Coming off of another highly successful Hall of Flowers event, I thought I’d do something a little special for the list this month. After a marathon such as HOF, my bags were packed with far more flame than usual, so we’re taking it up a notch for this one. What follows are my 15 highlights from the event—including the hype from the showroom floor, what the OGs were passing around, and a special lil’ shout out to the talk of the town.
Before we get into that, though, I want to give a massive shout-out to all those I saw on site—whether we sparked up or just slapped fives, it was excellent to see your smiling faces again. It’s been a long time since I got to feel the love like that, and I was instantly reminded of the magic I’d been missing. Big thanks to the Hall of Flowers team for this massive undertaking; I know I speak for many of us when I say we needed it!
As always, feel free to let us know what I missed on Twitter @joncappetta or @High_Times_Mag—I know for certain I’m missing a few gems on this! More importantly, come and say what up the next time you see us out at the show; I wanna hear about what’s exciting you!
10 from the Floor:
While I’d heard the rumblings about these guys before the show, HOF was my first chance to get hands-on with the new industry darlings Blueprint. Founded by a cultivator who used to produce for Connected (is there a stronger legal co-sign?), it’s clear to see why these guys are already driving so much attention.
The three strains I got to see, Jesus Shuttlesworth, Backyard Boogie and Triple Lindy, were each standouts—all packing an aroma you could smell from the next booth over while wearing a mask. Fans of craft cannabis will know this brand’s name soon if they haven’t learned it already …
Another first taste for me last week was of UMMA, a small batch organic-focused flower company from Sonoma County. With four cultivars on display at the event, (Hermosa, Deja Vu, Guavosier and White Runtz—by order on their display table), it’s clear that these guys know what they’re doing when it comes to cultivating or sourcing—everything they brought seriously smacked.
My personal favorite from the lineup was the Deja Vu, though you can’t go wrong with any of their flavors—the White Runtz was another notable standout. These guys have a good team behind them, so I’m confident we’ll be hearing more about these guys before long, but here’s to hoping some of those beautiful Sonoma flowers find their way downstate more often!
While HOF is typically a celebration of the new, few of the brands that have been around for a while brought anything truly innovative to the show this year. Sure, there were some new flower crossovers or cuts, but in a sea of mostly the same, it’s super satisfying to see the OGs over at Alien Labs continue to push the buck forward even while already so far ahead of the pack.
With over two years in development, this show was the debut of Alien Lab’s new, airtight and waterproof jars—which I have to say look and feel like everything you’d expect from the market leader. With an aesthetic that feels like you’re buying weed in a UFO, now you’re not only getting the best flavors from these guys—you’re getting a proper display setup too.
They also had a preview of their new Gemini strain in one of the beakers, and while y’all know I love flower more than just about anything (and this one was nothing short of magic), I’m still alarmingly excited that someone finally fixed the jar problem.
This was a fun one! In a recent list, I talked about the Shrimp Chips and how those were unusually delicious, but what if they were Cheetos? All of a sudden, things are much more my speed!
Cut to Tsumo and their delicious new line of doodle-type snacks infused with 10 mg of THC that I was introduced to last week. Their delicious doodles come in two flavors, cheese or hot, and let me tell you—they’re just as good as the snack you buy at the convenience store. In case these are ‘too much’ for ya, they also make tortilla chips, which are available in zesty ranch or hint of lime. Now while I know my tolerance is significantly higher than most, I don’t see how anyone could go wrong with this product.
Normally I don’t get too excited about brands having large footprints at events like these, but man, am I excited to see how Pinkies has scaled up in just a few short months. With one of the larger outdoor setups at the event, it was impossible to enter C hall or hang out under the trees without getting a Pinkies impression, and boy do they stand out.
I’ve probably talked before about their flip on the Newport logo, and how their aesthetic is one of my faves in the space, but their new Pink Envy cut is one you’re going to want to make sure you cop yourself. A cross between London Pound Mints x Jealousy, the name is a nod to the increasing wave of pink we’ve seen across the industry the past few months. If there’s one thing you can rest assured of, these guys are often imitated, but never duplicated.
Without question the most popular spot at HOF was the Connected/Alien Labs booth, and for good reason. With some of the highest quality flower on the market, pretty much everything Connected touches is top tier, and like I said earlier, even being associated is enough to propel a newcomer.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that Connected’s new Pantera Limone is one of the hottest tickets in town right now. Although I don’t think it technically launched at HOF, it was certainly one of the most popular favorites of the show. Seriously, I had MULTIPLE people asking what I thought before the end of the first day. Although not as up-y as I expected from the terp profile, this is a refreshingly bright-nosed cultivar for the Connected team. Not quite as citrus-y as the Lemonatti, but with an equally stand-out nose.
I’ve been waiting for this one for a minute, so I’m extremely excited to see this not only go live, but that they’re actually bringing the heat. Having established themselves up north in Canada, the cannabis lifestyle brand is making its first play in the States, taking on the formidable California market.
Given how Canadian brand launches have gone in the past down here, you wouldn’t be wrong to have a degree of skepticism, but thanks to their partnership with LA locals Problem and Green Label RX the market will certainly not be disappointed by this offering.
Their pilot strains, Butter Tarts & Beaver Tail, are each loud in their own right, but I think their Beaver Tail blunts are what’s going to turn the most heads this fall. Complete with a mouthpiece modeled after (you guessed it) a beaver’s tail, these 2G, hemp-wrapped blunts are sure to become a party staple.
I’m a long-time fan of Wonderbrett’s, so when there’s a new drop coming I’m almost always tuning in, but this new Cherry Trop checks all my boxes. Known for their standout terps, Wonderbrett didn’t disappoint with their new cultivar, but honestly, it’s the look of these buds that is worth writing home about this time.
Photogenic in just about every way, the dense buds start with light green bases that darken to purple on the tips, frosty with trichomes and fuzzy with bright orange hairs, this flower was so perfectly manicured you’d think they were setting these up to be shot for the centerfold. That’s not to diminish the nose—these almost spicy buds are bursting with flavor from the second you open the jar, but trust, this is the score you’re going to post on your IG.
This one’s getting points for their thoughtfulness, and it’s one that I probably would’ve overlooked had Steph from Viola not pointed them out to me, so cheers to her. At first glance, Jiko Joints are infused, half-gram doobers with extended filters, but the rationale behind the filter sizing is where things start to get interesting.
Designed to extend the airflow allowing more time to cool the smoke, these 0.4g flower 0.1g badder joints pack a serious punch, but to the credit of the design, they aren’t punching your lungs—just your intoxication levels. While a lot of people are trying to throw as much into the joint as they can to bring the THC percent to its peak, Jiko is ensuring a quality smoke for its consumers.
The work coming out of the Ember Valley camp lately has been on a serious rise. Not that their flower hasn’t been tops for awhile, but the last few new cultivars they’ve championed, like the Zkittles Sangria, for example, have really transcended the brand’s past cultivars.
I caught up with these guys at the event, and while I’m extremely excited to try the new, infused blunt line they’re launching, I’m also geeked about the pheno hunt they’re working on right now. I’m not sure which of these are going to make it to the next level, but just in case they make it to retailers I’m going to call out my top three: The Tropic Truffles x Cookies & Cream, the Grape Stomper x Cherry Pie x Wedding Cake and their Platinum Tangie x Arise.
If any of these become available, trust me when I say they’re worth buying for the nose alone.
5 on the Scene:
While I’d heard the good word about Lemon Up and the Pink Z for a while now (you might have too if you’re also following Juice on Instagram), one of the highlights of Hall of Flowers was finally getting to link with Sure Fire Selections, despite them not having a booth.
While both their best-known cultivars are just as good as I’d heard rumors of, it was the Z28 that had my jaw on the floor. Serious wow factor, even for seasoned, top-shelf consumers. While it’s not easy to get your hands on, it’s easy to see why people are spending their rent to get these jars.
I know that everyone loves the diesel smell, and that OGs run the market, but I have got to take my hat off to the Cuban Linx cut from Flamingo Farms for revitalizing me with some fresh terps last week. Bred by Swamp Boy Seeds and selected by the Flamingo crew, the Cuban Linx is a cross between Trigerian and GMOTK Skunk, and while this may have a bit more citrusy profile than some consumers are used to, there’s something both nostalgic and refreshing about those classic terps. Also, shout-out to Jason Pinsky for the invite to the function; that one was legendary.
I’ve sang Doja Pak’s praises for a while now, but that gang continues to impress. Every time I hear there’s a new flavor they’re hyped on, I’ll drive basically wherever I have to to get a look, let alone a taste.
I know these guys are their own harshest critics, so when they’re excited, the hype is real. This is self-tested, after all. The latest is a Bixcotti cut crossed with Helium, and for a group that’s consistently pushing unique terps, this one does not disappoint. A bit more vibrant than you’d expect from a Bixcotti cross, this one will rock you, but not necessarily to sleep.
This one was actually kicked down to me by the homie Turtle from Turtle Pie Co, but this is my formal note to pay more attention to whatever GreenDawg Cultivators is putting out because their work is always impressive.
I’ve known about their work with the above-mentioned legend Doja Pak, as well as Wizard Trees and Deep East, but Turtle brought me some of the fresh Zoap they’ve been growing, and BOY are they doing right by that cut. I KNOW the hype is real about the ¥$11 too, so I’m keeping my eye out for that. You probably should, too.
They don’t even need to show up to be one of the best in the room sometimes, and Hall of Flowers was no exception for the cult-followed Fig Farms. The subject of the first-ever Brand Spotlight column in our print magazine years back, I’ve been singing the gospel about these guys to anyone who would listen since basically the first day I saw them.
If we’ve talked about them personally, I’ve likely told you their plants look like they’re grown on Mars—there’s something almost alien about them—and despite all the success they’ve seen, they just keep getting better. I had to swear that I wouldn’t talk specifics when checking out samples of their new cuts, but believe me when I tell you that what I thought was the mountain top was just a rest stop for these guys because they just keep raising the bar.
Talk of the Town:
Without a doubt the most popular question I heard all week was, “Are you going to Puffcon?” While Puffco was clearly on display at Hall of Flowers—with two massive booths both inside and outside of the main hall, and they moved WAY more product than you’d expect from a cannabis buyer’s expo—their upcoming event seems to be on everyone’s minds.
Landing at Center Studios on Saturday, October 2, the Puffcon Block Party is free to anyone (vaccinated) over 21 who also owns a Puffco Peak product—even one of the OGs. While I know the return to concerts is enticing for many of us (shout out to the Flatbush Zombies and Action Bronson who will be performing this weekend), it’s also clear that the community is eager to see each other again after so long apart.
It’s been a looong time without communal sesh’s, and even though the world isn’t quite back open the way we’d all wish, it’s going to be extra special to gather in a safe way in the heart of Los Angeles. Not to mention there will be no reason to spread germs as we’ll all have our own Peaks in tow. Finally, and what’s probably most exciting for me, is the collection of homies these guys have assembled to round out the event. From the Talking Terps crew to Elbo, Sunset Sneakers to Alien Labs, the lot is speaking my language in every way.