Legacy in Bloom: Inside Serge Damirjian’s Journey with Cookies, Fiore, and Sensi Seeds

Serge Damirjian and Serge Cannabis logo against the tanned background

With many seed drops, international expos and managing multiple cultivation facilities, catching up with Serge can be challenging, but his dedication and passion will surely inspire you. We secured an interview with him and discussed everything related to cannabis, including the exclusive new collaboration with Sensi Seeds and Breeding Grounds.

Serge Damirjian leads by example and lives up to his own standards. He starts his day by rolling up a joint of terpene-rich flowers before enjoying the outdoors with his two loveable dogs, listening to the cheerful chirping of birds and soaking up the warm morning sun. Then, after checking his email and socials a couple of hours into the day, Serge indulges in a flavourful dab before returning to a vigorous breeding program.

Having spent most of his life in California, Serge has been a part of the Los Angeles cannabis community for over a decade. He started his career working within cannabis dispensaries and hydroponic shops before establishing well-known cannabis brands such as Cookies and Fiore. These brands have earned outstanding respect within the community for their top-shelf genetics. Today, he proudly announces his collaboration with Sensi Seeds.

Serge Damirjian’s introduction to cannabis cultivation

Serge initially aspired to become a football star, but he soon realised he wasn’t the most gifted player on the field and shifted his focus to becoming an underwater welder. However, after completing school, he pursued a career in electrical work. Eager to learn and grow in his profession, he served as an apprentice under an electrician for a few years, eventually purchasing his own van before taking on house calls and commercial projects. 

His extensive background in electrical work has proven to be highly beneficial in Serge’s current position as a manager of cutting-edge cultivation facilities. His proficiency in electrical systems and experience with HVAC systems have been instrumental in detecting potential problems and quickly resolving them to avoid any significant interruptions to the facility’s operations. As a result of his expertise and dedication, the cultivation facilities can operate at optimal levels.

His foray into cannabis cultivation began when Serge was around 13 or 14 years old when his fingertips discovered a seed hiding within a bud. Watching the sprout emerge from the soil sparked a fascination that stayed with him. 

To keep his activities discreet, he found a small space behind his desk and placed a desk lamp over the plant. The cannabis plant flourished and grew to a height of approximately 60 cm, but unfortunately, its discovery led to legal trouble for Serge. At the tender age of 15, he faced a felony charge for cultivating cannabis, leading to his return to his family in Beirut, Lebanon.

Adhering to his beliefs that everyone should have the right to cultivate their cannabis, Serge transformed a 2.5-metre closet in his bedroom during his stay in Lebanon. Procuring two ballasts, a metal halide and an HPS, he meticulously disassembled the sockets, rewired them, and skilfully integrated them into the closet.

For adequate ventilation, he integrated a dual four-inch fan system. Two were positioned at the bottom for intake, and two were strategically placed at the top for exhaust. This setup was designed to promote air circulation, ensuring the maintenance of optimal environmental conditions essential for robust plant growth.

Due to the absence of a timer, Serge meticulously monitored the light cycle for his plants. Throughout the vegetative phase, he manually toggled the lights on for 18 hours, followed by a 6-hour off period. During flowering, he adhered to a 12-hour on, 12-hour off schedule, a tedious task requiring daily attention. However, his dedication and hard work paid off, as he was rewarded with an outstanding harvest that exceeded his expectations.

During his cultivation journey, Serge started by gathering cultivation information from horticultural forums and literature but also relied heavily on trial and error. This included accidentally pollinating his room and experiencing the consequences firsthand. This experience taught him the importance of paying close attention to detail, and he realised that even small mistakes can have significant consequences. However, despite the setbacks, Serge says he found a variety that stood out.

The serendipitous success of his accidental breeding made him realise that if such a good thing could happen by accident, it is possible to achieve even better results with deliberate effort. With meticulous care and attention, he carefully selected females and discarded male plants, focusing on backcrossing and line stabilisation. He dedicated himself to identifying the desired traits he wanted to pass down the line.

At the age of 16, as he contemplated the potential of breeding, Serge envisioned expanding his cannabis cultivation from a modest closet to an entire house upon his return to the United States. He imagined growing a larger number of plants and achieving more substantial harvests. This idea began to take shape as he shared the cannabis he had grown with his friends in Lebanon, who had never seen anything with such a loud terpene profile.

The origins of the Cookies enterprise

Serge Damirjian in gray coat holding two cannabis plants hanging upside down

Upon returning to the United States, Serge embarked on the journey of outfitting garages and multiple houses with cultivation equipment. He also helped set up a small grow shop in San Diego before venturing into the commercial realm of the cannabis industry. He started by embarking on a statewide campaign to educate cities about the benefits of embracing the cannabis industry before opening his first significant legal cultivation facility, Cookies, on January 16th, 2018. 

He successfully implemented a Cannabis Zoning Ordinance in Maywood, California as part of this effort. However, he remarked that setting up a building for cultivation proved to be more time-consuming and expensive than expected. Despite the challenges, he says he gained invaluable insights into construction, project management, and high-level business operations, which he considers a significant learning experience as part of the Cookies Maywood project.

During the construction phase, Serge had the opportunity to meet Steve Lobel, a prominent figure in the music industry who was working closely with Berner, an American rapper, entrepreneur, and cannabis advocate. During one of Steve Lobel’s video calls with the acclaimed artist, he showed keen interest in Serge’s state-of-the-art cultivation facility in Maywood and wanted to check it out personally.

After Berner visited their Maywood facility, he showed great interest in their cultivation techniques and proposed a collaborative partnership. Serge revealed that the potential collaboration was initially called ‘Hybred x Cookies’, but eventually, they decided to establish it as Cookies, which has now become a leading brand in the cannabis industry.

Serge Damirjian standing behind the counter of  “Cookies” cannabis dispensary

Following its opening in Los Angeles, the Cookies flagship store garnered significant media and public attention. Serge attributes this to their high-profile partnership with a celebrity like Berner and the fact that they had the first vertically integrated cultivation facility in the Los Angeles area. This allowed Cookies to possess legal licenses to grow, manufacture, distribute, and retail all on the same premises, setting them apart from the rest.

Although the launch of Cookies garnered much publicity, Serge quickly points out that their success was not just due to that. He attributes their popularity to their high-quality genetics, which were well-received by the cannabis community. He says, “If you have fantastic advertising, outstanding marketing, and a terrible product, that is the quickest way to kill the product. You are going to market your brand to death!

Serge proudly shares that the Maywood facility has crafted some genuinely remarkable hybrids, including the esteemed Gary Payton, Cereal Milk, London Poundcake 75, Berry Pie, and Georgia Pie. These exceptional strains serve as a testament to the facility’s unwavering commitment to producing nothing but the best.

Serge Damirjian and the launch of Fiore

During the London Poundcake 75 seed drop, Serge had the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals. During this event, he began laying the foundation for a new project. Serge explained that while their partners in Maywood were focused on opening cannabis dispensaries, his team of growers wanted to concentrate on the breeding process. As a result, they decided to start their own venture to help with research and development while supporting Cookies Maywood.

Serge Damirjian inspecting cannabis grown indoors

In 2020, Serge launched Fiore, a project that began with an extensive indoor pheno-hunt in Adelanto, California. This pheno-hunt involved 14,500 seeds, which Serge considers one of the most significant indoor hunts he has ever undertaken. He continues to explain the importance of pheno-hunting, which involves meticulously searching for specific traits in cannabis cultivars that are then selectively bred to preserve the desired characteristics.

Serge explains that their selection consisted of a broad selection of contemporary and traditional varieties. Once these phenotypes were introduced to the public, the feedback they received was both valued and essential in refining their menu. He stresses the significance of a community-oriented approach, which he believes has led to the widespread appreciation of these strains within the industry. 

Serge reveals that he is particularly fond of their strain Pomelo Anderson and recounts how they skilfully crossed Pomelo with Georgia Pie to create this highly sought-after hybrid known for its exceptional quality and potency. It is safe to say that Fiore has left an indelible mark on the market, and their influence is nothing short of remarkable.

Serge Cannabis

Along with Fiore, Serge founded Serge Cannabis, which is dedicated to developing the highest-quality genetics. He views this endeavour as the culmination of his life’s efforts and contributions to the cannabis community, fuelled by his unwavering passion for cannabis. He believes concentrating on smaller breeding projects empowers them to create something unique that growers genuinely appreciate. This unparalleled experience and commitment distinguishes them from others.

As an experienced grower and electrician, Serge emphasises the importance of being proactive in problem-solving. According to him, it is crucial to identify and address any issues before or as they arise. By highlighting the advancements in automation and the prevalence of sensors and cameras, Serge feels confident knowing he will be alerted in an emergency. 

However, predicaments can still happen, and he describes an unfortunate event at the facility just weeks ago when the transformer failed, causing a power outage. He promptly emphasises that being well-prepared for such unexpected situations is crucial.

Serge Damirjian shows cannabis grown indoors

The launch of Serge Cannabis has been a source of motivation for everyone involved, boosting morale and garnering support from the global cannabis community. Their indoor facility in California is spread across an area of 4,450 square metres and consists of eight flower rooms, seven of which are equipped with HP double-ended 1000W lights. They also have a lead flowering room and a research and development department. 

Furthermore, Serge has revealed that a brand new indoor facility covering an area of 1400 square metres is being constructed in Las Vegas. The facility will boast state-of-the-art LED lighting installed throughout the premises. Having already created some of the world’s most influential hybrids, Serge says the facility will prioritise cultivation, breeding, and discovering innovative opportunities to continue providing premium quality genetics to the cannabis community.

After conversing with Serge, it is evident that he and his breeding team are continuously exploring new frontiers in research and development, resulting in the creation of some truly captivating strains. Serge tells us it takes a lot of effort and perseverance to bring a new strain to market, and achieving stability and overcoming challenges is lengthy and tedious. The results are always worth it though, and he is proud that their work has dramatically impacted the cannabis community.

Like Ben Dronkers, Serge shares a profound appreciation for the plant and is dedicated to developing and preserving heritage genetics. When travelling to places like Amsterdam, Spain, or Lebanon, Serge tells us that he thoroughly enjoys conversing with many like-minded individuals who share this same enthusiasm for cannabis, which is precisely why we launched Breeding Grounds.

Sourcing genetics from Amsterdam

From a young age, Serge has been passionate about preserving genetics and vividly remembers his first trip to Amsterdam. He explains that he was initially only familiar with bag seeds but later started sourcing seeds from Amsterdam. He gathered genetics from reputable seedbanks, naming Sensi Seeds among them. According to Serge, Amsterdam has always been the go-to destination for acquiring seeds, and he considers the Netherlands a central hub for the global cannabis community.

Serge Damirjian inspecting cannabis grown indoors in the Netherlands

During his visit to Amsterdam in early 2023, Serge had the privilege of being taken on a tour of the Sensi Seeds facilities, an experience that he found both fascinating and incredibly humbling. He emphasised sharing some of his genetics with the Sensi Seeds team, who graciously gifted him with some of their classic award-winning genetics. Since then, he’s been thoroughly exploring our treasure trove of genetics for the Breeding Grounds collaboration.

Acknowledging the collective dedication of Ben and his team towards cannabis has been genuinely inspiring. He particularly admires their contributions to curating cannabis artefacts for the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum and advancing the cannabis community with their groundbreaking genetics. Expressing his gratitude for the chance to collaborate with Ben Dronkers, a renowned cannabis icon and trailblazer, Serge is excited to share Breeding Grounds with the community.

He continues to explain his enthusiasm for combining iconic Sensi Seeds strains that have profoundly influenced  European cannabis culture with emerging American genetics. Given the rarity of Hazes in the American market due to their prolonged flowering period, Serge is dedicated to enhancing their commercial viability. His goal is to make these strains more accessible, allowing more cannabis connoisseurs to appreciate their distinctive characteristics. 

Dedicated to maintaining the exceptional genetic standards established by Sensi Seeds, Serge thrives on exploring new possibilities while pushing the boundaries of what is possible. Looking ahead, he believes that if something as simple as rubbing the stem of Jamaican Pearl during its vegetation stage can produce such a complex terpene profile, then the potential of breeding Blackberry Gary with classic old-school strains like Haze, Jack Herer, or Jamaican Pearl is genuinely limitless.

Breeding Grounds and the community

Sensi Seeds Breeding Ground logo against the black background

As our discussion ends, we would like to highlight Serge’s immense contribution to cannabis breeding. His pioneering work has created some of the most iconic strains in the industry, and his efforts have been widely recognised and appreciated. Serge has mentioned that he has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the cannabis community, and he feels grateful for the support. Seeing the impact Serge has made on the industry and the community is truly inspiring.

Serge’s dedication to producing the highest quality genetics in collaboration with Sensi Seeds is unwavering. His vision aligns perfectly with that of the Sensi Seeds team, and he remains committed to using his expertise to contribute to the collective effort of creating high-quality and visually appealing products that benefit the cannabis community. 

As a result, we’re incredibly proud to present the strains that are the result of this collaboration:

Big Berry Bliss Feminized cannabis flower and seed package against the black background
Purple Papaya Paradise Feminized cannabis flower and seed package against the black background
Citrus Fuel Automatic cannabis flower and seed package against the black background
Ghostbuzzters OG Automatic cannabis flower and seed package against the black background

Make sure to check them out – trust us, they’re worth it! If you have any questions for Serge or are enthusiastic about the Breeding Grounds collaboration, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • Disclaimer:
    Laws and regulations regarding cannabis use differ from country to country. Sensi Seeds therefore strongly advises you to check your local laws and regulations. Do not act in conflict with the law.


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  • Author_profile-Sensi-Mark-Smith

    Mark Smith

    Mark Smith is an English cannabis advocate based in The Netherlands. He’s worked across the world in the cannabis industry for over ten years, from Canada, to Spain, and to Californian cannabis farms. He’s followed his passion for cannabis across nearly every continent, and is currently dedicated to spreading the word as a writer at Sensi Seeds in Amsterdam.
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