Growing up in Northern California had its advantages. While my childhood friends and I missed out on SoCal’s golden beaches and stellar surfing, we realized nothing on the West Coast could compete with the ganja our soil spits out. Now that I live in Isla Vista, it seems I hear this argument every time I pack a snapper with such “inferior” greens. Yet, after sampling some of the fruits Santa Barbara County’s home growers have to offer, I have realized my hella dank superiority complex has almost evaporated altogether.

Sure, we have Mendocino county where Measure G helped local connoisseurs grow their own means of herbal sustenance and medicinal clubs that attract all kinds of compassionate caregivers out there, but after grabbing a grip of a Santa Ynez strain this weekend, I couldn’t help but hold up my bong and offer a toast. Here’s to you, Mary Jane.

I guess we all have our prejudices, but now I can’t stop thinking about how wrong my opinions were on the matter. Maybe it was the crazy names I’ve heard pushed in the past like Master Kush, Granddaddy Purps, Monkey Fuck and even Nepalese. I have to give it to them. Dealers get pretty creative with labels if it’s going to turn them a fatter profit. In the past, though, it seemed like anything I smelled south of Monterrey was always dubbed with some eccentric tag that never lived up to the hype. Giant leaves and even more enormous stems took up most of the weight. Purple was simply a darker shade of brown and it would have taken a molecular microscope to find any trace of crystals.

Was it simply a trick of the Southern California trade? I knew there had to be better stuff out there. What kept Jim Morrison’s poetry flowing before he stumbled into the desert with a stomach full of peyote? What was George Jung selling along Venice Beach before he controlled 60 percent of the nation’s cocaine distribution back in the 1960s and ’70s? I figured there had to be at least a few plants nestled up in the Hollywood hills. Rick James may have been busy wrecking couches, but the herb he got his hands on must have been super freaky.

Luckily, my nose caught a whiff of this sticky stuff before my mind had the chance to accept Southern California’s mediocrity forever. Apparently I just wasn’t looking in the right place or I was too dazed and confused to leave my cozy stoners’ circle.

Really though, it just sort of fell in my lap one gloomy Goleta day. I was glancing through my fantasy football team last Sunday while waiting for a delivery of the Humboldt Trainwreck that I’ve survived on over the past few years, when a baggie of freshly plucked Santa Ynez came flying through the air.

After certain minor preparations and trying to find my grinder in my cave known as an apartment, I was on my ass in seconds. Forget your normal Isla Vista imports, this mountain mixture rivaled even the Bay’s sativa. I couldn’t believe it. The munchies have never made me feel more gluttonous and my dreams have never been as vivid. Have you ever found yourself struggling to survive on an iceberg infested with starving, meat-eating penguins? I hadn’t either. Now I’m missing four toes thanks to those cranky fuckers and have a nasty case of frostbite on my left testicle.

So, to all you SoCal stoners out there: I’m sorry. Don’t take offense to my previous ignorance. I had faith in you guys. It’s not like I had anything against you. Well, except for stealing my Raiders for 12 years back in the ’80s, but come on, I’m an Oakland sports fan. Faith is all I’m ever really left with.

Daily Nexus columnist Jeff Gibson is haunted by a scene he saw in “Batman Returns”.