Heart of Dankness: Underground Botanists, Outlaw Farmers, and the Race for the Cannabis Cup

Heart of Dankness: Underground Botanists, Outlaw Farmers, and the Race for the Cannabis Cup

Mark Haskell Smith / May 26, 2019

Heart of Dankness Underground Botanists Outlaw Farmers and the Race for the Cannabis Cup Reporting on Amsterdam s famous Cannabis Cup competition for the Los Angeles Times novelist Mark Haskell Smith sampled a variety of marijuana that was unlike anything he d experienced It wasn t anyth

  • Title: Heart of Dankness: Underground Botanists, Outlaw Farmers, and the Race for the Cannabis Cup
  • Author: Mark Haskell Smith
  • ISBN: 9780307720542
  • Page: 256
  • Format: Paperback
  • Reporting on Amsterdam s famous Cannabis Cup competition for the Los Angeles Times, novelist Mark Haskell Smith sampled a variety of marijuana that was unlike anything he d experienced It wasn t anything like typical stoner weed in fact it didn t get you stoned This cannabis possessed an ephemeral quality known to aficionados as dankness Armed with a State of CalifornReporting on Amsterdam s famous Cannabis Cup competition for the Los Angeles Times, novelist Mark Haskell Smith sampled a variety of marijuana that was unlike anything he d experienced It wasn t anything like typical stoner weed in fact it didn t get you stoned This cannabis possessed an ephemeral quality known to aficionados as dankness Armed with a State of California Medical Marijuana recommendation, he begins a journey into the international underground where super high grade marijuana is developed, and tracks down the ragtag community of underground botanists, outlaw farmers, and renegade strain hunters who pursue excellence and diversity in marijuana, defying the law to find new flavors, tastes, and effects This unrelenting pursuit of dankness climaxes at the Super Bowl Mardi Gras of the marijuana world, the international blind tasting competition held annually in Amsterdam known as the Cannabis Cup, an event that determines the market value of the world s largest cash crop.

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    About "Mark Haskell Smith"

      • Mark Haskell Smith

        Mark Haskell Smith is the author of five novels and the nonfiction books Naked at Lunch and Heart of Dankness His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Independent, Salon, Literary Hub, Slate, Howler, and Vulture He lives in Los Angeles He likes Mexican food.


    861 Comments

    1. This book is pretty much precisely what I want from a nonfiction book. It's got a lot of information, and I left it knowing more about the subject than when I began it. But more importantly, it's really, really fun. It could serve as a travelogue about Amsterdam (indeed, it prompted me to realize I've actually read quite a few books about Amsterdam, a city I've never even been to), and it's a great look at the bizarre state of American marijuana legislation, where you can be on sure legal footin [...]


    2. Heart of Dankness is up there with the best of the best of non-fiction. It’s the kind of writing that grips you even if you start out with no interest in the topic (think Jon Krakauer on fundamentalist Mormons or Lauren Hillenbrand on horses). Right up front, I will admit that I have a bias – Mark Haskell Smith is a mentor of mine, and as a writer, I buy the books of people I know out of solidarity. But I’ll also admit that I planned to drag my feet on reading this one (sorry Mark) because [...]


    3. I originally bought Heart of Dankness because I know Mark Haskell Smith and I like him. But I'm so glad that I read it, because it's a really fascinating look at a world I hadn't seen before, as well as an entertaining exploration of places I haven't been. Plus ever since I read it I've been thinking about the "dankness" of various things I encounter.


    4. I'll admit that I'm a fan of Smith's novels. What that says about me and my sense of humor, well, I'll let you be the judgeBut the biggest thing a reader would have to wonder how someone that primarily writes fiction would do in the non-fiction realm. For Mark, he's made the transition amazingly well.This book has his trademark, no-holds-barred sense of humor, while not only presenting us with some wonderful and colorful folk, but it also is quite informative on the Cannibus Cup, the legalizatio [...]


    5. *Disclaimer: received a free copy through ' giveaway section.*I'm not a smoker or pro-legalization advocate, but this book was awesome. It's a scientific look at what makes pot "dank," as the author puts it. For the most part, this amounts to what gives it those positive attributes people enjoy?Part travelogue, part behind-the-scenes peak at an underground culture, this was a great read and I hope the author continues down the non-fiction path.


    6. I know this subject pretty well. And this book is pretty clueless. DO NOT WASTE MONEY! But if you pick it up at sale/used bookstore/yardsale -its a goofy read. Do not mistake it for serious work.


    7. An exhaustively researched, thoroughly entertaining, and politically insightful romp through the world of cannabis growth, production, and consumption. This book is dank.





    8. I have enjoyed everything that I have read by Mark Haskell Smith, which is to say that I've read everything he's written. Despite this book being non-fiction he has a way of writing characters that seem fictional. This could be in large part due to the fact that a lot of the people that he met while on his stoner-sojourn needed to protect their identities so that they weren't picked up by the Feds. And that right there is the beautiful thing that is brought out in the book: the fact that it is c [...]


    9. I would like to first thank the author, the publisher and for allowing me an ARC of the Heart of Dankness.Now I was a little skeptical when I first looked over the book and its brief description. Most books about the Green side of life are full of nonsensical dribble that runs on and on. Withtopics that have no relation to each other nor can keep an intelligent person engaged for more than five minutes at a time. I was relieved that this book was not one of those, and that I would recommend any [...]


    10. An interesting look at the modern world of cannabis cultivation and the author's quest to define the elusive quality of "dankness". This is not an exhaustive overview of the history of cannabis or how it is grown or the conflicting state and federal laws concerning its possession and cultivation. I put it into a category of books that I find fascinating--that of people with obsessive interests.The author looks not at large scale pot farming but at people who spend inordinate amounts of effort at [...]


    11. MHS wrote a non-fict about weed. It's framed well, exploring the mosaic-rainbow of characters of the now-global cannabis culture.Highlights:*MHS discussing his need for weed with a CA pot doc.*Talks to a high-end dispensary owner in MHS's neighborhood in Los Angeles, where the owner entrusts Mark with the knowledge that most mood-altering drugs abscesses the function of risk in the human brain and that the American Gov't knew this stat before the economic meltdown in 2008. *Talks to many of the [...]


    12. A rollicking romp through the world of cannabis cultivation and agricultural celebrity. Using the annual Cannabis Cup awards, the Oscars of hempdom, which can turn a pot seed geneticist into a millionaire overnight, author Mark Haskell Smith follows the sweet smell of success from the hidden pot farms of Mendocino to the boutique seed cultivators of Amsterdam in search of the elusive definition of dankness. This is the first nonfiction offering I've seen from MHS, but the dark humor of his novel [...]


    13. In the movie Pineapple Express, Pot dealer James Franco is explaining the family tree of his great new weed to a customer. His description is a page straight out of this book. It's an education in the care and breeding of marijuana and of the annual international competition held in Amsterdam that judges the world's best pot. This world is seen through the eyes of those the author considers the best growers in the U.S. and Europe. After a few chapters you start regarding high grade weed as somet [...]


    14. Mark Haskell Smith has a dark sense of humor and it excels here as he reports and immerses himself in the Cannabis culture.I have utterly enjoyed his novels over the years because his voice is so strong, they are plot drive and read more like literary fiction.With Heart of Dankness, Smith has honed his skills as an excellent story teller from the fiction side of things to put together a compelling and fun read on the pot scene.He pulls no punches when dealing with hipsters and those who are too [...]


    15. This was a Giveaway. I don't have a personal investment or interest in the subject of cannabis but I really enjoyed this book. It is part travelogue, part portrait of quirky, likable people and part scientific history of marijuana. It was extremely well written and very humorous at times. I am not sure that I still understand the point of the search for "dankness" but the run-up to and results of the Cannabis Cup were entertaining. Overall, this is not a book that I really would have picked up [...]


    16. "Heart of Dankness" is that perfect kind of book for me. It's short, but not too much and the pace is quick. The humor is genuinely funny and it makes the story even better than it already is. The only thing I felt needed a bit of polishing was the author's quest to define the term "dank." I think that the story is good enough by itself and that it doesn't need anything more. That being said, this book is definitely dank!


    17. I was hoping for a lot more from Smith. I'd hoped that reporting on the Cannabis Cup would allow him to educate us about marijuana's history, power, and current controversies. Instead, the focus was exclusively on efforts to develop new hybrids. True, some of the characters who are working on that are diverting. But I felt I really had the appetite for maybe a long article on the subject, rather than a whole (if slim) book.


    18. I thought this book was well written, funny and witty. I also thought it really provided some interesting arguments and points of a conversation that needs to be had. One of the most interesting ideas was that getting "stoned" was a SIDE EFFECT of smoking pot. Interesting idea, the thought that there is way more to pot than being stoned.


    19. Probably a very interesting book if you smoke dope, yearn for the personal freedoms of Amsterdam, or are interested in the different strains of pot that have been developed over the years. That has never been my thing, so I found the book a little too boring.


    20. Heart of Dankness is a fascinating. Haskel-Smith applies brilliant travel and adventure writing style and takes what was once a subcultural phenomenon and delivers a truly entertaining read, that’s not just for “potheads"



    21. I really enjoyed this. Especially the part about the migrant bud tenders. Although I felt the entire part about "what is dank" was kind of unnecessary. It's a great book, you should read it.



    22. Funny. Engaging. A well-rounded and informative novel with plenty if lovely prose and story craft, and just enough hi jinks (pin intended) to tie it all together.



    23. Some nice sections but not super in-depth. Author could have done some further research.Light and frivolous. Probably good beach reading.


    24. Interesting subject matter, presented in a rambling, not-edited-enough manner. I find this author to be a better writer of fiction than non-fiction.


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