If there has ever been a year to appreciate the fine wares of the greatest cannabis marketplace in the world, it’s 2020.
Now on the eve of our eighth month of lockdown, we reflect on the local heroes and strains that have made all this time that much more bearable – never mind the idea of following the build-up to this election without a joint at the ready. L.A. cannabis consumers are a spoiled bunch, but it’s kind of like we all live with our rich grandpa since everything cannabis you could ever want is now more available than ever at your fingertips.
Here is a rundown of our favorite local farms, the strains we loved, and the best weed coming into town from all over the state.
For the last 14 years, the Jungle Boys have consistently provided Los Angeles access to some of the finest cannabis on the planet, with many of the genetics produced or hunted down in massive seed hunts where they search for the new unique flavors. Furthermore, they’re not robbing people. Those still taking part in California’s medical marijuana program can expect to be greeted by some of the best values in the state. The only trouble with the Jungle Boys is sometimes it may be tough to get your hands on those extra special phenos that are driving all the traffic in when they first drop. JungleBoys.com
It cannot be overstated how much Wonderbrett’s presence has grown across the state of California in recent years. They are a perfect example of someone winning right now because they were willing to find real heat to grow at scale. Strains like OZK, Grapes of Wrath and Pink Picasso are now synonymous with great L.A. pot. The OG that Dr. Dre smoked when he was recording 2001 was essentially an old school Wonderbrett OG. But 23 years after Brett first got his hands on the original OG Kush everything he has in the stable now is equally elite. wonderbrett.com
Few have entered the Los Angeles cannabis market with the level of cannabis credibility Cookies built in Northern California before heading south. While one of the most polarizing brands in cannabis – people either love them or love to hate them – a lot of the weed is wild heat and anyone who says otherwise is just tripping. Sure, not every single bag is going to be reminiscent of the best runs of Gary Payton, but it’s generally fire weed, new takes on classic flavors or completely new ones. cookieslosangeles.com
The Cure Company
Another operation mixing elite cannabis and local flare is certainly the folks over at The Cure Company. Their GA Gelato originally got on our radar during the inaugural L.A. Weekly Desert Smoke-Off. The pairing of Gelato and Legendary Orange Apricot they entered was hyper-competitive, but the Marathon OG would go on to be arguably their biggest hit of 2019. The collaboration with the late great Nipsey Hussle wasn’t just another celebrity jar, it was truly some reputable Kush in the most discerning Kush market on the planet attached to a man who loved his community. But they’re also willing to investigate reports of hype with new hot strains, like the Papaya Punch for example. thecurecompany.com
What more can be said about a man who was so instrumental in the cannabis we smoke these days not just in Los Angeles, but the world. Since the day Josh saved those original cuttings of OG Kush from Florida, cannabis has never been the same. But the thing is, his weed still holds up all these years later. It’s like the ghost of Jim Naismith dunking on Lebron when you put it up against some of this Instagram BS. Josh’s weed is that timeless. As we noted in our 4/20 edition, Josh is now the man that can claim the southernmost victory in the Emerald Cup, essentially the world championships of outdoor pot. Keep an eye out for his new projects on the horizon. joshd.com
Few gardens impacted the second half of the 2010s more than the team at Seed Junky. While there were a lot of big-name cuts through the decade, it’s easy to argue things like Wedding Cake, Animal Mints, and Kush Mints were more accessible than most of the other names we’ll remember. That’s because the team at Seed Junky was busy propagating a huge number of seeds for the masses, and then searching down elite phenotypes of their creations. You can now get Seed Junky-grown flower in L.A. and it’s a must for anyone hunting the finest local-grown pot. www.instagram.com/seedjunky_jbeezy
When we think of the strains of the past, there aren’t many better windows into that era than Cannabiotix, but they grow the hot new new too. When we put out general “weed of the moment” lists, their fans frequently message me to get an understanding of how I may have missed certain offerings from them. It’s very endearing and it’s nice to see people that are attached to their weed. And who wouldn’t want to smoke the classics done well? Super Silver Haze was a perennial champ in the mid-2000s, Master Kush is a bit scratchier on the throat but also savage and Cereal Milk had a lot of wind in its sales right out the gate in 2018. cannabiotix.com
There is a lot of cool packaging out there these days filled with mids, but thankfully what the team at Your Highness is putting out is awesome to look at both inside and out. While the t-shirt line and confetti camo on lime bags are pretty cool, the weed would stand on its own at a very high level. This has led to consumer excitement around their recent drops. The ultimate ethos of the brand is being an expression of weed and fashion, they’re doing a better job than anyone could have predicted in pulling it off. yourhighnessla.com
The lineup of conspiracy-inspired strain names has long been satisfying L.A.’s tastes for a wide range of flavors. And was the Q Anon weed a little too soon? Maybe. But that doesn’t mean the Sasquatch Sap isn’t some of the best Gorilla Glue on the planet! And never mind the work they’ve done with lineups of OG variations over the years. 3C Kush Cookies is one of the newest of the pack. It pairs their Illuminati OG with the Thin Mint Cookies. 3cfarms.com
Masonic Seed Company
Genetics are super important at every level of the cannabis game from the six plants in your yard to the biggest fields in the agricultural sectors. Compton’s own Masonic Seed Company has been pumping out exciting genetics to fill this critical space of the cannabis industry with enthusiasm. A big part of the recent effort has been pairing Wilson with a few other strains of the moment or exotic flavors. Start keeping an eye on their website for flavors you might want to do in your garden next year! masonicseeds.co
West Coast Cure
I took a dab of Hardcore OG at Coachella 2016 that was, in that moment, one of the best dabs I’d ever taken in my life. While it wouldn’t still top the list, it would certainly still be right there in the conversation on my all-time list. Wiz Kahlifa said the same thing recently. First, West Coast Cure provided for the patients and rappers of Los Angeles, now everyone over the age of 21 has the opportunity to try it. We recommend spinning a fat Backwoods for authenticity but they have a great preroll selection too. wccretailers.com
We recently talked with famed local breeder Capulator about the next edition of his popular Miracle Alien Cookies. Capulator currently has five phenos of the new edition going through their second round of testing. Presuming any strain might reach the heights MAC hit in the latter half of the last decade is obnoxious, to say the least, but I think it is fair to have high expectations for what could end up being the next local legend to come out of Cap’s garden.
There looks to be a few variations of Lemon Mints out in the wild now. While we’re not mad about any variety of Kush Mints with a dash of limonene – that’s the terpene that smells like lemons – we’re thinking a couple will rise to the top. In particular, Your Highness has an absolute rockstar phenotype they selected from a 50 seed propagation here in L.A. It has the looks and build of an ultra-exotic Bubba Kush pheno that smells like it’s dipped in a melted lemon popsicle. The Jungle Boys have one too, but it’s a different pheno, still crazy heat anyone would love to smoke.
Masonic’s Wilson crosses are some of the most exciting local genetics of the moment. The original blend of (Banana OG x Papaya) x Tropicana that created Wilson’s flavor profile and the hype around it is truly a special one. Some of the new Wilson crosses we’re seeing Masonic drop look savage in their own right. We expect its local legacy to be with us for some time.
One of the team at Seed Junky Genetics’ great success stories, Kush Mints has taken on a wave of its own in recent times, arguably surpassing in popularity the Animal Mints used to create it. But it still has some ways to go to catch up to the early 2000s hype levels around Bubba Kush, its other parent. The team over at Seed Junky is using the Kush Mints as a key ingredient in many projects so expect to see more mints popularity for some time to come. One of the biggest offspring so far is the London Pound Cake x Kush Mints #11.
The TK, or Triangle Kush, is among the most reputable kush phenos of all time. It originally blew up in Los Angeles in the early 2000s, sometimes under the name Florida Kush. A big chunk of the early 2010s kush wave that predated all the Girl Scout Cookies hype making it south probably traced back to some TK or someone messing around with some Cali Connection seeds they got. With a massive new spread of TK variations now hitting the Los Angeles market again thanks to the Jungle Boys a decade after the first wave, you have to be excited for what is to come. We love the SFV-TK.
L.A. is going through enough Red Congo these days to steal its bragging rights from the Bay Area where it first blew up. And we know how much folks love stealing bragging rights from those hippies in the bay. That being said, Red Congo has catapulted to the top of the L.A. sativa lists. Its flavor profile is wildly different from Sour Diesels or other more fruity lemon and daiquiri smelling profiles, and its heady nature is the closest thing to panic attack weed on this list. Congo Club and Gold Seal have the best phenotypes. Again for authenticity, not grow in town, but getting a lot of wind in its sails.
Apple is all the rage thanks to Lumpy’s original Sour Apple x Animal Cookies cross Apple Fritter being absolute “get the oven mitts out” heat. That level of excitement has understandably carried over to the next generation of Apple Fritter genetics just like so many other world-rocking stains. One could argue the Apple Fritter x Kush Cake cross Shady Apples is the best of the new pack, and we will! The bouquet of aromas is very complex and that wild terpene profile interacting with the THC makes it feel like a heavy hitter from a different dimension. You can scoop some from Your Highness, but good luck!
The RS11, the Doja Pak wonder done in collaboration with Wizard Trees, is now an exclusive strain in the legal marketplace commanding top dollar wholesale prices. As we noted in our recent write-up on the launch, when people start flying in to get weed when it hits the shelves, you know something is up. There must have been something that gave them confidence in their decision, likely the product Doja Pack had put out previously but none of it was genetics they’d been a part of the development process on. DEO Farms in East Oakland also helped out on the genetic lineage.
It would be pretty irresponsible to have a big L.A. weed list without Runtz, now that it has transcended into the realm of cultural icon weed. It’s sitting firm at the top of the mountain entering the new decade as the hottest strain on the planet. We’ll never be sure if it was the rap songs, exceptional branding, or the people who got their hands on it growing award-winning fire, but Runtz is enjoying its time as king. The next generation includes a Blueberry Runtz pheno called Azul and the Jokers, an intense White Runtz x Jet Fuel Gelato cross done by Compound Genetics.
The world champions of solventless dabs until the world opens back up enough to have a pot competition, they’ll probably hold on to the title when the day finally comes. The consistency of product in Kalya Extracts is unreal, whether they’re working with Alien Labs, Vesuvio Gardens, or any of the other farms they’ve recently dropped collaborations with. While some of their options are a bit more in the exotic price range for sure, anything from Kalya you’re able to get your hands on is a treat.
For many in California, when they think of elite hash, the name that pops in their head is 710 Labs. While the flower is cool too, the various consistency of hash is where it’s really at. You can get all kinds of extraction methods, but the one that is sure to be most accessible for the widest number of people is their new pods. It’s worth buying a battery if you know you want to smoke fire oil all the time. Usually, I’m against hash companies making proprietary batteries, but if 710 Labs tells me this is the best delivery system for their product in a compact format I’ll give it a shot.
The pride of Sacramento, Alien Labs has long had a seat at the table when discussing the state’s finest cannabis. And it’s not because they’re resting on their laurels. They are consistently coming out with new exciting products via their efforts or in collaboration with some of the best in the game. We were hyped on the Xeno this past summer, but our inside sources at the mothership tell us Creme De Menthe is the strain to keep an eye on. We certainly will be.
One of the most noticeable things about Fig Farms is how interested other top-shelf cultivators are to see what you got from them. If you put a spread of 15 companies on a table and put it in front of the people who grow the best legal pot in the world, excluding them, the Fig Farms jars would be among the first few snatched off the table for inspection. Their work with Animal Mints and their in-house genetics like the award-winning Purple Fig is top 1% quality available at regular top-shelf prices around $60 bucks. Don’t sleep on the Animal Mints crosses if you see them on a menu, just drive.
As terpene loaded as the day we first globbed out on it, Field Extracts maintains the test of time producing some of the best concentrates in the state. Whether you’re looking for the boss sauce or solventless, expect whatever Field Extracts puts in front of you to be one of the best versions you’ve ever seen in your life. The original Desert Smoke-Off concentrate champion has a wide spread of flavors available all over town.
Gold Seal is one of the most coveted names in San Francisco cannabis available locally. Their Red Congaslese was what originally put the strain on the map, and it holds up to this day. But other offerings like the Cherry Cheesecake and arguably the best Motorbreath we’ve ever seen show the company has plenty more to offer than heirloom landrace African sativa genetics. They pump through testers so if it’s a new flavor to you, and it’s good enough to make it into the black jars by Gold Seal standards, it’s worth trying.
Any Chemdog aficionado must be familiar with the work of the Grateful Dead enthusiasts over at IC Collective, or they are a Chemdog amateur. Why? IC’s Chem cut traces back to the original bagseed found from some weed originally acquired in a Grateful Dead show parking lot by the breeder Chemdog. But it’s not just the best Chem west of the Mississippi River, IC Collective’s rendition of Zkittelz is without a doubt the best version of it we’ve seen outside of Mendocino County.
Sacramento’s high-class mega farm and distributor continues to load up L.A. with its great pot. Locally, we got a sneak peek of the Lemonatti a couple of weeks back, the Gelonade x Biscotti pairing will be huge when it officially drops in early 2021. You heard it here first. But it’s not just the top-shelf options, the outdoor deals and small bud specials are great too. You may find yourself buying more of the half ounces than the eights because the value for the price bracket is so solid.
Curating some of the best pot the Emerald Triangle has to offer while growing some heat OGs, Northern Emeralds have long held a place in the hearts of L.A.’s kush connoisseur class. The Titan OG was without a doubt one of the best and most underrated OGs of the decade. Their new work, like the OMG Cookies, is coming in a whopping 40% on some occasions, but the 38% batches are still heat, we promise.
2020 has been a major year for Ember Valley in L.A. as they continue to blow up. The original Watermelon Gelato pulled us in, but the stream of heat they continue to pump down the 5 has us knowing they are a full-on sensation and not a one-hit wonder. Ember Valley has a wide spread of genetics, and while not everything has hit the palette mark for us, they’re batting a .900 at the moment. The best thing in their lineup at the moment is the Kush Cake.
Royal Key Organics
Since their original 19 batches of sauce in 2017 and then flower, no word that would suggest anything other than the apex of craft flowers and hash should be used when describing what Royal Key is doing in Arcata. It is the top shelf in the heart of American cannabis country. How hard do you think it is to get someone to spend $60 an eighth in Humboldt County?!? You can see for yourself on various menus across town!
The mothership brand affiliated with the strain that ruled the center of the decade between Cookies and Runtz, Zkittlez still holds its own when in the hands of those competent enough to grow it. One of the reasons it’s so mythical apart from the genetics being protected very early on is how much of a bitch it is to grow compared to some more commercially viable strains. We’re thankful the Zkittlez team doesn’t care. Additionally, in a world of white-labeled corporate mids prerolls, they’re probably producing among the best farm to tube options with their Z-Rolls.
As we said in the Strains of the World Series, and as has been proven batch by batch in recent years, the team at California Artisanal Medicine has a strong claim at being the finest imports from Colorado to the wider state cannabis scene. And definitely in L.A. Otherwise, someone else would have said, “Hey look at the weed the Colorado people can grow at sea level” sooner and we’ve had our ears out for those kinds of comments.
There was a stretch of time where Lumpy was burning bright at the implementation of legalization a couple of years back. Wild hype levels that would match anyone in the state. While the competition circuit is on hiatus, making it hard for him to win stuff, the weed is still great. As you saw with the rest of the list, the current moment in Apple hype was built off his efforts, and he continues to put out work that explains why all his efforts deserve an immediate investigation if you see them on shelves.