Where it all started...
For as long as I can remember, I had an interest in cannabis. As a child, I was not sheltered from the herb, as my father, uncles, cousins and their friends heavily used it. Marijuana has been a part of inner city black culture for a very long time, especially in California, and my experience growing up was no different from many other urban children. Growing up I saw cannabis use as something normal that adults did when they got together for a celebration, a cookout, holidays, or just when they came home from work. I was fortunate to grow up with parents and a family that did not put much or any negative stigma on cannabis use.
Speaking of my dad.. lol, lets just say, I've never come across anyone in my life that smoked more cannabis than him. He smoked before breakfast, after breakfast, on the way to work, during work, after work, on the way home, at home, after dinner, and then before bed. Every day. Not to say that I wanted to emulate that heavy of use, but his appreciation of a fine herb did rub off on me, at least a little bit.
I didn't personally try cannabis until I was 15. By this time, my mom had taken me and my brother to live in Illinois to save some money. Los Angeles was already getting expensive back in the 90's, and my grandparents offered my mom a great opportunity to come stay with them. Long story short, she never left Illinois and made it her permanent home, so the Midwest became my home during my youth. I still went back to California to see my dad during the summer, and a few times he came out to visit us. Even being away from him and Cali though, I never lost my admiration for ganja.
I took my first puff when I was at a classmates birthday party in my freshman year of high school. I didn't know what I was doing, and definitely didn't get high. Later that year though, I had made different friends and tried smoking again, and this time I got a little high. These were my earliest cannabis experiences. Just getting a "little high" with poorly rolled blunts or homemade tin foil pipes and awful quality weed. I liked it though.
I moved back to California to live with my dad when I was 16. This is when my interest really got serious. The first time I smoked Cali weed, I got so high that I couldn't feel my hands, and my friends had to help me unlock my front door because I just couldn't do it. I was blasted. From then on, after school I would get high as a kite in my garage or at the park with my friends. It was so nice and enjoyable. Everything was just hilarious, and I could eat an entire pack of Oreos in a single sitting without realizing it. At this time of my life, high doses of THC were simply bliss and an incredibly fun temporary escape.
Also during this time, my dad took an interest in growing cannabis in the backyard and started reading books on it. I took that as his "OK" to throw some seeds in a pot and I started growing bagseed plants outside. None of them ever really turned into anything. I didn't know what I was doing, and my dog really liked eating the plants. I also resold $20 bags of weed after school here and there.
Lets fast forward to my early 20s. I still liked getting high, but I started having some questionable experiences where the high turned into anxiety, panic, or anxiety. By this time, I was still growing outdoor plants, a little better now though, and I had started selling to my friends. At this time, marijuana was quasi-legal in California through the prop 215 medical program. You had to have a doctors recommendation to shop from dispensaries, but ANYONE could get a rec, and there were dispensaries on every corner like gas stations. The bud was plentiful, dank, and cheap. Many people didn't want to get doctors recs for MMJ because they thought that their employers could find out (they couldn't), and I capitalized off that. I got to know growers and reliable distributors of bulk MJ and I made a decent bit of money trapping the green.
How I discovered CBD
By my mid 20's THC started becoming my enemy. Almost every time I got high, at least part of the experience was bad. This led me to start researching. I loved cannabis and everything involving it, and didn't want to give it up. Eventually I came across the story of the Stanley brothers and their work on Charlottes Web CBD strains in Colorado. Could this be my future in cannabis? It sounded very promising, but I only learned about this on the internet and didn't know anyone that used it or where to find it.
I started diligently scouring Weedmaps every day, trying to find dispensaries in Southern California that sold CBD rich cannabis. This wasn't easy, as the majority of users in SoCal are recreational, and don't care much for medicinal effects. I found out the names of strains and the companies growing them, and over a period of 3-4 years, I found CBD flower at dispensaries only a couple times. It was EXACTLY what I was looking for, and I never stopped searching Weedmaps and Leafly on a daily basis looking for more.
One day in 2018, during my regular searches, something led me to a very obscure YouTube video about some "hemp" flower that the uploader purchased online. At this point, I had completely abandoned type 1 flower for good, so this was like striking gold. For weeks, I Googled hemp flower, the companies selling it, and watched every YouTube video available about it. I joined Reddit and the r/hempflowers subreddit and started learning about the different vendors and growers. Eventually in early 2019 I received my first package of legal hemp flower ever.
All the videos I had watched about hemp flower until then helped me in a major way, so I decided to make my own video to help others. I sat down in my car and smoked every strain I had got in the mail and that was the beginning of the Shabazz YouTube experience.
How it's going..
It's now 2023 as I type this. I've uploaded around 250 videos and I'm approaching 10,000 subscribers on my channel. I've tried nearly every strain from every relevant source and I am proud to say that at least in a small way, I've helped shape the smokable hemp flower industry. I poured all my passion and experience from the California MJ scene into everything I do with hemp flower, and I think that's what sets me apart. I also started experimenting with type 2 flower, and found that I also very much enjoy the slightly elevated THC levels of what I dubbed "Type 2.5" flower.
As well as creating content on YouTube, I'm also working non-stop behind the scenes with growers and breeders on genetics selections, pheno hunts, strain names, and product innovation. I plan on eventually releasing my own curated and/or proprietary crosses and strains, both type 3 and type 2.
I LOVE cannabis. I love the community. I love the plant. I love the farmers and the growers and the people doing advanced level biology to develop new forms of consumption and genetics. This has consumed my life. I love making videos to show the progress of CBD flower, bring awareness to it, and help the consumer decide what they should spend their money on. I hope to be a part of this growing industry, community, and positive change to society for as long as possible. I'm glad you're all here with me.