It was 8 a.m. on a Thursday when we met Berner, a rapper who’s become famous for his passion for cannabis and his frequent collaborations with big, weed-loving musicians including Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, and B-Real. In fact, the cover of his latest album, The Big Pescado, features a Cannabiscapes drawing of his face made with ground flower.
“We brought a small joint just for this conversation,” we said as we greeted him—remember, it was very early. “Well, I have a really big joint for this conversation,” he responded.
As the rapper lit up the humongous joint, we asked him about his history with pot.
From Arizona To The Bay
Berner remembers he fell in love with weed as a kid. “Like everyone else, I smoked it when I was like thirteen or fourteen years old and was able to enjoy it,” he told High Times. “However, the first time I smoked it was in Arizona so it was not the best quality.”
“I thought I loved it but, when I was around fifteen or sixteen years old, I got a chance to smoke some shit in the Bay Area… and that was a life-changing experience, you know?”
If his memory does not fail him, it was the Mango strain. “At first, I was more like an enthusiast and just obsessed with the herb. But then I turned eighteen, and that same day, the actual day, 10/27, I went and got my medical marijuana card in the Bay Area.
“Obviously, growing up here, we used to pay people to go into the cannabis clubs for us and stuff like that,” he added. But that changed on that October day. Since that moment, Berner started frequenting a particular dispensary, and eventually decided to shoot a documentary about it.
“I was working at a coffee shop at the time, selling weed at a coffee shop, and one day I went into the dispensary I was doing a documentary on and they offered me a job,” he reminisces.
Strain By Strain
Berner is considered responsible for the creation of some of the most popular weed strains in the U.S., including Girl Scout Cookies, Gelato, and SnowMan. Coincidentally, hip-hop OG Twista mentioned these same strains as his favorites during a recent High Times interview. So we asked Berner about his favorite weed.
HT: What’s your favorite strain?
Berner: Right now I’m really into this Limoncello strain. It’s so aromatic and tastes so good… It looks and smells so good… It’s a conversation starter; I just love it.
I also really love the Biscotti as well. Those two are my favorites right now.
HT: What’s your favorite consumption method?
Berner: I really just enjoy smoking a good joint that I hand rolled myself. I’m a joint guy.
HT: What’s the story behind the best joint you’ve ever smoked? We’ve heard stories about Deon Cole, about Metallica and Marilyn Manson…?
Berner: My favorite joint was when I was a kid. I was on a bus in San Francisco, on Venice Street and this guy got onto the bus smelling like the craziest skunk I’ve ever smelled in my life. So, my friends and I went and sat right next to him (his name was Chad) and asked him where we could buy that. He said he didn’t sell weed but gave us a bud as a gift. It was the most lime-green skunkiest shit I’d ever smoked in my life.
When we asked him was it was, he said it was some Brazilian Indica Skunk. It was the weirdest name I’d ever heard, so we didn’t take it seriously. We got off the bus and me and my boys rolled up and smoked at the bus stop.
I just remember hearing my heartbeat through my ears, and the way that shit tasted, and the way it smelled down the block, and the way that like seven of us got high off one joint.
I don’t know why it was; I don’t know what young Chad had, but that shit was fucking insane. It just stuck with my memory for life.
HT: We gotta find him!
Berner: I know. He wouldn’t give us his number. He just wanted us to enjoy that joint.
HT: Last one. Given that you often roll with big smokers like Snoop, Wiz and B-Real, sort of poster children for weed, can you share one story about a great joint, particular adventure, or cannabis-infused shenanigan?
Berner: Shit… I remember we were on tour one time with B-Real and we got pulled over in Pennsylvania and police came on the bus I had a pound of weed in my hands. B-Real was lighting a dab, heating up the torch. So, when we saw the cop we both froze.
“You guys are fucking busted,” he said, as I wondered how the fuck had this cop gotten onto the fucking bus. Our hearts were like dropping.
Suddenly the cop goes “I’m just kidding man. B-Real, I love you. What’s up motherfucker?” He pulls out his phone, he flips the camera and tells us we’re on DTV. He says, “hey, don’t be scared, man. Roll that shit up!”—and I’m sitting there still holding the pound [of weed] trying to figure out what the f*ck is going on.
Long story short, the cop was very nice. He asked about Cypress Hill, our tour, how was Pennsylvania treating us… you know… He just wanted to fuck with us; he knew we were on the bus and he thought it would be funny to mess with us. All along, I’m still holding the weed, looking at him, thinking like there’s no fucking way this guy’s not going to f*cking beat me up and take me to jail. But he didn’t!
This was the coolest cop ever, and he made me realize cops are people too! Sometimes they don’t even want to take people to jail for this shit [weed], but they are forced to do so.
I was an eye-opener, it was a scare, but it was actually really cool.