Grateful Dead Drummer Mickey Hart Launches New Cannabis Brand
Courtesy of Mickey Hart

Grateful Dead Drummer Mickey Hart Launches New Cannabis Brand

The brand's first product will feature Chem Dog, a powerful cultivar that claimed mythical status on early-90s Dead tours.

May 21, 2019

The story begins, as many of the best stories do, outside a Grateful Dead show. It was 1991, and the band was playing a two-night run at Deer Creek, on the rural fringes of Indianapolis. As legend has it, a cannabis grower named Chemdog, hailing from Massachusetts, encountered a strain unlike anything else he’d smoked.

Back home, Chemdog found 13 seeds in the bag he’d bought outside the Dead show. He germinated four of them and began to grow and nourish what he would later name Chemdog—a portmanteau of sorts, blending the “chemmy” flavor of what the grower at Deer Creek had called “Dogbud.”

Drummer Mickey Hart, who, of course, was onstage at Deer Creek and who now tours with Dead & Company, says that the chance encounter almost 30 years ago has intersected with his own foray into the cannabis market.

Courtesy of Mickey Hart

Hart is launching Mind Your Head, a new cannabis brand that will be based in the Bay Area. His company’s first product: Chem Dog pre-rolls, dubbed Magic Minis.

“It’s a combination of Left Coast Ventures and the rediscovery of Chem Dog,” the drummer tells Cannabis Business Times. “Chem Dog is one of the mythological, legendary strains that came out of what I understand is a parking lot [encounter] at Deer Creek in ’91, where these two growers met and exchanged seeds.” 

In 2016, High Times chronicled the origins of Chem Dog, which later played a role in the genetics of Sour Diesel. 

“As a loyal Deadhead, I’m proud to see Chem Dog featured in the first product from Mickey Hart,” Chemdog said in a public statement. “It plays an important role in Grateful Dead history and I think it’s exciting that Mickey is bringing it full circle to fans and cannabis enthusiasts in Mind Your Head.” 

The move into business is something that Hart has toyed with for years, and the burgeoning cannabis industry has deep roots in the Dead’s native San Francisco.

“Just like in good business, good music is flow. This strain does just that,” Hart says. “The people that I’m working with, Left Coast, they’re very on top of it. I trust them. It’s a powerful new brand. It’s just one of those things: It came together at the right time. I wanted to get into the business, anyway.”

Hart plans to roll out additional products in due time. For now, he’s focused on growing the brand through 1/3-gram pre-rolls of Chem Dog. “I don’t smoke a whole joint when I smoke,” he says. “I can’t. These are too powerful. I don’t like to light it up again, halfway down or so.”

The Mind Your Head pre-rolls, he adds, are “just perfect in size. I thought that that’s one way this magical plant can be consumed responsibly.”

The launch will see Mind Your Head pre-rolls on shelves at Bay Area dispensaries: Urban Pharm (San Francisco), Sparc (San Francisco), Berkeley Patients Group (Berkeley), Hi-Fidelity (Berkeley), Airfield Supply Co. (San Jose) and Mercy Wellness (Cotati).

“One of the big takeaways from all of this is … I’ve been doing some historical work on cannabis—its 12,000-year-old history, dating back to China,” Hart says. “One of the things I’ve learned, my history lesson here, is that some of the great thinkers of the ancient world were using cannabis. Plato and Pythagoras, the father of the science of music. … The important thing is that these visionaries were using cannabis.”