Jorge Cervantes: 5 Most Influential People in Cannabis

Jorge Cervantes: Cannabis Horticulture & Cannabis Advocacy

Jorge Cervantes is one of the most recognizable names in cannabis cultivation—his famous book Marijuana Horticulture: The Indoor/Outdoor Medical Grower’s Bible can be found on the bookshelves of marijuana growers the world over. Cervantes’s real name is George Van Patten. He created is infamous alias—which includes a notorious disguise with a black beret and dreadlocks—during the 1980’s. As Cervantes rose to the forefront of marijuana cultivation advocacy efforts during the prohibition-heavy era of “the war on drugs,” his disguise and alias were necessary measures of survival. Over the last 35 years, Cervantes informed entire generations about cannabis horticulture and techniques through his books—compiling the first ever known work dedicated to indoor gardening.

Jorge Cervantes History

Cervantes’s fabled relationship to the cannabis plant began during the 1970’s; during this time he experimented with illegal, guerilla grow operations in the mountains outside of Santa Barbara, CA as well as indoor grows in Portland, OR. After experimenting heavily with various indoor gardening equipmenjorge cervantes t set-ups and techniques, Cervantes realized that there was a total lack of information available on the market concerning his trade. As a result, while operating in secrecy as well as under an assumed identity for the first time, Cervantes wrote and self-published the first book on indoor marijuana growing: Indoor Marijuana Horticulture . To put this notion in perspective, cannabis gardeners in 2017 can effortlessly access volumes of information on cultivation from endless resources online and in print—and get detailed nutrient formulations and feeding schedules from hydroponics shops. Things were quite different 30 years ago.

Cervantes also set the foundations for the modern hydroponics store and culture—starting his own shop “Jorge Cervantes’s Indoor Garden Store” and contributing to the advancements of indoor cultivation technology. To elaborate, Cervantes designed and sold his own HID lighting systems, eventually inventing reflective hoods. Reflective hoods are now used in almost all horticultural lighting in the entire world as they supply cannabis plants with 40% more light than previous technologies. Point being, the modern grow book, cannabis magazine, and hydroponics store would not be what they are today without the brazen, secretive efforts of Cervantes during the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Jorge Cervantes in the Headlines

During the first couple decades of Cervantes’s career, marijuana cultivation was highly illegal and brought with it severe legal punishment—this notion was reflected in the U.S. government’s stance on hydroponics stores and grow books during the 1980’s and 90’s. To elaborate, Cervantes reported in a 2012 blog post that hydro shops, as well as himself, in the 1980’s could have received “RICO racketeering” charges for openly selling cannabis cultivation books in conjunction with cultivation technology and nutrients. To add to the overall intensity of these scenarios, Cervantes also stated: “I remember many times when the jorge cervantes owners of hydroponics shops would not stand in the same room as me” due to the notoriety he had received as an underground, outlaw marijuana growing advocate.

Cervantes Today

Today, Cervantes is still recognized as an authority on everything cannabis cultivation. Over the years, he has regularly contributed cultivation knowledge to such magazines as High Times, THC, and Cannabis Culture. He received the “Lester Grinspoon Lifetime Achievement Award” from High Times Magazine in 2012 due to his passion and advocacy for medical marijuana cultivation. Finally, he published his latest and most comprehensive book in 2015 titled: The Marijuana Encyclopedia.


This article originally appeared in the December 2017 / January 2018 edition of HydroLife Magazine.

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