Can y’all believe it’s almost Christmas? I know I’ve probably said this several times by now, but I’m still feeling like we’re in some kind of fever dream back in Q1 of 2020—now you want me to believe it’s almost 2022? You’re kidding. Where has the time gone?
Well my friends, with the close of the year, we’re finally saying goodbye to the Quarantine Cop List. Despite its best efforts, it seems that the world will not be shutting back down, and this title has grown a bit stale. But never fear my little deviants, because we’re not going anywhere. Starting in January we’ll return with our original column branding, the Stone Cold Cop List, dropping the quarantine and getting straight into the action. Hopefully this makes everyone forget that dark time in our lives, since nothing else is revolving around it anymore… LOL (I’m going to keep the edition numbers running though, so don’t be surprised when you see #19 next month!)
To get into the holiday spirit for this one, I tried to find an entirely new crop for y’all. I will admit, this was a way harder feat than I expected. We’ve covered a lot of ground here already in our 17 past lives. That’s over 170 products! However, thanks to Hall of Flowers Palm Springs event, and my recent trip back to New York, this one should speak to nearly everyone. We’ve even got Ice Cream this time, folks.
Although new to this list, and my coverage, don’t be surprised if you recognize a few of these names. Those with a good view of the market should be familiar with some past award winners, as well as a newly legal operator, mentioned below. You might have also seen the hype around others. If you caught an L too, or just want to tell me about what you’re next cop is, hit me on Twitter and we can hash it out: @joncappetta
Newly licensed and fresh on the scene, Candypaint was without question the belle of the ball at Hall of Flowers Palm Springs event. I should back up and start by saying that I’ve been chasing this kid since last spring when I got a sample of his batch of Runtz, which remains the best expression of the cultivar I’ve seen to date. It’s clear his work has only improved with time, and that his move to the recreational market hasn’t sacrificed any quality. Although his Bolo is the star of the show right now, I also got a peek at the 996 that’s dropping in January and let me just say, you’re going to want to taste it all. Between the smell of these nugs, and the absolutely insane frost coverage, you’re probably going to post pictures of these on your instagram.
Speaking of posting on your insta, here’s another brand that takes photogenic to entirely new heights. Team Elite should be a familiar name to those who have paid attention to the Cannabis Cup historically. The frequent award winner doesn’t only grow beautiful-looking plants, the terps are next level too. I’ve always been a fan of their Orange varietals, like the ‘Orange Soda’ and ‘Orange Juice’ cuts they’ve run for years, but their new heat is just as vibrant. Pearadise has a deliciously potent flavor that sticks on your pallet through the entire smoke, and will continue to linger long after. Not only that, but this was such a perfectly energizing high that it may become part of my new morning routine.
This is a first for the Cop List, but as you all know I’m a snack fiend, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that I’m also into Ice Cream. Well friends, let me let you in—I’ve found the top of the frozen dairy mountain. Based out of New York City, but shipping across the country, Mikey Likes It’s Ice Cream is without question the best I’ve ever had, and I’m a guy who has waited in a LOT of lines for ice cream. Mikey pulled up on me during my trip to New York at the next list mention with all of his flavors and unleashed the magic. It was otherworldly. Besides having the single best cookie dough concoction I’ve ever had, his strawberry cheesecake was also a dream. Dude even makes a green ice cream that tastes like cucumbers that somehow smashes. I’ve been drooling about it for weeks since. If you’re in New York it’s definitely worth the trip to one of his three locations, but I’m not waiting until my next trip—we’ll see how cross-country ice cream delivery goes.
I was going to mention this spot in the Mikey segment, but these guys deserve their own extended shout so boom. Nestled on the lower east side of Manhattan, Astor Club is a members only cannabis speakeasy that while moving plenty of local work, specializes in exotics hard to acquire even in California. While there are many places across the globe trying to perfect the cannabis lounge experience right now, none provide the kind of atmosphere and community you’ll find at this little hideaway.
My guys at High Rise had put me onto Fresh Baked ages ago, but I’ll be honest, with so much work in the market, it took me much longer than I should have to finally check out all their gear. As you know I don’t mind saying—y’all, I’ve been sleeping. These nugs don’t just look pretty, the nose on them is overpowering—it will turn the volume up on your room damn near instantly. Maybe don’t break these out in public. While their Cherry Fritter is sure to be a crowd pleaser no matter your audience, it was their Versace that I’m going to be chasing after for awhile. The true hybrid won’t knock you out, but it will make the day seem far more gentle, if that makes sense, and you’ll crave it after the high fades.
Another true hybrid, let’s talk about Oakfruitland’s V-Power. I’ve been hearing rumblings about these guys for awhile now, and Hall of Flowers was my chance to finally catch them in real time. While everyone has raved about their Oak-lato, I’m far more interested in new terps, and their soon to release V-Power is just different enough to be dangerous. There’s definitely a hint of that nose in there, but with a cheesier finish, it’s quite nice. My favorite part about these guys though, as it’s far from the state’s norm, is that they list their Terpene counts on the packaging, so if you’re a Caryophyllene fan, this one’s for you.
I’ve never really been a designer fanboy, but there’s something about all of Salehe’s work that just hits on multiple angles for me. Something about his use of natural colors, and familiar patterns, and textures, that reminds me of the feeling I get from Talking Terps work, which for lack of a better term I call an organic cool. Well, he’s done it again, and again with a brand that I previously viewed as even less attractive than his other recent collaborators, New Balance. While that may sound like shade it’s not—it is incredibly more difficult to take something unattractive and make it appealing than it is to make a cool version of the J1 or dunk. Dude’s got me catching L’s on a brand I said I’d never wear. I even woke up early and everything! While the first round went lightning fast (five minutes into presale) and the resale rates are insane, I’m sure there’s more coming so keep an eye out!
While there are several brands getting their footing in New York right now, many are just importing their work from out of state and working on building a name for themselves. Few are growing locally, and craft cannabis production hasn’t fully taken off like it has elsewhere. This has to do more with the maturity of the market than anything else, but I was very pleased to meet with GroWolf during my time back home to see some local small batch work. While many people can grow, what I find most impressive about these guys is actually their curing ability—my dude’s finishing RIGHT, which is infinitely harder. The terps on the flowers he showed me were clearly properly tended, so I’m excited to watch him develop. My personal favorite from his recent crop was his Slurricane, if you can manage to snag any!
Continuing on the New York tip, here’s a new jack I’m keeping my eye on. Looking like a young Doja Pak for the tri-state area, 167 Exotics is off to a pretty excellent start, pushing exo’s and rubbing elbows with rappers. Currently known as the Maqui plug in NYC, I’ve seen this kid pop up in a lot of the right rooms lately, and with a lot of gas in tow. My personal favorite from his collection was the Sour Sniffits, which had me actually enjoying a vape cart for the first time in years, but given how he moves I expect the hype around this guy to only grow.
I’m dangerously close to calling these the best blunts in the game right now. I’m typically a little sus of pre-rolled blunt products, even on the legal market. It’s not personal, but if I don’t see the weed go into it I’m not confident the experience is going to be worth the cost premium, and that’s a lot of weed to waste if things go south. Well I’ve only smoked two of these so far, but they’ve both blown me so far away in terms of experience that I’m considering smoking nothing but wood tips any longer. While this is a new brand that I just learned about at Hall of Flowers, this is definitely one I’m more than comfortable saying try ASAP, no matter the SKU. You might end up brand-loyal with these guys.