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Rest in peace Joesy Whales, co-creator of cannabis strain Original Glue

May 11, 2020

The legendary co-breeder behind popular strain Original Glue (aka GG#4, or Gorilla Glue) has passed away, leaving behind a legacy of maximal THC, pungent terpenes, and profound relaxation few could hope to match.

Joesy “Don” Whales passed away May 6 in Las Vegas from complications after a fall, according to a spokesperson for his company, GG Strains. He was 69 years old.

Original Glue combines inspiration, chance, and a cannabis veteran’s nose.

Chances are, Joesy’s co-creation, Original Glue—but what he called Gorilla Glue, specifically Gorilla Glue #4—is being enjoyed somewhere close to you right now. Original Glue combines inspiration, chance, and a cannabis veteran’s nose.

A lucky accident

In 2014, at age 63, the veteran breeder Joesy and his partner Lone Watty were busy playing around crossing Diesels, and Chems.

They were chasing potency and that astringent, fuel bite of diesel, with its weird chocolate inverse; all facets of cannabis terpenes, or aroma compounds. A couple of lucky accidents led to a strain that is a triple back-crossed Diesel, with some Chocolate Thai and other goodies down deep in the genes. Joesy and Watty recognized the new plant as a potential one in a billion combination of THC and terps.

According to lore, the resin from the first batch of Original Glue had the accidental effect of gluing the telephone receiver to Joesy’s hand, just like in the commercials for the famous adhesive whose name he would reference.

Within a few years of its creation, Gorilla Glue the strain had become so popular that its creators attracted legal threats for infringing on the adhesive’s trademark. But by then, it was too late. Millions of stoners had glued the name to their brains and tagged it “very good weed.”

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The legacy of Original Glue

GG Strains lists Original Glue (aka GG#4) as a 37% sativa/63% indica hybrid. It’s white with resin and gassy as all get-out. Its high levels of THC and terpenes bring on a swift, soaring euphoria, followed by a significant sedation. Joesy sometimes recommended Original Glue for PTSD, as some patients report it helps them sleep without nightmares, or dreams altogether.

“He was really big on the medicinal side,” said Catherine Franklin, Director of Marketing & Operations, Cultivator Liaison, and Interim CEO at Certified Genetics.

One 2020 review of Original Glue on Leafly simply reads: “Good night.”

Fake glue strains proliferated, fooling PTSD patients and driving Joesy to incorporate GG Strains and license his and Whatty’s intellectual property to legal growers in the US.

In 2020, Original Glue became the number one searched strain on Leafly, overtaking Blue Dream on the authoritative strain database. Leafly is searched by many millions of people each month.

Thanks to its resin, potency, and aroma — Original Glue seeds & clones are in high demand in 2019.

Thanks to its resin, potency, and aroma, Original Glue seeds and clones continue to be in high demand in 2020. (David Downs/Leafly)

Even though Whales was the cannabis equivalent of basketball’s Steve Kerr or rock’s Keith Richards, he was a chill guy, said Franklin. Don was an old school breeder from the time when no one used their real name, and standoffishness was a job requisite.

“Oh my gosh, he was the best. He was a grumpy, old breeder. He was amazing, though. One of the nicest guys I’ll ever meet,” she said.

Online, in his Instagram direct messages, Whales made sure to answer any question from novice growers.

“He never thought of himself as a celebrity. He never really took credit for it, and would always say, ‘It was [Original Glue] that was special, not me. She’s the celebrity, not me.'”

Despite his success with the plant, Whales never got rich. The GG Strains licensing vision is just beginning to bear fruit. Licensed clones and crosses are grown in several state markets, especially Washington and Colorado. Royalties from each sale flow back to GG Strains, and the families of both men. Whatty passed in 2019.

Passing on the torch

Amid multiple health complications, Whales and Franklin laid plans for five years of new GG Strains offerings. He formally passed the GG Strains torch to younger grower 10 Bears in 2019. A retirement event had been planned for 2020.

Joesy lives on in New Glue, Gluchee, and 12 upcoming Glue strains. He lives on in the joy and relief that these strains will bring for years to come.

Whales is survived by his wife Angela and two children. In lieu of flowers, a donation to the family or cards can be sent to:

GG Strains

9360 Flamingo Rd #110-212

Las Vegas Nevada 89147

or at JoesyWhales on PayPal

Unofficial Original Glue is available widely. Growers have reverse-engineered the strain from tissue culture, forced breeding, or a lucky bagseed, but here’s where to get official Original Glue and Glue crosses, with royalties going to the family:

Love Original Glue? Leave a comment below.

David Downs's Bio Image
David Downs

David Downs directs news and lifestyle coverage as the California Bureau Chief for Leafly.com. He's written for WIRED, Rolling Stone and Billboard, and is the former cannabis editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as the author of several cannabis books including 'Marijuana Harvest' by Ed Rosenthal and David Downs. He co-hosts The Hash podcast. TW: @davidrdowns | IG @daviddowns

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