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December 2022 Leafly HighLight: Sour Diesel strain



It’s 11:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve night and you’re not going to make it to see the ball drop, or get a kiss.

Sure, you can do a shot and pay for it the next day. But you have a galaxy-level brain that thought ahead and brought a bag of the classic weed strain, Sour Diesel. One joint of Sour D and you’re dancing and playing the air flute, like Lizzo herself. Congrats, you just got rocked by the powerful, stanky Sour Diesel our Leafly HighLight for December.

Perfect for New York’s impending legalization launch, Sour Diesel has a 4.3 score out of 5 after 8,264 reviews and was one of the first ever to be reviewed on the site in 2010. Sour D gets its name for smelling like pungent, diesel gasoline, and skunk. Who’d want to smell that? Adventurous folks rewarded by its energetic, talkative, and creative effects—that’s who.

“Work of art crafted by God,” reads one SD’s top reviews.

Pictured—Uncle Jesse’s East Coast Sour Diesel. (Leafly)

A Sour Diesel bag keeps the party going—even if it’s a party of one for weekend chores. “It’s a great strain to talk to friends, and laugh,” one reviewer writes.

“Sour D had me bouncing off the walls. I deep-cleaned my entire house,” said another.

Lots of folks also report cerebral effects. “I am so high I could pass a pregnancy test right now. Like I’m thinking at such a high level that it’s basically like having two people inside me!”

Sour D is about more than fun and games, too. Medical patients report profound, life-saving relief with the D over the decades.

“Very comfortable. Saved my life from long-term pain relief.”

Leafly reviewer

“The pain after surgery, with swelling, soreness, depression, mental effects, and anxiety all were somewhat extinguished. Very comfortable. Saved my life from long-term pain relief.”

“This is where it is at!!! Severe PTSD over here and this is the cure for when you are down.”

That said, go slow with this 19% THC strain: Negatives can include anxiousness, cottonmouth, and dry eyes.

How much does Sour Diesel cost?

Princes and paupers alike puff tough on Sour D. Sour Diesel is a great barometer of local weed prices in your area. It’s so prevalent that prices are low, but it’s so good that it always commands a premium. You see Sour D in a lot of different modalities—especially pre-rolls, ounce bags, carts, pods, and dabs.

Low-grade Mid-grade High-grade
1g pre-roll $4 $14 $20
Eighth-ounce (3.5 grams) $25 $40 $55
1g vape cart $35 $50 $67


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Sour Diesel seeds

Wanna grow Sour Diesel? Badass idea. It crushes both inside a tent and outside in a field. Here’s the bad news: A classic strain this old and popular attracts all kinds of fakers and frauds. Your best bet? Go with a reputable brand name, like DNA GeneticsHumboldt Seed Co, or Humboldt Seed Org. According to DNA, Sour Diesel is a cross of ‘91 Chemdawg x Massachusetts Super Skunk and Northern Lights. That’s like Freebird on FM radio—totally classic. We’re back in the ’90s, sneaking around and buying weed by the gram.

Humboldt Seed Co has an automatic version of Sour D that’s auto-magic. There’s also like 10 generations of Sour Diesel crosses to explore. Massive Seeds has Yuki Sour. Mass Medical has Sour Pupil seeds for Christmas. And don’t forget that No. 1 strain Original Glue (formerly GG#4, ie Gorilla Glue) is a Sour Diesel project. Go apeshit on that gassy glue cross, bro.

Sour Diesel awards

Uncle Jesse's East Coast Sour Diesel. (David Downs/Leafly)
Uncle Jesse-grown East Coast Sour Diesel. (David Downs/Leafly)

Sour Diesel came out and crushed the competition like a traffic cone. It’s won as a sativa flower or seed for years, but nowadays you see its crosses also win in hash, and even CBD hemp. In the 2022 Colorado Connoisseur Cup, a Glacier Concentrates Lilac Diesel placed 3rd in the category recreation wax and butter. A frickin’ Diesel drink won a 2019 award in the Oregon Dope Cup.

Sour Diesel terpenes

Wondering what that skunky gas is that keeps stinking up dad’s garage? That’s the aroma of excellence, son. According to lab samples uploaded to Leafly, Sour Diesel has hecka beta-caryophyllene, as well as myrcene and limonene. It’s not a far stretch to be like, yeah that makes sense— those terps equal peppery/gassy, dank/rich/earthy, and lemony/sour.

You can actually search Leafly by these three terpenes and see what other strains are gonna match it. Go for Original Glue, or Chemdawg—it’s uncanny how this strain family’s terps match up. See also: Apple FritterOG KushBanner; and SFV OG.

Other highlights this December

Can’t buy our HighLight? Dry your tears with three related, seasonal picks that give energy, honor the East Coast weed scene, or just kick ass.

Strawberry Cough

Strawberry Cough. (DavidDowns/Leafly)
Strawberry Cough. (David Downs/Leafly)

Keep celebrating more of that good and classic East Coast energy with Strawberry Cough, a staple sativa that came from Vermont. It’s even more chatty that Sour D, and that strawberry smell makes a great salad with Sour D. It’s grown all over and vape-makers love it because the recipe is pretty dialed in and people love it. Shout-out to cultivation expert and personality Kyle Kushman for this one.


Madison Square Gumbo. (Courtesy Cookies)
Madison Square Gumbo. (Courtesy Cookies)

Proudly represent New York with this new all-star from the Cookies brand—Madison Square Gumbo. It hit all Cookies and Lemonnade shops in Cali Monday, November 14, and is a cross of Cookies & Cream x Secret Weapon. Gumbo brands founders Karim “Luka Brazi” Butler and Alexis Major help carry the banner for New York cannabis culture into the legal era. Our bag of Gumbo smelled super bomb and on-trend—wild, cakey, and cookie-like. Let’s just say it put our butts to sleep. When it’s time to sack out after the celebration, or nurse that Sunday hangover—pack a fresh bowl of Gumbo.

Cereal Milk

Cereal a la Mode photo by David Downs Leafly
Cereal Milk cross Cereal A La Mode from Fiore with Powerzzup makes a splash. (David Downs/Leafly)

OK, you had your classic Sour D, you made a salad with Strawberry C, and you repped NYC with Gumbo. Now it’s time to plot a course for the future of weed in 2023, Cereal Milk—SF breeder Powerzzzup’s Y Life (Cookies x Cherry Pie) to Snowman. The key here is The Y—an influential strain borne out of the Cookies movement. Lucky for you, the Y is set to launch a new generation of stars. Deo Farms is breeding with The Y. Powerzzup is working it, too. Meanwhile, Cereal Milk is the on-ramp—widely available in 1,865 North American stores on Leafly, a number that’s doubled since last year. The Y also has a unique thickness to its cookie smell, an aromatic body and goodness in its baked dessert flavor that’s going to become table stakes in modern weed.

OK, we’re going to reward ourselves with some Sour D for reporting and writing this. See you next year for more greatness from Leafly HighLight.

Hey, what’s ‘Leafly HighLight’?

Leafly HighLight helps US weed shoppers discover all-star strains on dispensary shelves. Each month, Leafly News’ experts spotlight a trending, top 200 national cannabis strain you should know.

We combine:

—Leafly Strain Database search data,

—dispensary menu data,

—dispensary visits,

—and smoke sessions

to select one cultivar that pairs with the season or mood. Leafly HighLight.

Read past Leafly HighLights of 2022.

Like Leafly HighLight? Fave this post, leave a nice comment and order some trees on Leafly.

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David Downs

Leafly Senior Editor David Downs received a Literary Excellence Award from Oaksterdam University in 2022. On the cannabis beat since 2009, he’s published three books, including the best-selling cannabis crop science book ‘Marijuana Harvest.’ Downs guest lectured at the Loyola Marymount University Law School’s Journalism Law School, UC Berkeley Extension, and contributed to Continuing Education of the Bar’s Marijuana Law Hub, sponsored by University of California and the State Bar of California. Downs’ work has appeared in San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times, Scientific American, Wired, Rolling Stone, The Onion, Columbia Journalism Review, High Times, Billboard, and many more. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from UC Santa Barbara, and was a Fellow at the Medill School of Journalism’s Academy of Alternative Journalism in Chicago.

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Did Twitch ban top streamer Kai Cenat for dozing off after weed edibles?




The war on weed across social media platforms took another absurd turn on Thursday when popular live-streaming platform Twitch banned one of its most subscribed streamers, Kai Cenat, for seemingly breaking its community guidelines. Twitch bans are usually temporary, but some are permanent, and even short bans can have a huge impact on the streamer’s account.


6 tips for marketing cannabis on TikTok and Instagram

The company has not officially confirmed the reason for Cenat’s suspension, but fans and Cenat himself believe a January 24 stream of Cenat trying his first THC-infused edible triggered the ban. This is kind of a big deal: The Bronx native became Twitch’s breakout star of 2022, garnering millions of views and hosting celebrity appearances from stars like Lil Baby and Ice Spice— all from the comfort of his home.



We puffed Wham! by Lil Baby to see if it hits like his music

Twitch’s policy clearly states that the “dangerous consumption of alcohol or other substances that lead to being incapacitated” is forbidden under the platform’s “self-destructive behavior” protocols. Here are some clips of Cenat’s edible adventure, which included ordering too many snacks and falling asleep on camera.

We need to unpack a few things.

First, we object to the idea that getting slumped on an edible in the safety of your own home is self-destructive. For many consumers, drifting into a luxurious deep (and very safe) sleep is the point of taking an edible.

Second, can somebody please connect my guy with an experienced budtender? At the very least, Cenat could use some tips from Leafly’s how-to-dose-edibles guide. How many times do we have to say it: Start low, go slow. Try a gummy. Don’t eat the whole bag.


In a since-deleted Tuesday tweet, Cenat did announce that he would be trying his first edible on an upcoming stream. You can see for yourself how that turned out. Two days later, Cenat addressed the ban in a January 26 tweet, showing little concern about how the penalty would impact his quest to gain more subscribers. The ban postponed a “subathon” Cenat had planned, where streamers try to gain new subscribers over the course of marathon-long streaming sessions.

For now, it’s unclear how long Cenat’s ban will last, but Leafly will continue to update this story with the latest.

Although cannabis is now medically legal in most states and recreationally legal in 21 states, social media platforms have shifting, ambiguous policies regarding the substance. For example, Facebook and Instagram often suspend the accounts of legal companies. TikTok tightly restricts cannabis content. Meanwhile, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn have taken steps to provide safe methods for the cannabis community and industry to interact and grow.

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High Design by LMC: Discover YouTube’s best cannabis documentaries




Finding authentic sources of cannabis history online can be like finding a lighter when you need it most… Painfully difficult. Thankfully, one YouTuber is preserving weed history one post at a time.

For previous generations, books like Jack Herer’s Emperor Wears No Clothes or Dr. Lester Grinspoon’s Marihuana Reconsidered were the rare sources to learn about the history and science of the cannabis plant. For the modern era, Luc Carlin, founder of High Design, is informing a new generation of plant lovers with his cannabis docuseries High Design and LMC YouTube channel.

Launched in 2019, Carlin now has more than 2,000,000 views on his High Design series, which features documentaries about weed powerhouses like Cookies and Compound Genetics. Carlin’s mission is to provide education on the history of cannabis culture and the business strategies behind the most well-known legacy-to-legal brands in the culture today.

The Washington state native’s successful execution of that goal has taken him around the world as his audience continues to grow to new heights, including recently to New York City and Colombia.

Here’s how this Seattle native blew up by digging into the hidden gems and underground trends that define today’s legal industry.

Seeds of High Design were planted during the pandemic

Just before the pandemic set in, Carlin had started making “breakdowns” of videos that analyzed “different marketing strategies, different businesses, events, and news,” he told Leafly.

Just before the pandemic set in, Carlin had started making “breakdowns” of videos that analyzed “different marketing strategies, different businesses, events, and news,” he told Leafly.

“I worked in Seattle’s medical dispensaries when I was in high school. It was the Wild West Days in Seattle. It was like what’s happening in New York right now, and I was very fortunate to be able to participate in all that,” Carlin added. As the industry grew, he saw a need for education that was both thorough, and true to cannabis culture’s roots.

Taking the game to a new level

(Luc Carlin)

According to Carlin, some of the best performing episodes of his YouTube series were based on Leafly’s features on Runtz’ Yung LB, GUMBO’s Luka Brazi, and the legendary Branson. “We need more real game spread in weed which is why I love what Leafly is doing with their 28 Grams of Game series,” Carlin says in one of his videos. 

Likewise, the Leafly team has sourced High Design’s research and coverage to help inform readers about the industry’s underground phenomenons, including Berner, Jungle Boys, and Backpack Boyz.

“My video storytelling brings in the masses and then there’s the people who are really in this industry who can benefit from understanding the nuanced gameplans of the OGs who have built the game’s biggest weed brands.” – Luc Carlin, founder of LMC YouTube channel and the High Design cannabis documentary series

The smooth cadence and soothing nature of Carlin’s voice also seems to retain viewers’ attention. Today, YouTube subscribers continue to binge his rich archive of weed history videos that are suitable for both experts and novices.

Don’t believe that High Design is YouTube’s best weed channel? Just search “cookies cannabis” or “Gumbo Luka Brazi” and see how much weight his independent platform pulls. Many of his videos have garnered six-figure views, resulting in significant revenue from YouTube over the years. (YouTube)

LMC on building a bud brand from the ground up

Carlin, who is three years deep into his High Design journey, has grown increasingly  fascinated with branding. In 2015, the creator observed Washington’s medical market evolve as brands struggled to compete with more established weed companies in the market. Carlin became convinced that a strong personal brand could stand tall against Goliath competitors in a saturated market. 

“I had a lot of friends in the Washington medical market who lost everything because of legalization. They just did not have the money to transfer over to the adult-use side once it took off, or deal with all the slotting fees at dispensaries.”

In 2018, Carlin took his passion for creative storytelling to his Director of Marketing role at CannaGenesis, a I-502 Tier 3 cannabis producer-processor in Washington before branching off to launch High Design independently. As Carlin built his channel, he resolved to upload three videos per day, a strategy which ultimately helped him complete nearly 1,000 videos by the end of that year.

Deep in the weeds

Chris Compound, founder of Compound Genetics, and Luc Carlin of LMC High Design YouTube series. (Instagram)

Not many canna-journalists can boast 16 hours worth of interviews with industry leaders like Jungle Boys co-founder Ivan and others who break down what it took to take their brands from legacy to legal. These insights gleaned directly from the people who influenced cannabis culture before legalization are important for those venturing into the business of regulated dispensaries. High Design’s videos also preserve and distill history for the next generation of operators.

Carlin told Leafly, “Now, I use my LMC YouTube channel to help educate people in those situations—people who operate in the legacy market that are trying to figure out a way to succeed against multi-billion dollar corporations.”

In an industry that has been illegal for decades, Carlin feels that it’s his responsibility to shine a light on the true origins of operators, information that has typically only been provided on a need-to-know basis by those deeply involved in the community.

Staying true to the culture

(Luc Carlin’s High Design logo)

High Design also goes the extra mile to search for the most accurate accounts of cannabis of history, with Carlin revising and re-uploading videos to clear up any disputed facts. In creating a feature on Branson, NYC’s most famous legacy player, Carlin learned the significance of what can happen when you get the story wrong. After Carlin initially posted the Branson docuseries episode, he got an outpouring of feedback, some good, some critical.

Instead of lashing back in defense, Carlin took the constructive criticism and remade the video. This time, he got the chance to interview Branson himself after his children contacted Carlin directly. 

LMC quickly republished a more detailed video, the New York Rapper’s Cannabis Plug Since the 1990s : BRANSON, which has collected more than 260k views as of this article’s publication.

New York cannabis legend Branson. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
Legacy cannabis leader Branson, who inspired dozens of iconic rap lyrics and the Dave Chappelle character Samson in stoner cult classic ‘Half Baked.’ (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

The overwhelming results prove that a more accurate version of Branson’s story makes a stronger impact. More recent comments on the video show gratitude instead of criticism.

From Carlin’s perspective, “There are probably hundreds of thousands of people from NY who have tried Branson’s weed and experienced the story I am telling. You want to tell those stories where a large number of people were a part of that moment in history.”

With millions of eyes and ears tuning into the LMC YouTube channel,  Carlin holds the cards for the future of cannabis media. Truth is, the streets have always set the trends. No matter how much legalization continues to ramp up across the nation,   legacy brands like Branson’s remain rooted in the hearts and minds of the cannabis community. 

“If you’re trying to win in this game, you have to be really, really educated on cannabis. You have to be really, really smart. And you need to have quick resolve with information. The best way to do that is to analyze people, to observe them. The ones that are doing well. And see how you can learn from them and add to your own arsenal of tactics and strategies to succeed. So my guiding light really is to help the little guy win by providing information.”

Luc Carlin

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Nadir Pearson

Nadir is a dynamic cannabis leader and entrepreneur from the East Coast. He is the founder of SMART (Student Marijuana Alliance for Research & Transparency,) a national collegiate cannabis organization and a co-founder of Hybrid Co. Nadir also serves as a project lead for Cannaclusive.

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New York City has more than 1,200 unlicensed weed stores, and one legal one




Following New York’s legalization of cannabis in 2021, at least 1,200 unlicensed stores have reportedly popped up in New York City. Here’s what officials said they are doing to ensure a healthy licensed market for consumers and operators.

Officials claimed in a New York City Council meeting on Wednesday that at least 1,200 unlicensed weed dispensaries, bodegas, and smoke shops are openly selling unregulated cannabis flower, edibles, vapes, and tobacco products across the city. 

So far, New York’s only licensed weed store is Manhattan-based nonprofit Housing Works, with dozens more promised to come on a rolling basis this year. Although two more legal dispensaries are slated to open in the coming weeks (Smacked LLC located at 144 Bleeker Street in Manhattan will open January 24) unregulated cannabis shops continue to dominate the weed space by comparison.

In response to the disproportionately small number of legal weed stores and the thriving gray market, the state said a newly assembled task force will help even the score, after seizing 100,000 products and $4 million at 53 stores over the course of two weeks at the end of last year. In November, Leafly reported the very first raids in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams established the inter-agency task force behind the crackdown in November of last year. So far, the collaboration between the New York Sheriff’s office, cannabis office (OCM), NYPD, and other units has seized approximately $10 million worth of illegal cannabis and tobacco products, according to figures the NYC Sheriff’s Office and NYPD shared Wednesday.

How did New York’s gray market blossom?

In March 2021, the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) legalized possession and consumption of the plant but offered no legal retailers for non-medical consumers to buy from.

The bill essentially opened an 18-month green rush for sellers of all experience levels, including many corner stores and tobacco shops that had no previous experience sourcing or selling cannabis. 

The state has made a clear distinction between these new illicit storefronts and longtime legacy sellers who either stopped operations in hopes of getting a license, or continued to operate discreetly without posing as licensed or regulated. As the gray market window closes, it’s not completely clear how the state will distinguish the illicit operators it wants shut down from the legacy operator whom New York’s cannabis laws and regulators aim to empower.

“New York City has a global opportunity to be a global hub of cannabis industry excellence in education and excellence,” said New York City Sheriff Anthony Miranda at the Wednesday meeting. “This administration will continue to support New Yorkers and justice involved individuals who want to build legitimate and thriving cannabis businesses,” Sheriff Miranda added.

How the gray market crackdown could impact consumers

Truck selling marijuana products operates in Manhattan.
New York’s first round of adult use cannabis licenses are here. (Roman-Tiraspolsky/Adobe Stock)

At a visit to Housing Works Wednesday, a security guard told Leafly that unsuspecting customers at illicit shops could find themselves arrested if they’re present while a shop gets busted. Busts of Weed World trucks in previous years have wrangled innocent bystanders and customers into messy investigations. Lawmakers and regulators have insisted they will not be heavy-handed with cannabis offenders moving forward, and that they intend to use seizures of cannabis products, fines, and summons instead of handcuffs and criminal charges. Tobacco infractions could still lead to arrests and more serious penalties.

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Sheriff Miranda also said the task force will investigate the people who are funding these stores, as well as New York’s many delivery services. Miranda and task force representatives did not clarify how it will distinguish legacy delivery operators from illicit ones during Wednesday’s meeting, but reiterated that it only wants to shut down storefronts, not legacy growers or dealers.

Robberies and violence are also a concern at unlicensed shops. The cash-heavy businesses face a constant threat of stick ups, mainly from teenage robbers, according to officials. The NYPD says there were 593 smoke shop robberies  last year compared to 343 in 2021, an increase of nearly 73 percent, the New York Times reported. 

One smoke shop worker was shot in the leg on Tuesday in Hell’s Kitchen, and a separate unregulated store in Midtown was robbed on Wednesday at gunpoint, according to officials.

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