Origins of Jungle Boys
List of contents
Any fans of American cannabis genetics will already know of the Jungle Boys, a Los Angeles-based collective of growers who aim to produce high-quality, clean, and potent cannabis. They are known in particular for discovering and breeding amazing White Fire OG phenotypes, but also for the famous Mimosa and many other cannabis strains.
These days, they are an essential part of the North American cannabis scene, offering high-quality cannabis buds and extractions in several dispensaries in the United States, in addition to producing a whole range of derivative products, as well as a catalogue of seeds of their best-known varieties.
Today we are going to discover the history of the Jungle Boys, the origin of their adventures, from the first lamps in the garage to the installation of grows with several thousand lights, the opening of dispensaries, the production of seeds and merchandising, the lawsuits... and of course we will also tell you all about the notoriety that the Jungle Boys enjoy today.
Early steps of Ivan from the Jungle Boys
Today, the Jungle Boys are very likely one of the most popular breeder collectives in the US However, they have a turbulent history full of tribulations, so today we invite you to discover their history and, in particular, the journey of Ivan, the enthusiast behind this popular collective. A story full of twists and turns, from discreet grows in a garage at the beginning to installations with hundreds of lamps, a dispensary, corruption problems, legal battles with the city of Los Angeles... and finally the well-deserved success.
Ivan is the origin of the Jungle Boys collective, beginning like many growers, as a fan of cannabis cultivation during his youth. Accustomed to seeing cannabis plants since he was a child, he explains in an interview with Cannabis Now that his mother used to always have a few cannabis plants in the family garden. Therefore, this plant was not unknown to Ivan, who knew how to take advantage of his mother's good advice for his first crops.
Despite this, Ivan was not a big fan of cannabis cultivation during his youth, he simply enjoyed consuming quality weed while occasionally flipping through the famous High Times magazine. His passion had not yet consumed him and he simply saw cannabis cultivation as a kind of hobby, albeit one that allowed him to produce quality cannabis for his personal consumption.
The American magazine High Times has been one of most popular cannabis publications in the world for more than 40 years. The loyalty to its editorial line, as well as the quality of the information and good work of its editors and publishers team, have made it into a real classic, with tens of issues and an increasing number of readers. Today we tell you the story of this magazine, and how it became what it's today.
When he started out with his earliest outdoor cannabis grows, it was his mother who taught him his first cultivation techniques, explaining in particular how to prune the tips of his plants to maintain a bit of discretion. Indeed, one of his first plants was a Sativa-leaning variety that far outgrew the fence that separated them from the neighbors, so he had to resort to cutting the top of his plant, which at the time seemed like a big mistake. Ivan was still young and didn't have much information about different growing techniques!
Despite his hobby gradually becoming a passion, life pressures forced Ivan to look for a job outside the world of cannabis. He had a family to support, so he had to decide to work full-time for regular companies. Living off cannabis seemed a completely utopian dream back then, as the cannabis industry was still relatively closed even in California and no one could imagine having a career in cannabis production and distribution.
Things speed up for the Jungle Boys
It was a drama in his life that gave Ivan the passion for growing cannabis. In fact, it was his father's stage IV cancer diagnosis that pushed him to learn about the benefits of this plant. The doctor treating his father explained that it was too late for any hope and that unfortunately, the last stages would to be difficult to bear. They tried radiation and chemotherapy, with no effect on his father, so the doctor then suggested that they use cannabis to provide Ivan's father with a more bearable end of life. He could not give them a prescription, but he advised them to consider this option.
There weren't many dispensaries selling cannabis at that time, and the few that existed didn't always offer quality products. Finally, Ivan got a doctor's recommendation to purchase medical cannabis for his father. He went straight to the TLC Collective, where he was able to buy cannabis products that allowed his father to have a more dignified and bearable end of life. Despite his father's death, Ivan was able to see how cannabis can ease people's suffering and the need for some patients to have easy access to quality cannabis.
It was in the 2000s that everything kicked into high gear for Ivan; the only sources of information on cannabis cultivation were the few existing grow shops in Los Angeles that he regularly visited, and also the few cannabis forums on the internet that allowed him to interact with other cannabis enthusiasts. It was also at this time that he discovered that he could sell his flower harvests at Californian dispensaries.
It all started with 2 lamps in the garage and some clones of a mysterious Bubba Kush cross
In addition to growing, Ivan still maintained his full-time job alongside what became a truly overflowing passion. Ivan sometimes worked 14-16 hours a day to pay the bills and support his family. Quickly the 2 lamps became 4, then 8… Ivan didn't want to stop, especially when he could see the reception that consumers gave to his product, clean and potent flowers of the highest quality.
So it was on the internet forums dedicated to cannabis cultivation where Ivan met and exchanged knowledge with other growers and enthusiasts who will, like him, go on to forge successful careers in cannabis, breeders such as Capulator (creator of MAC) or OG Raskal, to name just a few. Despite the fear of being discovered on the internet and having legal problems, this connection has strongly stimulated creation, producing enriching exchanges between breeders to create new and increasingly promising genetics.
His cultivation operation quickly outgrew the garage, so Ivan had to think about expanding and therefore invested in a warehouse to install his grow and continue producing cannabis. It was more or less 13 years ago, at the height of the explosion of cannabis dispensaries in California, and although at the time, legalisation was exclusively for medicinal use, the demand was already very high. Ivan contacted a number of dispensaries for the distribution of his products, including Downtown Patient Group, DTBG, and Toluca Lake Collective.
I realized that buying from resellers is fine, but you can't control everything. I believe that to have the best products and the best concentrates, you have to do it yourself - Ivan
Shortly thereafter, Ivan opened his Nature's Green Cure dispensary in Santa Fe Springs, California, while maintaining his partnership with the Toluca Lake Collective dispensary. Behind the dispensary was actually the Jungle Boys grow space, a 100+ light facility, consisting of 5 spaces with 20 lamps each. Although many customers suspected the presence of this grow room, it's existence was never formalised and the secret of the Jungle Boys production facility remained intact. It was around this time that Ivan's famous WiFi #43, from a selection made from a thousand seeds, became so popular.
Making an open selection of so many seeds was really not common at the time. Indeed, the sentence at the federal level for growing more than 100 plants could cost you up to 40 years in prison. Ivan decided to take the risk and therefore start 10 times more seeds than usual, just in order to find the perfect phenotype. A successful bet, since it allowed him to find one of the most striking clones of recent years in cannabis culture.
Things seemed to be going well for the Jungle Boys collective and especially for the Nature's Green Cure dispensary, which had managed to build a strong network. However, and to the misfortune of the team, the beginning of the 2010s was going to be considerably complicated.
It was in 2012, and after corruption problems involving Santa Fe Springs City Councilman Joseph Serrano in particular, that numerous controls and pressures were applied to dispensaries in the Los Angeles area. Things were getting very complicated for people working in the cannabis industry. At this point, and to ensure his freedom (as well as that of his team, his friends, and his family), Ivan decided to greatly reduce the scale of his cultivation. At the same time, the Nature's Green Cure management team took the decision to temporarily close the dispensary until things calmed down. Ivan, however, kept his connection to the Toluca Lake Collective in addition to his full-time job.
All these problems affected him emotionally, creating strong periods of stress and in particular insomnia problems. It was then that he realised that cannabis was his passion, so he finally left his day job to dedicate himself to the plant on a full-time basis.
Lawsuit with the city of Los Angeles and establishment of the Californian market
In 2013 Ivan became the owner of TLC Collective so that he could continue to distribute his cannabis directly to his customers. The deal was closed the night before the City of Los Angeles approved the famous Proposition D, immunity limited to the first 168 cannabis clubs opened in the city, a list in which the TLC Collective appeared. It was also at this time that the city of Los Angeles defined certain rules specific to cannabis activities, including requirements for the location of the various dispensaries in the city, the licenses that must be completed, and various other types of characteristics that had to be fulfilled.
The problems with the city of Los Angeles began with the relocation of the TLC Collective facility to 23rd Street. Although Ivan had made sure to do everything right and fill out all the paperwork, the city decided to go after TLC to close it down.
Ivan had his documents signed and sealed in an office outside of Los Angeles, which took care of sending the papers to the center, assuring him that this process was possible. These offices exist so that people who live outside the city can avoid having to go downtown, as getting around Los Angeles is famously difficult. However, the city of Los Angeles refused to recognise the validity of their documents, claiming that the papers should have been signed at the downtown offices.
After almost 13 years of litigation, they won an appeal but it was ultimately overturned, and then they went to another court, in what seemed an endless legal purgatory. Finally, in 2018 the justice system proved them right, but despite this and after ending the conflicts with Los Angeles and obtaining the municipal and federal licenses necessary to stay open, Ivan admits that there are still people who want to close the TLC Collective.
Once all these administrative problems with the city of Los Angeles were solved, the Jungle Boys and the rest of the dispensaries had to comply with the new standards of the Californian cannabis market.
Dispensaries are now required to send samples of their marketed products to laboratories to test the quality of the finished product. Currently it takes several weeks to get the results, which tends to make organising the production and sale of the available flowers very complicated. Despite this, Ivan and the Jungle Boys team do their best to bring their products to California consumers. The Jungle Boys currently have two main outlets, the TLC and the Los Angeles Farmers dispensary located next to the Crypto.com Arena (formerly Staples Center), a very popular stadium where all kinds of sporting events take place.
The Jungle Boys today
Ever since cannabis use became legal for recreational purposes in California, demand has skyrocketed. For this reason, the Jungle Boys facilities have had to adapt to be able to offer customers, both medicinal and recreational, the requested products, whether they are flowers or cannabis concentrates. Its facilities now consist of thousands of lamps and the company has hundreds of employees. Since the beginning of this adventure, Ivan has always wanted to prioritise quality over quantity and this explosion in demand will not change his way of doing things.
The Jungle Boys periodically launch new crops, always looking for new genetics and new phenotypes to work with in their future crosses, but they mostly stay in the city of Los Angeles, because although the rents are more expensive than in other cities, they want to stay close to their roots. Jungle Boys is an independent company and, to ensure that he has full control of the production and thus guarantees the quality of the distributed products, Ivan does not want to take on any external investors. His daughter is the manager of TLC, his nephew is in charge of the harvest of TLC and his wife is in charge of his Jungle Boys clothing brand, so nothing escapes Ivan's quality control. Jungle Boys is a very big family, and they have made many friends along the way.
The Jungle Boys Facility (LA Weekly)
On top of that, the Jungle Boys now offer seeds of their most famous strains, genetics that are still hard to come by in Europe at the moment, but rest assured that Alchimia is working hard to bring you the exceptional Jungle Boys genetics.
If you want to follow the Jungle Boys and not miss any of their new creations, their Instagram page is still a sure way to find out about all their news and the new genetics they are working on. If you know the quality of the work done by the Jungle Boys, you'll also know that checking their Instagram page is still the best way to find out which will be the next strain to dominate the cannabis market worldwide.
- Planting the Seed: The complete History of the Jungle Boys - CannabisNow.com
- Ivan & The Jungle Boys Cannabis (mini-documentary) - Youtube