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RIP: Legendary Marijuana Breeder Subcool

Subcool (nee Montgomery Ball)

After several years of battling a rare condition, well-known grower/breeder Subcool has died. He suffered from Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency (AAT) and COPD.

Little is known about Subcool's personal life before he became a hot cannabis cultivator, famous for breeding such strains as Vortex and  Jack the Ripper. He sold them and other strains via his companies TGA Genetics and Subcool Seeds.

Born Montgomery Ball, he eventually moved from Oregon to California in 2013 after buildng up his reputation there and being inducted into the High Times Seed Bank Hall of Fame in 2009. People called him either Monty, Subcool or Dave Bowman.

Subcool wrote several books, including Dank: The Quest for the Very Best Marijuana, and hosted the Weed Nerd show on YouTube.

"My primary original goal was to create a line of marijuana seeds that grew out to be high-yielding, fruit-flavored hybrids. The first fruit taste and scent we perfected was lemon. Then came grape, cherry, and orange."

In 2017, the wildfire that tore through parts of Santa Rosa burned down he and his wife's grow facility. He and MzJill subsequently separated and divorced. She kept TGA Genetics and he started his new Dank line.

About his condition, Subcool told Big Buds in 2016: 

"I’m having a really hard time dealing with Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. It’s passed from parents to their children through their genes, and creates serious lung disease in adults. It can cause liver disease at any age. This disease creates serious shortness of breath, but it’s also a liver disease, and mine has progressed pretty rapidly. The bottom line is I’m slowly choking to death, but there’s little I can do about it.

"There’s no cure for this genetic condition, but I get weekly infusions that prolong my life. Problem is, the infusions are incredibly expensive. My health insurance cost more than my mortgage.

"Ironically, given how much I love to inhale cannabis, this damned disease makes it unhealthy for me to smoke weed or even be around people that do. Because of this I’ve become somewhat isolated. People used to love to visit and get high with me. But these days, people rarely visit, because they can’t smoke or dab around me. I also have to watch out for contact with people, because I’m very susceptible to colds and flu. I tend to do most of my work via e-mail and social media. It’s a lonely disease."

As far as how he developed his strains, Subcool explained:

"My primary original goal was to create a line of marijuana seeds that grew out to be high-yielding, fruit-flavored hybrids. The first fruit taste and scent we perfected was lemon. Then came grape, cherry, and orange. Pretty soon, we were working with chocolate tastes and scents. I was so excited about these cultivars and I gave them out to other professional growers to see what they said. People told me they loved these strains. Not just the taste and scent, but also their new kinds of highs."

From left to right: Three Jesus OG plants and Qrazy Train at the right, all by TGA Genetics. Featured in photo: Old E, MzJill, Subcool and Bleezy. (Photo by T. Curtis, Sept. 21, 2013)

SubCool wrote for CelebStoner in the late 2000s and early '10s. The photo above shows him with plants grown by Mendo Dope from his and MzJill's genetics.

Look for further updates to this breaking story.

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.