Seedsman is launching a series of articles dedicated to the history of some of the most important cannabis seedbanks to give you some insight into our industry. Up first: Sensi Seeds.
Founded in 1985, Sensi Seeds has enjoyed exceptional longevity in the cannabis industry. A legacy built on an exciting history of innovation, ambition, and passion.
The history of Sensi Seeds goes back to the 1970s when Sensi founder, Ben Dronkers, started growing his own plants and saving seeds from the most interesting phenotypes he grew. Soon his collection grew to include seeds from all corners of the globe. He hoped would one day be representative of the whole diversity of cannabis around the world.
At the same time, Ben Dronkers met with researchers, botanists, and activists, allowing him to accumulate more knowledge. He concluded that the most beautiful plants are not born from an optimal cultivation environment but from a rich genetic heritage full of potential.
Ben traveled a lot to build his collection and fuel his passion, searching for the most unique genetics. He traveled through the Himalayas, the Hindu Kush, Pakistan, the Indian subcontinent, and Southeast Asia, increasing his impressive genotypes. This quest kept him busy during the late 1970s and the first half of the 1980s.
In 1984, Ben took a new approach, moving from collecting to breeding. He used his personal collection to crossbreed and create new hybrids that combined the most interesting genes of the landraces he had collected so far. Ben managed to get some of the first stabilised hybrids that emerged in the US a few years earlier, including Haze and Skunk. This was what Ben needed to create top-class hybrids in Europe.
The Birth of Sensi Seeds
In 1985 things accelerated, and the Sensi Seed Club, also called Sensi Connoisseurs’ Club, was founded. This new structure moved to larger premises equipped with sophisticated equipment that allowed the breeding programmes to be extended and given a much more professional look, including precise and careful recording of the genealogy of the hybrids created.
The programme to create new hybrids was launched at full speed and didn’t slow down in the following years. It must be said that the quality material acquired by the Sensi Seed Club allowed for the cultivation of several generations of plants in the same year. This greatly accelerated the work. At first, it wasn’t a question of mixing indica and sativa. Rather, the crossing of plants from the same regions to strengthen and affirm their own characteristics.
In 1986, the Sensi Seed Club opened a shop in Amsterdam. On its shelves, you could find seeds, growing material, and books about cannabis. It was the first shop of its kind in the country. In 1991 Sensi Seeds grew considerably, as Ben Dronkers took over another established competitor, called the Seed Bank. The two entities merged to form the Sensi Seed Bank that we all still know today.
After that, things continued steadily, with an ever-expanding catalogue of hybrids, including Big Bud, Super Skunk, Black Domina, Fruity Juice, and Jack Herer. At the same time, the best hybrids from the origins were kept, such as the famous Northern Lights #5 x Haze that Michka loved so much and Skunk #1.
Sensi Seeds Today
Sensi Seeds is now present everywhere, and its creations win countless awards. In 2002, Mother’s Finest won the Best Sativa award at the Cannabis Cup. 2006 was another great year in the history of Sensi Seeds because they bought The Flying Dutchmen. However, unlike Seed Bank in the past, The Flying Dutchmen did not disappear.
Since then, Sensi Seeds has continued developing, innovating, and offering new genetics that promise a future just as bright as its past.
Ben Dronkers has always had the goal of normalising the use of cannabis and gaining recognition for its therapeutic benefits. So, in 1985 he opened the world’s first cannabis museum, the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, which can now be visited in Amsterdam and Barcelona.
With the same aim, Sensi Seeds and the museum periodically organise the Cannabis Culture Awards. It rewards personalities who have taken a stand in favour of cannabis. Among the winners are Richard Bronson and Dries van Agt, who ruled the Netherlands from 1977 to 1982. At the same time, Sensi Seeds has honoured prominent activists such as Jack Herer or Michka, in whose name the bank has created specific varieties.
Sensi Seeds is a protean entity interested in all aspects of the hemp and the cannabis world. Its ambitions go far beyond profit. Ben Dronkers has been a pioneer in Europe, and his creations are now flagships of the cannabis world. The cannabis community owes a lot to him and all those who have worked with him over the years.