Until recently, the cannabis industry was shrouded in mystery. Breeders and cultivators, especially, were almost exclusively underground due to legal risks. Reliable source material and information for new growers was extremely hard to come by, leaving novices to their own devices. Trial and error was the name of the game, especially when it came to finding a reputable source for genetics.
Rocket Seeds is out to chase away the last vestiges of those days. The company was founded on the premise cannabis genetics should be approachable. Offering an impressive variety of cultivars under six unique brands, Rocket Seeds aims to set growers up for success whether they’re newly licensed operators or medical patients growing at home. “We want everyone to have a feeling of inclusion,” explained Chief Executive Officer Landra De, who has been with the company for four years.
The seed bank, which operates a robust e-commerce platform and has a network of brick-and-mortar retail partners (including convenience stores and hydroponics outfits) in thirty-seven states, offers everything from classic strains like Acapulco Gold and AK47 to modern favorites like Wedding Cake. Thanks to strain-tracking technology, new cultivators can learn how to get higher yields while experts can sharpen their skills by engaging with one another. Whether searching for feminized, autoflowering, or quick-growing “fast version” seeds, Rocket caters to cultivators at all experience levels.
“I personally love working in the seed industry, because we get to touch the plant,” De said. “Our customers can grow our products and [the result] actually provides, for some, a medicinal use.”
Options for any demographic
As any cannabis professional can attest, there is no “typical” consumer. Everyone from Gen Z to Baby Boomers is enjoying a new era of legalization, seeking out the perfect strains for their desired outcomes.
Diversity extends to the commercial supply chain. The modern legal cannabis marketplace is filled with products marketed to every demographic, whether customers seek relief from aches and pains or wish to elevate a night out with friends.
To serve such a broad market, Rocket Seeds offers a selection of genetics under distinct brands, each supporting specific social causes. The first and perhaps most well-known member of the family is Crop King, a Canadian seed bank established in 2005. The brand has earned respect from growers across North America by providing potent and viable genetics well-suited to gardens of all types. Crop King works closely with veterans groups to help increase cannabis access and awareness.
Beaver Seeds is known for its affordable, yet high-quality, products. The brand is a favorite among cultivators across the Great White North thanks to its approachable nature and high germination rate. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Beaver Seeds operates branded storefronts for those seeking in-person shopping assistance or guidance about growing. Not wanting to stray too far from its namesake, the brand supports environmental initiatives.
Catering to the rising number of female cannabis cultivators, Mary Jane’s Garden provides carefully inspected, handpicked seeds. Much like Beaver, Mary Jane’s Garden aims to extend its reach beyond each package of product by working with nonprofits that empower women. The brand also builds community gardens in underserved neighborhoods.
Sunwest Genetics sells organic seeds with a purpose. Terpene-rich and all-natural, products from the Canadian brand are marketed to craft growers and medical patients. Sunwest works with organizations helping to increase scientific research into everything from stem cell therapies to autism.
Rounding out the Rocket Seeds family are Sonoma Seeds and Blimburn Seeds. Sonoma offers premium, cost-effective products for the refined-yet-hip grower, allowing customers to choose between indica, sativa, and hybrid cultivars. Blimburn, one of Spain’s most respected seed banks, provides a wide range of genetics across Europe, including popular American strains like Chem Dog and Sour Diesel as well as unique products meant to set the stage for the next generation of growers.
“It’s fun to see how the seed industry moves—what people call the ‘hippie trail,’” said De. “Genetics are traveling—from NorCal to SoCal and East Coast to West Coast. It’s so cool to be able to see that.”
Rocket Seeds tracker technology
According to De, it isn’t enough simply to provide reliable, quality cannabis genetics to the masses. Rocket Seeds also strives to ensure growers of all skill levels have what they need to achieve a good crop. The company’s seed-tracker technology, which utilizes a QR code on each package, allows customers to see pertinent information about the genetics they’ve obtained and share information about their crops.
“We want to be able to find out where seeds are going, who’s growing them, and provide growing tips,” De explained. “When was the seed harvested and packaged compared to when someone germinated the seed?”
She also said the formerly disjointed approach to cannabis cultivation is something her company is trying to eliminate by promoting a united front. “We aim to build a whole new community that we haven’t been able to see yet in this industry,” she said. “Sometimes it’s nice to just talk to people who are growing the same plant in the same climate and discover what their tips are. Maybe they have different nutrient or can recommend something you probably wouldn’t find yourself searching on the internet.”
Marketplace evolution is key
What’s ahead for Rocket Seeds? De said the newfound legal cannabis landscape has introduced a new way of thinking about the plant and its antecedents. The company is undergoing a refresh in order to strengthen its individual brands while simultaneously elevating the perception of cultivators as a whole. “It’s actually fun, because we’re going to be growing within the next year with the community itself in the process for a future we see for seeds,” she said.
She pointed to the remaining stigmas associated with cannabis in certain parts of the United States and the wide range of attitudes between mature marketplaces and states where reform is still in the works, noting how some communities welcome Rocket with open arms while others refuse to engage. “We still, even to this day, get kicked out of shows in certain markets,” De lamented. “Even in states with medicinal marijuana.”
On the flip side, she said Rocket Seeds often gets a hero’s welcome when arriving in newly legal states, bringing supporters out of the shadows. “I did a show in Connecticut when they were just about to pass home growing,” she said. “People saw the packaging for our seeds and were crying. Like, they couldn’t believe it. It was the coolest thing.
“Our future is helping these communities that aren’t as lucky as Washington or California and working with groups like WomenGrow who go to these areas that are new and upcoming to the industry and help them set their path forward,” she added.
In addition to a new community-based approach to cultivation, De envisions a packaging revolution for the products her company distributes around the globe, hoping to increase professionalism and visibility. “I think there’s still another level to reach in terms of what we bring to the table,” she said. “It’s going to be more inviting. We want to get the packaging to [mainstream] retailer standards.”
In the coming months, De and her company intend to distribute a catalog incorporating all the brands, with each house showcasing 120 strains. New insider guidebooks will drop alongside new genetics, providing detailed information about individual cultivars as well as best practices for growing.
The initiative embodies the company’s desire to help all cultivators succeed. In a community where a small number of reclusive breeders determined the face of the industry, Rocket Seeds aims to spread passion for the plant and help the market grow on multiple levels.
“We’re better in numbers than we are by ourselves,” De said.