Matt ‘Bubba’ Berger
Matt ‘Bubba’ Berger is a consultant for legal cannabis growers and one of the original six Godfathers of the 92 OG Kush. From a tiny seed to developing new strains and a flourishing cannabis dispensary in Denver, Bubba has been instrumental in taking the cannabis business to new heights. The OG Kush is a strain of cannabis that changed the face of Cannabis for the past 26 years.
The early years
Matt Berger was born on February 10th 1971 in Wilmington, Delaware. When he was eight, Berger’s family moved to Altamonte Springs, Florida, where he spent the rest of his childhood and early adult years.
Bubba’s first interaction with cannabis was at the age of thirteen when he started planting seeds in his backyard. These attempts to grow the crop, however, were unsuccessful as his father would keep chopping them down thinking them to be garden weeds. The plantation then had to be moved to the woods behind the house.
Bubba also planted cannabis seed in agriculture class in school, but these young plants too were cut down by his teacher.
It was at school that Matt Berger was nicknamed Bubba. His habit of referring to his friends as Bubba or Bubi came full circle and soon, that’s what all his friends were calling him. The name stuck, and Berger was now Bubba for life.
College and graduation
On finishing high school, Bubba pursued a B.Sc. degree in chemistry at the University of Florida. While at the university, he started learning the art of growing the plant indoors from his friend Hunter. In 1991, Bubba and Hunter moved into an house together and dedicated a room to their indoor growing experiments. The room was subtly hidden by hanging a rug in front of the door and placing a couch in front of it.
The friends cultivated the Florida Skunk strain of cannabis at the time but were soon introduced to the seeds of Supernaut. As the story goes, a friend introduced the two to Alec Anderson, whom, along with his friends Cory and Jason, would drive to Gainesville on the weekend to party.
On occasion, Anderson would bring premium weed including Supernaut from Miami with him to Gainesville. It was on one of these occasions that they found Supernaut seeds in the bag which they decided to plant which gave rise to The Kush.
The first cross strains were called KX, KY, and KZ from which the KY was selected for being superior to the other two. Bubba and Hunter continued to grow Kush and KY plants and Bubba kept it up even after Hunter moved out. In 1995, Bubba graduated from college with a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry.
The origins of the name Kush
In 1992 Bubba had a friend named Frankie. Frankie and Bubba had met at Simons, a House Club in Gainesville that boasted names like Chris Gallagher, Sasha, Doc Martin, and other top names as resident DJs. It was through Frankie that his younger brother Fuji and Bubba met. Fuji was also a grower and became one of the six Godfathers of Kush.
Frankie would refer to the plant as the Kush Berries, and because the Kush sounded good and the strain was different from the originals, the name stuck. There was already a strain called the Hindu Kush at the same time, but the friends were not aware of it, and in a time before the wide-spread Internet, this kind of information was hard to come by.
Few strains like the legendary Maui Wowie were well known at that time, and all information was usually passed on by word of mouth. That two unrelated strains of cannabis got the name Kush was pure coincidence and without any intention to confuse anyone. The Hindu Kush and OG Kush continued to be two distinct strains.
In 1993, during his time visiting his friends and attending concerts in Tulane, New Orleans, Bubba acquired seeds from a friend, Fat Larry, which was told to Berger that they were of the Northern Lights strain. Larry was from Northern California and would have cannabis sent to him regularly.
Bubba brought the seeds back to Gainesville and planted them. A short and stumpy plant was selected from the batch, and Bubba named it The Bubba after all his friends. The Bubba has been cloned several times since.
Moving to LA
After finishing college, Bubba decided against pursuing a career in Chemistry and was discouraged from joining medical school. With the need to determine the path his life was meant to take, Bubba moved to Newport Beach and started working as a private clothier with his older brother.
Although the job entailed sales to a large extent, Bubba did get the opportunity to design and style wardrobes for clients.
During this time, Bubba would spend time with his college friends who were living in Hollywood. Many of these friends worked in the film industry, and Bubba explored the possibility of getting into it as well. It was his experience as a clothier and in designing that prompted him to become a costume designer.
When Bubba’s friend Chris needed to move, and his childhood friend Josh D was looking for a place, the three found a place in Silverlake. Fortuitous as it was, Josh D also wanted to grow cannabis which encouraged Bubba to go to Florida to get the Kush, The Bubba, and the KY plants.
When in Florida, Bubba made a bunch of cut branches and put them in a zip-lock bag with a bead of water at the bottom. He rolled the bag up and stuffed it in roller blade boot which he then put in his carry on. On August 26th, 1996, the Kush landed in LA along with the Bubba, and the KY.
Josh D and Bubba grew a variety of plants in an open crawl space under the house including the Kush, The Bubba, Purple Indica, and the KY. They eventually had to phase out the KY because it caused a rash when rubbed against the skin.
The birth of Bubba Kush
The Kush was a temperamental plant with a tendency to have strange responses to stress. One of the responses was to hermaphrodite and become a pollen-bearing male plant. Male plants are only useful for breeding.
It was in 1997 that Bubba and Josh D gave some Bubba to B Real and Kenji from the legendary band, Cypress Hill. They received a call from Kenji informing them of seeds in the bag. The growers collected the seeds and planted them; this was the birth of the Bubba Kush.
The Bubba Kush continues to be a favored strain till date. It is also sometimes referred to as Pre 98 Bubba Kush, which some believe was a name given by a breeder who had multiple phenos or clones of Bubba Kush but had one clone from 1998 which he labeled Pre 98, and the name stuck.
In the following years, Bubba and Josh D continued to grow the Kush while moving homes in LA several times. As demand for the Kush soared, the price climbed to $8,000 per pound, which was quite unheard of back then. Up until that time, $4,000/Lb had been the upper limit for most high-quality strains of cannabis.
But the demand for the Kush was so high that it started the Kush Phenomena. Hosts of imposter strains were cultivated and sold in the hope of cashing in on the Kush craze. The prefix OG which stood for ‘Original Gangster’ was attached to the original Kush to help distinguish it from all the others. Original Gangster was a fresh and popular term which caught on quick and stuck with the strain.
It was not long before the OG Kush was being used to create new strains. From these creations arose strains like the Tahoe Kush, the SFV Kush, and so on. The 92 OG Kush also started being renamed and took on monikers like Diablo and Master P Kush.
The OG Kush can now be credited with contributing its DNA to over 50% of the Kush strains available today. Even if not a descendant of the OG Kush, strains continue to be given the name thanks to the widespread popularity it has gained over the last 26 years. From its humble beginnings in Gainesville, Florida, the Kush had come a long way.
Matt ‘Bubba’ Berger – the later years
While the cannabis business was booming, it still had to be done under wraps, and Bubba needed to show his family that he had a real job and was a responsible adult. The film industry allowed Bubba to have a profession as well as continue to keep growing his plants.
He went back to school to study Costume Design for movies with a program at Los Angeles Community College. Even before the two-year program was complete, Bubba had landed his first job as a movie costume designer. He earned credits for designing for the movie and graduated.
On graduating, Bubba moved downtown with movie director Jonathon. Jonathon (J. Mackye Gruber) was the director of the Indie film Blunt, which had been Bubba’s first designing job. Jonathon went on to direct Butterfly Effect.
Bubba was turning into a successful designer with many films, commercials, and music video projects coming his way. His career kept growing, and he went on to design two children’s clothing lines, a street-wear line, and a denim line called Eastwood Ranch for Clint Eastwood’s daughter. Bubba eventually got accepted to the union, IATSE Local 592 Costume Designers Guild.
While Bubba kept designing for films and commercials, he also continued to keep growing cannabis and did both until cannabis was legalized in Colorado. In 2008, Bubba received a surprise call from his old friend Fuji. Fuji was now living in Colorado and had also been growing cannabis the whole time.
Fuji asked Bubba if he would like to move to Denver and help set up a cannabis dispensary. This was the change that Bubba needed and agreed to the proposition.
Fuji, Bubba, and a few other partners started the ‘Cannasseur Dispensary,’ and soon it came to be regarded as one of the best dispensaries Denver had ever seen, seen since or remembered as still.
The Cannasseur was one of the first 13 dispensaries to open in Colorado and was known for its OG Kush, the Bubba Kush, the Kurple, the Kizzle and many other award-winning, proprietary strains. The dispensary ran successfully till 2013 at which time a remodeling was required. The store was moved, but this resulted in a loss of momentum.
Deciding against moving The Cannasseur, the partners went on to pursue their personal interests.
Following the success and closure of Cannasseur, Bubba began consulting on many projects across the country. The projects included five large grow operations in BC, multiple projects in Colorado, and one of the first three cannabis operations in New Jersey. He is now living back in Los Angeles building brands based on the cannabis culture and the legacy he and his friends started back in 1992 in Gator Country.
Matt ‘Bubba’ Berger’s seeds have grown into a full-blown lifestyle.