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Just under 36 hours in the snow encrusted shadow of Mt Shasta- A Golden State; My Observations

My soundtrack for this very short journey was some inspirational music for me, attached below. It followed me throughout the trip as part of the framework for my writing these observations. So, indulge me with a listen to my friend DF Tram while you read my words.

I find that his imaginative explorations work with my visual and emotional interpretations of that elongated day and a half in Redding, California. This music influences the sky and my dreams, and that looming, snow-covered mountain is where the water used to nurture the plants really comes from. 

The Spiritual Guides

cannabis world news product reviews promos photo of Nishant Reddy if Golden State

Nishant Reddy and his crucial EO, Leslie… took care of everything just perfectly as I, too, worked as an EO for decades, and I understand the pressure. It’s hard work, and she does it with alacrity and deep humility. Everything was perfect in my vision. From the sounds of the birds outside my hotel room balcony (I left deep/snowy winter in NJ, so having my door open and letting in the sound of the birds gently waking me after a long flight from NJ…To the first wake and bake of the day, inhaling a micro joint of A Golden State with the freshness of the mountain air surrounding my head. Those little joints of Woods — appropriate somehow being up in the mountain forest — this is what I enjoyed first thing in the morning — a pleasure and an honor. Then, a real mountain breakfast with far too much handcrafted food; each glimpse around me was of freight trains going by (lots of trains) and the metaphor for my journey, the omnipresent snow-covered mountains that encircle this magical place. They are the reason why I am here. The water that melts down off Mt. Shasta is life-giving! It’s amazing! I experienced much visually during my visit, both inward and outward. Smoking cannabis of this quality from A Golden State, at their elevation, really was a pleasure. My interactions with the terroir were punctuated by the ring of snow-covered mountains spilling their visual secrets whenever you gazed up. 

Thank you for allowing me glimpses of your world. It was just perfect. 

A Golden State… Wow, what you have achieved here is unlike anything I’ve seen before, and I get around the world. Is there a term for ultra-craft? I hope so because of what “Bear” and Nishant have achieved with a cast of artists — all striving for a canopy of dreams… It’s striking for me to view the inner vista. The Aboriginal people call it the Dreamtime. When I’m around thriving plants, the energy from these creations fills my brain for lucid dreaming later on — the scent, the visuals, the feel, the conversation. It was a university course, condensed down to a couple of hours. I could have spent all day asking questions with just observations. Lighting from below, the side, on top, hands giving energy and taking the experience to another level. Like the great masters of art, cannabis of this complexity is not manipulated. There is a purity that oozes off each densely textured inhalation.  

The Resin

It was that sticky stuff, and it was all over my fingers and surrounding my head. I couldn’t even focus my Leica; the lens was fogged up anyway from the room’s inner rainforest terroir (forest floor and almost visible droplets of humidity experiment), nor my iPhone, because my beforementioned fingertips were stuck together from that juicy bud of Lemon Creamsicle smeared all over the lens. The plethora of dazzling LED-lit plants that surrounded me was gluing up my nostrils with their perfumes and my glove-covered fingers with their gummy juices. The air hung weightily in my head and fingers, coated with a certain lifegiving sap. Pan Asian spices like cardamom and bursts of Thai Chilies stung the inside of my nose. The rainforest-like humidity made my usually comfortable wool socks dripping sweat buckets. As I walked around each plant, drinking in her energy, I realized that it wasn’t unpleasant; in fact, I wanted to spend the rest of the day in there, like in a friendly steam room located inside a country club. In this case, the rooms filled with thirsty bushes of perfectly hand-tended flowers. Just gazing at each happy plant and marveling at the sticky stuff that was suspended in each breath, the aromas literally coating my glasses with ebullient plant juices. 

It was ironic, but as I was searching for a way to keep my fingers and everything else from sticking together, my spirit guide on the personal tour recommended that I “run my fingers through my hair.” Hmmmm. Why, I wondered. As if on cue, the explanation given to me was perfectly simple. The oils in our hair dissolve the cannabis resin nearly immediately. Just one more thing I learned about the plant. No soap and water were needed, and that effusive perfume of their juicy strains enveloped my airspace in her sweet/gassy aromatics of the opulent cannabis varietals. 

I want to wear the myriad of her olfactory-pleasing perfumes as my cologne all day long. 

The Grow

Each room is consistently tended to, from the top down to the absolute bottom up. The air smells clean, and everything gleams like the first day the system was installed. Each grow room is different, with micro-experiments held right within their more traditional approaches. Metrics are essential, with vast amounts of data brought into the grows. Each room is a consistent experience in these metrics as they reference and compare certain observations. Constantly day in and day out, hour by hour, pressure, humidity, temperature, light, dark, watering, feeding, testing, and retesting, hand watering, weighing, spoken kindly to, I think it matters…. I’d hoped to have music played for the plants. I’m sure they’d enjoy some of the Upsweep. 

In the end, it’s all about her, the plant. She is carefully hand-tended, and it is grueling, nonstop work. She rewards this completely mind-numbing activity by offering a deeply Zen experience that requires profound patience. What it really requires is a sense of swiftness because there are thousands of plants to tend to. Each plant is essential and equally important to life itself.

The Mantra

Starting at the bottom is not working as a plant-touching person at A Golden State; there are many steps to take before the plant becomes the primary focus. It really becomes an intonation or a mindful activity in the grand sense of the word because there is always something to do in the care of the facility and the cleanliness of everything within. Perhaps the explanation for this, my explanation, lies in the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which should be in their welcome new employee kits, as this book might help in the nature of their work. I’ve been to grows all over and this was the first one that I wanted to hook up an electrical current reader to the plant and listen to the sound of the good energy that flows through each flower. Aside from the technical stuff, this is an organic plant that just feels good to be around. If the entire universe was in a microcosm of cannabis scent, each sniff was coating the inside of my nose and filling my head with all sorts of canna-driven possibilities. 

I couldn’t wait to taste what was waiting for me later back in my jacket pocket. A Golden State grows some of the finest cannabis I have ever savored. True, I am well-traveled and have enjoyed many a fine grower’s special home stash… Without factoring in the basic premise that I couldn’t possibly have tried everything, of course, in the fifty years I’ve appreciated the plant. What A Golden State does is profoundly unique due to the relentless determination exemplified by every team member from the bottom up — from the flower trimmers to the master growers. They clearly love what they do, and it shows in every essential task, from vacuuming out an entire room and breaking down each part of the air-conditioning to the dehumidification units to the combination of lights to their very placement, vertically, horizontally, and from above and below. It’s all an encyclopedia of the plant and how to do better by her.

My observation? This is a deeply crafted project. Sure, they want to be perfectly efficient, but patience is absolutely a virtue. Their positive methods are many, and each experiment is meant to emulate something greater than it was prior. How else do you learn? And my favorite strain? Empanadas Diez… the sense of elation is paramount to me. I get things done. 

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The effort that goes into every 1/8th of an ounce glass jar from A Golden State is not just physical; it’s a deeply emotional experience. Each cultivar is an involvement in the anti-stoner experience. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I got plenty “high.” But cannabis, on this level, does more for me than just being obliterated. It opens my mind and forces me to think about what I’ve been experiencing in life. My thinking offers a certain clarity and intellectualism. I don’t feel like I’m going to be sleeping; I want to create beautiful articles.  

A Golden State’s THC levels are lower than most, and that’s a really good thing. I’m on the record, and I want to reiterate again that ultra-high numbers from THC cannabis do not help me from a medical standpoint. They just don’t reduce my eye pressure. It doesn’t do anything but give me a headache; it’s no fun when using medical cannabis for a specific purpose. What the strain named Empanadas Diez offers is just right for me. A coating on the backside of my brain. Lagniappe is my description. A little something extra.  

What A Golden State has achieved through its commitment to the uncompromising equilibrium of craft cannabis to commerce in the macro sense is exemplified in its purely noble approach to the plant. What I initially envisioned as something more mechanical in nature was immediately dispelled by the fact that this ultra-craft cannabis grow exists because of exemplary reasoning. The details and attention shown to every plant in the rooms are utterly mind-blowing. 

Sure, you can robotically mechanize a cannabis grow; I’ve seen it and wondered how the plant likes being manipulated in this way. But why would you when every plant in every room at A Golden State is loved, every single day, around the clock? Day in, day out. It’s their life work. 

If they were glass blowers, I’d be watching them hand-pull fragile Murano glass. It’s that level of expertise without fail because they are dealing with extremely expensive materials. Cohesive, behavioral, consistent perfection in everything they do in the life-cycle of the plant, from popping seeds to packaging the flowers, it’s all done right here. 

If you can’t do the best, don’t do it at all. At A Golden State, they have achieved something very distinctive through what appears to be an intense, laborious series of mind-numbing exertions. Tending their vast myriad of miniature and fragile seedlings right down to the elegant, finished product, all by hand, is arduous work taken on with a profound desire and even empathy. Their work is mindful, and their jobs can be deeply fulfilling on an innate level. Something that craft cannabis allows us to experience that special feeling I felt. 

What A Golden State has achieved in craft cannabis is very different from the corporate cannabis machine, which unfortunately shows very little finesse, so we won’t be discussing that genre! 

 The art of craft cannabis shows in everything they do, from their pastel “California Desert” hue packaging in the slender little tins containing tiny hand-filled joints to their handsome glass vessels sitting in tiny cutouts inside their thoughtfully designed packages. Each is devised to eliminate any lateral or vertical motion that may damage the unsullied, hand-trimmed flowers. And the end result? That’s for you to experience. 

Seek out A Golden State and see what their eloquent purpose brings to you. I think it is very special, rare, pleasurable, and intensely transcendent.  

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Their Brand New Redding California Dispensary 

Located just around the corner from the Redding Airport is their brand new flagship dispensary/grow. You’ll need to see what they have accomplished; it’s essential to your gourmet cannabis edification. 

They’d love to see you at the dispensary, and the warmth that is emulated in the room is not just something you can see. It’s something you feel inside. Rest your legs awhile on the sumptuous couches and savor the stylish architecture of the building. Enjoy the view of the fully scaled cannabis grow situated just behind large windows facing the equally large windows fronting their always-changing streetscape in a very safe area of town. 

I’ve never been in a facility anywhere in the world that looks as visually beautiful as this facility. It’s organic in style and peacefully designed, yet vividly lit from the inside. A blazing series of LED lighting arrays. They are immediately punctuating your entire visual experience. The plants growing behind you are oozing with green, purple, orange, and white flowers. Others, in their trimmed state, are displayed in jewelry cases, set prominently on the broad, modern mountain-designed stone counters with roughhewn edges reminiscent of George Nakashima wood tables, yet fabricated by local stones- are interactive and demand your touch. Shopping is encouraged, or just let the friendly and deeply competent budtenders personally guide your canna-centric experience with gentleness. Their verbal anecdotes and canna-vision are pleasant and non-sales pushy. That get ’em in and out in five minutes or fewer minutes just doesn’t exist here. You are encouraged to come as you are and enjoy the views, either outside or inside. I loved both because I’d never experienced a dispensary with a full-sized grow just behind. Sure, I’ve been to Colorado and Oregon, where there were micro-grows of a couple of plants in the shops. But this was a completely full-scale operation, with no messing around with it just for show grow. The space is pristine; they are always cleaning and hand-tending to the plant. This is what is always going on in the background. The plant is what is important here, with the visionary plants from A Golden State guiding my dreams. 

The store itself is visually more akin to a high-end NYC design shop, reminiscent of the Museum of Modern Art store in Soho. A Golden State has achieved another arrow in its quiver with its non-obtrusive design. The plant in her glory is presented in large glass cases. The lighting is soft, and the color palate is earthy and calming. The entire length of the dispensary is punctuated by large glass windows facing an LED-bathed professional grow.

 An experience in architecture, light, the giant windows gazing into another dimension. A fully in action, craft cannabis grow. Very impressive indeed. 

May I have another twenty minutes? 

Thank you to Nishant Reddy, who helped me go further emotionally on this trip than I thought possible at this time of my life. Nishant redefined my enlightenment by offering something tangible in a manner I’d never experienced before. Remarkably, I was open to being taught because I truly know nothing about this purely craft side of the cannabis business, and each visit to A Golden State going forward is with full mindfulness and thirst for future knowledge.

My soundtrack from the auditory artist, DF Tram.

Photo Credit: Warren Bobrow, except for the photo of Nishant Reddy (Courtesy of A Golden State)

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Arecent visit to the sparkling new cannabis dispensary reveals something different in New Jersey. What sets Garden State Botanicals apart from its peers is Sun Grown Cannabis, which is propagated right here in New Jersey.

The other day, I visited Garden State Botanicals and saw a well-designed dispensary with a twist. That twist would lead me to the fine flowers grown by Brute’s Roots in South Jersey. Finally, someone is growing cannabis with a deeper meaning. Sun grown flower just tastes differently. Sure, it has less THC than many of the other name brands on the market, and that is just the charm. You might not know, but many of us who utilize cannabis for medical reasons find that higher THC cannabis is not as viable as low THC cannabis in the treatment and alleviation of certain ills, such as my eyes. High THC gives me a headache and raises my eye pressure. Lower THC, like the strains grown by Brute’s Roots offers the healing I require- and the drive down to North Brunswick is not entirely too far from my house.

cannabis world news industry business author with two ladies
Sam, Warren, and Taleia

For the good stuff- I’ll travel far and wide to attain the kind.
Thank you to Garden State Botanicals for carrying Brute’s Roots. What a nice surprise!
Real Sun Grown Cannabis in New Jersey? Yes! More to follow in this regard, with a possible road trip in the coming weeks.

Garden State Botanicals is super easy to get to. I don’t know why my GPS didn’t take me to Rutgers, then down 18, but no matter… They are really easy to find from all over central New Jersey. They are right next door to a Dunkin and a Baskin Robbins, so you cannot miss it from the street. There is plenty of dedicated parking as well, so no worries there. And for medical folks like me, you can show up at 10:00 and have the whole store basically to yourself. That kind of service is rare in any state. And what kind budtenders!

cannabis world news industry business now open sign on front of dispensary
Garden State Botanicals

They do have a friendly and knowledgeable staff, as I found out myself. Their menu is super easy to read, and there is even a terpene-scenting bar for those who might want to deepen their intellectual cannabis experience. A well-chosen selection of cannabis accessories, hand-crafted pipes, glass bongs, and rolling papers- including their new hemp blunt wrappers- fills out the room with their comfortable seating area and real plants (unfortunately not cannabis ones), giving off healing energy to the gleaming, sun-filled room. For a strip mall pad, this is a very inviting space that is modern, yet not cold in any way; it’s warm and inviting. A plus again for the medical community and the non-stoner, read “older” clientele, you have dedicated hours, and the dispensary is also fully recreational- but most importantly is time for medical patients to shop without the crush of other recreational customers. It’s a nice touch. And appreciated by us older folk.

Did I say that the store is really easy to get to? If you are over 21 and are at nearby Rutgers- you’re in like Flint!

I wish them the very best and thank you for the generous swag from your brimming shelves and larder.

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To say that I’m a fan of Lex Corwin’s success is a huge understatement. From the very moment that I met Lex out in Los Angeles, I knew that this was a man who is following his own dreams. And what vivid dreams they are. From Connecticut to La La, the land of dreams! And what a trajectory he has achieved. While others with formidable provenance have crashed and burned, Lex continues to open new markets and persevere in his chosen art. The art of gorgeous cannabis that smokes just like his personality.
Deeply ebullient!

When Lex got into weed it was still illegal in the East coast. I know, because I’m a tad older and I’ve struggled with this illegality since the early 1970’s. Not only was cannabis illegal, but it was and still is, deeply stigmatized by the old school who run things in the suburbs. Lex has transcended this stigma by developing his own path in life, away from this stifling environment of suburban suburbia. In the vividly glowing sunshine of California and now New Mexico, Lex is achieving success that he probably envisioned in “High” School and now it’s the thing that drives his life. Gourmet Cannabis that tells a deeper story. A story of personal success, individual entrepreneurship, and intricate passion. Cheers! WB.

Warren Bobrow: It’s been a while since we’ve come across each other professionally. Hope all has been well. From the looks of it, your company is growing exponentially. That’s good! Always proud of your success, being an East Coast person. What have you been working on? I’ve always been a fan of your flower; how do you maintain your demand for excellence?

Lex Corwin: Always a pleasure Warren. We were due for a catch-up!
We have been busy! We are working on a ton of exciting projects – this week we launched in New Mexico (our fifth market) and solidified our partner for our launch in NY.
Sabrina, my coo, and I are also working on bringing an edible to market in CA. Exciting but challenging times. Besides that, we are working on a few other states – Missouri, Montana, and Mississippi. While of course continuing to expand and improve our farm and products in the ever-changing CA marketplace.

WB: Please tell me about your new project in New Mexico. I love the cannabis there, btw. I’m a huge Albuquerque cannabis fan. I believe there is real benefit in growing cannabis in natural soil, at altitudes over six thousand feet. And the cannabis tastes so good in this zero-humidity environment! What are you looking for in your pheno hunts to make your New Mexico flowers the best you know? Any pro tips for my readers?

LC: We are so pleased to finally launch in New Mexico. It’s been a wild ride! We partnered with our Oklahoma partners, Stashhouse Distro, to bring the brand to NM in our first revenue-sharing deal. We are excited about this deal structure because it gives us a lot more control over the products we bring to market and our supply chain in general. We know exactly what is coming to market and when, rather than our prior structure of a purely licensing deal where we had little visibility into the products going to market.
I agree the flower is fantastic in NM and there are some really talented growers based there. In terms of our pheno hunt – we stuck with what we know – strains that are bright, fruity, sour, and delicious. We have a formula we like to follow in CA and all our states and didn’t want to deviate from the genetics we knew people loved and expected from us.

WB: What are your six-and twelve-month goals for Stone Road in New Mexico?

LC: We really hit the ground running in NM – considering this is our fifth market we knew exactly how to approach this launch. In other states, it took us 2-3 months to get product to the market whereas in NM we had fresh products hitting the shelf in less than a month after our last packaging components arrived. Record time for us!
So, in six months we’d love to be in 50 stores considering our supply chain is fairly mature and developed. I think we can handle it. And then in 12 months we’d love to be in over 100 stores. A large number indeed – but with our fantastic partners I believe this is attainable.

WB: Do you have a favorite city in New Mexico? Maybe a favorite restaurant? Where? Food type?

LC: I love Santa Fe. It’s so special. It’s so spiritual and just drop-dead stunning. The food is also amazing and the locals warm and friendly. Fun fact: it’s also the oldest capital city in the US.
My aunt lived there for 9 years so I was lucky enough to visit a few times. We had a great time visiting all the local galleries and walking the trails by the river.
We had a number of sensational meals, but I vividly remember Arroyo Vino. They have a large garden on site, so the produce is top-notch. Plus, the hospitality was so warm and welcoming – I look forward to going back!

WB: I know this is a broad reaching question, but what is your passion?

LC: My passion is finding joy in life. I love my job, surfing, and just hanging out with friends and family. In this tumultuous industry – finding and holding joy is extremely important. While I work pretty much 24/7, I always find time to take trips and explore the world. I figure as long as my job is crazy stressful, I might as well enjoy the journey!!

Tasting Notes for a pre-roll joint from Stone Road in California

Birthday Cake and THCA Diamonds and Hash

Nose: Tangles of tangy/sour oven roasted fruit lead into the aroma of freshly sliced, California fruit salad, laden with citrus zest and sea salt slicked shells. Crushed minerals in the nose bring the anticipated results, laughter ensues and the deeper experience of hash and the rush from the THCA Diamonds make this not your usual pre-rolled joint. It is a thing of rare beauty.

Mouthfeel: Brown Butter, sizzling hazelnuts, and crunchy French Toast soldiers dripping in steaming hot dark maple syrup. Truly patient curing at work here, no coughing at all!

Stone: This is not your beginner’s cannabis, so plan accordingly. You can smoke the entire joint or share it with friends- it’s up to you. The indulgence of smoking a one gram joint alone, by yourself…., well that is best left to the studied professionals. Cannabis as elegant and carefully nurtured as this brings pleasure and craft to the forefront and teaches us a little bit about the humility of Lex Corwin’s success in every meted puff.

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Feature photo credit: Morgan Leigh English

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It’s a Sativa by nature, but sometimes it feels more Indica-leaning- but certainly not like hybrids… It reminds me of the fine cannabis that I used to get in southern Maine back in the mid-1980s. This was when I first discovered really fine East Coast weed. I was reared on mostly West Coast flowers early on. It was that or the “whatever we could get,” which was nothing to write home about in the 1970s and 1980s. Unfortunately for me, whatever we could get still remains vivid in my imagination; it was that brick stuff, brown and pressed. But the strains that taught me something were grown by really passionate people who loved the plant.

Smoking these early craft strains was like nothing I had ever experienced before, especially since the overall quality level of the swag I’d get in NJ was pretty low in the 1970s! This was until someone introduced me to New York Sour Diesel at a nightclub in NYC circa the mid-1980s. Nothing else smelled like that. Like sour cream, lemon curd, European gasoline, and roasted orange zest. To this very day, every time I smell Sour Diesel or the myriad of incarnates, I’m blasted back to that first hit of Sour Diesel and my experience of that day, so many years ago.

The Veritas Cannabis Sour Diesel reminds me of the years of wandering on the streets in Boston if you knew the right people of course… It’s what we smoked during weekends up in the New Hampshire mountains or up on MDI in Maine. It was this famous, now infamous Sour Diesel—probably grown in Western Massachusetts—or otherwise it was Blueberry, from Southern Maine. And that was it. And I’m pretty happy of those years of smoking flowers that remind me now of those years because they were formative in my experience of smoking truly gourmet/craft cannabis. Something that would follow me forward. This is quite important to me.

Every time that I smoke Sour Diesel I’m brought back to a day before yesterday, and it forces me to re-examine the flavors that are known as the classics. What Veritas has achieved is remarkable in this regard. I would like to make mention of a couple things before I dive into the tasting notes. Cannabis that is grown and cured in high altitude and dry places like Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada…smoking this cannabis I’ve discovered a big something shocking. (At least to me…) I react far differently with cannabis grown and cured at sea level. It’s just a different experience. I’ve done some experimentation on this axiom, purchased cannabis that has been grown at 6000 ft plus and opened the container at nearly sea level with lots of New Jersey humidity filling the room, well it’s an entirely different experience. In a plus way, certainly not a minus way.

Something biophysical takes place by growing and curing in a carefully engineered humidity adjusted space, but what I experienced at sea level was something completely different. I’m very impressed by the flavor and terpenes I sensed at 650 ft. instead of 6500 ft. The cannabis almost reacted like cryo-cured flower, dried, perfectly cured, and aged in a fraction of the time, leaving an end result that is encapsulated in time and space. And when I smoked it at 650 ft. with lots of humidity? What I experience is bliss…

Veritas Fine Cannabis: Sour Diesel

Nose: It’s that baby skunk that’s lurking under your bedroom window. Someone stuck a couple gallons of buttermilk under there too, the sour-lactate rich liquid is stuck up inside my nose. Coming into view, snapping a canna-flower in my fingers, I smell crushed, juniper wood smoked chiles, a tangle of caramelized lemongrass shards and slivers of just snipped back yard chives, sauteed in brown butter. This is friendly cannabis that layers the inside of my head with softly folded whipped cream and unleashes the nasal driven memories that say springtime in Portland, Maine-1986. The overall nose is sometimes salty, sometimes sweet, sometimes sour, leading into the funky, but certainly- always memorable.

Mouthfeel: Veritas in Colorado has re-created the classic mouthfeel of Sour Diesel that some would say exemplify the early cannabis strains like New York Sour Diesel. Laden with European Petrol, Kerosene, and Baby Skunk, it’s unmistakable. Others say the classic Sour Diesel smells like citrus juices and cracked white pepper. I think it’s a combination of Pan-Asian spices, baby skunk and kerosine lamp oil. Citrus oils and the act of licking wet shells at the beach in the summer make your palate sing.

Veritas Sour Diesel unlocks my mind after inhalation. Remarkable in the depth of the experience. The mouthfeel is rich, savory, and full-bodied. After a couple small hits, I’m ready to experience the Veritas Sour Diesel in my Chill Bong- instead of my usual one hitter. The reason why I want to share the Chill Bong with you is the cooling experience that you feel when using this masterful piece of cannabis accoutrement.

Stone: This is not cannabis for the beginner. Of course, you have to start on the really strong stuff in your own way, but the pro-tip is take your time. There is no rush in cannabis, all those magical cultivars, so many that I forget which one is my favorite. I will say that Sour Diesel of Veritas Fine Cannabis is elegant and charming. It also gets me to another place with alacrity. There is no lack of amusement when imbibing Sour Diesel from Veritas Fine Cannabis. This is a Sativa that acts to help you get the job done. Scrub the tub, wash all the kitchen floors, take out the trash that is lurking in the hallway. There aren’t enough hours in the day because you’ll be full of steam to get all the things behind you and still other tasks to be hatched.

If Veritas Sour Diesel doesn’t take you to the next Bardo, I don’t know what will. Ok, you may not discover DF Tram on your own personal musical journey, but it did stimulate your inquisitive nature. This nug of perfectly cured cannabis is the Sour Diesel of my dreams. It takes me places that money can’t buy. Experience gleaned from emotion and being able to taste great cannabis like Veritas teaches me lessons not yet taught.


Photo Credit: Warren Bobrow

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Mutual friends, (Down to Fade) introduced me to Big Ed by laying a “mylar” of his magical flowers on me over the fourth of July weekend. I opened the packet up and the terpenes burst into my workroom, filling the air with spices and smiles. This wasn’t your typical NYC/Washington Square Street weed; it was something much more sophisticated and exhilarating. Something that caught me unaware and therefore tasting notes were certainly in order. Some really fine smoke here which immediately took me down a rabbit-hole. Similar to Big Ed, my tolerance levels deserve a tolerance break, maybe someday down the line… But the sample of GottiGirl is definitely calling my name.

cannabis world news product reviews promos closeup of crystal laden bud

Tasting Notes for GottiGirl, by: Warren Bobrow

Appearance: Sitting in front of me, I have a little nug of the GottiGirl. The curing is gorgeous. Moist and compact, colorful, and tinged with fluorescent green splashes and orange threads. Crystalline in nature, the oils from the flower ooze to the surface in tightly wound rivulets of black to bright green. Diamonds of resin capture my imagination and bring me a knowing smile. Sure, I have a really high tolerance, but GottiGirl smashed that one out of the park. This is definitely cannabis for the well “seasoned” smoker. Something that you can smell all over the backyard, even on a windy day. Wow. Impressive.

Nose: Spicy notes of cardamom bitters, brown butter-soaked hoecakes, caramelized quince and snippets of tarragon scattered over the top.

Palate: This is perfectly geared to my wine conscious palate with richly textured smoke that fills my mouth with droplets of Barrell Bourbon, a quality, not quantity-like alacrity.

Finish/Stone: Because of the masterful curing, I’m not compelled to cough, not even a tiny bit, nice work. Part of this is the pipe that I selected for the tasting. A 503 Liberty glass piece that has special meaning for me because the former owner is now gone and it gives off beautiful, healing energy of times past. I think it is important to resonate with glass smoking implements. Especially ones with so much craftsmanship, just like the craft cannabis held within.

GottiGirl works her magic through the implementation of vitality and passion.

cannabis world news product reviews promos closeup of silver green bud

Tasting Notes for GaryPayton x FishScale

Nose: David Austin old garden roses, dew-drop,peach scented with beads of sweet cream and Jersey “late-summer” corn pudding. Crushed peppercorn, Incendiary Thai chilies, orange zest and brown butter come into view. Snipped field grass in the back of my throat. Good stuff!

Palate: Texture of freshly turned loam, sod grass, husked corn and droplets of kerosene and hot, synthetic motor oil. (In a good way). Each hit is met, not with resistance- but with calm acceptance of your fate. And that would be the desire to take another, and then another. Similar to the art of drinking a Ti Punch. A vexing amalgamation of Rum, Demerara sugar, and lime. It’s all in there. I taste it still. And I haven’t had a drink in five years.

Finish/Stone: There I go again, down the rabbit hole. With Instagram next to me on my phone, it’s only the pang of hunger that says get back to work and finish these tasting notes. The finish is gassy on the nose, and it jumps like a gazelle across my whatever is left of my mind like your expensive fishpond koi attempting an escape from that errant, hungry racoon. Cannabis like this is the good stuff and great fun for my mind. It stimulates intellectualism and makes me want to reinvent the lightbulb. Ok, maybe not the lightbulb, but it’s been a long time (ok, about a week) since I’ve had so much fun writing!

Thank you, Big Ed, for the inspiration.

cannabis world news product reviews promos Big Smoked logo with bulldog smoking blunt

Warren: Please tell me about your relationship with the plant? When did you discover it? Who were you with? What strain?

Big Ed: I first tried cannabis in 1991 I was 11years old at the time. Cannabis being smoke around me was normal. My older cousin who was 21 at the time let me hit his joint. Back then most of the cannabis around was Mexican brick weed.

Warren: When you smoke, what is your favorite strain? Why?

Big Ed: Right now, my favorite strain is GottiGirl. I like it because I hunted through about 60 seeds to find it, and from the first time I smoked it until now it still tastes the same and have the same effects. My tolerance levels are sky high, so I usually know by the second pull if it’s a keeper. It’s a cross of BlueGotti (by Backpack Boys) x SHORTiER by FrostyMcNosty & Miracop. I believe SHORTiER is a LemonTree and Gelato cross he said. It also tested at 29% THC and 5% terpenes. Any tips I can give is if you have the space, and you want to find the best of the best you’ll have to run the whole pack of seeds. Also, patience I have discarded more plants than I have kept looking for a unicorn.

Warren: What makes your product different, therefore better? Do you admire the work of others? Who?

Big Ed: I believe my love for the plant makes my product better. A lot of people get into cannabis for money. I actually love this plant and want to share my love of it with the world. The best way to do that is produce high quality flower. I also realized that fresh cannabis is the best cannabis. I had a grower tell me cannabis is not like wine it doesn’t get better with age, and then he gave me some flower that he just finished curing and that was my first time smoking fresh cannabis. It was a game changer I was like damn so this what I’ve been missing. So, my goal is to give people the freshest cannabis possible. I admire Frosty McNosty he’s a real down to earth guy, and he really looked out for me when he asked me to test some seeds for him. That how I found GottiGirl. I also want to give credit to Dave the head grower at LOWD in Portland Oregon. He was the one who told me about Cannabis not being like wine and most people smoke old cannabis. He also really lit the spark for me to grow. He told me to go for it if it was something I was serious about.

Warren: What are your six and twelve-month goals?

Big Ed: My 6-month goal is to finish up this pheno hunt I’m doing it’s another 60 seed hunt I’m doing for MiraCrop. I also have some crosses I made I’m growing out now. Hopefully I can find something nice for the 2024. Over the next 12 months I hope to expand my grow and network more with like-minded individuals who care about quality and care giving, over quantity and profit.

Warren: What is your passion?

Big Ed: Growing and sharing cannabis is my passion. The look on a person face when you give them some top-quality cannabis and their reaction is priceless. This plant been a part of my life for over 30 years. Cannabis was used to bring people together, and to this day it still does. I have met people I would probably have never talked to over a joint or bong rip. When I think of cannabis, I think of the hippies in the 60’s & 70’s and how they were preaching peace, love, & happiness. That’s what I want to bring back to the cannabis industry. I just recently left the teaching field after 15 years to concentrate on building my brand and growing cannabis. It was a tough decision, but I felt if I didn’t try, I would regret it. I also know when I lock in on something I’m focused and with my 30 years of smoking, selling, & just being around cannabis I could do it. I read my first High Times magazine when I was 12 my uncle had a subscription. I was enamored by the photos and the articles about cannabis. When I was in college that was when my taste buds and standards changed for the cannabis, I smoked. It was a lot more indoor flower available and Purple Haze, Sour Diesel, and Blueberry was heavy on the east coast early 2000’s it was costly but worth it. I started growing during the pandemic. I was working from home, and felt I had the time to do it. My state also was about to come online with decriminalizing marijuana. It was like the stars were getting aligned for me to grow. Once I started, I was hooked (on growing). I started off with one tent and now 8 tents later I still want more!!!

Photo with 503 Liberty Pipe: Warren Bobrow
All other photos: Courtesy Big Ed

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Celebrate high summer with these 5 taste-bud-tickling weed drinks- L.A. Times


AUG. 3, 2023 3 AM PT

Just in time for high summer — and even higher temperatures — our Elite Beverage Tasting Squad, a cadre of cannabis consuming co-workers and friends, is at it again after forming last year to taste-test some pot-packed, palate-pleasing potables worthy of picking up and icing down.

This time, of the 18 drink options representing a dozen brands, the off-putting weediness of last year’s drinkable contenders was largely absent. And in the rare instances where it was noticeable this year, the taste of cannabis seemed to lean into — instead of detract from — the overall flavor profile of the beverage.

Another noticeable difference is this: the infused beverage market appears to be moving away from putting all its eggs in one fruity seltzer basket. There are still plenty of those out there. (For example, Wynk’s juicy mango and black cherry fizz seltzers were in the mix this season. They were announced as gold and bronze medal winners, respectively, in the water/sparking water/seltzer category at the inaugural L.A.-based High Spirits Awards.)

2. Klaus Mezzrole

A can of Klaus cannabis-infused beverage and an illustration of a gnome, Klaus' mascot, and a thought bubble reading "yummy."

“I’ve spent the better part of 30 years working towards this goal,” master mixologist Warren “the Cocktail Whisperer” Bobrow wrote in an email to The Times. He was referring to a curious, complex, cannabis-infused (and non-alcoholic) combination of ginger, lime and rice vinegar that launched last year. Bobrow added that the mix of flavors was “originally influenced by the classic Ti Punch from St. Barts. The addition of the ginger was to settle the gut when sailing a yacht in choppy seas.” I found Bobrow’s origin story amusing because the first thing I thought of when I first tasted this intriguing elixir was the thirst-quenching switchel (a.k.a. haymaker’s punch) that Vermont farmers used to swig out of gallon jugs in the heat of the summer hay fields. (Yes, I’m a former Vermonter kickin’ it in SoCal.)

Whatever the historical roots (some think the New England beverage actually may have originated in the Caribbean), one thing is clear: Bobrow’s three-decade quest has paid off handsomely. From the backpacking gnome on the swirly colored can (that’d be Klaus) to the artisanal ingredients inside (including Pickett’s ginger beer syrup and lime purée sourced from France), everything about this beverage was a hit with the backyard bunch.

“Yummy, tastes like ginger beer, love the burn,” wrote one of the testers. “It’s the only one that doesn’t taste like it needs something.” “Yummy ginger shot,” jotted another. “Reminds me of a good Moscow mule,” mused a third. “Woo-hoo! Spicy, silly, crazy,” noted a fourth. “Smells like Pine-Sol — but I’m allowed to drink it!”

“Cool can branding — my boy Klaus!” said one squadster, giving a shout-out to the tiny gnomic namesake before turning to its contents. “Extremely pointy, very unique taste … very specifically evoking the taste of melted Luigi’s Italian ice. I love the ginger taste. Burns/tingles my mouth.” Someone else simply scribbled a cartoon heart.

Although you should take our word for it, you don’t have to; two weeks after it landed in our Top 2 came word that Bobrow’s brew had scored a gold medal at the above-mentioned High Spirits Awards in the non-alcoholic, ready-to-drink cocktail category — along with our top pick below.

$48 per four-pack, 5 milligram THC and 16 calories per 8-ounce can. Additional information and ordering details (currently available via delivery-only in the L.A. area) at

Click here for the entire article.

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Second in a series of tasting notes and effects for Bombatta Premium Cannabis Flowers… I’ll keep reviewing them as I receive them. Each one has amazing sense of place and time in the cannabis universe. The mesmerizing physical effects of each strain have blown me away.

This was named Nerve Gas, and it’s deliciously named. I’m very aware of my third eye with each toke.

Sitting in front of me is a glass container with a curious lid. Popping open the substantial magnetic top, I discovered a clever little perk. A built-in grinder. Not a cheap item- this one possesses large, extremely tactile prongs that will gently break up the perfectly cured, pungent nugs contained just within.

Cannabis of this quality offers more than just beauty and convenience; it encapsulates the emotion of cannabis as more than a passing metaphor. Cannabis can be a multitude of things to many people. I find it deeply personal. It unlocks my creative side, which is buffered by my even more creative side. Two creative sides? Well, it’s true. Is there no other one that speaks to being “Adult” …. Cannabis again? Six books, mocktail and cocktail bar programs in California means logical agility. All from cannabis?

Say it isn’t so for those who still believe that cannabis makes you an underachiever.

It’s true. This is zealously cerebral cannabis, and it works to make me more aware of the air surrounding me. This is such a vehicle for intellectualism, at least in my brain.

Perhaps I should discuss the flower at hand. Bombatta is the brand name, and it is just marvelous stuff. A nice sample of the Nerve Gas strain is punctuating my late morning.

Piquant in the nose, melting into freshly snipped French tarragon, scraped nutmeg, zesty Greek oregano, and finishing with dollops of both European petrol and crushed minerals down my throat- this cannabis is deeply bemusing, Even cracking open the jar for a quick sniff is a marvelous thing.

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Photo Credit: Warren Bobrow

What morsels await my lips and lungs? Read on.

Nerve Gas- The Marijuana Retail Report offers some clues to the lineage of this bemusing strain. They say that it is Girl Scout Cookies and Chemdawg with Lemon Cherry Gelato. Usually, the effect of these strains represents sleepy time for me- but in a good way. Each represents a tangible metaphor, a feeling. When combined, they become “Nerve Gas,” which is weaving a fuzzy path through my brain right now.

What a gorgeous-looking flower as well.

Tinged with green and orange hairs, a good flash photo reveals deeper coloration of dark. What kind of dark? I’d have to crack open another nug, and I’m pretty stoned right now without the need to smoke any more—at least not this very minute— that might change in the coming moments.

Oh, cancel that. I just took a deep lung hit- no coughing ensued. This is cannabis of operatic quality. It sings to me of patience and intensity. Thank you to whoever crafted this luscious beast of a flower. If my twenty-one-year-old self could smoke cannabis of this quality- what I smoked back then was pretty good, don’t get me wrong- but this is other-level stuff entirely.

What could I have achieved with cannabis of this depth? Who knows. It’s really knowledgeable stuff. Thank you for growing it for my perusal. I’m very impressed.

Klaus Reviews

23 Valentine Gift Ideas for Him or Her

Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics Recipe Book by Warren Bobrow,

Cannabis Cocktails Mocktails & Tonics Warren Bobrow

Warren Bobrow is a chef, mixologist, and a 6-time published author. He came up with a recipe book called Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, and Tonics – The Art of Spirited Drinks and Buzz-worthy libations. This book is amazing and has a collection of 75 unique drink recipes including coffee, tea, lemonade, and milk-based beverages. In this book, Warren will also teach you how to de-carb cannabis in the correct way to release its full psychoactive effects. Get it for your loved one for $15.

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Curtis McMillan (@manindabag) TikTok Review


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The Key to Combining Cannabis and Mixology? Remove the Booze.

Led by longtime drinks professionals, brands like MXXN and Klaus think THC can thrive in cocktail culture, sans the alcohol

BY KIRK MILLER / APRIL 20, 2022 6:25 AM

The worlds of THC and alcohol haven’t really crossed over, and to be honest, that’s probably for the best. Not all potentially buzzy experiences need to or should be intertwined.

But if you take away booze from that crossover while keeping the idea of mixology in place, suddenly the small but growing industry of bartender-friendly, cannabinoid-infused “spirits” and mixers makes more sense.

We’ve covered this meeting-of-minds before, although not specifically related to THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. First there’s Flyers, a line of alcohol-free sparkling cannabis cocktails with full-spectrum CBD distillates that are crafted, in part, by award-winning mixologist Ivy Mix. Then there’s The Pathfinder Hemp & Root, a non-alcoholic “spirit” fermented and distilled from hemp; two of the three founders have extensive liquor brand experience, and the mixer works nicely in both boozy and non-boozy drinks. 

When I spoke with the founders of those drinks brands, they all suggested that THC-infused variations were on the way.

One that’s already here? MXXN (pronounced “moon”). The BIPOC-founded brand claims to be the spirit industry’s first 1:1 non-alcoholic and THC-infused replacement for gin, tequila and bourbon. The company is led by Darnell Smith, a booze industry vet with over 15 years of experience at Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Bacardi. 

“I was working in the spirits industry in product innovation and found myself drinking more than I cared to due to the nature of the profession,” Smith tells InsideHook. “I was looking for a way to cut back on alcohol but still take part in the social aspects associated with drinking and cocktail culture. And I had been a consumer of cannabis for chronic pain after 15 years as a football player and would make my own tinctures at home, so I started bringing the tinctures out to social events, ordering a tonic and lime and putting a few drops in. My wife encouraged me to find a way to bring the tincture and tonic idea to the public in some capacity.”

MXXN’s website offers variations on well-known cocktails, although the proportions are interesting, given the idea that you’re getting about 6 mg of THC per 1.5 oz pour — an Old Fashioned riff, for example, suggests a very small .75 oz measurement of MXXN’s Kentucky Oak, as opposed to a standard 2 oz pour if you were using a regular bourbon.

An Old Fashioned made from The Pathfinder, a n/a hemp spirit that actually works well in boozy cocktails

Review: The Pathfinder Is a Non-Alcoholic Spirit That Shines in Boozy Drinks

We were recently able to try MXXN Jalisco Agave (the drink is available in California and direct-to-consumer in a few markets). It’s a cloudy, straw-colored liquid with grassy and floral notes. On the palate, it’s soft but also spicy and with a pronounced salinity — it’s not offensive on its own, but it feels much better suited for a cocktail. I turned my initial small pour into a very nice Paloma alternative, which lacked the usual alcohol “kick” but maintained the essence of agave and heightened the grapefruit notes (while also a touch of spice). 

I’m not alone in my thoughts on how the product mixes. “When we started MXXN, we were trying to emulate the tastes of spirits in standalone form,” explains Smith, who also notes that bartenders were consistently giving feedback during the product’s formulation. “But we found it to be extremely difficult to find a substitute for the specific flavor and profile ethanol provides in that form, so we pivoted a bit to create a product that emulates the base flavor profiles of these spirits when mixed in a cocktail with other ingredients.”

The recipe wasn’t an easy process. In the brand’s early stages, the technology wasn’t there to get the THC evenly distributed throughout the base formula (“Which for dosing reasons was an obvious problem,” Smith notes). They eventually utilized nanoemulsion technology from Vertosa to solve that problem, but the company also had to finalize the flavor profile and make the product shelf-stable, which proved more difficult to do without alcohol while still utilizing natural ingredients. 

In the end, Smith thinks products like MXXN will appeal to the health-conscious (and non-boozy drinkers), but also believes they offer real potential to unite the worlds of drinks and cannabis.

“We’re not here to completely replace your booze or how you consume it,” he says. “We’re here to provide a new experience and evolve cocktail culture.”

Klaus takes a different approach. And that involves a gnome.

Just launched, Klaus is a ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktail in a can, albeit with a “10 mg terpene-forward cannabis emulsion per drink” as opposed to a boozy ABV. These were crafted by popular mixologist Warren Bobrow, who credits…well, I’ll have him explain.

“The inspiration for my product, funnily enough, was my drinking gnome named Klaus,” says Bobrow. “Klaus traveled the world with me in my prior career in liquor sales. He also came with me to competitions where I served as a rum judge for both the Ministry of Rum and the Florida-based Rum XP.” (That association explains the launch of Klaus with Mezzrole, a take on the classic Ti’ Punch.)

As Bobrow remembers, he was signing copies of his drinks guide Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails at the Pharmacy Museum when noticed an exhibit named “Cannabis in the Early Apothecary,” which led to an idea for his next book, Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics. And the success of that book led to the idea of creating a canned, THC-infused cocktail. 

(Yes, but the actual gnome influence? “To me, Klaus is much more than just a German drinking gnome. He represents goodness, kindness and the amalgamation of my life experiences. Sure, he loves to drink, but he’s recently switched over to my refreshing infused mocktails.”)

For Bobrow, it was not an issue emphasizing the cannabis aspects of his drink. “The ‘craft’ in craft cocktails isn’t always about the liquor. It’s the balance of the ingredients,” he says. “My Mezzrole cocktail — named for Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet’s friend and cannabis dealer, Mezz Mezzrow — has no alcohol, but it’s terpene-forward. It smells like a perfectly cured cannabis bud and provides consumers with a lovely, relaxing, talkative yet grounded feeling.” (It’s apparently also great for sleep. We’ll have samples soon to review.)

Unlike some of his peers, Bobrow feels THC is a versatile and somewhat enviable ingredient to work into mixed drinks.

“It can be flavored with terpenes as an adjunct to the other fine ingredients in a craft cocktail, or it can be flavorless and woven into a seltzer,” he says. “To me, the process is not challenging because cannabis possesses terroir. The plant embodies the taste of the place it was grown, like wine, except there are perhaps even more terpenes in cannabis than wine.”

As for serving suggestions, Klaus’s drinks — which will soon include a riff on the Tiki classic Zombie — only have 16 calories and 0.6 grams of sugar per can; each of those 8 oz cans features 10 mg THC, which Bobrow estimates is perfect for two drinks and a nice mental middle ground. “We’re somewhere between a microdose and the opposite end where the effects are a little too strong.”

Even if their approaches (and taste profiles) differ, Bobrow and Smith share a similar audience expectation: health-conscious, social, open to a “buzz” but wanting to feel better in the next morning.

“Many folks in my former world of liquor struggle with alcohol, and several have already reached out to tell me how much this beverage means to them,” says Bobrow. “Alcohol and cannabis provide different experiences. I feel out of control when drinking liquor, and I think a lot of people can relate. But I’m not here to preach. I’m here to make the world’s best craft cannabis libations and raise the bar.”