Good morning, seed junkies and bean basement dwellers. This week, we’re reporting live from Lonikai on the east side of Oahau, Hawaii; smoking on some Hella Jelly, and Dosi-Tree. Cannabis contest season is heating up, and the seed releases keep coming as planting gets underway in North America. Here’s Leafly’s first edition of Strain News Weekly—like Politico’s Playbook, but for genetics professionals and aspiring amateurs.
The world’s best cannabis seeds and clones to grow in 2023
Quote of the Day
“Originality consists in returning to the origin.”
What is Leafly Strain News Weekly?
Leafly Strain News Weekly scouts the headwaters of the US’ $60 billion cannabis industry: the breeders and new strains. It’s like Politico Pro, but for cultivars. So way cooler. Send strain news to email@example.com.
Our forefathers didn’t put their lives on the line so we could smoke mids, or even worse—face jail for weed.
This Memorial Day, America leads the world in cannabis freedom and innovation. Twenty-two states and climbing have legalized the now-$20 billion industry. Minnesota’s governor said he’ll sign their bill. Maryland flips the switch July 1.
Break out the boardshorts, clean the grill, and start doing some push-ups. America’s top Memorial Day weed of 2023 covers 11 states and includes Gary Payton, Georgia Pie x Z, new Cookies x Terphogz pods, and more.
Americans will strive to smoke a ton of Gary Payton on Memorial Day weekend 2023. It’s got a dominating look, taste, and potent indica-hybrid effects great for chilling. The actual NBA player Gary Payton licensed his name to Cookies for this extremely effective cross of two Cookies strains, The Y and Snowman, bred by San Francisco’s own Powerzzzup Genetics. Gary Payton ranks as a top 10 searched strain on Leafly this May, and has become a top 100 flower in stores.
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Super Silver Haze
Banish the glum of winter’s moods with the sunny, hyper-energetic Super Silver Haze. Despite its old-school roots, Super Silver Haze ranks as a top 200 most popular strain in the US. SSH has that classic, sweet sativa smell from terpinolene, and a bright emerald green color with tangerine orange hairs. The smoke hits light, but the energy makes your mind a frickin’ laser; folks use it for focus, stress, anxiety, and depression. Soon-to-be-launched Flora and Flame of Oakland, CA coax the best parts out from the classic strain. The senior cultivar has never looked bigger, blingier, louder, or more potent.
Keep your dab rig’s expensive glass carb cap where it belongs with a Tuff Tether. Invented by a Southern California husband-and-wife team, these heavy-duty customizable fabric coils ($18) secure e-rig caps to devices. The whole thing looks like a tiny spring reaching its arms out to hold your stuff. You can customize the color on four different pieces to create your personal design, make the coil larger to fit your dab tools, or add the swab holder accessory. Tuff Tethers work on all the popular electronic hash vaporizers, from Dr. Dabber and Puffco to Focus V. The family-owned and operated business keeps adding new options for every dabber.—Matt Jackson
Georgia Pie x Z
You survived the winter—treat yourself to some of the best cannabis ever grown. We’re talking about Sacramento lords of indoor, CAM, and their latest run of Georgia Pie x Zkittlez [make strain page]. Gifted by Seed Junky’s J Beezy to CAM’s Anna herself, she coaxes perfection under HPS lights, using Athena nutrients and rockwool. Georgia Pie x Z is crazy-loud with candy, gas, and Z terps. The big, dense, multi-colored nugs smell like lime and pine on the fingers; grinding releases pink bubblegum terps backed by anise. It smokes with Cookie spice and a fruity Z overtone, and hits as only Seed Junky can. It’s Z improved in every way we want.
Start the day with the parfait goodness of Loud Trees’ Raspberries and Cream. It has an authentic raspberry top-note and groovy hybrid daytime effects that can propel some mindless spring cleaning. Raspberries and Cream come from crossing Red Pop x Runtz, and it stood out in the crowded Hall of Flowers in Santa Rosa in earmy May. Loud Trees’ main brand, Talking Trees, took home 1st Place in Eco-Conscious Packaging at The Emerald Cup 2023 for their compostable pre-roll boxes and sleeves.
Sour Space Drops
The gummy edibles space does not get any more stellar than Space Gems—California’s Emerald Cup 2023-winning gummy. Started by Wendy Baker in her home kitchen in Humboldt, CA, Space Gems use premium, single-source ice water hash instead of generic hydrocarbon distillate extract. They’re vegan, organic, non-GMO, and corn-free. Sour Space Drops come in five flavors sets randomly chosen from 23 flavors total. There are sweet options and CBD versions, as well as Belts, tinctures, and beverage mixers.
Cookies x Terphogz
Want to smoke zaza but need to keep it low-profile at the cookout? This May, the global leader Cookies launches its collaboration with the Terphogz crew behind Zkittlez and their custom pod system, called Zeuz pods. The Zeuz pod and battery fits in the palm of your hand, and the new blue-colored Cookies Zeuz pods debut with Bernie HanaButter, London Pound Cake #75, and Mexican Flan. The 1-gram pods cost $70, while the full system with battery runs $90.
The sunshine returns to Washington just in time for the Torus brand’s Gas Face to make the shimmering Seattle downtown waterfront look more vivid and intense than ever. Torus popped and hunted through packs of Face Mints x (Biscotti x Sherb Bx) from Seed Junky Genetics to find their keeper— and a keeper they found. The initial aroma smells like dank fuel, and it tastes similar. What’s most ferocious is the strength. Seed Junky defeats the highest tolerances in human history in LA, and certainly beyond. Gas Face is an after-work strain—plan some pizza, brews, and a lot of wandering thoughts.
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Colorado has raked in $2.4 billion in weed taxes since it kicked things off in the US in 2014. Doing their part—Lit Colorado’s cut of Runtz took a 2022 Connoisseur Cup and remains a go-to party strain. Zkittlez x Gelato just does not miss; in the heat of battle, Runtz emerges victorious. The Indica-hybrid combo of berry, candy, and gas stays winning nationwide. See also: Harmony Extracts’ Original Glue live resin pen.
Testing at 24% THC with an abundance of terpenes, Lemon Shiv offers an ultra-flavourful and equally potent hybrid in Shango’s summer ’23 lineup. This one packs high levels of the terpenes ocimene, myrcene, limonene, terpinolene, and more. This Lemon Shiv woke me up in the head while providing a nice, relaxing body feel. Lemon Shiv comes from the juggernaut breeder Capulator, who crossed his Cap’s Frozen Lemons with Shiver Me Timbers. A solid value buy in Arizona. —Cannabis Cactus
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Old School Root Beer
What’s a Memorial Day cookout without root beer? How about cannabis-infused root beer? Available in 10 mg or 25 mg THC per 12 oz can, HaHa Edibles’ Old School Root Beer enlivens a party in small doses, while the big can will mellow everything out. This infused root beer is noticeably smoother than its THC-free, syrup-filled counterparts; HaHa uses pure cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup—the taste says it all. The root beer’s THC hits quicker and lasts shorter than regular edibles, but it still does the job. Pro tip: a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream makes for a tasty canna-root beer float. The Vegas-based producer also sells a lemon-lime soda in the same size and strength as its root beer, plus a grape and berry soda with 10 mg THC. HaHa comes from the Planet 13 brand, produced on display behind a giant glass window at the dispensary’s superstore. The sodas debuted in July 2021, but at least 50 Sin City dispensaries including Planet 13, Las Vegas ReLeaf, and The Source carry them. Batch size: 2,000 cans. Cost: $7 or $9.—Chris Kudialis
Poddy Mouth rosin vape
New York’s dispensaries just got a little danker. Marijuana Farms of NY (MFNY) joined the recreational market after the initial wave, but they bided their time well. They’re the first rec brand in the Empire State, to my knowledge, to offer exclusively rosin-based vape pens and solventless concentrates for dabbing. The rosin vape I tried, Poddy Mouth, comes from a Humboldt Seed Co. and Ridgeline Farms selection of Mountaintop Mint x Humboldt Pound Cake; it’s got some sweetness, some earthiness, a touch of lemon, and that menthol mouthfeel. It’s balanced—I could puff on it day or night. The slim, discreet vape doesn’t fry the terps away; clouds are a plus. Other options include Apple Fritter and Gazzurple. You can find MFNY vapes at Housing Works, Union Square Travel Agency, and Gotham in NYC and at Upstate Canna Co in Schenectady.—Amelia Williams
In a landscape of doughy, gassy, kushy strains, sometimes you need something a little fruity. Maine remains one of the cannabis world’s best-kept secrets—they provide the dank across all categories if you can make it up there. On a recent trip, I picked up an eighth of Albariño grown by craft brand Firefly Organics, a delectable hybrid of Grape Pie and Lemon Tree that seriously impressed me. Both parents showed up: Smoking elicited a balanced euphoria of intense calm and a side of the giggles, tasting both of musky concord grapes and citrus tang. Firefly Organics grow their buds in soil, and both hand water and hand trim. It shows—these buds were big, green, and beautiful, shimmering with frost and hella pungent. I needn’t have worried about accidentally purchasing year-old weed—Firefly Organics is the in-house brand of the independent Fire on Fore dispensary in Portland, ME. —AW
1:1 THC-CBG Pear Gummies
Got a high tolerance? If you take an edible at the start of your smoke sesh, it’ll kick in an hour later and escalate your high. Wyld’s 1:1 THC+CBG blend is a go-to in a state with a lot of dizzying edibles. It’s got great flavor and texture, and the CBG helps counteract nausea from maxing out on THC. The high builds slowly and lands happy and creative. Low-tolerance friends stay satisfied with half of one. True psychonauts take one, and when we start to feel it kick in, we take another. Wild.
Massachusetts’s Bountiful Farms took a 2022 Cultivators Cup with this Ethos Genetics strain on sale for Memorial Day. Zsweet Inzanity mixes Durban Poison, Rainmaker, and Original Glue. You get massive, resinous colas that reek with pungent, earthy, pine notes. Zsweet Inzanity is a must-try. See also: Award-winning Happy Valley’s End Game pre-roll.
Leave it to Society C in Michigan to craft a knock-out award-winning example of the strain Spritzer. The high-tolerance heads of Michigan gave Society C a 2022 Cannabis Cup for their cut of this Runtz x Grape Pie x MAC; bred by Cannarado. Sprizer’s an uplifting, high-THC hybrid that increased our reviewers’ appetite for intimacy as well as dessert. Eat that cake two ways.
OK—we must stop, or we’ll never get to our long weekend.
Go ahead and fill your bag, check out, take delivery, and smoke one for those that paid the ultimate price. And let peace and freedom ring.
Freelancers: Matt Jackson, Amelia Williams, Chris Kudialis, and Arizona’s Cannabis Cactus contributed to this story.
Gotta say—whipping up May’s Leafly Buzz feels like a breeze. When so many May flowers bloom, we just cherry-pick the greatness.
We’re tracking movement on newer strains like Fish Scale and London Pound Cake, as well as classics like Maui Wowie. Catching our eye—a slew of new blue cultivars like Blue Face and Blue Lobster. Fresh in stores, don’t miss Sense SF’s Money Maker, and Doja Pak’s Helium. And every good Buzz ends with some THC maximalism. This month, it’s award-winning Holy Rolls.
Hyper-pearlescent, gleaming Fish Scale climbs 8.1% in the western US this spring—a more wholesome fish scale to break up on your coffee table. This minty dessert-tasting indica-hybrid is a Compound Genetics-bred cross of The Menthol and Gelatti; Gelatti itself unites Gelato and Biscotti. Oakland indoor soil startup Flora and Flame vaulted to second place in the state with Fish Scale during April 20’s King of Z Hill pot contest in San Francisco.
London Pound Cake
Watch the throne—London Pound Cake edges up 5.6% in Leafly views in the West. What’s the secret to this dessert strain’s stamina? Cake strains taste great, and tend to rank high for arousal. London Pound Cake combines Sunset Sherbert (GSC x Pink Panties) with an undisclosed parent—you might say it’s a sneaky link.
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The Z era keeps shining this spring with the tropical fruity hybrid up a smidge higher—despite its already-dominant position. Why? Z has da juice. A Royal Budline-grown Z won the King of Z Hill pot contest on 4/20 in San Francisco. Then a Z rosin won The Emerald Cup on May 13. Z’s great for the longer spring days and some spring cleaning or a little frisbee golf.
Put some respect on classic weed’s name with Maui Wowie—up 3.8% in views on Leafly this spring. This legendary sativa cross made from old school Hawaiian emits sweet pineapple and pine terpenes while packing a high-energy, wave-riding effect. Many artificial vape concoctions have tried to imitate this terp profile. But the UpNorth brand in Cali sells a lineup of restored, refurbished, souped-up classics that add modern bling, size, and density. Wowza.
New in the Leafly strain database
Oakland grower Fig Farms took first in The Emerald Cup 2023 with Blue Face—a selection from a pack of Seed Junky Genetics’ Animal Face seeds. Arguably the best pot in the world right now, Blue Face combines a blinged-out, blue-dappled look with intense, gassy pungence. It’s resinous, extremely potent, and heart-pounding. Lock the fridge, fire up some XCOM2 on Playstation 5, and blow right past bedtime on Blue Face.
The West Coast breeder Compound Genetics and their Apples and Bananas cross to Eye Candy has yielded the East Coast beast Blue Lobster. Maine Trees thrashed the competition at the East Coast Zalympix exotic pot contest on April 23 with this gorgeous bud. Owen from grower Maine Trees tells Leafly Buzz that the team hunted Blue Lobster from two packs of Apples and Bananas x Eye Candy seeds given to them directly by Compound. Blue Lobster will pinch ya—supremely pungent and gassy, and stellar overall. Here’s to poppin’ packs and finding keepers.
This May, let’s welcome Blue Guava from Oakland brand Zatix and their debut in the recreational market. Transbay Challenge expert judges co-sign on this cross of Gelato #33 and OZ Kush project strain Pink Guava. That makes it somewhat of a Zoap cousin, and it’s indebted to three undeniable parents: Zkittlez, OG Kush, and Gelato. The tropical fruit syrup smell precedes a soapy, floral, sweet neon taste and a potent hybrid effect that’s smokeable from wake and bake until dinner time.
There are at least two Blue Nerds now. The first one? Classic Nerds, aka Blue Nerds. Then there’s SoHum Royal’s newish Blue Nerds (a cross of Forbidden Fruit x Watermelon Z)—which just finished among the top 20 mixed-light flowers in the entire state of California. The buds smell, taste, and smoke indeed conjure the sweet sugar pebbles of blue raspberry from the namesake confection. Southern Humboldt County does it like no other.
Picks of the dispensaries
New on shelves
San Francisco’s leading indoor growers Sense Cannabis have readied their selection of breeder Exotic Genetix’s Money Maker (Bakers Dozen x Jigglers). Exotic Genetix’s Mike added a dash of Red Pop to this refined GSC line that includes parents Gelato, Sunset Sherbert, and Mint Chocolate Chip. Money Maker looks dramatic: big, spiky, blingy, dark, and bulbous. It’s a crime to break it up. Dense and perfectly dried, it coats the fingertips in gassy cookie resin. Grinding unveils a Red Pop top-note and a bottomless fuel and cookie back. Wash your glass to fully savor the dank gas smoke with a hint of grape, and a minty kush finish. Shut up and take our money.
Burning up the charts
Doja Pack, CA
A strong, partylicious, uplifting effect complements the strain name Helium from LA indoor connoisseur brand Doja Pak. We got bag notes of Z and OG Kush—both fruity and spicy—with a yummy pine and orange Z smell when ground. Helium hit tropical and Z—fitting right on Doja Pak’s newly announced online menu. Amid rampant counterfeiting, Doja Pak’s Ryan emphasized the new direct ordering from the website. Licensed dispensaries in the Bay and Southern California fulfill the orders for pick-up. Sort of like a secret menu thing.
The crew at The Crop Shop have been dialing this one in, producing jars full of finger-length nugs that showcase flavors of rich soil, diesel, and fresh wild onions. In a joint, these flavors carry over to both the inhale and exhale—the fading aroma hangs thick in the air. Rich and potent, White Truffle is a hidden gem worth searching for.
Ballin’ on a budget
Wave Rider Nursery, CA
Wave Rider Nursery of Santa Cruz moves thousands of jars of Pink Certz for $30 per eighth out the door, making it a key value buy at the recent Hall of Flowers showcase in Santa Rosa. You get a sweet sugar-grape, mint smell and indica-hybrid effect from the Compound Genetics cross of The Menthol and Grape Gasoline. Pink Certz broke out on the 2022 contest circuit. Now it’s time to mega-crop it, promising Pink Certz in every bowl.
Amaretti HolySmokes infused joints
Holy Water, CA
A regular pre-roll? Think ‘mysterious Costco hot dog.’ A HolyWater HolySmokes? That’s like a spicy, fresh-ground pork Italian sausage slathered in Kansas City, Missouri’s Gates BBQ sauce; served on white bread with a pickle and a strawberry soda.
The HolySmokes fruit-salad-tasting Amaretti, featuring La Coz genetics, became my first smoke of The Emerald Cup Awards show on May 13. The small legacy Bay Area team went on that evening to take first in hash joints, first in butane hash, and second in rosin rolls—for all of California. Most excellent.
Good till the last hit—you can rely on HolySmokes this summer to deliver heavy-hitting dogwalkers that pack authentic exotic terps in a sleek functional hardcase.
That’s a wrap for May’s Leafly Buzz. Never miss the latest heat—download the Leafly App (Android, iOS) and turn on notifications to scoop those flavors first.
About Leafly Buzz
So good they steal it—the popular, monthly strain review roundup Leafly Buzz is in its third year. We report independently on the connoisseur cannabis conversation, focusing on strain and branded flower of the US west. Reporting includes:
Gardening is a huge hobby in the US and agriculture is a massive industry. Cargill, ADM and CHS are behemoths in agribusiness producing billions of dollars in revenue and using 100s of thousands of acres. Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and California has large swaths of land devoted to outdoor agriculture. Wheat, cotton, peanuts, soybeans and tobacco still drive part of the Southeast economy. As state and federal legalization comes to the cannabis industry, outdoor grow is going to uproot the investments in indoor grow.
A recent article in Cannabis.net shared someone was able to buy marijuana in Brazil for retail $.30 an oz. In the US, the basic cost of growing an ounce of weed is $29.50. This is before it is sold to a producer who then makes a product and sells to a retail, who then sells it to a customer.
Some leaders in the industry have been touting the benefits of indoor grow. Tilray’s entire grow side is all indoor. So there is a huge vested interest. But Hershey is the largest chocolate company and Bud Light is still the number one beer. Walmart, Amazon, Costco and Target and the largest retailers. Consumer prove over and over they want good flavor at a good price.
So why is indoor more prohibitive? Both share some same cost of labour, plants, water, insurance, etc. A varying cost is land. With outdoor grow the larger piece of land, the larger the crop. With indoor grow, the larger the land, the larger to cost of the building and its expenses. It is usually a huge upfront cost. Now add indoor’s grow cost of building maintenance, fluctuating energy prices and limited size of your crop and your get expensive flower.
The indoor industry’s next big push is the reasoning is they can grow year round. But is it cost effective and worth it? Some of the largest agriculture states are Nebraska, Illinois and Iowa, known for harsh winters and shorter growing seasons. Canada’s bountiful crops not only sell in country, but are exported to China, the US and more.