Cash Only’s 420 Recs: Zach Harris, Weed and Skate Writer

Harris talks about his rolling rigamarole, preferring savory strains, and his appreciation of simple but solid paraphernalia.
Photo by Zach Sokol

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I am proud to share my name with Zach Harris, even if weed industry people sometimes get us confused. After all, I regularly worked with the Philly-based writer for years while I was editor at Merry Jane. Harris was one of our main contributors, and we’d often be CC’ed on the same emails, so marijuana media mix-ups were par for the course. 

But ZH is his own man — a unique Zach with strong convictions, a well-oiled cortex, and the lungs of an ultra-marathon runner. For real, this guy can smoke some fucking weed. It always blew my mind that the dude would chief at least a dozen or two joints a day, yet still be awake before me and always hit his deadlines. 

Me and Harris collaborated a lot, including on several features I’m proud of to this day: His screed against “moon rocks,” caviar, and tarantula joints; a deep dive into the secondary market for rare and discontinued Backwoods flavors; and the very first investigation of the “mysterious vaping illness” (later dubbed EVALI) which was spurred by fake and bootleg THC cartridges. This last scoop went viral and led to coverage on Rolling Stone, NYPost, and countless other publications before the topic became a national news item. 

These days, Harris still writes about weed and skating for publications like Complex, but mostly does consulting and copywriting for cannabis brands like Cookies, Viola, Elyon, and more. Not too long ago, he conceived and executed an exclusive partnership between Cookies and Spitfire Wheels, celebrating pro skater Kader Sylla. Zach is also very good at Twitter and is a must-follow for anyone who’s into authentic cannabis culture.

We’re grateful to consider Harris a pal and co-conspirator, and the weed lord made some time to talk about his pot preferences with Cash Only. In a fun interview, Zach discusses his morning joint rolling rigamarole, shouts out some heady growers, and also gives the nod to his brother Malcolm’s upcoming book. The Harris family is full of heads, what can I say! Big ups to Zach H. — you’re a real-deal stoner with a beautiful brain.

Photo by Zach Sokol

Do you have a current favorite weed strain? How do you like to consume it?

Zach Harris: Lately, I’ve been smoking a lot of sun-grown First Class Funk and Horchata my family grew in NorCal and then some indoor London Pound Cake. I try to switch up flavors pretty frequently, but I’m typically into the more funky, gassy, savory strains. 

Consumption-wise, I’m usually smoking a bong or dab rig at home and then personal-sized joints whenever I’m outside. We’re still in a pandemic, so I’m not passing my joints to anyone, but I’ll usually have enough on hand to give you your own persy joint if I like you. Sometimes, I smoke joints at home instead of the bong. I’ve also been rolling a lot of hash holes lately, which is just a joint with a rope of rosin in the middle — very heady and popular these days. They’re great for when I’m really trying to smack myself in the face. In general, I like to roll joints.

Zach Harris’ joint case is always this full.

What’s your day-to-day consumption like? Bring us through a day in the life of your lungs.

I’m definitely an all-day smoker; I like the label “stoner.” In the morning, I try to match my French press with a bowl or joint for each cup of coffee from like 8 am to noon, so that gets the day going. Then I’ll roll about 8 or 10 joints before I leave the house. I have this cool joint case that I got at a flea market a while back, and I feel a little naked if I’m out and I don’t have that with me at least half-way full. I also think the process of rolling joints is really meditative — you get in a good zone. 

If I’m at home most of the day working, I’ll keep packing bong bowls or doing dabs pretty steadily. And then if I’m out and about, I’m smoking those 10ish joints I rolled earlier at the regular pace of a cigarette smoker — like half a pack a day haha. I used to smoke a bunch of cigarettes when it was less acceptable to smoke weed in public, but like five or six years ago I quit cold turkey and just replaced that habit with more weed. Plus, these days no one gives you shit for smoking weed in public, so I just keep smoking my joints. If I’m outside and I run out of rolled ones, I usually have enough supplies in my tote bag to roll more, so I’ll do that.


Do you have any favorite weed products — any particular papers, grinders, or whatever? What makes them special? 

I’m a big fan of simplicity and simple stuff that works. I like a two chamber grinder. I don’t need a keef catcher; I want the keef to stay with the weed, where it belongs. I usually roll with 1 ¼ size Vibes or Element papers with the Raw perforated wide tips. Those perforated wide tips are key. I want the crutch on my joints to be the size of a cigarette filter, not a tiny nub that you can’t actually hold between your fingers. 

At home I use a bong from Heir. They sent me one in 2019 when I was writing a lot of product reviews and I’ve sworn by it since. It’s incredibly easy to clean, super sturdy, and works every time. The other product I use a lot from my time on PR seeding lists is the PuffCo Peak Pro. Don’t need to say much about that one; it’s a spaceship dab rig and it is perfect.

Last but not least, my parents live out in California and they have a friend who’s a sick woodworker, and she recently carved me a custom rolling tray, so I use that every day. Thanks mom and dad!

The custom rolling tray Harris uses.

Which cannabis brands impress you these days — whether due to their products, their aesthetics, or something else.

Honestly, most of the flower I smoke comes from a super small unbranded family farm, but when it comes to branded weed, the two California companies I’ve worked closest with — Cookies and Viola — have impressed me with their product, but also the people and approach. As a freelancer, I would also like to say that they both pay on time, which is way cooler than any packaging. 

As far as other branded flower, I really dig the Mom’s Weed from Huckleberry Hill Farms in Humboldt, Gummiez and The Menthol from Compound Genetics, and I’m really stoked to check out the new menu of strains from my friends at The Rare — their Olive Wagyu is one of my favorite Gelato profiles and their packaging is always some of my favorite.

I also recently tried a couple strains from Green Bodhi that were both really great — shoutout to those guys, they’re doing things right.

Zach Harris at Washington Square Park on 4/20/22

What activity do you like to do after you’ve gotten stoned? 

I’ve been really into bowling lately, and taking joint breaks every few games is a really good way to get your head right. Same with the beer league softball I’ve been playing lately. Smoking a joint between innings in the dugout is great. I also like skateboarding, biking, and going on walks while I’m smoking weed. The best stuff to do while you’re stoned is the stuff you can do while you’re actively smoking, because I’m always gonna want to smoke another one. I’m the guy who is always gonna ask “Can we smoke here?” no matter what we’re doing, so whenever the answer is yes, that’s what I wanna be doing. 

Can you recommend something to watch while stoned?

Can’t go wrong with TV procedurals. Whether it’s Monk, Burn Notice, Law & Order (any flavor), or Hawaii 5-0, the best shows to watch while you’re stoned are things that you can watch without much context. So many of the premium cable or streaming site shows are just overly dramatic roads to nowhere, man. They’re all so dark — like not even in content, but in how they’re shot; I can barely see what’s going on half the time. Much better off with a few episodes from season 3 of the early 2000s network dramedy Las Vegas starring Jimmy Caan — he’ll spend 45 minutes sussing out a gang of motocross-riding card counters or something like that. Much chiller.

What do you like to listen to after smoking? Any albums, radio shows, or podcasts?

I think we’re in a pretty incredible golden era of rap music in every corner of the country. I’ve been listening to a lot of the Detroit wave like Veeze, Icewear Vezzo, GT, Babyface Ray, 42, and those dudes. Then the Flint guys, like Rio, Sleazy World Go from Kansas City, and Memphis heads like Glorilla, Key Glock, and of course Young Dolph. Ummmm, Fivio, DThang, and the scene in New York is cool. I’m also still listening to a lot of Drakeo the Ruler and Ralphy — that LA sound. Then finally, I like the scene of guys killing it out here in Philly — OT7Quanny, Poundside Pop, RB Cat, and a bunch more. There’s so much good music out right now.

Can you recommend something to read after smoking? 

Can I ever! My brother, Malcolm Harris, is getting set to release his third book, Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World, in 2023, so you should pre-order that now. And while you’re at it, grab his first two books, Kids These Days: The Making of Millennials and Shit Is Fucked Up and Bullshit: History Since the End of History. Yes, he’s my brother, but he’s also an incredible thinker, writer, and stoner, who has an uncanny ability to break down super complex subjects in a way that is fun, funny, and radicalizing. If you’re bummed at how things are going in the world and you want to know how they got this way, Malcolm’s books will make some things click. Seriously, go buy all his books right now. 

I’ve also recently read a couple books by some skate friends that are really awesome. The Most Fun Thing from professor Kyle Beachy is a great compilation of short essays about life, love, and skateboarding. And Top of Mason is a novel by pro skater Walker Ryan that reads super fun and fast. I read it on the beach in Miami and it was perfect.

Who’s in your dream blunt rotation? Dead or alive. 

Gotta give an obligatory shoutout to my family, because they all smoke just about as much weed as I do, but we don’t all live in the same city. So when we all get together, those are my dream sessions. 

But that’s not a very fun answer, so let’s go with John Cardiel, Klay Thompson, Kylie Minogue, Young Dolph, and Megan Thee Stallion. That would be a sick crew.

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