The dream of cannabis legalization in Nevada is yet to be realized. Sure, the Sphere is trippy, but while adults can purchase weed, there’s still only one legal spot in Las Vegas to smoke it. Not that the consumption laws stop us! If you tune your senses while walking a Vegas casino floor late at night, you may be able to pick out the herbal aroma of pot cutting through the cigarette smoke in an empty corner of whirring slot machines. There are still heroes among us, and Sin City has always hosted its share of rebels and lawbreakers. Every year in the fall, the weed world descends upon Las Vegas for the cannabis trade show, MjBizCon. While the convention floor is full of all types of ancillary businesses, actual flower is most likely found at the afterparties. Frank Sinatra did Vegas his way, and here’s a sampling of some of the best weed that made it my way.
Permanent Marker, cultivated by Preferred Gardens
One of our Best Strains of 2022, Permanent Marker is an undeniably special smoke. Sweet candy upfront framed by a solid backbone of dank, it’s Leafly’s 2023 Strain of the Year, and it rests firmly in that popular candy/gas category that just won’t quit. Bred by Seed Junky Genetics, a 2022 collaboration with Doja Pak sent this strain into orbit. With Doja Barcelona, Doja’s new social smoking cannabis club in Barcelona, Spain, now open, I fully expect Permanent Marker to woo the seed-hungry cannabis world in enough time to smoke Permanent Marker hash by Spannabis 2024. The sample I tried came way of a hash hole-sized joint at Jimi Devine’s most recent event, dripping in tapestries and tye-dye, Las Vegas Heat Quest II. The joint, which contained an entire eighth, was rolled by “Like Mike,” a professional roller in the Preferred Gardens squad. David Polley, the founder and cultivator at Preferred Gardens, has cultivated a Permanent Marker for the Doja Pak brand since the beginning of the year. “The plant itself is finicky and not the most vigorous but the flower seems to not be affected by the plant health,” Polley said. “The more stressed, the better the smoke. The greener batches seem to be the best.” Preferred dropped a 5-pound batch in select California shops this August and is planning its next release of Permanent Marker in January 2024.
OG Poison, by Prophet Brands
Fuck the feds! After his February release from serving 14 years in federal prison for operating a state-approved medical marijuana dispensary in California, Luke Scarmazzo was a welcome addition to the festivities surrounding the business gathering in Vegas this year. Scarmazzo—who notoriously made a song and a music video saying “Fuck the feds!” before his arrest—is back with his business partner, who also did time in federal prison, Ricardo Montes, under a new California cannabis company, Prophet Brands. The OG Poison buds from Prophet had the sharp scent of fresh bay laurel leaves; the buds were purple and dense, and the effects were undeniably stoney. I ripped it out of a Jerome Baker bong I picked up at the Vegas Dream Factory and got transported back to the heady high days of pre-Y2K. The ’90s are back in fashion, and we’re smoking Kush cultivars off of artisan glass that chugs!
Blueberry Bang Bang, bred by Exotic Genetix
This strain is blueberry pancakes in a smoke. The Blueberry Bang Bang by Exotic Genetix has a healthy punch of cream, blueberry, and fried dough on the nose. The cream taste translates through a hit with sweet, fresh blueberry as a secondary flavor. To create this one, Exotic’s breeder, Exotic Mike, jumped into the vintage vault, combining a Blueberry from Dutch Passion with his 2023 creation, Cherry Bang Bang. Blueberry is a second-generation strain made up of a bunch of landrace crosses, Afghani, Thai, and Oaxacan. In the 1990s, Amsterdam’s Dutch Passion worked with famed breeder DJ Short on a “blue” line of seeds. “I went back to my original Blueberry from Dutch Passion, which was more of a blueberry muffin. Rock hard buds, the nuggets blew out themselves, they looked like brains,” Mike says of the cross with Cherry Bang Bang, Cherry Cosmo x Red Runtz. “The Cherry Bang Bang is extremely frosty, amazing. Tart cherry, intense smell.” Nancy Sinatra might not like the sound of it, but she’d have to agree these buds were made for walkin’. Blueberry Bang Bang genetics could only be acquired in a recent boxed pack from Exotic Genetix or straight from their booth at a few shows this year: Necann in Chicago, Canna Con in Detroit, the Boston Freedom Rally, and MJBizCon in Las Vegas. Up next is a line of Blueberry Bang Bang crosses.
Airwhon, bred by Sherbinskis
Coming from the house of Gelato, Sherbinkskis, Airwhon combines Mr. Sherbinksi’s original Gelato, more specifically Gello—Sunset Sherbert x Thin Mint Cookies—with Lemon Cherry Gelato. One of our best strains of 2022, Lemon Cherry Gelato is another Gelato phenotype popularized by the Backpack Boyz that they grew from a Gelato #33 seed from Connected Cannabis Co. Airwhon smells sweet and fruity like strawberries with a bit of sandalwood. It tastes like a Gelato cultivated by the master of Gelato. While everyone may be growing LCG now, there’s a reason. From a garage in San Francisco to the glitter of Sin City, this strain retains its staying power because people love to smoke it. Mr. Sherbinski says he named this one after a place he “likes to shop,” the upscale supermarket chain Erewhon.