When you think strain experts, High Times‘ Senior Cultivation Editor Danny Danko has to be one of the first names to come to mind. Danko is an immensely accomplished and highly regarded name in the space for his work with High Times, as well as additional works. Since 2005, Danko has chosen the annual top 10 strains for High Times in addition to being the creator and founder of the High Times Seed Bank Hall of Fame.
Danko’s work and insights can also be found in book form. His first, The Official High Times Field Guide to Marijuana Strains, is considered one of the most in-depth cannabis books around. His second book, Cannabis: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Marijuana, was released in 2018 and was what brought him back to New York City’s High NY series for the second time.
Founded and hosted by certified coach, entrepreneur and author Michael Zaytsev, better known as Mike Z, High NY is one of New York City’s longest running cannabis community events. Launched in 2014, the event series aims to provide three things, according to Mike Z. They include practical knowledge about the plant, meaningful connections and inspiration for people to get involved in the community. This event marked the 50th or so show – the exact number was never determined.
The event was held at LMHQ in Downtown Manhattan on July 31, 2019. The evening boasted a relatively packed house with room for everyone to meet beforehand. Among the people in the crowd were aspiring entrepreneurs, media representatives, cannabis industry employees, advocates and enthusiasts. Each guest was gifted a signed copy of Danko’s Guide to Growing Marijuana, which also served as the topic of discussion for the evening.
The presentation kicked off with Mike Z warming up the crowd in his usual comedic, energetic spirit while staying on topic covering some of the top news in the space. Discussing New York’s recent decriminalization, he said he was displeased and urged everyone to continue pushing for full legalization in the state.
Discussing legalization earlier in the night, Danko said, “I think if cannabis is made legal, it has to be legal to be able to grow your own.”
Once on stage, the cannabis expert offered up a beginner growth class for those hoping to learn more about cultivating their own personal cannabis grows.
“I think [cannabis cultivation] a little bit daunting when you’re a beginner, and you’re starting out. You look in most of the books, and it looks like textbooks. It seems like something that’s unattainable,” Danko said before starting his presentation.
“I wanted to make it a little bit simpler and easier to understand and make it so anybody could pick up the book and at least get a better idea of how to do it,” he added.
Mike Z explained the importance of notable names like Danko coming to High NY to speak.
”The way I view the speakers…to me they’re like the community elders. They’re the people who have the knowledge and track record of either service or success in the community.” The High NY founder added, “I bring them in because they’re going to be the people who are most qualified to provide, hopefully, that education and that inspiration that I ultimately want the attendees to get.”
Later in his presentation, Danko would explain that cultivation is a lifelong learning process. He calls his book and his presentation a “first step”. He aimed to create such a first step that would not appear overwhelming to the reader.
From a novice cultivator’s perspective, Danko does just that with the book and his presentation. Even with him accelerating the learning lesson, Danko still covered the entire cultivation process in a way that made the information easy to digest and process.
If people hadn’t read his book prior to the event, pages were used as visual aids for the cultivation expert’s walkthrough. Much like how he conveyed the key points of each chapter, it was clear that Danko’s written presentation should be just as easy for novices and experts alike to learn about the cultivation of cannabis.
Before presenting, Danko did offer up a few pieces of advice to The Marijuana Times for those looking to get into cultivation. “I would say start small and look into things like feminized strains and auto-flowering strains and things that are a little bit easier to grow. Then, you can move up to the idea of growing out your own mother plants and hunting for the right phenotype that you want to keep around.”
In addition to cultivation, Danko spoke about other pressing issues that must come from legalization. In addition to the right to grow cannabis at home, Danko also advocates for the release of all prisoners with nonviolent marijuana sentences and to have records expunged.
Another subject Danko advocates for, and one that is gaining modest traction across the country, is social consumption spaces. He spoke about the rising demand and what may come in some areas.
“Certainly in places like Las Vegas and Denver, it’s reaching a tipping point where something has to give because you can purchase cannabis to your heart’s content, but there’s nowhere to actually consume it if you’re visiting from out of state.” He added, “It’s a problem, and it’s one that needs to be solved by creating spaces for us to consume socially.”
The night was capped off with an audience Q&A. Danko discussed a few more topics while also exploring some higher-level cultivation tips and tricks in addition to dishing out starter tips as well. The crowd trickled out after saying goodbyes, swapping contact information and hopefully getting a moment to speak with the man of the hour himself.
In all, High NY put on a concise, welcoming and fun event with high-quality information. Meanwhile, Danko was his usual informed self that is always worth catching live.
A date is not confirmed as of this writing, but be sure to visit High NY’s website to see when the next event will occur.