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The 23 dankest lyrics about loud weed



Light one and smoke along with this potent playlist of classic joints

Brave musicians were singing Mary Jane’s praises long before she was among America’s top legal crops.

In 1932, Cab Calloway’s song “Reefer Man” coined the slang term that some OGs still use when referring to the plant.

And every generation since Cab’s has taken the art of getting stoned to new heights. That includes new names and vivid wordplay that constantly reinvent and cement the plant’s influence in pot, uh, pop culture.

From ’90s boasts about pungent Chronic and Skunk, to today’s artists coining new terms like “loud” right before our ears, some lines are so dope you can catch a whiff through the speakers if you listen close.

Smell the flowers and smoke along with these iconic lyrical odes to Mary Jane’s seductive fragrance.

“So What’cha Want (Remix)” (1992) – Beastie Boys ft. Cypress Hill

You smell that? Smoke along! (AdobeStock)

“I like to smoke y’all but the pigs come sweating/They like the smell of the weed that I’m smoking/They can’t have none of the number one sess-stash/So keep your hands off the hash, don’t act rash.” (Find it on Genius)

Cypress Hill has been rhyming to normalize for decades. On this classic Beastie Boys collaboration, B-Real spoke in defiance of prohibition four whole years before medical laws were first passed in California.

Today, the OG has his own legal brand (Dr. Greenthumb) and strains like Em-Dog, a delicious cross of OG Kush and Chemdog #4 that smells exquisite when consumed with this timeless track.

For the record, Cypress Hill is still speaking out against prohibition in their music today. Last month, they released “Open Ya Mind,” which calls out the many contradictions that exist between state and federal cannabis laws.

“How to Roll a Blunt” (1992) – Redman

Roll up and let the good tunes roll. (AdobeStock)

“The second paragraph might make you laugh/When a brotha rolls a blunt and his breath smells like pure ass/That’s when you know you gotta take the blunt from him.” (Find it on Genius)

Redman, aka the Funk Doc, has always kept it funky about his love for bud. Back in the days when rolling a blunt was a hidden art, the How High star broke down the sacred process on this track from his debut album.

As far as the oral odors mentioned in the song, dental hygiene is not our field of expertise. But it’s safe to say, if a smoking mate’s breath is stronger than the weed you’re burning, you should mention it for the sake of your health and theirs.

“Unbelievable” (1995) – The Notorious B.I.G.

“Car weed scented, if I said it, I meant it/Bite my tongue for no one.” (Find it on Genius)

Feeling bold like the notorious one? Roll up a classic cultivar like Sour Diesel, crank the speakers, and funk the whole room up like the late great Biggie Smalls would have wanted you to.

“June 27th Freestyle” (1996) – DJ Screw

“Banging under that tint/Fixin’ to come down/And I got that dro scent…Steady comin’ crunk, rollin’ up the skunk.” (Find it on Genius)

This essential cut from Houston’s legendary Chopped & Screwed sound wave pairs best with a strain that will ease your mind and melt your stress away.

Lean back, crank the volume up, and let Houston’s OGs illustrate weed’s impact on local “SLAB” (Slow, loud, and bangin’) culture. You don’t need a custom candy-painted car to catch the vibe, but a relaxing strain like Skins Skunk is definitely required.

“Da Art of Storytelling Pt. 2” (1998) – OutKast

“I put that on my dope boys from A-Town to California/All the weed smell like ammonia but at the Dungeon I know they’re smoking.” (Find it on Genius)

If your weed smells like ammonia or a freshly-cut grass smell, it could be an indicator that something went wrong in the drying or curing process.

It’s likely the plant has not cured completely, which will make it taste harsh.

Still, there are many strains that are known to naturally carry this smell, including Cookie Butter, Cheese Dawg, and Stinky Pinky.

“Light Speed” (1999) – Dr. Dre & Hittman

“I smell chronic in the air/That means we takin’ over this year/You hear?/High speed blazing chronic through the galaxy/hydro-doja Chocolate Thai weed.” (Find it on Genius)

The maestro behind iconic stoner albums The Chronic and its sequel, 2001, incorporates weed into his art whenever he can. Dre’s protege Snoop Dogg helped coin the term “Chronic” after misunderstanding the term “hydroponic” during an early ’90s session, and the rest is history.

If you ever get your hands on an old school cultivar like Chocolate Thai, stream this deep cut and let Dre’s classic West Coast vibes take you back in time to the turn of the millennium.

“Don’t Talk” (2001) – Jon B.

“Baby, you got me high dancin’ close with the chronic perfume (The chronic perfume)/Smellin’ all good, it’s gettin’ hot in the room (Hot in the room).” (Find it on Genius)

Smooth R&B crooner Jon B. let the ladies know that a quick whiff of Mary Jane is all it takes to seduce him. We wish we could judge him, but arousing strains like Member Berry have the exact same effect on us.

“My Favorite Ladies” (2002) – MF DOOM

Mary Jane’s perfume can be truly intoxicating. (AdobeStock)

“Mary—you make me wanna eat you/Every time I see you, it’s like the first time I meet you/Fragrance like a flower—subtle and sweet too.” (Find it on Genius)

The late, great MF DOOM hid his face behind an iron mask and billed himself as rap’s most feared supervillain. DOOM built a cult fanbase in the process, but romantic rhymes like this expose the big bad villain’s soft spot for Mary Jane and her special scent.

“Kryptonite (I’m On It)” (2006) – Big Boi & The Purple Ribbon All-Stars

“Grab that cologne on out my book-bag, I smell dro all on you, homes.” (Find it on Genius)

OutKast member Big Boi has dropped dozens of lyrical dimes about weed over the years, but this iconic line is essential for smokers in states like his native Georgia, where cannabis odors can still lead to legal consequences.

If you ever need help covering the smell of that Kryptonite, refer to our tips on how to avoid smelling like cannabis after smoking, how to eliminate cannabis odors in a hurry, and the best ways to get rid of cannabis smells in your house.

“Kush Is My Cologne” (2009) – Gucci Mane

“Damn it’s really loud, smelling like a whole pound/Kush cologne, haze is her perfume/Bubba Kush for breakfast, with my Captain Crunch.” (Find it on Genius)

Atlanta rappers like Gucci Mane and 2 Chainz are credited with coining the term “loud” as a description for funky weed. The phrase has been stickier than fresh trichomes, with hundreds of MCs adding their own twist over the years.

“Never Been (Remix)” (2010) – Wiz Khalifa & Rick Ross

“I’m in my Grand Natty, smokin’ on that Granddaddy/It got an odor like a motor runnin’, fantastic.” (Find it on Genius)

From the Grandaddy Purp shoutout to the slick gasoline simile, Rick Ross brought his A-game for this collaboration with royal stoner Wiz Khalifa. He also has his own strain, Pink Rozay, released in collaboration with Cookies.

Meanwhile, Freeway Rick Ross, the real life illicit dealer who inspired Ross’ rap persona, has also broken into the legal cannabis industry with his “Freeway” line of strains, released in collaboration with The Cure Company

“Gorgeous” (2010) – Kanye West ft. Raekwon

Break down a blunt and listen up. (AdobeStock)

“Bent off the black Skunk/The black Dutch, back of the old shed.” (Find it on Genius)

Let Wu-Tang wordsmith Raekwon take you back to a time when Purple Haze was exotic to New Yorkers and Dutch Masters were the only way to roll a proper blunt.

Today, Rae’s Wu-Tang brethren Method Man has his own TICAL line, including fragrant strains like Sweet Grease.

“Cashin’ Out” (2011) – Ca$h Out

“Blowing on stank bombs.” (Find it on Genius)

Fair warning, this one might get stuck in your head for a day or two. Just relax and enjoy the good vibrations by rolling up some Keisha and singing along.

“Like Water” (2012) – Pro Era

“Said for sure he got fire, most dankest, take a whiff/The gracious, he never lace the shit, take a trip.” (Find it on Genius)

You never want to smoke laced shit, but if you’re interested in taking a trip on LSD or other psychedelics, learn more about how to safely consume psychedelics.

If you want to keep the trip limited to THC, find a highly-potent hybrid like Do-Si-Dos to get the exact effects you’re craving.

“Tapas” (2013) – Action Bronson

Grandmas smoke weed, too. (cosmaa/iStock, Leafly)

“Strong odor off the weed like your grandma’s butt/No attempt to disrespect, but my grandma blunt.(Find it on Genius)

If no disrespect was intended, then none is taken, Mr. Bronson. We all know grandparents are getting more blunt than ever these days.

That’s why we recommend taking an uplifting hit of Tangie, finding some delicious tapas and embarking on a 420 feast that would make both your grandma and Mr. Bronson proud.

“Just What I Am” (2013) – Kid Cudi ft. King Chip

“Neighbors knockin’ on the door, asking can we turn it down/I say, “Ain’t no music on”, she said, “No, that weed is loud.” (Find it on Genius)

Since Kid Cudi dubbed himself “the lonely stoner,” his fellow Ohio-native King Chip had no choice but to drop this clever line that took “smoking loud” to new levels.

“Don’t Kill My Vibe (Remix)” (2013) – Kendrick Lamar ft. JAY-Z

“Empty my memory bank/It’s a million dollars in it, baby, Hilary Swank/Sittin’ next to Hillary smellin’ like dank/Presidential pardon.” (Find it on Genius)

JAY-Z doesn’t rap much about smoking weed, but when he does he aims high.

Was this bar a bold hint at his eventual investment in Monogram, and current ambitions to leverage weed for social justice initiatives?

Whatever the case, everyone in the industry’s top priority should be a mass presidential pardon for all of America’s 40,000 non-violent cannabis prisoners.

“Champagne Reign” (2014) – Curren$y

“Twisting that Kill Bill/Shit louder than a Dr. Dre Beats Pill.” (Find it on Genius)

New Orleans rhymer Curren$y is responsible for popularizing many 2010s cannabis trends, including the term “rapper weed,” which generally refers highly potent strains.

Along with his fellow funky rhymer Wiz Khalifa, Curren$y sparked a papers vs. blunts debate that continues to divide some fans. Now, Curren$y also has his own Andretti cannabis specializing in designer strains.

“Lit Like Bic” (2015) – Rae Sremmurd

“Who said they got that stanky loud? I wanna smell it/You say you run your fuckin’ town, I let you tell it” (Find it on Genius)

You can fake like you smoke big gas for the ‘gram, but those terps don’t lie. Even non-smokers can tell the difference between elite loud and mid-grade bud just by taking a whiff.

Turn up to this one with an uplifting and aromatic cultivar like Northern Lights.

“Wood Would” (2015) – Young Thug

Throughout music history, cannabis has been an essential part of the recording process. (AdobeStock)

“My fuckin’ weed smell like a turd (What?)/I just made ten mil’ off of merch.” (Find it on Genius)

Young Thug has a special talent for describing how dank his weed is (see Bonus Joints below), but this stands above the rest for obvious reasons. Pair this track with a fat sack of Dog Shit and turd out.

“Lit (Remix)” (2016) – Wiz Khalifa

“Let’s get to the basics (get to the basics)/I’m rollin’ a J up, I’m lovin’ the fragrance (lovin’ the fragrance)/I’m hardly on time ’cause my mind is where space is (my mind is where space is)/But I always on grind ’cause that’s how my fam raised me.” (Find it on Genius)

Wiz remains one his generation’s biggest advocates and entrepreneurs, thanks in part to his Khalifa Kush brand, as well as his lack of shame about stinking up any room he enters.

“Chirp” (2016) – 2 Chainz

“Stash spot is my boxer shorts/Just stickin’ to the protocol/Weed smellin’ like underarm” (Find it on Genius)

2 Chainz is always pushing the limits of the English language. In addition to inventing 3,000 new ways to tell us how loud his weed is, he also founded his own cannabis firm, GAS Cannabis Co., in 2018.

The folks at GAS may not keep their stash in their underwear anymore, but knowing Chainz’ high standards, their buds probably still smell like an underarm.

“Prevail” (2020) – Berner & B-Real

Berner and B-Real bring livestreams, new music, and stores deals to 4/20. (Courtesy B-Real)
Berner and B-Real are friends and collaborators who know how to stink up a room. (Courtesy B-Real)

“Front desk complaining about the weed smell/Oh well, Berner, roll another one/Focus on the good vibes.” (Find it on Genius)

Stinking up the hotel room simply comes with the territory when you’re rolling with Cookies CEO Berner.

Berner started the Cookies empire when he was an illicit dealer and independent rapper in 2010. He introduced Wiz Khalifa and other rappers to the strain FKA Girl Scout Cookies, and is now well on his way to becoming a billionaire in the legal weed industry.

Bonus joints

Stream the full pre-rolled playlist on Spotify and Tidal!

“Whut I’ma Do Now?” (2001) – Redman

“The Chronic stink up the overhead bin”

“November Has Come” (2005) – Gorillaz ft. MF DOOM

“That dank sure stank lit”

“Visions” (2010) – Wiz Khalifa

“Make no assumptions, hotel owners saying the odor’s too pungent/Blame it on the reefer consumption”

“Luxury Sport (2011) – Curren$y ft. Sir Michael Rocks

“It’s Mister… Pose-for-the-Picture/My weed smell good like a rose in the Swisher

“Carter IV Intro” (2011) – Lil Wayne

“The weed loud like a lion’s roar”

“Waves” (2012) – Joey Bada$$

“No disrespect to Bob Mar, but yeah, another stoner/Marijuana my odor”

“Jack Skellington” (2012) – G-Eazy

“Marijuana fragrance/This tree here is outrageous”

“Stay Hood” (2013) – Waka Flocka Flame ft. Lil Wayne

“Weed loud like it make noise/I’m on them trees like acorns”

“On The Way” (2014) – Gucci Mane ft. Young Thug

“Weed smellin’ like skunks/blunts big as a stump”

“Recognize” (2014) PartyNextDoor ft. Drake

“Sorry if my whip covered in dank/Cause I’ve been rollin’ with this skunk all day”

“Disfunction” (2014) – Young Scooter ft. Future and Young Thug

“All of my weed look like fungus/All of my weed smell like fungus”

“Pack Gone Missing” (2014) – Migos ft. Rich The Kid & Wiz Khalifa

“The gas smellin’ like it’s fungus

“Blacktivist” (2015) – Flatbush Zombies

“LSD amazing, Sour Kush fragrance”

“Memoirs” (2015) – Migos

“Remember that time Quavo came home with a full grown marijuana plant/Stinkin’ up the crib tryin’ dry it off in the oven it was still wet/Mama came in smelt the odor said ‘Damn boy I can catch contact’”

“Pass the Blunt” (2015) – Ab-Soul

“Yeah, I’m such a fucking stoner/Everywhere I dwell you can smell the marijuana odor”

“Earned It” (2015) – Chief Keef

“Smoking on this blunt, this shit stunky (This shit stank baby)/I mean skunky (Gang, baby), I’m rolling with the funky (Gang, baby)”

“Offended” (2016) – Meek Mill ft. Young Thug

“And the weed stinking like a chitlin”

“Say A’” (2017) – A Boogie wit da Hoodie 

“Holla if you see 12/Febreze, believe me, it’ll cover the weed smell”

“Flex” (2017) – Playboi Carti

“Damn my weed smell like a pit (Ooh)”

“Posse” (2018) – King Gotit ft. Lil Baby

“Got the neighbors complainin’ ’bout odors/They just brought me a load and I sold it”

“Cold” (2019) – Rico Nasty & Kenny Beats

Weed smell like somebody farted, I finish that shit and start it

“Unruly” (2020) – Dave East

“They smell that odor ‘fore they pull us over”

“War Paint” (2020) – Benny The Butcher ft. Conway the Machine

“I’m at the Roc Nation party smellin’ like Chronic smoke (Hah)

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Meet the ‘NJ Gas Man’ bringing Cookies to New Jersey




TerrAscend’s Nick D’Amelio is the head of cultivation for some of NJ’s most anticipated cannabis brands, including Cookies

Nick D’Amelio has been entrusted with baking up New Jersey’s only batch of the highly sought-after Cookies brand, along with premium flower for Kind Tree, Gage Growth, and many more.

As head cultivator for TerrAscend, which operates the Apothecarium dispensaries in Phillipsburg and Maplewood, Nick’s been preparing for NJ’s opening day of adult-use sales far longer than most stoners.

The New Jersey native was known as ‘NJ Gas Man’ before joining the legal industry at the state’s first dispensary in Montclair. After almost five years in the legal game, he is now the head grower for his New Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

Nick joined TerrAscend in 2019 and has helped the company transform an old farm in Boonton Township into one of the state’s premier grow operations. On the same land that once grew Christmas trees and pumpkins, NJ Gas Man is now nurturing The Garden State’s next big cash crop.


How to find New Jersey’s weed stores open on April 21

Leafly visited Nick at TerrAscend’s NJ grow ahead of the state’s opening day of sales tomorrow (April 21). Here’s what we learned about how one of The Garden State’s largest providers is preparing to serve medical and adult-use patients in some of the state’s busiest markets.

Nick D'Amelio, head of cultivation for TerrAscend
No official Cookies on Day 1 of legal sales in New Jersey, but it’s coming. (Jon Bain)

D’Amelio: I think it’s gonna be dank, to be honest. We’re gonna have a ton of consumers that are coming out and trying our products, and everyone else’s products.

I think it’s gonna be extremely efficient for us. (We are) trying to get product out the door as fast as possible from the retail side of things. We never rush cultivation, but I think that it’s gonna be a real live market for us (on day one).

Like all the other states that kind of went rec right away, we’re gonna have a lot of people that are gonna wanna get product on the first day. I think as The Garden State, we get to set the standard with cultivation, but also to set ourselves apart from (states) who screwed up the first time they opened up recreational. We learned from those mistakes. 


These are New Jersey’s top weed strains

What we learned from serving medical patients first

D’Amelio: After serving medical patients, the biggest thing I’ve learned is that it’s always patients over profit. Patients come first.

Before weed was legalized for all adults, we served medical patients as an alternative treatment center (ATC). Some of those ATCs, including two of TerrAscend’s, were approved to expand to rec sales starting April 21, 2022.

It’s also quality over quantity for us. … just come out with fire and produce the best quality medicine or product that we can.

Nick D’Amelio, TerrAscend head of cultivation

It’s also quality over quantity for us. We can produce as much weed in the world, but doesn’t matter if it’s not ideal for patients. We’re looking to develop specific products, whether it’s 15%, or up to 35% THC, or 1% to 3% terpenes, we wanna provide the best medicine for patients and we want to continue that for consumers.

Medical has also taught me that the most important thing is just being true, transparent and honest about what we’re doing. And then just come out with fire and produce the best quality medicine or product that we can.

D’Amelio: For New Jersey, we want to make sure we provide the best quality medicine for the patients while still being able to produce high quality cannabinoids for the recreational market.

For the East Coast and anywhere else that we expand, we want to keep that quality over quantity. We want to give the best product that we can to everybody, whether it’s patients or consumers. 

Leafly contributor Mikhail Harrison smells the goods at TerrAscend’s Boonton, NJ grow facility. (Jon Bain)

Prioritizing medical access before consumer access

D’Amelio: We will always make sure that we have medical supply for the patients, because without them, there would be no program. There would be no recreational without medical. So we will always prioritize that first.

To make sure medical access is never interrupted, we’ll have separate lines and essentially separate allotments for the medical market. And if we run out of medical, we’ll pull from recreation. But we will not pull from medical to sell recreational. We will make sure the patients are always provided with medicine first. 

On being New Jersey’s exclusive Cookies supplier

D’Amelio: We are looking forward to working with Cookies brands to be the state’s exclusive supplier of their products. We are just waiting on approval from New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) to bring licensed Cookies products to the East Coast.

In 2021, TerrAscend partnered with Cookies to be the exclusive supplier of Cookies products in the New Jersey market. There is no licensed Cookies cannabis available in New York or Pennsylvania, so there should be a lot of demand for that when it becomes available. At the Gage Cannabis location in Michigan, people drive for hours to stuff their jars with Cookies. With our dispensaries less than 30 minutes from New York City and Philadelphia, it’s gonna be crazy.

Has the CRC’s licensing process been fair so far?

D’Amelio: Yeah, I think it’s very fair. I like what they’re doing with the micro licenses. Focusing on social equity and putting the micro licenses before the big MSOs. I think that goes a long way.

I think a lot of people that deserve licenses will have a chance to get them. And I think that the process is real complicated, like every other state. But the CRCs doing a great job in figuring out how to award these licenses.

Nick D’Amelio tends to his plants during Leafly’s visit to TerrAscend. (Jon Bain)

D’Amelio: We’re the first major tri-state to legalize cannabis. So I think that Pennsylvania and New York, all these other states that come and visit already are gonna be able to run into a dispensary and get what they want, then go back home, or stay at a hotel (and enjoy).

But I think the biggest thing that makes us unique is being The Garden State, and having so many people here, I think we’re going to be the East Coast California. I think we’re gonna have one of the best markets and some of the best quality products out there. And I think that New Jersey is gonna be on the map for cannabis, just like California and Canada.

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Mikhail Harrison

Trinidad-born, New Jersey-raised content producer Mikhail Harrison has been a cannabis advocate and influencer for over a decade, working both on camera and behind the scenes to normalize the plant for all.

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Berner, a Big Name in Cannabis, Hits Little Rock – Cannabis Business Executive




Berner, a Big Name in Cannabis, Hits Little Rock – Cannabis Business Executive – Cannabis and Marijuana industry news

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28 grams of game from Berner’s inspiring rise to the top




Just over a decade ago, Berner was best known for making independent music with pot culture icons like Wiz Khalifa. But after building Cookies into an international brand, he’s now one of the biggest legacy players in the entire legal weed industry.

“Cookies outgrew me,” Berner said proudly when asked about his multi-state operation on The Bootleg Kev Podcast last year.

“People know what Cookies is and don’t know me. That’s amazing.” – Berner

But he still remembers when it was the other way around. Before he was fielding billion-dollar offers for his company, Berner was an independent rapper who loved weed so much that he got a day job at a dispensary. He stayed close to the plant, grew an organic network, and applied his prolific work effort to both music and marijuana throughout the 2010s.

On his way to the billionaire buds club, he’s introduced the world to iconic strains like GSC via his music connections, and set up friends like Rick Ross with their own legal weed operations. And with over 40 independent albums and enough genetics to plan strain drops through 2080, he’s still got much more to teach the world about growing green on your own terms.

For all of the budtenders, breeders, and sellers following the trail Berner blazed to legitimate generational wealth, we rolled his journey into 28 quick hits of game that you can carry with you on your way to the top.

New strain alert: Cereal Milk! A cross of Snowman with The Y. (Courtesy of Berner, #ShotbyFarid)
Grab some game and elevate your future moves. (Courtesy of Berner, #ShotbyFarid)

1. Plant solid roots

Berner was raised in San Francisco and moved to Arizona as a teen before returning to the Bay to focus on music. But even as Cookies blossoms into a global entity, Berner remains rooted to his native soil.

Northern California’s Emerald Triangle is known to yield some of the best bud in the world, and the neighboring Bay Area has a rich history of producing self-owned rap pioneers like Too $hort and E-40. With ownership of both his weed and music ventures, Berner’s biggest moves hold deeply true to his NorCal roots.

2. Grow from the ground up

“If you want to get in the weed game, go work at a dispensary… Start from the ground up, like I did. Learn the business. Understand what you want to do and why you’ll be impactful in that space. And work your way up.” – Berner’s advice on The Bootleg Kev Podcast

After leaving school and returning to The Bay, Berner dove head first into the blooming medical marijuana field around 2001. Then he spent the next half decade working his way up to manager at Hemp Center in San Francisco. “That’s when I really fell in love with the shit,” he remembers. “I got hired as an intake person, checking doctor’s notes, then budtender, then buyer.”

3. Study the game

Berner stresses that aspiring owners must eventually learn all levels of their business if they want to be successful. His years of experience with customers, suppliers, and branding planted the seeds for his generational vision for Cookies.

“Understand the consumer, understand the vendor, understand the grower, understand the POS system, understand the budtender, understand how to merchandize, everything before you get in.” – Berner’s advice to cannabis entrepreneurs

4. Have a plan

Your goal shouldn’t just be: ‘Get into the legal weed game.’ Find a practical way to add value from day one that you enjoy. Berner lists some of the dozens of entry points that exist for those who don’t have their vision fully mapped out yet in many of his interviews.

So how would you answer if you met Berner tomorrow and he asked: “Do you want to be a designer? A grower? A store operator? Do you want to build a brand?” Be prepared to answer, whether you meet him or not. Because your ultimate goal will inform the steps you take along the way.

5. Expand organically

Berner’s status as Cookies CEO still doesn’t overshadow his impressive catalog of music. His 2021 Spotify wrapped reported 8.2 million fans enjoying almost 100 millions streams. And he hit those numbers without chasing the charts artificially. “I don’t wanna go big. I don’t wanna be on the fucking radio, bro,” he explains.

“I like being an underground artist. Mainstream artists, as soon as they come off the radio, they say they fell off. But if you look at my music career, it’s only gone (up steadily) every year. Naw, I’ve never shot up, never had a straight home run. But I’ve elevated every year. So if I get a record that hits, hits… I’ve got a 42-album catalog to back that up.” – Berner

6. Diversify your buds

Berner’s diverse approach to both weed and music have helped all of his ventures grow rapidly. But he admits that “It’s kind of spooky sometimes,” reflecting on all of the cookie jars he has his hands in. “There’s a crazy ecosystem of very valuable companies,” he told Bootleg Kev in a hushed tone. “Cookies (clothing) is on path to do $50-55 million in 2021 on just clothing. Up from $32 million last year.” Remember, that’s not the weed, just the clothing.”

“If you look at Cookies clothing, Cookies cannabis, Vibez papers… Crazy traction… Equity in WeedMaps. Stuff like GPen and Santa Cruz shredder… And then you got (Cookies’) sister brand, Lemonade, which is killing it, too…” – Berner

And that’s not counting his music money, or businesses he forgot to mention like Hemp2O, Exoticz… I could honestly live and raise my family off (my) music.” He knows that people say, “Oh he’s just the weed guy.” But he prefers it that way.

7. Play chess not checkers

Federal prohibition and the SAFE Banking Act still make it difficult for legitimate cannabis businesses to operate. Another reason Berner’s music is such a valuable part of his empire.

“Music is bankable revenue for me. With cannabis, you can’t bank that. You have to play chess and move it around. It’s such a grey area because it’s not federally legal yet, but the iTunes check hit that bank every month, I can pay my mortgage every month.” – Berner

8. Use your genetics

Berner is aware of the traits he got naturally from his parents, and does his best to use them. He credits his prolific work ethic to his dad, a Mexican chef. And he blames his social charm on his Italian mother, an officer worker who taught him, “You have to be a good conversationalist.”

“I’ve never met Berner’s team, I always talk to Berner directly, ” observed DJ Envy in an interview earlier this year. Berner explained, “I got it from my mom… If you’re not hands on, you’ll be misrepresented.” He also saves money on paying managers and middlemen to handle his business for him.

9. Don’t quit your day job

Even as his independent rap career took off, Berner didn’t stop showing up to work. He saw the value of continuing to network with vendors and learning the industry. But he also knew when it was time to let go and grow.

“People would come in, fans of the music, (that) couldn’t believe I just worked there. I just was fucking working there because I loved it. And as my music career got bigger and bigger, I had to commit less and less time to working there.” – Berner

10. Stay grounded

After Cookies on Melrose was raided and damaged in spring of 2020, Berner took to Instagram to show his support for the people over property. While many CEOs prioritized their expenses, Berner showed solidarity with the outcry that boiled over after George Floyd’s death.

“It’s extremely unfortunate what happened to our store tonight on Melrose. But as a human living in the world we’re living in today, I cannot expect anything less until justice is served,” he said in the video posted to his 1.8 million Instagram followers. “We can rebuild our store, but you cannot bring someone back to life.” The Melrose location reportedly makes $450,000 per day.

11. Equity over easy money

Berner has a warning for those who are rushing for cannabis entrepreneurs who are rushing for a quick payday. Consider doubling down on yourself before giving away a piece of your pot.

“A lot of people are looking for that money right now. (But) there’s power in building equity. When I look at my equity in Cookies (weed side) alone. I only take a small salary from Cookies weed side. I get a salary that’s almost laughable (for) the type of shit I do. But the equity is there if I ever want to pull.” – Berner on The Bootleg Kev Podcast

12. Stay close to the plant

In the words of Leafly California Bureau Chief David Downs, “always stay close to the plant.”

“If you go to my studio session right now, there’s 42 jars laid out on the table. All different names on them. I’ve got a note pad next to those jars. I’m just smoking them, taking notes on what I like and why I like it. Slowly putting them aside, picking which one’s I’m gonna keep and which one’s I’m gonna give away… It’s a fucking process. I love this shit.” – Berner on his love for buds

13. Curate your environment

As medical cannabis expanded in the 2000s, Berner built an eco-system that suited his goals perfectly. By 2012, he was running a club that served as a safe space for cannabis users and creatives. And when stoner icon Wiz Khalifa visited, they instantly clicked.

14. Document the process

“If you go back to YouTube, I think the reason why Cookies resonated with people is I documented every step of that process. So if you’re gonna build something, document it. You can go see me pulling strings through my hoodies ten years ago on YouTube. You can see me making those hoodies, selling that shit. You can see me (working) in the dispensary way long ago. I’ve documented every (part of the) process.” – Berner

Berner and B-Real bring livestreams, new music, and stores deals to 4/20. (Courtesy B-Real)
Berner and B-Real bring livestreams, new music, and stores deals to 4/20. (Courtesy B-Real)

15. Give the OGs their flowers

Berner took his music game to the next level by collaborating with Bay Area legends Equipto and The Jacka early on. The OGs showed him how to produce high quality music on his own terms and he took the flame and ran with it.

Berner also gained the confidence of music industry heavyweight Steve Lobel who became an early investor. “When you have close friends like Steve Loble to call up, you pretty much can get any feature you want,” says Berner. He even got an official co-sign from the estate of elusive Mob boss John Gotti. Gotti Jr. gave Berner clearance to use the family Gotti name, image, and unreleased tapes from the Teflon Don’s real life RICO cases.

16. Collaborate constantly

Working with rap superstars like B-Real and Rick Ross is a no brainer, but Berner’s also got a talent for turning underground greats into valuable partners. He’s released more joint albums with other rappers than we count with two hands, but also uses his current powers to give back to the pioneers who paved the way.

“The first person I partnered with was Branson. (He’s) been an O.G. for a long time. So that was the first person I wanted to do a deal with… We’ve been showing him what the rec game looks like. And his mind’s been blown by it.” – Berner

In addition to working with NYC weed trailblazer like Branson, he’s also helping Chris Webber bring legal cannabis access and opportunities to Detroit via Cookies U.

17. Swim with the sharks

There are already a handful of billionaires in the legal and illicit cannabis industries. But few in or within reach of the billionaire buds club hold the clout that Berner’s name carries from both farms to boardrooms. His double-barrel clout was on display in a meeting with 7-11 executives. He used Instagram Live to send 40,000 comments to the company’s page in minutes, right before their eyes. That’s a level of power that can’t be bought overnight.

18. Do what you love

He’s had independent distribution with Empire since 2006. As one of the first clients for the label that now serves many of the biggest indie artists in music, he’s maintained a long and healthy relationship between his music and marijuana endeavors. He said he feels bad when he learns that fellow artists “don’t make any money off their music,” or “they can’t drop their music when they want.”

He explains that “Music is therapy, it’s like a journal. So how could I not drop it when I want to drop it when I want to drop it? If I decided to put down Cookies today or stopped doing anything else, I could live off my music.” That’s why when he was offered traditional record deal recently, he replied: “Why would I do that?”

19. Prioritize your health

Berner’s life may have been saved by his decision to get an early cancer screening at the advice of his doctor. He was told that another six months without detection would have killed him. “1 in 3, will be diagnosed with cancer in their lives and 71 percent are getting cancers that aren’t commonly screened,” he said on The Breakfast Club. “

He is recovering from a recent surgery and is sharing the fight with his fans on IG, a decision that would be difficult for many.

“If I fight I privately, no one’s gonna know what the fuck I’m going through mentally. But if I’m straight up about it, and I share it with the world, that energy’s powerful. People give you energy that you don’t even know. And you need that shit. And two, people will know what I’m going through. So maybe they’ll lay off a little bit. Or when I cop a little attitude they won’t take it personal. But I really did it to feel the love because I needed that shit… It makes me want to keep fighting.” – Berner on The Premium Pete Show

He is now an outspoken advocate for the early screening technology that saved his life, hoping it can save many others. Berner channeled his emotions about the diagnosis into the Gotti album, which had an unlimited production budget and a deadline of his surgery day.

20. Stand out from the crowd

Cookies’ signature blue is one of the most distinct marks in the game. Many start-up brands are tracing his outline instead of forging their own path.

“I was in the dispensary and I noticed nobody had a real brand. When you see that blue, you know what time it is… It was the first hoodie I made. Give me a different blue.” – Berner

Dozens of artists have name-checked the designer brand as a status symbol, including Migos and Young Thug. In 2018, Berner said he spent two hours every morning preparing gift bags for the influencers he would see throughout the day. Considering Cookies’ current social media reach and impact, it was time well spent.

21. Take big shots

In 2012, he premiered the iconic Cookies blue hue in a music video he shot with Chris Brown and Wiz Khalifa video on a $500 budget. “When I did that song, I ran into Chris Brown in the studio,” he told Bootleg Kev. “Management approved the record, but (said) we can’t do any video.” That didn’t stop Berner from finessing a a professional quality video with a 16-wheeler, 5-figure race track location, and two of the biggest artists in music as features.

22. Don’t sell yourself short

When asked if he ever turned down a near-billion dollar offer when Cookies was still baking up. He said, “Yea, we get crazy offers all the time. I know next time we raise money for Cookies, it’s gonna be in the multiple billions.”

“I picked a very strategic, unique model. The reason we turned down $800 million back in the day is it was mostly stock. There was a good upfront, don’t get me wrong. There was a lot of cash. But most of it was stock. I decided to raise small, $20 million. And I’m still working off that same $20 million. And we stretched it and turned this shit into a fucking empire. Because we decided, instead of going out and buying assets and building from the ground, that would take too long, and a lot of money.” – Berner

“Fuck major labels. They never understood me. They never wanted to take the time. That’s probably their biggest mistake, because they probably would have had a piece of everything I’m doing now.”

23. Plan for the next generation

“I want to be a hundred-year brand,” says Berner. He’s already planning strains that will drop in 2080, along with marketing and messaging to customers to explain his vision even if he’s no longer around to lead the company in 60 years.

“We’re menu planning out for a hundred years. Not just right now. I got so (many) genetics in my hands right now form all the breeders that we have in-house and the ones we collaborated with. I kind of treat it like (collecting) beats. I pick A, B, C, D, E, F, G, keep ’em, (then) release a couple a year.” – Berner

24. Understand IP

Berner popularized the strain formerly known as Girl Scout Cookies, then seamlessly rebranded it as just Cookies to avoid legal issues because, “We knew we were gonna get sued.” Protect your intellectual property as fiercly as your physical property, and respect the laws governing other peoples’ IP.

25. Keep a clear mind

Berner famously doesn’t drink alcohol. He had a wild streak from 18 to 23, “bartending and doing coke.” But it’s been 15 years since he drank heavily or did substances other than cannabis.

26. Make grassroots investments

Berner thinks that big money players should invest in the growers at the ground level before trying to raise more funds. Here’s how he build his multi-state network:

“Go around the world, go around the country, find the operators that are killing it right now, let’s do a partnership with them that’s very rich in their favor right now. We keep the majority of money coming in right now. But we get a roll-up option on their stores. We get to purchase their store in the future. We get a small rip on percentage, and we get creative control of their operation. So you empower a great grower, provide them with an exit plan, (and) you empower their knowledge and their skills. I would rather work with a bunch of talented people than have to build everything because it would take too long.” – Berner

27. There is no competition

“I’ve seen weed unite people all around the world. That’s why I do it. (And) I love weed. I’m obsessed with it… I’m passionate about this shit. When you’re passionate about something and you really live it, and you understand why you’re doing, I don’t think you can even worry about no one else. So I welcome everyone getting in the game with open arms.” – Berner

28. Own your own story

These days, it’s important to own your narrative. And the steps we just outlined couldn’t tell the half of what Berner went through on his path. That’s why he’s teaming with a co-creator of Snowfall to tell his life story in his own words. We can’t wait.

28.5. Exit plan

An ounce is really 28.3495 grams. So, here’s an extra nug:

If you don’t have an exit plan for every situation you’re in, you’re not playing the game, you’re playing yourself.

It could be retirement down the road, freedom now, or wealth for your children’s children. But whether the party goes on all night, or ends early, you need to have your exit mapped out from the moment you enter.

“If I ever exit, if there’s ever a liquidity event… My goal is to pass this shit to my daughter. I tease her all the time. You’re about to be a little CEO, you better learn the game.” – Berner

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