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Cannabis Community Mourns the Loss of Longtime Breeder Subcool

PHOTO courtesy Subcool Seeds / Facebook


Cannabis Community Mourns the Loss of Longtime Breeder Subcool

Subcool, one of the great breeders of the modern era and most influential people in cannabis, passed away last weekend.

On Feb. 1, the legendary cannabis breeder Dave Bowman, better known as Subcool, died after a long fight with the rare condition Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, as well as COPD.

As the news spread and sent shockwaves throughout the cannabis community, post after post from the world’s leading cannabis figures on social media memorialized Subcool. A recurring theme: Many now-successful members of the cannabis community said they had been inspired to get started by Subcool’s activism in the 2000s, when publicly identifying yourself as a cannabis genetics enthusiast was an act of civil disobedience in itself.

Subcool first made his name leading The Green Avengers, which bred strains like Jack the Ripper, Jack’s Cleaner 2 and Vortex, which were able to stand out at the height of OG’s reign at the top. These strains found their way to the podium at the first official Cannabis Cup in the United States, where the Vortex (labeled as something elsetook top sativa honors in the 2010 High Times San Francisco Medical Cannabis Cup. The TGA catalog went on to collect various other accolades over the years.

Three years ago, I got to chat with Subcool about his earliest days participating in the cannabis community, back in the early 1990s. At the time, Subcool was hanging out on some of the earliest pot-growing internet forums, where he connected with fellow old school breeder Skoosk, who gave 200 seeds to Subcool. Skoosh had wild genetics that included Lamb’s Bread, Purple Haze, Northern Lights and a Pluton bred by the legendary Nevil Schoenmakers.

Subcool worked those seeds for a year before finding the original Jack’s Cleaner. In 1997, he and The 77, a group of underground growers, met and showed their wares to each other. Subcool’s offerings were among the top of the pack. Twenty years later, that same excitement carried Subcool on to the stage at the Southern California High Times Cannabis Cup where he received the 2017 Lester Grinspoon Lifetime Achievement Award.

Not long after receiving that award, Subcool lost his home and everything in it during the wildfires that devastated the Northern California community in the fall of 2017. The incident showed his resolve to continue to help the community, as he teamed up with The Soil King Garden Center owner Patrick King to help his fellow farmers that still had a chance at beating back the flames and saving their crops.

“What we do with the money is give it to Patrick, the Soil King, and he’s on the ground,” Subcool told Cannabis Now in 2017. “What this allows us to do — instead of bothering with forms, the Red Cross and bureaucracy — is if you need a generator, you drive to the Soil King and say ‘Pat, I need a generator.’ Then you can go to Home Depot and you buy it.”

At the same time as he launched this fundraising effort, Subcool was driving to The Soil King to get a blood infusion as the fires raged around him.

“So he’s providing me a bed and a place to get my medication because everything is burnt down,” Subcool said in 2017, “and then we’re going to continue on raising money for food, supplies and water to get to the growers.”

King spoke with Cannabis Now this week about Subcool’s efforts to help the community during the fire disaster that killed 40 people.

“I can tell you this about this man: After the fires, everybody was donating money, seeds, items and he took none of it!” said King. “He gave it all the way, raised money for other fire victims in need. Sub was not a selfish man, he was cut from a cloth not many have ever seen. He cared about everybody else and put them in front of him caring about himself every time. He was a one-off, last of a dime breed. My best friend.”

Johnny Green was one of the original cannabis bloggers who started writing during the explosion of cannabis reform in the 2000s. He told Cannabis Now about the first time he met Subcool.

“The first time that our paths crossed was in the early 2000s. We both lived in the same part of Oregon at the time, had mutual friends, and he was infamous in cannabis community circles, like a mysterious cannabis folk hero,” Green said.

After a mutual friend hyped Subcool for a long time, Green agreed to pitch in on a bag of flower but remained skeptical that it would live up to the hype.

“Within seconds of Subcool entering the living room, it smelled so skunky that I knew he was the real deal,” Green said. “The aroma that filled the room was like nothing I had ever smelled before.”

Like many, Green had dozens of online conversations with Subcool, such as one conversation he remembers about using a pen name out of necessity due to cannabis prohibition.

“Sub contributed a ton of knowledge to the cannabis world, and he will be greatly missed. Some of his strains are my all-time favorites,” Green said. “Sub may be gone, but his legacy will live on forever.”

TELL US, how will you remember Subcool?



  1. Nobodyimportant

    February 18, 2020 at 10:04 am

    Many will never fully understand the man’s legacy and all of the controversy that surrounded him in a culture that was always a dirty industry in disguise. In the end Sub was humbled and practically left to die and dry by the masses of supposed friends and family even though each and every single post gave others a little more than just a warning of just how sickened by A-1 he really was, and without all the money and goods to share he was left with Sharpi and a few others distanced in the end. Shit he even confessed to his own personal choices recently that had negatively affected his life and many more things he regretted and predicted his own death. He knew his time arrived and his last actual posts on Instagram were in regards to his gratitude for the companionship his two loyal dogs offered him unconditionally. That says a lot about his own personal nature and the rest is irrelevant..

    Monty was neither an angel nor a devil, in conclusion he was always Monty first and then the alterego of Subcool projected and even Subfool at times too. This he humbly admitted through the many comments of regret posted online in the last videos of his life as he was picking up the pieces once more knowing each day was not promised that he awakened to….

    RIP Monty

  2. Joshua LaCroix

    February 5, 2020 at 2:28 pm

    SubCool had the biggest heart. He helped me get through my double lung transplant. At one point we were so broke and out car broke down far from home. Sub raised 1500. To help us. I owe him a lot of credit. Without him we may not have made it. I came to cali from Hawaii in pursuit of a double lung transplant. I knew no one in Cali. Sub was like an angel to us. Also we both suffer from Alpha 1 . He knew what my fight was like. He understood and cared. I love Sub like a brother. He gave me seeds so I could start growing again. We had dinner together many times.. My wife and kids and friend would come hang with us. He also helped a friend of mine to get a new set of dentures. Sub was full of Love and Caring This was a great loss not just for the cannabis industry. It was a loss for good people everywhere who care and help others . I’ll never forget Sub. Neither will my family. Sub was real and kind. R.I.P. to my brother Sub

  3. Rotstone

    February 5, 2020 at 4:14 am

    Subcool’s Early Weednerd years influenced many people. Especially to organic supersoil methods. He also had a huge influence on the normalization of cannabis through his Weednerd episodes as one of the earlier pioneers in social media. He did have haters but most people that are high profile generally do. His love of cannabis and desire to teach people to grow there own can be seen in the many fans and followers. Respected and loved by his peers like Kyle Kushman, Ed Rosenthal, The Soil King, Mendo Dope, for his work and kindness are a testament to Subcool and his work. AKA The Green Avenger, The Weednerd. RIP Monty Ball. Pick up your shovels mix your soil and get your grow on. Overgrow the world.

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