdoors but had issues with weather, animals, people finding and stealing his crops. He noted that two or three days of bad weather could lead to mold on plants, and an early frost can be deadly.
Creating Tres Dawg and Star Dawg
In the process of preserving the well-known strain Chemdawg, JJ began a project.
As a vendor, when his suppliers stopped growing a high-quality strain, it was distressing he could no longer receive the same high-end product.
“What happened to this Northern Lights or Kush?” he would ask. “If you lost it, you lost the strain forever.
“It was kind of a loss for me as a seller,” JJ added.
Thus, he resolved “to preserve every strain that I get.”
He began by securing cannabis plant clones before he started growing. To preserve Chem Dog, JJ experimented with cannabis strains to create Tres Dawg and Star Dawg. JJ first traded with the originator of Sour Diesel AJ for Chem 91 to begin. He then wanted to tighten up Chem 91’s genetics by backcrossing them. JJ needed a non-dominant strain that would improve Chem Dog, which grows short to medium in height.
The strain or cultivar Afghanistan fit the bill. His friend then went to Amsterdam in the Netherlands to secure Afghanistan seeds from the Sensi Seed Bank, which JJ said was one of the best seed banks.
By breeding Chem 91 with Afghanistan, he created a new strain he called Tres Dawg. Tres Dawg was bred with the strain Chem 4, which involved further backcrossing, which created Stardawg.
JJ started creating strains in 2006-7, and it took a few years to get notoriety. Initially, he just sold the seeds and plants to his cultivator friends as clones only. JJ then started sharing those seeds widely and selling them online. JJ sent Star Dawg seeds to a friend in the legendary cannabis growing center of Humboldt County, CA, who popularized it. A friend with ties to High Times led to him receiving further notoriety.
“They just took on a life of their own,” JJ said. “It really was nothing I intended to do.”
“It really comes down to who has the best weed. That comes back to who has the best strains, who has the best clones, who has the best seeds,” JJ said regarding quality cannabis.