We sat down with the pride of Santa Barbara to talk about growing the heat, as Local Cannabis Company(LCC) prepares to defend its Emerald Cup title after famously placing first and second in the Mixed Light category with no lights. 

But 2022 is a different animal. The competition will be fierce given the nearly perfect conditions in Southern Humboldt and Mendocino over the last year. But one needs only look at the hardware on the trophy shelf if there were any thoughts of intimidation.

Additionally, the best runs of the year for LCC are dropping right now. This means they’ll have the premier versions of cup winners Ice Cream Cake and Sherbhead ready to stand tall with the best of The Emerald Triangle. At the very least, the last few years have seen the cup diversify from every winner originating north of Wine Country and east towards the Sierra. It started with Salinas taking a couple of wins in the mid-2010s, then the trend continued south. No matter what happens later in the spring, LCC helped us adjust the geography of what we consider fine cannabis in California. 

“I know the complications around our story, it’s like ice cream cake, kind of the laughingstock of the cannabis world, and we’re like Mr. Ice Cream Cake over here, but if it’s not broke don’t fix it,” Alex Rauber, LCC Marketing and Sales Manager, told L.A. Weekly. 

 While certain parts of Rauber’s statement are fair, we’ve certainly participated in the Ice Cream Cake comedy festival here at L.A. Weekly, when you grow it better than everyone else, it rises about the flooded market. The only problem is not all have been to the mountaintop. So the more Ice Cream Cake that hits the market, the lower the percentage of people will be experiencing its most elite versions as they become a smaller percentage of production. We’ve certainly already hit that point with Ice Cream Cake where most will never see what’s really possible, but anything that wins the cup more than once now with more breeders – and people pretending to be – than ever is on the all-time list, whether you think people are growing too much of it or not.

“I mean, the one thing I will say is that Dan selected this Ice Cream Cake almost four years ago, right when you know J-Beezy kind of put it out there,” Rauber said, “So we’ve had it for a while. We love this pheno; we just keep going with it.”

Rauber also noted the conditions at LCC’s greenhouses make it a little tricky when it comes to selecting strains. While they continue to search for new winners among co-founder Dan Wittlinger’s breeding projects, the Ice Cream Cake continues to check every box. Rauber explained six or seven months of the year they can grow fire anything, the trick is finding things that do well in the last optimal portion of the year. 

But it has its challenges. 

“It’s really hard to find those that work,” Rauber said, “That really get that good near indoor quality. And so we kind of have to keep going with that. We’ve gone through countless other hunts to find a couple of things we’re moving forward on, but we’re not there yet.”

Ice Cream Cake

The man leading the effort to keep the trophies coming back to Santa Barbara is cultivation manager Arnoldo Roman. Roman joined the conversation noting sometimes the quest for great flower is just waiting for it. Sure he’s always trying to get dense nugs soaked in terpenes and hype. But you can’t rush greatness.

“People rushing and sacrificing quality is a problem,” Roman said, “We try and get past 60 days to get the most out of the plants,” Roman said.    

Roman noted the other challenge Local Cannabis Co faces is maintaining color through the summer when things are a bit warmer in Santa Barbara. Even if it’s elite, the marker is not into green pot at the moment. This means Roman’s work to pull a bit of color out of the buds in the hot months is critical for maintaining through the hot months.


LA Weekly