For many cannabis enthusiasts, the first real wave of the year’s harvest starts with the light-deprivation-style grown cannabis that comes down each June. 

The resulting cannabis is often shortened to deps by industry folks. They’re produced by farmers using various means to control the light cycle to force plants to flower. They started to become prevalent in the mid-2000s. For many years a lot of people just used the early dep harvests to pay their trimmers in the fall when their full-term harvest came down. But the quality of the product saw the prevalence of the cultivation style continues to grow to this day, where many expect solid deps to be a big part of the forthcoming national marketplace. 

When it comes to deps, Humboldt County is one of the best places in the world to find the best representations of various strains grown that way. In the years The Emerald Triangle’s farms weren’t decimated by fire and smoke, it basically seemed impossible to grow better deps than the cream of the crop coming out of Humboldt’s hills annually. 

But as opposed to smoke, this year’s early season saw farmers dealing with a lot of overcast skies as the heavens opened up to pour water on California. The Vesuvio Gardens team told us there was basically no spring this year and that led to many people getting a later start than usual. Vesuvio was a couple of weeks into flower when we chatted with them.

“We’re only about 10 days behind in Honeydew, and in Whitehorn, we’re pretty much on schedule,” Vesuvio’s founder Joe Jacovini told L.A. Weekly. He went on to note the early runs don’t do so well in Humboldt’s valleys, as opposed to the hilltops where they can get a lot of light. 

One of Humboldt’s most prominent dep cultivators is Jason Gellman of Ridgeline Farms. Ridgeline returned to the top of The Emerald Cup podium this year after previously winning back-to-back editions of one of the most coveted prizes in cannabis. With the exception of a few full-sun plants he does for personal use, Gellman is exclusively growing sungrown deps. He does partner at another light-assisted facility in the winter. 

We asked Gellman how the scene up north was looking, as he preps for the 2023 harvest to begin. 

“We know we hear the prices are going up, I hear that a lot, but nobody has herb,” Gellman told L.A. Weekly. “Does that mean it’s going to really go up? Because usually when you get the herb, then where are all the buyers, but I feel like right now, this should be a good year. I know there’s a pretty big drought of good-quality weed right now.”

We asked Gellman if the trophy shelf makes it easier for him to get top dollar against the rest of the harvest. 

“I always hear that a lot of the time and everyone thinks because I got a name and a brand, they think I can get more than X guy and it’s really not the case,” Gellman replied. “I mean you spend so much money packaging and prerolls and everything like that, it’s really hard. The people who wholesale their weed probably make more money than I do at the end of day.” 

Despite the perils of packaging as he listens to the numbers start to fly around the bulk product, he’s excited for the weeks ahead. 

“I think it’s going to be decent. It really depends on the weather. We’ve had unstable weather so far. For this first round. We didn’t have sun for three days straight. And so if we don’t get heat, we got small bud and that’s going to really affect the quality of the whole dep harvest around here on round one. So we’re playing with the weather, and we’re hoping that it’s shifting, it’s a little more scalable, and I think it’s gonna be a good year.”

After going through the struggles of the past few years, 2023 is looking daily upbeat for Ridgeline. 

“I think for the people that have hung in there are gonna get rewarded, be able to make a living and I mean that’s what it’s all about right now. Just trying to stay alive, make a living and keep our jobs,” Gellman said. 



The world’s first Phase One clinical trial investigating the microdosing of LSD showed promise. 

During our recent adventure to Microdose’s Wonderland festivities in Miami, we were hit with a mountain of data from another massive year in psychedelic science. Still, MindBio Therapeutics’ clinical work with LSD microdosing was undoubtedly among the most fascinating. 

For those not in the know, the clinicians who conducted the research define microdosing as the repeated administration of psychedelics, such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) or psilocybin, in doses below the threshold for overtly altering perception.

Why would researchers want to look into this? Because it’s all the rage of course. But as the trend continues to blow up, science is yet to back a variety of microdosing claims. Even more so in regards to LSD than the very popular and more accessible psilocybin mini trips. 

Back in May, MindBio Therapeutics’ parent company Blackhawk Growth noted at the completion of the trial MindBio was still the only organization in the world to have successfully obtained government approvals for a doctor to prescribe LSD to patients to take the drug unsupervised in the community. 

“In the same way they would take any other medicine,” the company noted.

The study was led by the University of Auckland. Associate Professor Dr. Suresh Muthukumaraswamy was among those who presented the findings to their psychedelic peers in Miami. Here is a breakdown of the protocol they used. 

After finishing the trial in late spring, MindBio would comb through the data collected from 80 participants from over the course of 12 months and 1,102 microdoses. The daily questionnaire showed credible evidence of increased ratings from participants in energy, wellness, creativity, happiness and connectedness on the dose days. The actual doses were 14 ten micrograms of LSD.

A usual dose when you’re looking to have a deeper experience is about one microgram per kilo of body mass. So the 10 microgram dose is enough to get someone that weighs 22 pounds to trip hard. That being said, the first doses were administered under supervision. Once everything was found to be OK, the trial participants administered the rest of the doses at home on their own. 

Sometimes the doses had a bit more kick than the participants expected, but most of the time it was not enough to be an issue,

“Many of those surveyed reported experiencing these effects at least once, but few reported them occurring after every dose. Other reports note that negative effects are largely acute and rarely persist in the long term,” the researchers wrote. 

There were incidents of adverse events. The number of people in the LSD control group who experienced jitteriness was nearly one in three. While in the placebo group, 7.5% of participants claimed the same thing just at the idea they might have just taken LSD. 

But again, the positive results far outweighed a little bit of jitteriness. MindBio was already planning the Phase Two clinical trials well before they released the data. They are hard at work in their attempt at becoming the first to commercialize a psychedelic microdosing regimen. 

“We are proud of the incredible work of our scientific team and the completion of this great milestone as we head toward developing game-changing treatments for mental health conditions,” said Frederick Pels, CEO of Blackhawk.



Many argue that November is one of the best months to buy pot given the deals and steals of Black Friday and Green Wednesday, but don’t sleep on the quality available and prices when purchasing your weed in December. 

One of the main feathers in the hype for December is the fact it’s just a little bit further out from the Croptober harvest. In the first half of November, you might still be waiting for the girls that finished late to cure up to perfection. That’s not a problem in December, in fact, the whole month much of the year’s harvest will be in the golden zone for quality. 

And we’ll be the first to note there are a lot of variables on how long that golden zone lasts. The best hope is the pot never leaves an awesome environment before it ends up in the hands of a consumer, but that’s few and far between. That’s why the date is so important. 

The accountability of shelf time says a lot in the current market. Dispensaries don’t want flowers that don’t move. They want you to get the heat, apart from a charlatan or three trying to make a quick buck. But even then, that harvest date can transcend shady retail practices that make you think you’re getting a deal when, in reality, the consumer is doing them a favor by taking it off their hands for anything.  

This has led to the best cultivators in the world living by their packaging dates — that’s the moment the clock really starts ticking. Especially given in how many cases the weed was already finished for a bit before it made it to bags or jars. 

One brand that’s based a lot of its business model around the heat and keeping to a short shelf life is California Artisanal Medicine. 

“We put our harvest date and our package date, because after 90 days from the package date, your product is aging and will not hold all the attributes we look for in top-shelf cannabis,” CAM founder Anna Willey told L.A. Weekly. 

Willey went on to note the biggest things impacted are the smell, how the buds break up and moisture content. 

As for the biggest factors Willey sees outside not hitting the gold standards in temperature and humidity?

“The way it was dried and the evenness of your environment in the dry room,” Willey answered. “Also the health of the plant at the end of the cycle and the trim time.”

While Willey is an indoor cultivator, this all rings true for the outdoor that dropped a couple of months ago.

Another point proving the quality of cannabis in December is the Emerald Cup’s old format before the move to Los Angeles for the award show. Back in the day, we knew who the world champs were a couple of weeks into December. It was all wild and fresh heat. The new extended format creates a bit more hype over many months but adds the additional factor of which weed actually holds up through that time until it gets into the hands of the judges.  



It’s time to buy some presents for the pot enthusiast in your life. 

It can be tricky. A lot of people have been gifted boof by well-intended people over the years.

“Maybe Billy wants grass,” they reasonably thought. They just didn’t have a metric for quality in their heart. 

Fear not, this list has something for everyone. Be it a Christmas-themed chocolate bar for grandma or American-made glass for your baby wook you can’t get to move out of the basement. Here are some great options for Christmas 2022. 

Kiva Tree Bark


Courtesy of Kiva

While its grave is the holiday champion, Kiva’s tree bark is nothing to scoff at. It’s a fantastic Christmas-themed edible the whole gang can enjoy. The chunks of peppermint also make it one of the least weedy tasting edibles since the peppermint is going to dominate your palate. And the regular strength is just what you need for the holiday cannabis newbies getting in the mix. 


Courtesy of AFM Glass

Alien Flower Monkey Glass Quartz Bangers

We try our best to highlight great American-made affordable quartz when we get the opportunity. Only adding to the fun is the fact that Alien Money Glass is made in Los Angeles. We’re going to do a full write-up on them in the not-too-distant future but wanted to make sure quartz was on your radar, so you could scoop some for the dabber in your life. 

Lonnwikk Hemp YoyotempFileForShare 20221205 114309

Hemp wicks are nothing new, but the idea of adding them to a yoyo certainly is. We were gifted a Lonnwikk at MJ Biz Con in Las Vegas. It was certainly one of the more unique products we saw during our week on the strip for the cannabis industry’s mega show. The purpose of the hemp wick is to prevent the butane in the lighter from impacting the flavor of the terpene profile. 

Sacred Fruits Mystical Micros20221201 163011

As we noted in our coverage of the first Phase One trials around the benefits of LSD microdosing, microdosing psychedelics is all the rage these days. And it’s generally a lot more popular with psilocybin here in California given the level of access we have to quality mushrooms and the products made from them. The team at the very popular Sacred Fruits brand has blessed the world with a fantastic dosing format with their musical micros. One pill will give you a microdose that will promote a bit of extra mental clarity, three to five pills will have you feeling hyper connected to the galaxy, and once you get past five pills you’re starting to dabble in full sensory hallucinations. Pretty awesome. 

Masonic Seed Comasonic 0031

The pride of Compton wants LA Weekly readers to get some steals and deals this holiday season on its popular seeds lines. If you enter “LAWeeky” into the discount code at checkout, you’ll get a whopping 50% off. The only deal this isn’t compatible with is Clutch’s 50,000 Acre Bundle.



Brittney Griner returned home to the U.S. last Friday, ending one of the greatest incidents in cannabis and geopolitics of all time. 

Many have been quick to point out various reasons Griner’s ordeal lasted 10 months. The condition of U.S. relations with Russia in the wake of the war in Ukraine obviously tops the list for many as western munitions continue to push Kyiv’s control further and further into Eastern Ukraine. 

The anti-Griner takes for the most part have been poorly articulated. The idea of a professional athlete using CBD is far from new, it’s just the Russian part that made it complicated. And now, as she begins to enjoy her first week of freedom with her family in nearly a year, she’s forced to endure the news cycle debating if she was worth it. And finally, it’s not like she made the deal herself. 

And in correctional facilities across America, nonviolent cannabis offenders are watching the news cycle baffled. How could America give an arms dealer up for an Olympic champion, yet there they sit? Why has the normalization of cannabis forgotten them?

The National Organization for The Reform of Marijuana Laws hopes Griner’s release will cause some soul-searching back here at home. Erik Altieri, NORML executive director, called Griner’s imprisonment a grotesque affront to the concept of justice. He also noted it has served as an unfortunate reminder of how draconic marijuana laws remain around the globe. 

“However, it should also cause a serious level of reflection amongst our lawmakers considering that a large number of states still inflict similar penalties for marijuana possession on our own soil, and the current federal policy of marijuana prohibition isn’t notably different than the stance held by Putin’s regime in Russia,” Altieri said. “Brittney Griner very much deserved to be released and brought home, but our elected officials in the United States must use this as motivation to bring our domestic marijuana policies in line with our nation’s stated principles of liberty and justice.”

Women Grow, which has worked to inspire female leadership in the cannabis industry since 2014, echoed NORML’s take. 

“Women Grow is extremely happy to hear that Brittney Griner is being returned home and is grateful to our government for working on her behalf. This is an extraordinary gift for her family, loved ones, community, and fans,” said Gia Morón, Women Grow president. “In addition, her case has greatly amplified the plight of those imprisoned on cannabis-related charges and the need for cannabis legalization on a global scale. We also hope this continues the forward movement toward freeing all those incarcerated for cannabis worldwide.”

As they did during her confinement, numerous athletes came out in support of Griner as her release was made public. Among those wishing Griner well was cannabis entrepreneur Ricky Williams.

“I was so happy to hear about Brittney Griner’s release today. The greater the change we can create in the U.S. because of her imprisonment, the greater meaning it will give to her incarceration,” Williams said. “It’s time to apply pressure on our government to start expediting domestic reform. There are still tens of thousands of people unjustly detained for cannabis in the US.”

We’ll follow any updates on what the future holds for cannabis offenders here at home. 



The rain could not stop the heat at the second annual Emerald Cup Harvest Ball in Santa Rosa. 

The event serves as the kickoff to cup season with the winners getting crowned in roughly six months in L.A. at the awards show. This weekend had traditionally served as the whole show for years, before the new format. The quests of farmers looking for next year’s hottest genetics, the chance to survey the harvest, and the awards show were all crammed into one action-packed weekend over 17 years that continued to get larger and larger. 

With the awards show still months out, the weekend now focuses on the cannabis of the moment and seeds. The seed and genetics part can’t be overstated. In more recent years we’re even seeing tissue cuttings available for farmers terrified of the dreaded Hop Latent Viroid, commonly known as HLVd. Cuttings with HLVd have been the downfall of mega nurseries people were convinced were here to stay. But regardless of the high-tech stuff, the regular seeds and cuttings called clones are a huge part of the show.

We were reminded of this when we walked in the gate on Day One. Emerald Cup Competition Director Victoria Shea grabbed me out of line just before gates opened so I’d make it to the judges’ meet-and-greet on time. The public hadn’t even been allowed in yet and there were already lines at the Compound Genetics and Purple City Genetics Booths as their peers participating in the Harvest Ball queued up to get the latest and greatest genetics from both. That wave of people on the hunt would increase tenfold once the gates opened up. 

And those who weren’t looking for cuts were looking for great cannabis or trying to convince people they had it; plenty did. 

Our Favorites

Higher Heights from Comptche, California, had a lovely spread. The two standouts for us were the Carambola and the Purple Candy Cane. The Purple Candy Cane was a bit more complex on the nose. 

Pacific Cultivation was another absolute banger spread for 2022. Everything came out awesome, but it would be criminal to not highlight the Hippie Crasher. The pairing of Kush Mints and Wedding Crasher was among the finest offerings at the whole harvest ball. The Caked Up Cherries was our second favorite from the Pacific Cultivation lineup.

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Pacific Cultivation

Humboldt Seed Company had their new Jelly Donutz collaboration with Casa Flor on display. You could certainly smell the sugary goodness some people like to start their mornings with. 

Moon Valley Cannabis’s Wine Country-grown pot also was pretty awesome. The standout for us was the Grapes and Cream, but the Zlurpy was very competitive, too. We could see people leaning in that direction for sure. 

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Moon Valley Cannabis

Bigfoot Cannabis Co’s rendition of Gelato 41 was stunning. It was one of our favorite versions we have ever seen that wasn’t indoor. The only one nicer won the Cannabis Cup in 2018. 

Fidel’s spread was as top-class as to be expected. It included the KMZ that won the Transbay Challenge I hosted in Los Angeles this past August. The blend of Kush Mints and zkittelz is a flavor profile in its own league. 

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One of the loudest jars of the day had to be the Garlotti from Good Good. Once you cracked it open, you were hit with an explosion of garlic terps so strong your eyes and sinuses might water up a bit. But don’t worry, that’s definitely a good thing. 

That Good Good garlotti



Sun Roots Farm’s Velvet Papaya won the contest for the thing I think we’ll have the best shot of smoking in a hash format. The terp-loaded strain was said to produce a decent amount of the resin you need to make hash, which essentially is collected plant resin.



The 12 Strains of Christmas returns for 2023!

As is tradition, with this list we present a holiday-size helping of the heat we’ve found in the past couple of months following the harvest and trips to scope out the marketplaces in Vegas, abroad in the Canary Islands and Thailand. 

The 12 Strains of Christmas also is our most extensive flower list of the year. It’s always a pleasure to highlight some killers so they have one more thing to share with their families during whatever holiday they might enjoy together. 

Here are the strains you should leave out for Santa in 2023. 

Red Pop S1 #37 (Riddles) – Royal Key OrganicsRoyal key Riddles Red Pop S1 37

As with many strains from breeders that offer as extensive a catalog as Exotic Genetix, it can take a couple of years to get the full wind in their sales. Red Pop has had a fantastic 2022. Its offspring, Red Runtz, is entering its own hype wave, but the Red Pop is still elite and 2022 was the first year many had the chance to try it. One of our favorite phenos of anything Red Pop belongs to Royal Key Organics in Humboldt County. In particular, their Red Pop S1 #37 they named Riddles. It smells like buttery popcorn with cherry Kool-Aid sprinkled on top. 

Zkittelz – Alien Labs

The Alien Labs rendition of Zkittlez is tied with IC Collective for the best Z terps we’ve ever seen grown outside of Mendocino County. We got our first peek at it during Las Vegas Heat Quest on MJ Biz Con Eve. As people approached us with their versions of Z throughout the week, nothing else came close. Back home here in California, few can produce Z terps at this level commercially. 

Flowers of Zion – Fidels

flowers of Zion fron Fidels 2

Courtesy of Fidels

On the heels of his self-made docuseries and summer win at the Transbay Challenge I threw in L.A. for his KMZ, Flowers of Zion is the next one to keep an eye on from Fidel. The Flowers of Zion brings together Garlic Cocktail with Symbiotic Genetics’s timeless classic Mimosa. With his cultivation site operational, expect to see even more of Fidels Flower throughout the state. 

Seed Junky Official Genetics

Seed Junky and Fidel Buds took top honors at Ego Clash a couple of weeks ago on the eve of The Emerald Cup’s Harvest Ball, thanks to some ultra-elite hash from Simply Adam that topped the uber-competitive contest where many of the world’s best hash makers score each other. The Banana God is a pairing of Wilson and Banana OG. The version that won Ego Clash was a Banana God F2 that was done by @ibean_poppin2much and then grown by Simpleeadam. 

Cap Junky – Capulator x Seed Junky 

Cap junky courtesy of Capulator

Courtesy of Capulator

A collaboration between two Los Angeles heavyweights, Capulator and Seed Junkie’s CapJunky was certainly a favorite for us in 2022. It’s among the gassiest offerings from both breeders and is an absolute ripper. It has limited availability in town, but you can score some at Peace of Green at 1155 East Pico Blvd., in DTLA.

Stardawg x Gelato 41 – Doja Pak  

Ever since we first covered the original RS11 drop in LA a couple of years back, it feels like you’d need one of those NASA cameras that tracks the rockets after launch to keep pace with what they’ve been up to. While strains named after art supplies and animals are dope, we think the Stardawg x Gelato 41 was a pinch underrated during the hype storm this year and wanted to give it some extra love. 

Blackberry Gary – Serge Cannabis x Powerzzzup

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Courtesy of Serge Cannabis

Arguably the biggest strain to drop in California this fall, Blackberry Gary has lived up to the hype. The rare collaboration from Powerzzzup is an absolute killer. Most of the Cereal Milk and Gary Crosses out there are from reversals, but Serge was able to work with the real gear and get the Powerzzzup team’s blessings on the final product. It carries on the flavor and impact tradition of the Gary Payton line. 

DEO – 580

deo 580

Courtesy of DEO

580 is the most underrated strain from Deep East Oakland Farms. Everyone is tripping balls. I’m not saying it’s RS or Zoap, but saying it’s not special is batshit crazy to me. It tastes so much different from the rest of their pack. Now I love me some dessert weed, but the smell of nail polish is one of my favorite things. The freshest batches of 580 have it in abundance. It smashes into your sinuses when you open a bag. 

Red Bullz x Fishscale – High Rhythm Farm

The Santa Cruz-hunted version of the Compound Genetics heater was certainly on the podium for us at The Emerald Cup Harvest Ball. Few things came close in the quality of the terpene or look. The impact was great, too, when we got the chance to try it. We highly recommend keeping an eye out for this one. 

Prism OZ – Cipher Genetics

Prism OG

Courtesy of Cipher Genetics

An offering from the newest company on The 12 Strains of Christmas, Cipher Genetics is the latest project from Compound Genetics founder Chris Lynch. Our favorite offering from the launch drop is looking to be the Prism OZ. While we haven’t seen the finished product yet, we’re very excited for the recipe of SFV OG x ( Zkittelz x (Zkittelz x Gelato 41)). We’re convinced it’ll be a heater, much like a lot of Lynch’s past classics. 

OZ Kush BX1 – 3rd Gen Family


Courtesy of 3rd Gen Family

Numerous companies in the cannabis space got their start with a pack of 3rd Gen Family’s Dying Breed Seeds, and one of the strains that launched the most or helped take things to a new level was OZ Kush. It brought together the Eddy OG and Zkittelz and the first packs sold five years ago. As I look at their current lineup, if I’m a cannabis company desperate for an epic house flavor to help me stay afloat in the darkest times ever for the marketplace, I’m buying as many packs of OZ Kush Bx1 seeds as I can and finding myself a little bit of hope. 

Double Dawg – Dr. Dope Bangkok20221208 200337 e1671653839392

On our recent adventure to Thailand alongside High Times and High Rise TV, we went to a ton of spots and looked at a bunch of Thai weed. With the exception of the 100 Hands at Phandee in Japan Village in Bangkok, none of it could compare to what Dr. Dope was doing. I would say thanks to Dr. Dope’s Double Dawg, the best weed I’ve seen grown in Thailand is better than the best weed I saw grown in Las Vegas during MJ Bizcon last month. 

We hope you enjoyed The 12 Strains of Christmas.



It’s going down in Thailand’s cannabis scene and you can see plenty of California influence on the marketplace on their new, very open medical marijuana market. 

Earlier this month I visited Thailand to check out what legal medical cannabis looks like six months in. It’s wild. There are now hundreds of dispensaries operating in Bangkok. In some cases, you’ll find a dispensary with a cannabis street cart operating across the street. As Thais wait to see what the final regulations look like, they are doing their best to take advantage of the moment. Currently, you don’t need a doctor’s recommendation to access cannabis. 

And one of the best ways to take advantage of the moment? Proven practices. A number of the first-wave Thai cannabis business people are familiar with California and other American markets. As opposed to attempts to create their own retail theory, the Thais are leaning on the things that have worked in California for the last 25 years. 

One of the funny things is, you’re kind of seeing every kind of dispensary at once. Those who are scared the law might change have a street cart or minimal indoor infrastructure because they are scared it might not last like those in California prior to 2008. The middle of the pack is nicer retail environments with minimal upgrades similar to those years early in The Obama Administration before the landlord letters from the Department of Justice. The final tier of Thai dispensaries is already all the way in. They have LED screens everywhere and primo retail space. As far as they’re concerned. cannabis is completely normalized.

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A street cart with a dispensary directly behind it in Bangkok’s Japanese Village. – Photo: Jimi Devine

But the biggest link to California? Commercially viable cuttings. It was very difficult to find authentic Thai genetics. Thailand’s cannabis seemingly isn’t quite ready for full production when it comes to local genetics. We lucked out and had a Thai Stick and a local hybrid that was crossed with some California dessert weed at Phandee in Bangkok, but it was few and far between. The best cannabis we saw was grown by Dr. Dope in Bangkok. Their Double Dawg and Sensi Dawg were the two nicest things we saw grown in Thailand. 

Ron Brandon, the founder of California brand Kingston Royal, emphasized it’s not just American genetics we’re seeing. He thinks the market is emulating stateside practices in every form possible. 

“I think that genetics are obviously a huge thing. You can see that when you walk up to any of these trucks, you walk inside any one of these dispensaries, there’s just a bunch of genetics from American brands bred by American breeders,” Brandon told L.A. Weekly. “I think California is a culture in itself, whatever, it’s the epicenter as far as cannabis goes. So I mean, you’re going to see a huge influence from California in every single aspect. You see the mylar starting to transition out here in the stores as well. California did dispensaries bigger and better than anyone first, right? And you can see that they just took the California model.”

As for the thing that surprised him the most about the scene six-months into legalization?

“It feels just like back home, right?” Brandon replied. “For the most part, but then there’s the Thai way.”

Josh Schmidt is helping Cookies move into Asia. Schmidt and his Thai partners brought two groups together to form Cookies Asia Co. Schmidt has been visiting Thailand since 2005 and eventually married a Thai woman. 

“In 2005, I traveled to Thailand with thoughts of taking a three-week break from cannabis, as laws were so strict. Fast forward to living in Thailand four years and having to consume cannabis in secret,” Schmidt told L.A. Weekly. “I grew plants on my balcony and at my in-laws’ in the Northeast and was worried daily someone might find out and cause problems. I used to go to a Reggae Bar on Khao San and get bags of pressed Lao brick to hold me over. I dreamt of days like today in Thailand, as good cannabis was the one thing I was missing from my daily routine.” 

Schmidt went on to point to Thailand’s rich underground culture pushing the plant along since those days. 

“Similarly to USA, we are seeing a convergence of underground and new players and it’s creating a fresh, vibrant scene very few have experienced before,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt reminds everyone to play it cool when they visit. 

“Being a Californian in Thailand we have to remember that Thailand is still only legal for medical use and we shouldn’t exploit the laws or push any boundaries,” he said. “We have to respect the law in Thailand and learn about “Thainess.” With a uniquely rich history, Thailand is very different from California (or the West for that matter) and we always need to remember where we are and what the Thais have done to keep their heritage and traditions uniquely “Thai.” I have been blessed to be a part of Thailand’s growing cannabis community and am excited for what is to come over the next years!”

We’ll keep an eye on the developing market in Thailand and its impact on the wider cannabis conversation in Asia. 



We chatted with Housing Works Cannabis Co CEO Charles King as the NYC nonprofit prepares to kick off legal cannabis sales in the state of New York today. 

Most notably, the 10 cash registers and 4,400 square feet of retail space at 750 Broadway in Manhattan will be the only place in the state you’ll be able to get legal weed for months, as other retailers continue to navigate the permitting process. While the idea of this total monopolization may seem off in the era of social equity, given it’s a longtime nonprofit it seems a lot palatable for folks. 

That part is also a double-edged sword. Some fear the Housing Works permit will be pointed to as a sign of intent, when the wider equity program has hiccups like so many have in the past. The officials who screw it up will point to this license to show it was the plan all along to take care of equity and nonprofit permits. That being said, whatever happens next on the regulatory side isn’t Housing Works’ fault and it has as worthy a track record as any nonprofit who might have had the chance to open first. 

Housing Works has provided an array of services to 30,000 homeless and low-income New Yorkers since 1990. The organization identifies as a community of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS with the mission to end both homelessness and AIDS through advocacy and providing services. A big part of the way it has sustained the mission is creating businesses like the dispensary, a SoHo bookstore, and a network of high-end thrift shops to fund its advocacy. All proceeds from the dispensary go directly back to the nonprofit. 

The staff are excited to open their doors today. 

“”This is a once in a lifetime moment,” said Sasha Nutgent, store manager of Housing Works Cannabis Co. “That said, our nonprofit’s mission remains as urgent as ever. We are eager to take the lead as a social equity model for America’s cannabis industry, specifically with our hiring practices and continued support of individuals and communities disproportionately impacted by the unjust War on Drugs.”

We chatted with Charles King, CEO of Housing Works, late last week as they prepared for the big day. 

“So we actually approached Gov. Cuomo in his office three years ago about Housing Works being able to obtain a license for retail cannabis sales,” King told L.A. Weekly. “We’ve been pressing the agenda of nonprofits that serve people who have been criminalized by cannabis, due to cannabis related offenses, having the opportunity to enter in the market. That’s part of our reason for doing this.”

King argues one of the reasons it’s been such a long rollout for New York was establishing mechanisms different from any other state in terms of advancing equity interests.

“That said, I think there’s a big question about whether what New York is doing will actually go far enough to accomplish its equity agenda,” King argued. “Housing Works is a large organization where we’re well-capitalized, so we’re prepared to invest up to a million dollars, some to make our cannabis retail work and make it profitable.”

King knows the state is preparing to invest money to back social equity licenses, he’s just not sure it will be nearly enough to be competitive. This would lead to the worst-case scenario of equity license holders turning into figureheads as they attempt to raise the capital they need to stay open. 

“I think that’s going to be the big test,” King said. “We’ve seen it in other jurisdictions, where equity license holders have ended up simply essentially being front people for commercial cannabis. And we certainly don’t want that to happen here.”

Housing Works plans on taking a very hands-on approach on its quest to help the New York social equity movement. For starters, it’s hiring people who have criminal records for cannabis, but it goes so much deeper than that. 

“We’re also developing training programs, not only to help people to advance in management, even with our competitors,” King said.

King hopes that program will help start people’s own journeys to go from cannabis conviction to dispensary owner. 

“We’re negotiating with the Office of Cannabis Management to help people, to allow people to go through a training program with us,” King said. “That would get them credentialed as having met the entrepreneurial requirements for obtaining their own license, and then we would help them with their license application, help them get up and running, so that they can genuinely have an opportunity to enter into business on their own without having to be proxy for some commercial investor.”

Given Housing Works’ wider history of community service, we asked if there was any push back on the team when the conversations about the dispensary started. The organization is no stranger to the subjects around drugs many Americans avoid. 

“We are a harm-reduction organization. We were, over 30 years ago, we were the first organization in the country to house people with substance use disorder without any restrictions on their personal use in the privacy of their home. We didn’t place any drug- and alcohol-free conditions on people moving into supportive housing,” King said. 

Additionally, Housing Works runs two of the largest syringe exchange programs in the state. 

“So, even though we’re a licensed drug treatment provider, our license is very explicit that we use a harm-reduction approach,” King said. “Our goal has never been abstinence, it’s always to help people manage their use in ways that give them effective control over their lives.”

King thinks it’s been more interesting to hear the response from the public who clearly don’t really understand who they are and what it is that they do.

Housing Works expects to be able to offer about 75 to 100 products from six different brands on opening day. As testing gets in order around the state, they expect to be up to about 24 brands to pick from in February. It’s a safe bet every cultivation site in the state will be hoping for shelf space. 

As with many dispensaries across America, they’re currently cash only. There was a recent sweep of offshore merchant services companies prodigy services to the industry, so it’s a little trickier than bouncing from one to the other at the moment. This is even the case for shops that have been open for decades. 

House of Puff is one of the brands on shelves today at Housing Works.

“For years, advocates and members of New York’s cannabis community have been working toward this momentous milestone; the first adult-use dispensary opening its doors, stocked with brands and products grown, processed, manufactured and owned right here in New York,” said Kristina Lopez Adduci, CEO and founder of House of Puff. “We are ecstatic that House of Puff will be one of those New York brands that will be available for purchase and thank Housing Works for supporting us and other local cannabis companies during this crucial moment.” 

Lopez Adduci was also excited as to what the dispensary meant to the broader goals for legalization. 

“The opening of their dispensary is just one embodiment of the vision set out by the MRTA and is a significant step towards establishing a fully operable and equitable legal cannabis industry built by and for New Yorkers and our communities most adversely affected by cannabis prohibition,” she said. 

The Cannabis Association of New York also weighed in on today’s first sales.

“Since the MRTA was signed, now nearly two years ago, we have all been envisioning the moment that legal adult-use sales would finally launch here in New York,” said Allan Gandelman, President of CANY. “The state’s first recreational dispensary opening its doors with shelves stocked full of New York-owned-and-operated brands, including products grown and processed by CANY members, is a culmination of all the hard work, dedication and advocacy of the cannabis community over the past several years. We applaud Housing Works for being mindful and supportive of this vision and congratulate them on their entrance into the industry.”

Gandelman went on to note that while the moment feels surreal, everyone hopes it’s just one of many upcoming milestones.  



As 2022 comes to a close, we again look back at one of the most brutal years ever on both sides of the cannabis marketplace in California. 

And I assure you, that is no exaggeration. On the recreational side, more and more farms went under or simply chose not to plant a crop this year. And those are the moms and pops feeling it — not those with cash reserves to burn while they wait for more shelf space to open up across the state and beyond its borders in the not-too-distant future. 

But those without a permit had plenty to gripe on as well. At one point during the harvest, you could get machine-trimmed pounds for $50 a pop. This stuff would have been worth $1,200 to $1,500 a decade ago. It’s not the heat by any means, but it’s still shocking. The underground market is also prepping the transition of enforcement next year from the CAMP program to rebranded EPIC program. The big difference? Private parcels will face much more scrutiny in 2023 compared to CAMP’s targeting of public lands much of the time. A lot of people really needed a good one this year because of this. Despite the perfect conditions, they faced a flooded bottom-dollar market come harvest. 

Things We’re Leaving Behind in 2022

Nepotism-Based Shelf Space 

As the cannabis industry continues to do circles around the eye of the storm with people falling off the ship left and right, now is not the time to play favorites for shitty reasons. The main determining factor that should go through your head before you stock an item is whether it’s the best you can do for whatever tax bracket you are trying to serve with the said item. That’s regardless of whether you’re talking discount eighths or the mountaintop, purchase from the same ethos. Screw the free doughnuts; never buy cannabis products because someone brought free doughnuts — you’re going to have a bad time. 

Getting Shot Over Big Piles of Money

As we exit 2022, the cannabis banking situation still hasn’t been figured out. It looked like it had a chance a couple of weeks back, but it fell short without the support or at least ambivalence of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The industry currently finds itself in two camps at the moment. The first is those that wanted bank accounts yesterday for their own personal safety and that of their staff. The second is those who want it as a bargaining chip to protect social equity in the national legalization debate to come. Both are great takes. Hopefully, it happens soon for the sake of nobody getting murdered over weed money. But given what happened in the Senate, we’re probably not all going to make it alive, so be careful. 


There are few things that can devastate the market price of a commodity quite like overproduction. It’s a huge factor on both sides of the marketplace. On the recreational side, it has created a race to the bottom. The “top shelf” just under the true exotics is getting cheaper and cheaper, as people edged each other out 50 cents at a time to get us to this current bummer. On the illicit side, a ton of that oversupply on the recreational side finds its way to the streets. And it doesn’t have a home as it did in the past. That part is thanks to how many places have become less sketchy to grow. Why fly a box in from California when you can drive home from Maine or Oklahoma? Overproduction is the biggest factor in those $50 pounds we mentioned earlier, too.