Everything Freddie “Bigg” Aquitania does is for love of the game. Not surprising, considering that the athlete is a mixed martial arts (MMA) champion, a pioneer in Bellator - but he’s also just as much a trailblazer in cannabis. Bigg is a powerful partner in both the San Francisco-based SF Canna and the Los Angeles-based Planta, brands that have majorly changed the space for the connoisseurs. 

“Both these groups are doing things that are uncommon in the industry,” the entrepreneur says. “Things that some people would say are impossible. It’s like a magic trick… It seems impossible until they pull back the curtains and figure out how the shit actually works. That’s where the competitive advantage is.”

Freddie Bigg, co-founder of SF Canna and Planta (C) Jojo Valente @thejojosnaps

Who Is Freddie "Bigg" Aquitania? From MMA To SF Canna, Planta, And California's Elite Cannabis Scene

The sportsman knows that phrase well. Born in Vallejo, California of Filipino and Native American descent, raised in Fairfield, Bigg has been in athletics since childhood. Though he confesses he consumed cannabis “a little bit” as a teenager, it wasn’t until his early twenties, when he entered the professional MMA world, that he began “smoking heavy.” Despite Bigg’s success as a fighter, he couldn’t earn enough to provide for his growing family, so he turned to the legacy cannabis market instead. First forming the delivery service Kuksu Collective, he quickly met Cannabiz Chris and the team of cultivators behind the operation that became SF Canna. 

“San Francisco is kind of the birthplace of exotic weed, and they’ve been ahead of the curve technologically and with the evolution of growing for a long time,” Bigg describes. “Quality consistency over a long period of time is super rare in [this industry].”

Planta was only officially founded a couple of years ago, but its cultivators are all veterans of the legacy sector. One of the main partners even shares an MMA background with Bigg. For that matter, so does Doja Pak’s genetic curator Rusty, AKA Duke of Erb, who bred the popular Coffin Candy (a Runtz x Z cross) that’s been a Planta bestseller. 

(C) Jojo Valente @thejojosnaps

What Makes SF Canna And Planta Top-Tier Cannabis Brands? Freddie Bigg Shares The Secret Sauce

What makes SF Canna and Planta magical? As Bigg explains, both have a supersized yield, often 30 to 50 percent higher than the average cultivator. They also implement crop steering, a combination of technology and genetics techniques that produces amazing quality. And thanks to their in-house champ’s genius, they spend minimal marketing dollars for major reward. 

“I’ll give away all the secrets,” Bigg grins. “What I really do to market the product the most is put [it] in the hands of tastemakers. I let them make the decision and I know the product is good. We’re really embedded in the culture. I have a strong network and we’re able to give the product to connoisseurs who have a lot of influence in the space. That’s how you get strong market penetration.”

It’s a lasting formula. Planta won First Place Overall and Second Place Best Exotics at the Nothing But Fire competition this fall, and placed third in the recent California’s Finest event. SF Canna took third in Best Exotics at Nothing But Fire, and has consistently been acclaimed over its years of operation, such as winning First Place for Best Indica at California’s Finest in 2022. The brands will continue to garner plaudits. 

Freddie Bigg and Honeysuckle founder Ronit Pinto at Litty in the City Las Vegas at MJBizCon 2023 (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture

Knowing Your Audience: Freddie Bigg On Cannabis Connoisseurs And Events

Still, Bigg insists you have to know your audience - and the top quality isn’t always for everybody. “If you look at it from a wine perspective, the average consumer doesn’t have a developed palate for wine… Most people drink Budweiser. Cannabis is like that. Most people are not smoking connoisseur-level cannabis; they’re smoking to get high, not necessarily focused on quality. When you get to the ten percent of the market that are connoisseurs, that’s typically double the price of your average strain. We provide a unique experience - the flavor, the potency are significantly different when you have higher quality and we take that luxury, higher-end goods approach.”

That’s evident with SF Canna and Planta’s activations too. SF Canna hosts the “smoker’s smoker” event Litty in the City, which has curated six major gatherings so far, including a splashy Las Vegas celebration during MJBizCon. Many 2024 stops are planned to follow. Both SF Canna and Planta had extensive presence in Vegas this season, which lights Bigg’s fire. 

“Cannabis has given me a great opportunity to be creative through the events, through social media platforms,” he notes. “It’s crazy thinking I created these brands.”

Freddie Bigg at Doja Pak's Hollywood launch, November 2023 (C) Doja Pak, courtesy of Planta

What's Next For Bigg, SF Canna, And Planta?

Looking forward, Bigg gets most excited about the potential for globalization. “European markets want this over here… The demand for education in Latin America is growing. Thailand has legal weed. California in general is going to have regions that are known worldwide for unique cannabis. If I’m manifesting my future, I’m trying to travel to exotic places and smoke.”

Can a man be a world champion twice in his life? If you dream Bigg, anything can happen. The fight is on.

For more about Bigg and Planta, follow @planta_ca and @freddiebigg on Instagram. For more about SF Canna, visit sfcanna415.com or follow @sfcanna_415 on Instagram.

*A version of this article originally appeared in Honeysuckle's 17th print edition, featuring Havoc of Mobb Deep. Get your copy now at dispensaries nationwide or click here to order!

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Featured image: Freddie Bigg in Honeysuckle's 17th print edition (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture