People Who Helped Shape the Cannabis Industry: Jorge Cervantes

By Kent Gruetzmacher
Published: December 1, 2017 | Last updated: April 8, 2021 11:17:29
Key Takeaways

Jorge Cervantes is one of the most recognizable names in cannabis cultivation. His famous book Marijuana Horticulture: The Indoor/Outdoor Medical Grower’s Bible can be found on the bookshelves of marijuana horticulturists the world over.

Jorge Cervantes’s real name is George Van Patten. He created his infamous alias—which includes a notorious disguise with a black beret and dreadlocks—during the 1980s.


As Cervantes rose to the forefront of marijuana cultivation advocacy efforts during the prohibition-heavy era of “The War on Drugs,” his disguise and alias were necessary measures of survival.

Over the last 35 years, Cervantes informed entire generations about cannabis horticulture and techniques through his books, compiling the first known work dedicated to indoor gardening.


Cervantes’s fabled relationship to the cannabis plant began during the 1970s. During this time, he experimented with illegal, guerilla grow operations in the mountains outside of Santa Barbara, CA, as well as indoor grows in Portland, OR.

After experimenting heavily with various indoor gardening equipment set-ups and techniques, Cervantes realized that there was a total lack of information available on the market concerning his trade.

As a result, while operating in secrecy as well as under an assumed identity for the first time, Cervantes wrote and self-published the first book on indoor marijuana growing, Indoor Marijuana Horticulture.


To put this notion in perspective, cannabis gardeners in 2017 can effortlessly access volumes of information on cultivation from endless resources online and in print, and get detailed nutrient formulations and feeding schedules from hydroponics shops. Things were quite different 30 years ago.

Cervantes also set the foundations for the modern hydroponics store and culture, starting his own shop called “Jorge Cervantes’s Indoor Garden Store” and contributing to the technological advancements of indoor cultivation equipment.


To elaborate, Cervantes designed and sold his own HID lighting systems, eventually inventing reflective hoods. Reflective hoods are now used in almost every growroom in the entire world, as they supply cannabis plants with 40 per cent more light than previous technologies.

Point being, the modern grow book, cannabis magazine, and hydroponics store would not be what they are today without the brazen, secretive efforts of Cervantes during the 1980s and 1990s.

During the first couple decades of Cervantes’s career, marijuana cultivation was highly illegal and brought with it severe legal punishment. This notion was reflected in the US government’s stance on hydroponics stores and grow books during the 1980s and ’90s.

Cervantes reported in a 2012 blog post that hydro shops, as well as himself, in the 1980s could have received “RICO racketeering” charges for openly selling cannabis cultivation books in conjunction with grow equipment and nutrients.

To add to the overall intensity of these scenarios, Cervantes also stated, “I remember many times when the owners of hydroponics shops would not stand in the same room as me” due to the notoriety he had received as an underground, outlaw marijuana growing advocate.

Today, Cervantes is still recognized as an authority on everything cannabis cultivation. Over the years, he has regularly contributed cultivation knowledge to such magazines as High Times, THC, and Cannabis Culture.

He received the Lester Grinspoon Lifetime Achievement Award from High Times in 2012 due to his passion and advocacy for marijuana cultivation.

Finally, he published his latest and most comprehensive book in 2015, titled The Marijuana Encyclopedia.


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Written by Kent Gruetzmacher | Writer, Owner of KCG Content

Profile Picture of Kent Gruetzmacher

Kent Gruetzmacher MFA is a Colorado-based writer and owner of the writing and marketing firm KCG Content. Kent has been working in the cannabis and hydroponics space for over a decade. Beginning in California in 2009, he has held positions in cultivation, operations, marketing, and business development. Looking specifically to writing, Kent has worked with many of the leading publications and marketing agencies in the cannabis space. His writing has been recognized by such icons as Steve D’Angelo and Rick Simpson.

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