Heart of Dankness: Underground Botanists, Outlaw Farmers, and the Race for the Cannabis Cup
Reporting for the Los Angeles Times on the international blind tasting competition held annually in Amsterdam known as the Cannabis Cup, 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 rag-tag 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 Cannabis Cup, which Haskell Smith vividly portrays as the Super Bowl/Mardi Gras of the world’s largest cash crop.
Author Richard Grant said, “”Wickedly entertaining. Mark Haskell
Smith goes on a quest for the world’s finest cannabis, and uncovers an
obsessive global subculture of artisanal growers, seed botanists and
connoisseurs — all of them chronically stoned and fiercely
competitive, striving like winemakers to express the terroir of their
product and achieve the ne plus ultra of ‘dankness.’ Warning: this
book may produce an uncontrollable urge to get high.”
And Patrick Baker of The Millions wrote “I like my nonfiction to be both entertaining and edifying, and Dankness delivers both….If you want to know how the contemporary cannabis industry operates, Heart of Dankness is the book for you. But beyond that, Dankness is a great book for anyone with an inclination towards connoisseurship….the book holds great appeal beyond the world of marijuana aficionados. Take it from a guy who hates reggae: I highly recommend picking up Heart of Dankness, whether you have a doctor’s recommendation or not.”
It was published by Broadway Books in 2012 and you can learn more at
the Heart of Dankness tumblr page.