Who is DJ Short aka “The Willy Wonka of Pot”?

Who is DJ Short aka “The Willy Wonka of Pot”?

It’s not an understatement to say that DJ Short has made an indelible mark in the cannabis sector. DJ Short is the legendary breeder behind the ‘DJ Short’ Blueberry strain that nearly every stoner has heard of, but not everyone has had the privilege of trying.

Who is DJ Short?

Dubbed ‘The Willy Wonka of Pot’ (1), the ‘Wizard of Weed’ (2), and the ‘Cannabis Professor’, DJ Short lives up to his nicknames. Since the 1970s, DJ Short has been breeding a number of award-winning high-quality buds, though he is best known for his Blueberry strain that has garnered him a worldwide following. Before his website, DJ Genetics, was created, stoners all around the world flew from far and wide to try the iconic Blueberry.

Despite breeding new strains for over 30 years, DJ Short has kept a low profile. Unlike big box producers today, DJ Short isn’t in it for the money or clout—he breeds for the sheer love of the bud. In writing this piece, I’ve only come across a handful of interviews, all of which confirm DJ Short’s aversion to being the centre of attention. There’s limited information about him online to this day. He’s not particularly active on social media, though his website, DJ Genetics, does offer more information about his upbringing and strains he’s produced.

DJ Short has been dubbed the Willy Wonka of Pot, the Wizard of Weed, and the Cannabis Professor

DJ Short’s Upbringing

Who is DJ Short aka “The Willy Wonka of Pot”?
Photo by David Dixon. (CC BY-SA 2.0) Image has been remixed.

Daniel John “D.J.” Short hails from Detroit, but has been working out of Oregon for many years. DJ Short has been breeding new strains since 1978 when he started experimenting with cloning techniques from the comfort of his home (3). Since then, he has produced a number of popular cannabis strains, with the most popular being Blueberry. Blueberry won the coveted 2000 High Times’ Cannabis Cup, and continues to be a fan favourite to this day. In 2003, Short wrote a book called ‘Cultivating Exceptional Cannabis: An Expert Breeder Shares His Secrets.’

Short inherited his passion for cannabis from his Romanian great-grandmother. She was a gypsy herbalist who grew cannabis for medical purposes, and she eventually passed down her knowledge to her daughter.

At age 14, Short tried cannabis for the first time (4). At that time he struggled with depression and weed helped him regain his sense of purpose (and appetite). It also helped his loved ones: his mom used weed to manage her pain after a stroke, and his girlfriend used cannabis oil after undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer.

Back then, the only weed that was available was typically low-grade product originating from Mexico. The lack of good bud spurred Short to collect the good weed whenever he was able to nab it, and save it for last. But that wasn’t enough. Short wanted more frequent, high-quality buds.

In 1973, the experimentation began.

The Beginnings of DJ Short’s Experimentation

Who is DJ Short aka “The Willy Wonka of Pot”?
“The Famous Blueberry” Photo taken by JD Short

Short bought a box of cereal that came with a plastic seed sprouter. He moistened the chamber, inserted a bud from his own stash of Hawaiian, and was surprised to find that his experiment worked: the seed had sprouted. This would be the first of many breakthroughs for Short.

At that time, more information was emerging about growing: manuals on how to grow were getting published, Indica plants were just starting to be imported from Afghanistan, and grower equipment was more readily available.

After a lot of trial and error, Short created the perfect hybrid of Indica and Sativa, all from his own closet. This iconic hybrid became what is now called Blueberry. Today, it’s well-known that any strain with blueberry in the name is either a clone or an ancestor of Short’s first experimental Blueberry (5). He was meticulous then, and continues to apply the same attention to detail in his growing technique today. When Short was first starting out, he made sure to test his buds for at least six months before publicly releasing them.

Soon after Blueberry, DJ Short grew Flo, a plant that is often described as a psychedelic herb. These strains quickly gained popularity to underground growers in Oregon, California, and parts of Europe. Since then, Short has produced Vanilluna, New Berry, Whitaker Blues, among other strains.

About ‘DJ Short’ Blueberry

Created in the 1970s, DJ Short Blueberry, or simply ‘Blueberry’ is an Indica-dominated hybrid strain that is aromatic and tastes like blueberries (I’ve been told repeatedly that this is true). According to DJ Genetics, Blueberry produces “dense bud with red, purple and finally blue hues that usually cure to a lavender blue.” The finished buds are known for their supremely sticky, trichome-heavy buds that glisten. Blueberry produces a high-quality, long-lasting high that creates a sense of euphoria. It’s still highly sought after today. This strain cemented Short’s reputation as a legendary breeder—even in pop culture. See: Ludacris’s ‘Blueberry Yum Yum,’ an anthem dedicated to smoking that sticky icky.

What Is DJ Short Up to Today?

While we don’t know everything that Short is up today, we do know that he continues to make high-quality, limited strains for select distributors. DJ Short also has a son, JD, who is following in his footsteps as a cannabis breeder and skilled photographer.

True to his roots, Short continues to advocate against generic, mass-produced, uninspired bud. Authentic in both personality and in what he produces, Short remains a bit of a mystery, but his buds continue to be revered around the world.

Have you tried DJ Short’s Blueberry strain? Has DJ Short made an impact on you? Let us know in the comments.