We’re less than halfway through October but boy has it been a banger already, so we’re stacking this one extra fat to catch up on all the action. I feel like I’m constantly saying to myself ‘that was only last week’ after talking about things that seemed to have happened months ago, and I don’t want to let any flame slip through the gaps. Although I’m still going to do our normal collection at the end of the month, there was a TON of heat across Puffcon and Hall of Flowers, and a special edition was warranted, so let’s get into it.
First off, Puffcon was a blast. I really believe this is the best event doing it right now. While I tried to go incognito to this one and trip out off the radar, this event is so packed with homies that I couldn’t walk 5 feet without running into one of the gang. Not to mention all the vendors and entertainers that come out for Puffco’s flagship celebration are incredible, so the whole event feels like the best sort of family reunion. In fact, given how quickly everything is happening right now it feels weird to think that that was only the second one – it could’ve been a ten year reunion. I hear rumblings they’re going to go even bigger for the next one, so if you’ve been sleeping so far please hear me: not all events are made the same, and you will likely be far less stoked on the half-assed happenings around town once you see what’s possible. Once again, shouts to Puffco for making it all happen.
Returning to Santa Rosa, Hall of Flowers was once again the massive brand show-out you’d expect. The ComplexCon for weed, all of the industry’s hypebeasters were on the scene to see the latest and greatest, and the OG’s were on the ground working out of backpacks instead of paying thousands for tables. While attendance did feel a bit lighter this year than usual, I would actually argue that counter-programming won the day for this one. Although none of the officially un-official afterparties were anything to write home about, two private affairs happened at Sazon (which is SO good – if you’re in Santa Rosa it’s a must stop) the first two nights. More on that later, but as always, don’t miss a Doja sesh if you hear it’s happening. That one was LEGENDARY.
As always, let me know what you’re excited about, what I missed, what you’ve got coming, or what just generally sucks on Twitter.
I already told you Puffcon was about the homies, and just like last year I’m so stoked on Talking Terps activation on site. Once again bringing the cottage to the masses, this year the gang debuted a special commemorative event shirt (featuring Crawford & his Proxy), towels, some toys & foam fingers. On top of a killer activation, with a new mural by Sunflower Form & his girlfriend, the craziest part to me is how the Terps are always visible before you even enter the event. Most of the line was covered in their various drops and while everyone had a Puffco product, I would definitely say the next most popular brand of the outing was the squad. The boys had a line ALL DAY!
Alien Labs x Fullymelted drop
Another brand I talk about a lot, the Aliens. Of course. But bro – the collab they dropped with Fullymelted (from Wooksauce Winery) is quite possibly the best rosin I’ve ever smoked in my life. Full stop. Of course I was an idiot and forgot to scoop a jar before the event because I was losing my mind, and there were only 100 to begin with, but thankfully my buddy Frank Castillo did and glob’d me out at The Comedy Store. All I can say is despite being insanely high already, that Xeno cut right through. Not only was I elevated to a new level, but that flavor stayed on my tongue through the next three joints.
This was, without question, the most ridiculous pre-party I have ever been to. Besides the fact that there was probably a half a million in glass scattered throughout the house, and the most premium cannabis products available on the market today, these guys flew our Custy Chef from New York to make the best pizza I’ve had in my life – for eight hours. Even crazier, dude didn’t come in for the day. They brought him in for the week, and he spent at least 3 days prepping for the meal. It was as incredible as it sounds. I have no idea how this came together. I was invited by my guy BK the God who assured me ‘Custy Life’ was not a brand, but a vibe, and that absolutely no business would go down there. Homies like Kapow, Dan’s Roll Ups, Alkemist Organics and even the elusive Bobby Trill showed up. I’ve since learned from Dan that the whole purpose of this thing is really to recruit new White Corn Pizza missionaries – which, mission accomplished: I’ve converted. In all seriousness though, this was probably the most extravagant outing I’ve seen to date.
Yes, Jon likes Zkittles. We know this, tell us something new. Okay, well how about this? Of course the one time I miss Doja’s sesh FieldZ shows up with all his new Z phenos and ya boy wasn’t there to see! Seems my luck lately. Fortunately, my guy Jesse the Chef couldn’t let him leave town without pulling some new fire for the community. Selected by Jesse and affectionately named Z5 (a play on the A5 wagyu he’s become known for), I’ve seen a lot of good Zkittles lately, but this one’s particularly delightful. Given that it’s still a bit early for the premieres of the new phenos, this is your shot to get laced up right now.
Probably my favorite part of Puffcon is the lot, which brings out so many incredible artists to introduce and sell their wares to the community. While the usual suspects like All My Hats Are Dead, Trove SF, and Elbo were back showing out, I was fortunate enough to meet the new homie Trevy Metal for the first time, and boy was I stoked to see his spread. I picked up this crazy half smiley with a skeleton peeking out pillow that’s way cooler than it sounds now reciting it back. But from his prints to the 1/1 merch items he had on display, it was super dope to see the breadth of this creative’s work in basically the perfect headspace for it.
And speaking of lot homies, I’ve got to call attention to how my guy MycoOakland has been growing – and not just on the fungi side. The pinky pioneer has already been quietly producing some of the best branded merch in the game – from cut & sew shorts to jackets – but what he’s got coming… Let me just say there are a lot of brands who are trying to do seasonal style offerings to mobilize billboards in the wild, but few have brands that could stand on their own if the traditional biz didn’t exist. Myco’s got that. This is the type of gear that, while definitely mentioning where it came from, could fit in just about anywhere, while still subtly nodding to the culture in each piece.
Pelli’s a legend so I doubt this is going to be the first time anyone’s hearing this name (especially if you’ve spent virtually any time in the Bay), but the man’s been popping up all over the scene lately and I want to celebrate how loud the work’s been. The always humble icon is the type to usually preface opening his bag with something like ‘this isn’t even anything that impressive’, and it ALWAYS has something THAT impressive. Not only that, but Joe’s a real artist – he’s thought through every detail of the experience so while the weed’s better than the majority of the market to begin with, he’s also got mylars that would stoke out even the most picky street hustlers. It’s hard to beat the Champ.
Also all over the scene lately has been the infamous meme legend Sourwavez. While I’ll admit I knew about the jokes before the work, one thing is clear: his plants are no laughing matter. Well, maybe that excited giggle if you’re like me, but you get it. Y’all know I’ve smoked a LOT of RS-11 in my day, but Waves’ take on the strain that has propelled several brands into the limelight already is worthy of the call out. Even better, the donuts he’s moving right now are KILLER. Branded a la The Simpsons, Smokin’ Donuts are definitely worth a snag if you come across them – some of the cleanest hash j’s I’ve smoked!
Sacred Fruits Merch Collabs
If it feels like the first half of this is all gang, it is. You’re getting 20 today and I already told you what Puffcon is about, so don’t be surprised. That said, how the Sacred Fruits infiltrated this year’s event is worth writing home about. Debuting collabs with all the legends – from a Trapis Designs dyed Alien Labs collab, to a long sleeve with the Good Trip guys, to the first-ever Sacred Fruits hats created by All My Hats Are Dead, who they also split a booth with, the gang did not let the fact that they’re primarily dealing in the less-than-legal stop them from making a splash at one of the real head’s favorite days. Well played, and thanks for the drugs!
Trich x Astor x LING x the Alchemist’s Pre-Bash
This one’s laced with counter-programming already, but I can’t forget to mention Puffcon’s OTHER pre-celebration, this time thrown by Trichadelics and Astor Club. Taking place at the 91 Club downtown and featuring a performance by the Alchemist, this one brought out all the legends and was a clear sign that the next day was about to rule. From Squints to the First Smoke of the Day gang, everyone pulled up to catch the set, grab some of Trich’s new press, and score one of the hyper limited oz jars Alchemist x Life is Not Grape released of 11 Grapes. Coming off Custy Life, this was the perfect way to end the day and lean into the celebrations of the weekend.
Surefire Selections New Phenos
Another excellent pre-party I had the fortune of attending was Surefire Selections’ new pheno tasting in Santa Rosa the night before HOF began. Now, I would’ve gone to this thing either way as I respect what Surefire’s doing, but homie had it at Sazon – possibly the best restaurant in Santa Rosa (fight me, I’ll stand on it) – so I knew I was in for a treat. Even with all that going for it, as expected, the flower was once again the star of the show. My two choices of the night were Candy Fumez, a cross of Zkittles and Sherbanger (bred by Boston Roots), two consistent fan favorites, and a Cherry Pie x OZK cut (bred by Mendoja Farms) I’m not sure has a name yet. While I’m sure it’ll be a bit before these are available to the general consumers, please keep an eye out. These batches are so standout when I got back to New York my family told me “This is the most impressive stuff you’ve ever brought home.”
This is another one y’all certainly know we’re big fans of over here, but considering it was Fig Farms‘ first showing at Hall of Flowers I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my pick of the show, despite the fact that they’re a consistent favorite. You have already heard me explain that the flower these guys produce is truly in a league of its own, but they’ve always got some new special project to show me that floors me. Every. Single. Time. This show’s surprise was Z’clair, a new cross of Zonuts & Cold Heat that tastes even better than it looks. As always, this high’s stoney, especially for casual consumers, but I found a bright and giggly high, despite physically feeling sluggish.
Y’all know I’m always on the hunt for daytime strains, and I’m pleased to report a new name producing some truly impressive work. I had the pleasure of meeting the Decibel Gardens team at this year’s Hall of Flowers and while I say new because they’re new to me, the work shows the expertise is there. With three bright & citrus-y expressions that I’ve been enjoying the past few days (Golden Kiwi, Citric Acid & Cali-O), the brand has set a clear focus on a side of the market often overlooked in favor of the candy gas the market is always asking for. While I’m sure it seems like easy riches catering to what the market is asking for right now, I’m far more interested in those honing in their specific cuts, so I’m excited to watch these guys evolve.
Big Chief’s Fizzlezz
I rarely include edibles in this list anymore because there’s so much flower crushing the game right now, but you know I can’t help myself when I find something truly unique and exciting. Well gang, weed pop rocks are here, and they’re insanely delicious! Released by Big Chief, the Fizzlezz are flavored popping candy you can add to anything or just pound from the pack (guess which I did). And even better, the flavors aren’t just your standard Cherry or Grape – they have frickin Pina Colada, Mocha and even Cola! And that’s what they taste like! What a time to be alive!
I’ve been hearing good things about Sturt’s for awhile now, and while we’ve been friends online for a minute I just got to try one of his coveted hand rolls recently, and let me tell you, the hype is real. While I’m not going to lie, this thing was a gauntlet to smoke, it was incredibly flavorful and manageable despite the size – 3.5g of flower & a full gram of rosin. The first I smoked was a double down on Sherbanger, and was honestly one of the tastiest joints of my life, bar none.
One thing that seems to have gotten lost from a lot of brands lately, especially in marketing collateral and displays, is a real sense of fun. While sure everyone looks polished lately, and fancy mylars are everywhere, no one else had close to the type of vibe Real Deal Resin was providing at this year’s HOF. Emblazoned with flips of some of the most iconic wrestlers of all time, RDR’s a lot more than just good packaging, but it will definitely draw you in. Once you actually tap into the products though? You’re in for a treat. I was fortunate enough to see their work both pre and post rec, and I’ve got to say, they’re one of few that have got it down on both ends of the spectrum.
Do y’all realize how lucky you are that I’m providing you with TWO separate Z mentions in the same article? I said earlier this year that Z season was back, but even I couldn’t have expected what the OGs were about to turn out. And I haven’t even seen all the new phenos yet! But I was fortunate enough to run into Jondo a few times throughout the week in Santa Rosa, and he broke me off with one of the Original Z x West Coast Alchemy buckets he had on him. All I can say is that while this flavor is often imitated, simply nothing beats the original. If you can get your hands on one of these super limited jars I would move quick – this is one I’m going to cherish for a while.
I recently heard Joey CoCo Diaz talking about this brand and how he wanted the devil to be front and center because it’s weed and not health food. I love this mentality, but I’ll be honest, I love the weed even more. This is admittedly not the first time I’ve tried Laughing Gas, but having had the opportunity now to sniff & smoke through their whole portfolio I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the dank here too. While again, this is another one with an attractive eye-catching mylar, this is also one filling their bags with the real deal. The Zashimi was my favorite of the selection (go figure), but the Truffle & Rainbow Runtz were also worth scooping!
As just mentioned above, I’m only sharing edibles that truly excite me now, and these guys are exciting. These guys seem to infuse EVERYTHING. And when I say everything, I mean everything. They’re coming to market with 150 SKUs and include items like medicated ketchup, mashed potatoes, drink mixes, etc. It’s really never ending. Not only that, but the recipes are formulated from scratch by Casey Shea, a pastry chef formerly at Milk Bar, so they’re all actually just as delicious as they are medicated. What a great combination. For those of you that don’t want to taste any plant material, or change your diet or routine whatsoever to Runtz your life up, your ticket is on its way.
These guys aren’t a new name to me, but I’m pretty sure they’ve never graced the list before. This one’s my pick for the most standout nose of the show. While it’s a Runtz cut, which is of course not the most unique, Panacea’s Yves St. LaRuntz is certainly not just more of the same. Although the sample I saw admittedly seemed a bit early, there’s this classic musk to the buds that translates through to the flavor, and it stays with you. Almost like rotten vanilla, you’ll find yourself craving it before long. Not only was the taste there, but the high from this one was surprisingly impactful, staying with me far longer than most of its relatives had in the past.