By: Stoney Tark
The cannabis industry has always been seen to be run by male dominant figures with stereotypical lifestyles, which correlate with a behind the scene modus operandi. However, before social media was at the forefront it is now and with so many platforms to connect with, many of the original breeders, male or female were often overlooked. Soft Secrets is very excited it has the opportunity to sit down with world class breeder Mz Jill from T.G.A, who has dedicated much of her life to growing cannabis, creating world class strains, activism, awareness and is well known throughout the states as a veteran organic grower and breeder.
SSUK: Thank you very much for sitting down with Soft Secrets Mz Jill… Can you tell the readers about what yourself and what you do?
I am a cannabis cannabis advocate foremost, a public figure in the US cannabis community, also a breeder, long time grower and owner of a cannabis seed company. We focus on providing high quality medicinal grade genetics to patients that wish to use natural medicine, as an alternative to pharmaceuticals.
Founder of the charity MzJills People Helping People, we focus efforts on helping combat veterans, families of children with physical or mental disabilities. I am also former co-owner and Head Breeder of TGA Genetics, however, I have recently made a split with my partner and formed a new company with a different set of standards.
How did you first get involved in growing cannabis?
It first began when I started using cannabis to help alleviate back pain caused by Scoliosis. I have always been reluctant to use pharmaceuticals, after witnessing the long term side effects they can cause. I was a young single mom of three small daughters,
Struggling to make ends meet, so it became a necessity to provide medicine for myself. Quickly learning that I really enjoyed growing my own medicine, as it is so rewarding and therapeutic, it became one of my most beloved hobbies. I enjoy the hands on work in the garden and love the reward of helping patients with the medicine being made.
Coming from the states, what were the household genetics in those days compared to now?
When I first started growing it was much harder to obtain genetics. The internet had not quite taken off yet, so I did not have access to the quantity or quality of information that is available to us today. Growing cannabis was very illegal in the United States at the time I first came into the industry, so everyone kept quiet and kept to themselves.
As the mother of three young school aged children, I was in great fear of repercussion. When I first came into the industry the majority of cannabis breeders were located in the United Kingdom, there were not any publically open cannabis breeders within the United States. I have been said to be the first publicly known female cannabis breeder in the United States.
Over time what have been the best strains to ever pass through your hands?
One of the first strains I grew was Cinderella 99, she is one that I wish I had kept. Hash Plant, Skunk, and Northern Lights #5 have always been favorites of mine, I would love to incorporate these strains into my genetics line-up in the future. I am a big fan of O.G Kush and have an original OG Kush, that I am excited to start working with.
You are well known for using an organic soil recipe. Can you tell us more about this and how you first invented this mix?
The super soil recipe that I make and promote was originally created by Vic High, which I have modified it over the years to suit my grow style better. My recipe includes many different amendments such and it is generally sufficient from veg through flower with minimal additions needed, such as cal-mag, silica and sugars.
What were the first strains you created for yourself, for medical relief?
The first strain I created was my namesake Jilly Bean. Orange Velvet is the mother of Jilly Bean and she was one of my favorites for years. She gave great relief from my pain with an amazing orange flavor. She was a very flavorful orange skunk, with the most beautiful colors I had ever seen on a cannabis plant. I wanted to share my medicine with others, so I decided to find a compatible male to compliment her.
I was very pleased with the outcome of Jilly Bean, she is great medicine. She has an amazing uplifting happy affect and she is fantastic for those suffering from anxiety, depression or PTSD. We are working to provide a very stable flavor specific line of Jilly Bean. Watch for Grape Jilly Bean, Cherry Jilly Bean, Orange Jilly Bean and Lime Jilly Bean to start making an appearance in late 2018.
Unfortunately you were affected by the recent California fire. How much of a loss was this to you and all your years of work and research?
During the Northern California wildfires I lost all of my genetics and years of hard work as well as my entire facility all of my personal belongings, all family keepsakes and my home. It was a very devastating time in my life. It was a Sunday night in early October around 11:00 pm, we hadn’t had rain in four full months, with temperatures that reached as high as 45 degrees Celsius that summer. I was going outside to do a last round check of the property, as we had an outdoor crop still in ground and ready for harvest.
As I went outside I saw flames, very angry aggressive flames that soared high above the tops of the trees less than a ridge from mine. The winds were very strong that night, gusting between 35 and 55 miles per hour. I ran into the house and yelled to the other people inside that we needed to evacuate immediately. We grabbed a few items that we could grab in a quick moment and fled the property at 11:15 pm. The fire swept through with such intensity, that it melted the door to the fireproof gun safe, as well as the contents inside. SInce the fire I have started rebuilding both on a personal level and also as a business.
I have acquired many of my original genetics as well as adding a couple of new ladies. At the time of the fire, I was in the process of separating from my long time partner and starting a new business venture at the time the fire took place. Tragedy allows for fresh starts and new growth, I am very happy with the direction my new company is going and I am excited about what my new business partner, and my new team have to offer to the company and also to the cannabis community. We have some great new things in the works and some amazing new cannabis flavors to offer.
What do you think about the change in strains within the states recently? Do you see the American market taking on a commercial aspect as the European scene has in terms of strains?
Since legalization has taken place in so many states across the United States, cannabis has become a mainstream commodity and with that comes commercialized product to help meet the demand. WIth the individual states taking control, regulations are being placed on the products to help protect the consumers and lab testing has become a requirement. There will always be a market for the small batch handcrafted, organically grown cannabis as well.
Do you have any advice for any female growers and cannabis enthusiasts, who are thinking of entering the industry?
My advice to other female growers and cannabis enthusiasts who are thinking of becoming a part of the cannabis industry is to ‘go for it’! Being a part of the cannabis industry can be a very rewarding lifestyle, there is no limit to the opportunities available. I became part of the cannabis industry more than 20 years ago. Over the years I have been blessed by the beautiful humans that have crossed my path, my heart has been filled with joy and gratitude.
I have witnessed miracles from the use of cannabis by the people that I have met along the way. I have seen children having a seizure be given a drop of cannabis tincture and stop seizing, I have seen a paralyzed man walk again. I am still so fascinated with the healing power of cannabis.
I advise to enter the industry with your heart and mind in the right place, do it for the love of the plant and what it has to offer, do it for the patients that need help with so many different things.
Be firm and strong, stand for what you believe in but don’t step on others to gain growth. Growth comes slow but the reward is well worth it.