There will still be those who think that cannabis culture is something as limited as smoking joints with three or four friends. But you only have to review the curriculum of people like Franco Loja to understand that in many cases marijuana represents more than just a hobby. We are no longer talking about cultivation or consumption, we are talking about true passion for this plant. Of a philosophy. In a way of understanding life.
Loja maintained the conviction that through his great passion he could do something important for the rest of the world and he dedicated himself to traveling and sharing these thoughts with other people, growing his ideas, materializing them in something he truly believed in. When he died last January 2 as a result of a cerebral malaria attack, he was in the Congo precisely immersed in a project to fight this disease. Tireless traveler, visionary and adventurer, the Green House Seeds geneticist prematurely says goodbye, leaving an important professional legacy and an indelible memory in the history of the Dutch seed bank.
More than a decade in search of the perfect strain
His colleagues from Green House Seeds remember him fondly on the official website of the seed bank where, since the news of his death was released, photographs of Loja’s trips around the world have been posted.
Back in the year 2000 this passionate about marijuana began to work as a geneticist for the popular Dutch seed brand of which he was a partner, looking for the most unusual strains around the world. Franco Loja was an adventurer and traveling the world to find the most peculiar varieties of cannabis was his way of understanding life.
Eight years after starting their work for Green House Seed and starting to obtain recognition for the incredible genetic selections made for the company, Loja and her partner Arjam Roskam decided to start an audiovisual project of an informative nature. In May 2008 it comes to light Strain Hunters, a series that will not take long to become popular and in which the two partners are dedicated to narrating their adventures around the world while looking for the most unusual species of marijuana, they explain how the selection is made, how the crosses are made and how they are preserved the new strains.
Loja and Roskam’s videos make cannabis culture take on a new dimension apart from the merely playful one. They are an audiovisual project that addresses the cultivation of marijuana and its use from a much broader perspective and brings this world, sometimes unknown, closer to an audience that is not usually in contact with it. It is not usual for a geneticist to become popular outside of cannabis growers circles, but Franco Loja was a charismatic person who knew how to capture the attention of the viewer and transmit through his words his passion and his extensive knowledge about everything related to the marijuana.
Curiosity and perfection were always the two main characteristics of Loja’s work, who for almost two decades was searching for the perfect strain. Not surprisingly, Green House Seeds is the Dutch bank that can boast of having obtained more awards in the High Times Cannabis Cup: nothing more and nothing less than 34 awards to which we must add at least another 17 in the Highlife Cups as well as as many international mentions and distinctions.
There is no doubt that Franco Loja was also a great connoisseur of everything related to cannabis, a great communicator and a well-known face on social networks. The news of his death has taken thousands of followers by surprise who daily consulted his progress on industry blogs, YouTube videos and of course, his Instagram account.
As we already mentioned, the video series of Strain Hunters it was very popular with about 60,000 subscribers. And it is that the contents of these videos were not wasted, both for those really interested in the world of marijuana cultivation and for those who only wanted to follow the adventures of two passionate about life, travel and plants exotic.
But if this figure is surprising, it is even more so that of Loja’s Instagram account: more than 100,000 followers who were able to follow in his footsteps. modern explorer to the ends of the world while making his passion his way of life.
Passion for Africa
Franco Loja had his first contact with Africa in 2007 and it could be said that it was a crush. Despite the fact that his search for the perfect strain would force him to move to other corners of the planet, somehow he would always end up returning to the African continent. Its landscapes, its crops, its people. There was something in those lands from which he could not escape.
For this reason, although the political situation and sanitary conditions were not the best, Loja decides to return to Africa in 2016 and travel to the Congo, where he begins to work on the development of a project for the prevention of one of the deadliest diseases of the country: malaria. It would be precisely an attack of cerebral malaria that on January 2, according to sources from Green House Seed, would end his life prematurely at 42 years of age.
His energy and vitality will always be evident in the audiovisual legacy of Strain Hunters. His great discoveries in cannabis genetics are evidenced in the important seed varieties he obtained for the Dutch bank. And a legend will remain in the cannabis culture.
“Cannabis is my passion, my bread, my home, I feel it is my duty to ensure that this amazing plant is preserved and enjoyed. I am a smoker, a grower, a breeder and a strain finder. Forever”.
May 20, 1974 – January 2, 2017