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Harvesting San Diego’s Rarest Weed Collection

The local couple collecting rare and bygone buds, including one of the most famous urban legends in cannabis culture
Nectarball rare weed collection in San Diego owned by Mark Schulze and Patty Mooney
Photo Credit: Erica Joan

“Hey, Patty, when did we get robbed at gunpoint? 1981?” Mark Schulze shouts to his wife, Patty Mooney, across their suburban San Diego living room as he’s rummaging through his vast collection of dried cannabis buds.

“Nope, 1982! Right after we met,” Mooney yells back.

Mark Schulze, the owner of San Diego's rarest cannabis weed collection holding a bag from the 1908s
Photo Credit: Erica Joan

The couple’s “Nectarball Collection” is one of the most famous urban legends in cannabis culture. It consists of hundreds, possibly thousands, of dried whole cannabis buds dating back to the 1960s and ’70s, including some from now-functionally extinct landrace strains: Acapulco Gold, Colombian Red, the mythical San Diego–born Fallbrook Red. As a longtime cannabis reporter, I had heard whispers of its existence, but I wasn’t sure it was real. Last year, Schulze and Mooney contacted me, introduced themselves, and asked if I wanted to see it.

San Diego's rarest cannabis weed collection called Nectarball featuring cannabis strains from a bygone era of marijuana history
Photo Credit: Erica Joan

Schulze and Mooney run Crystal Pyramid Productions, a video production company serving corporate clients. But, privately, since the 1970s, the couple have been growing cannabis in rural areas in and around San Diego County, developing their own strain, also called Nectarball, while amassing this storied botanical library.

I ask Schulze how he got started, and the answer is a mind-boggling piece of San Diego lore. “Well, you know my mom, right? She worked for the city of San Diego, Evonne Schulze?” he asks. “My aunt—Evonne’s sister— passed me the first bud for the collection from her stash.”

Mark Schulze owner of San Diego's largest rare marijuana weed collection holding a from the 1980s
Photo Credit: Erica Joan

Schulze and Mooney came out of the “green closet”—a phrase weed people use to talk about the hidden lives they led not-so-long ago, when cannabis was less legal—in 2016. Now that weed’s more mainstream, Schulze and Mooney feel ready to talk about their renegade pot-growing days. They recently released the Nectarball movie, chronicling the plant’s social, cultural, and medical history. And this is the first time they’ve ever shown their collection publicly.

Their caution, of course, was not misplaced. After all, people would do a lot to get their hands on the couple’s incredible assemblage. But would-be thieves have to get through Schulze and Mooney. They fought off that armed robber back in the ’80s, ensuring that more than half a century of cannabis history stays right here at home.

By Jackie Bryant

Jackie is San Diego Magazine's content strategist. Prior to that, she was its managing editor. Before her SDM career, she was a long-time freelance journalist covering cannabis, food/restaurants, travel, labor, wine, spirits, arts & culture, design, and other topics. Her work has been selected twice for Best American Travel Writing, and she has won a variety of national and local awards for her writing and reporting.

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