Colin Gordon’s journey is more than a chronicle; it’s a testament to passion, chance encounters, and an audacious spirit that reshaped the landscape of cannabis breeding. Leading to his eventual relationship with Happy Valley Genetics that is set to disrupt the cannabis industry at large.

From closet harvests to becoming a figurehead within the cannabis breeding space, welcome to the inspiring, immutable, and innovation-driven world of Colin Gordon.

The origin story: From seed to cannabis startup

Picture this: 1991, college life, and an unsuspecting Colin Gordon encounters top-tier cannabis, but the price tag? A whopping $25 a gram. Determined to enjoy without breaking the bank, Gordon and a daring friend jet off to Amsterdam in ’92, smuggling back seeds of Skunk 1 and Northern Lights Number 5, marking the beginning of Gordon’s lifelong journey into cannabis breeding.

Fast forward to 2008, and Gordon, now a former professional poker player, finds himself immersed in the intriguing world of cannabis. As a chance encounter unfolds, unraveling a tale of opening a dispensary in a feed store in Englewood, Colorado, during the “Wild Wild West” years of the early cannabis industry.

As Gordon immersed himself in cannabis cultivation, he faced seed scarcity, prompting a lightbulb moment: why not create his own? The mid-’00s saw the birth of his crossbreeding experiments, evolving over the years as he inadvertently stepped into cannabis seed production. By 2009, he was crafting Blue Dream seeds for a customer, unintentionally laying the groundwork for where his career led him next.

In the midst of the Colorado cannabis boom, Gordon’s expertise in crafting feminized seeds for California growers became highly sought after. Enter Ethos Collective, a cannabis cultivation consulting company he founded, which thrived for three years before pivoting to start his own seed company. Where the vision behind Ethos Genetics emerged, blending experience, passion, and an unyielding belief in the future of cannabis breeding for generations to come.

Collaborations and partnerships in the cannabis industry

Partnerships in the cannabis industry are often like catching lightning in a bottle, says Gordon. Sharing his insights, Gordon dives into the intricacies of successful collaborations and the unique dynamics that led to the flourishing partnership between Ethos Genetics and Happy Valley Genetics.

In the often turbulent landscape of cannabis collaborations, Gordon sheds light on the critical factors that make or break such alliances. For him, it’s all about shared vision, synergy, and being on the same page, both professionally and socially.

So, how did the collaboration with Happy Valley Genetics unfold? Gordon narrates the journey that began when Happy Valley purchased wholesale cannabis seeds from him. Michael Reardon, Founder of Happy Valley Genetics, reached out with a compelling pitch after a year-and-a-half of success with Ethos Genetics seeds. A feeling of authenticity and a well-thought-out plan drew Gordon to visit their facility, initiating a year-long courtship that culminated in formal licensing agreement.

In the realm of successful partnerships, Gordon highlights the complementary nature of Ethos Genetics and Happy Valley Genetics, each providing the missing piece for the other. This symbiosis allows them to maximize their strengths and navigate the challenges unique to the cannabis industry.

“I believe in Ethos Genetics and Happy Valley Genetics, we perfectly complement each other in the ways that they had a missing piece and we were it and we had a missing piece and they were it.”

The impact of this collaboration on breeding and cannabis cultivation techniques is profound. Gordon, accustomed to smaller-scale operations, now works hand-in-hand with the Happy Valley Cultivation Team at their facility based in Gloucester, MA. This synergy not only allows for a broader selection of cannabis plants but also streamlines the breeding process, with Gordon focusing on genetics while their expert team handles execution.

As Gordon walks through the 2,000-square-foot room, meticulously pheno hunting to select plants for breeding, he underscores the joy and capability this collaboration brings. With a grin, he concludes, “I couldn’t imagine working with a different company. It’s so much fun, and it allows me to focus on what I do best – genetics.” The success story of Ethos Genetics and Happy Valley Genetics exemplifies the harmony that can be achieved when passion meets partnership in the ever-evolving cannabis industry.

“[Our partnership with Happy Valley Genetics] will completely change the landscape of all cannabis worldwide. Period. I’m 100% sure.

Expertise and techniques in cannabis breeding

Scaling seed production is no small feat, and Gordon is quick to highlight the intricacies involved. From room design to meticulous procedures, including stringent controls on who enters the facility, every step is crucial. Gordon doesn’t shy away from the challenges, admitting that cleaning and preparing seeds after harvest is the most formidable aspect of scaling up. However, the commitment to improvement is evident as Happy Valley Genetics has invested in purpose built post-harvest equipment from the agriculture industry to streamline the process, a testament to their dedication to maximizing efficiency and their collaboration with Ethos Genetics.

But what makes Ethos Genetics seeds stand out in the industry? Gordon digs into the benefits of autoflower seeds, which is his signature and expertise, emphasizing their appeal for home growers. According to him, the future lies in homogeneity, and autoflowers are on the forefront of this evolution. Gordon envisions a time when distinguishing between autoflowers and photoperiods becomes nearly impossible, a testament to his relentless pursuit of quality and consistency.

“All I want is someone to look at it and go, “That’s really good weed.” That’s it. Not ask if it’s an autoflower or things like that. But I think we’re there. And I think within a year or two, autoflowers will be completely indistinguishable from photoperiod.”

Innovations in autoflowering cannabis seeds

In the ever-evolving landscape of cannabis breeding, Gordon stands at the forefront, championing innovations specifically in autoflowering seeds and reshaping the future of the industry.

For the past decade, Gordon has been steering the ship of innovation by primarily breeding with female plants, a unique approach that involves removing the Y chromosome. As he notes, the male adds a minuscule percentage of DNA that the female lacks, and by exclusively working with females, Gordon can precisely observe and enhance the traits of two female plants. This meticulous process serves as the bedrock for his breeding programs, emphasizing precision and control.

I can see what it smells like. I can see what it grows like. I can see what the bud formations are. If I’m looking for data points, there’s about 200 on a female plant. There’s about 12 on a male.

Since as early as 2010 and ’11, long before it became a trend, Gordon recognized the potential of autoflowers as the future of cannabis. Autonomously flowering and requiring less attention to light cycles, autoflowers represent a paradigm shift in cultivation efficiency. Gordon’s commitment to refining and improving autoflowers over the years has positioned him as a trailblazer in the field.

Autoflowers are the way to go for most home growers if the autoflowers are kick-ass and they know how to grow them.

His dedication to this niche goes beyond just adapting to industry trends; it’s about foreseeing and shaping them. By recognizing the potential of autoflowers and investing years in their enhancement, Gordon has not only embraced the future but has actively shaped it. His work is a testament to the constant pursuit of excellence, where each innovation contributes to a broader narrative of transforming the cannabis cultivation landscape. As the cannabis industry continues to evolve, Gordon’s vision and commitment to pushing boundaries ensure that Ethos Genetics remains at the forefront of innovation, especially when it comes to their partnership with Happy Valley Genetics.

Achieving award winning cannabis seeds

Unlocking the secrets behind multiple High Times Cannabis Cup wins, Gordon reflects on the critical role genetics play in these victories. Emphasizing that impeccable genetics are the foundation upon which winning strains are built. Noting the demand for cannabis clones and seeds soared after Ethos Genetics secured a win at the 2015 High Times Cup in Colorado.

“We just got a booth to promote our consulting company and just have some fun. And we won, but we got second for best booth. And we sold out of every single pack.”

He underscores the importance of having exceptional genetics, likening it to growing the biggest pumpkin in the world. Gordon asserts that, just like a remarkable pumpkin requires specific seeds, growing award-winning cannabis seeds necessitates superior genetics. He dismisses the notion of improving subpar genetics, reinforcing the fundamental role of high-quality cannabis seeds in the cultivation process.

“Genetics are 100% necessary. It’s just the way it is.”

Delving into the impact of High Times Cannabis Cup awards on the industry and market perception of Ethos Genetics, Gordon expresses a unique pride. While winning personally is an achievement, he finds even greater satisfaction when others triumph using Ethos Genetics seeds. Including the notable use of his seeds to procure High Times Cannabis Cup First Place Wins for Best Sativa (White Wedding) and Best Hybrid (Super Lemon Haze) for Happy Valley.

Witnessing growers pheno hunt for his seeds and achieve success independently is the ultimate validation for Gordon. He sees it as the best advertisement, highlighting the authenticity and quality of his seeds. Taking pride in the fact that his strains are not just winning because of specific clones but rather from growing his seeds, affirming the intrinsic excellence of Ethos Genetics.

Embracing challenges in cannabis innovation

In the intricate realm of cannabis breeding, Gordon confronts the prevalent issue of misinformation surrounding genetics, distinguishing authentic cannabis strains from misnomers. Leveraging his extensive experience, Gordon champions firsthand knowledge, emphasizing his commitment to authenticity in an industry rife with misinformation.

Compensatory breeding, identifying desired traits, seamlessly transitions into directional breeding under Gordon’s guidance, ensuring stability and consistency. Through meticulous pheno hunting and education, Ethos Genetics adeptly addresses challenges, maintaining genetic diversity and stability.

Pheno hunting is the base of breeding, period. There’s no way around that. The best pheno hunters I know are the best breeders I know–even if they’re not trying to be breeders. They just are.

In the realm of innovations, Gordon unveils technological strides in cannabis breeding, emphasizing the transformative role of genetic sequencing. Sequencing empowers Ethos Genetics to replace anecdotal observations with empirical data for enhanced breeding outcomes, specifically within their partnership with Happy Valley Genetics.

Gordon also underscores the importance of consistent pheno hunting and quality control, revealing exciting advancements in cannabis breeding technology are supported with these foundational practices.

Personal reflections and advice

Amid his collaboration with Happy Valley Genetics, Gordon expresses pride in ongoing projects, notably the End Game and Candy Store initiatives. While these extend previous endeavors, the Super Lemon Haze project with Happy Valley Genetics takes the spotlight as the cultivar he is most looking forward to sharing with growers.

As for advice to those aspiring to enter the cannabis space professionally, Gordon’s words echo Nike’s iconic slogan: “Just do it.” Encouraging persistence, he acknowledges the initial challenges and underscores the fun intrinsic to the journey. Attention to detail and a passion for excellence are his sought-after characteristics, emphasizing that success is a gradual accumulation of skills rather than an overnight success story.

He characterizes cannabis breeding as the “ultimate stockroom to boardroom job,” where comprehensive experience cultivates expertise. The path may involve cleaning tables in harvesting facilities initially, but Gordon stresses that meticulous execution of any task elevates one’s reputation within the industry and opens up opportunities.

If you want to be a lead cultivator at a facility, it’s going to take you years and years of experience anyway. But the best lead cultivators I know can do absolutely every single job in there a little bit better than everyone else is doing it because they’ve done it.

Colin Gordon’s personal reflections and advice unveil the intricacies of cannabis breeding, offering a nuanced perspective to enthusiasts and budding breeders alike. Through pride in projects, profound reflections, and insightful guidance, Gordon’s narrative serves as a beacon for those navigating the fascinating world of cannabis cultivation.


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