May 30, 2023


We hit licensed stores, legacy Zaza providers, and boof-selling bodegas within a 4.20 mile radius of NYC’s first legal weed stores: Here’s what we found.


New York City is home to three legal weed stores, with dozens more set to open on a rolling basis in the coming months. There are also around 40 medical dispensaries throughout the city, plus indigenous providers located upstate, and countless traditional market operators serving loyal customers for years.

But there are also thousands of unlicensed stores posing as legal retailers across the city. State officials and many legacy operators agree that these shops threaten the state’s budding legal market, because they mislead customers and flood the city with unregulated, sometimes contaminated, products.

Leafly’s Amelia Williams puts her nose to the streets to test New York City’s cannabis. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

Still, many New York smokers appreciate the convenience of being able to pop into one of thousands of corner stores and smoke shops across the city for a quick pre-roll, or a presumably authentic pack of Runtz, Jungle Boyz or Cookies cannabis from states like California, Oregon, and Oklahoma.

During the first day of legal sales at Housing Works, the state’s first legal dispensary located in downtown Manhattan, many shoppers said they would be supplementing their legal haul with cannabis from their local deli or legacy provider.

To sort through New York’s sea of strains and brands, we took a bud crawl across the city’s three legal stores, plus a handful of local legacy sellers, and unlicensed shops nearby. Below, we reviewed it all by price, presentation, and quality. Here’s what New York City is smoking in 2023


Rating New York City’s licensed cannabis products

NYC bud crawl map Leafly review cannabis srtains.
New York’s legal weed stores are booming, thanks to incredible products from local licensed brands. Here’s what we found at Housing Works, Smacked Village, and Union Square Travel Agency. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

Housing Works

(Meg Schmidt / Leafly)
The first stop on our bud crawl was Housing Works, located at 750 Broadway near NYU. We were at the grand opening in December, and keep coming back for brands like Lobo, Florist Farms, and Hudson Cannabis. In this photo, Customers pay cash for legal weed on day one of legal sales at Housing Works. (Meg Schmidt / Leafly)

Venom OG by Lobo

(Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $60 per eighth, $12 per pre-roll
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)
  • How is it smoking?: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (5/5)

“Lobo’s Venom OG is an indica-dominant strain that comes in understated but classy packaging. The nugs aren’t large or fluffy, and they have significant stems, which contribute to the weight, but not the smoke. Despite breaking down a bit dry, the smoke and accompanying high were smooth and intense. Despite the doubters who are skeptical of NY’s homegrown crop, I was left impressed that this Venom OG delivered on the mid-20s % THC promise.”

Amelia Williams

Related

Best strains to grow in New York this year

Housing Works board member and legacy cannabis operator Daron Hudson shows off his legal Lobo pre-rolls at his dispensary’s grand opening. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

“The Venom OG nugs looked malnourished, but the smoke was rich. Lobo has built a great rep in other states (plus Canada), so its rapid New York takeover is no surprise. So far, Lobo’s flower and pre-rolls are available in all of New York’s legal weed stores. And this Venom OG lives up to the top billing with a mix of piney aromas and sharp chemical funk. The Lobo Minis pre-rolls were a great side dish. They were immaculately rolled, and the flower was above your standard pre-roll in terms of freshness and flavor. The pre-roll packaging also elevated the experience. It’s a collector’s item you’ll want to use as an extra stash box.

Calvin Stovall


La Bomba by Florist Farms

la bombo strain nyc housing works by florist farms
(Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $60 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (5/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)

La Bomba didn’t make me drowsy or too relaxed, and it helped me through the yoga flow while keeping me present and focused. La Bomba was the bomb, but sadly, the bonus pre-roll of RiRi I also grabbed from Florist Farms was not as memorable.

“I brought this sativa-labeled strain with me to a cannabis yoga class for some cerebral stimulation. Wedding Cake and Jet Fuel Gelato genetics come through in the bud density and fuel-forward flavor.” – Amelia Williams (Leafly)

Smacked Village

Flower House New York cannabis for sale in Smacked Village New York. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
Next, we hit Smacked Village, located in Greenwich Village just a few blocks from our first stop. Owner Roland Conner is New York’s first dispensary owner with a cannabis conviction. After his new pop-up store becomes permanent, Conner plans to pass the store down to his son. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

Purple Punch by Fat Nell

purple punch by fat nell housing works nyc cannabis leafly
(Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

Price: $40 per eighth

Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (5/5)

Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)

“I normally pass on Purple Punch, but this version really impressed me. It was flavorful with berrylicious, astringent grape notes, frosty buds, and good structure. Plus, the moisture, texture, and soothing effects have forever changed my mind on what Purple Punch is capable of. I also appreciate the bag and branding from Fat Nell, a woman-led local brand.”

Amelia Williams


Union Square Travel Agency (USQTA)

Union Square Travel Agency cannabis store in New York (Instagram / @paulfyau)
Our third stop was USQTA, just a few blocks from the first two shops. This is the largest selection on New York’s legal market so far. And a must-visit for NYC tokers who want a preview of the rich landscape of local brands that is ahead. (Instagram / @paulfyau)

oHHo preroll Northern Critical

oHHo Northern Criticall product shot by Leafly.
(Calvin Stovall / Leafly, USQTA)

oHHo preroll Northern Critical

Price: $56 per eighth

Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (4.5/5)

Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (3.5/5)

Prerolls get a bad rap, namely because they often use old trim and bottom-of-the-barrel material. But oHHo’s Northern Critical indica pre roll was pleasantly–not terrible. While it’s less than a standard gram of flower, the joint stayed burned evenly throughout, and the flavor was slightly earthy, with a little pepper. I was hoping for deeper fruity or diesel-laden notes, but the high was on par with 20% THC label.

Amelia Williams


Cinderella 99 by High Falls Canna via Lealfy.
(Leafly / High Falls Canna)

High Falls Canna Cinderella 99

Price: $60 per eighth

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Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)

Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)

This flower from High Falls surprised me. It only contains 15% THC with 1% CBD, but only a bowl or two were necessary to achieve a nice creative, work-friendly, or video game focus high. The cheesy, skunky flavor of Cindy-99 came through consistently, with nice buds that were forgivably dry, considering the treasured old school buzz.

Amelia Williams


Hudson Cannabis Papa Smurf

(Leafly / Hudson Cannabis)

Price: $8.85 per .5 gram

Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (5/5)

Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (4.5/5)

$10 for a half a gram?! These throwback dime bags are delivered in a mylar bag and stuffed with one fat nug, just like back in the day. Papa Smurf is a sativa-dominant cultivar that delivers a nice heady feeling on first smoke. The bud has decent moisture and structure, and the surface is extra frosty. The aroma was sharp, not fruity or sweet, so I’m guessing there is some diesel heritage in its genetic line.

Amelia Williams


Rating New York City’s legacy cannabis products

NYC bud crawl and illicit market haul
The MRTA bill that legalized weed in New York in March 2021 opened the floodgates for underground pioneers to step to the industry’s forefront. Many of these brands are now in line to launch licensed stores and brands, while others prefer to operate in the gray market. For now, authentic and bootleg versions of the world’s most infamous weed brands are popping up everywhere in NYC. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

From gift shops to private clubs, we smoked 12 legacy strains to see what the tried and true pioneers of New York cannabis have to offer.


Golden Haze by LIZM

Golden Haze by LIZM nyc legacy cannabis strain.
G, the lead cultivator behind NY legacy brand That LIZM, says that back in his day, Haze ruled New York’s cannabis scene. But in a 2023 cannabis landscape dominated by Gelato and Runtz crosses, backcrosses, and remixes, a good Haze is hard to find. Or, at least it was. Now, G’s Golden Haze, brings back those classic genetics to invoke that introspection, creativity, and chattiness paired with sour, funky terps. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

Price: $50 per eighth

Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (5/5)

Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (5/5)

After smoking LIZM’s Haze, I’d have to agree that they’re bringing classic Haze back. The product was frosty, funky, and fire. The lime-green buds had that light parmesan aroma, and sticky, almost choppy-looking buds that make Haze haze. I tried to make this pack last as long as I could, because I needed so little to get me into a fun headspace for hanging with friends, running errands, or playing my farming simulation computer games. The euphoria is there, the goofiness is there, the little headrush was most welcome. This is my #1 pick out of all the New York flower I’ve enjoyed so far.

Amelia Williams


OG Haze from 770 Monster (via Certz Lounge)

OG Haze from 770 Monster nyc legacy cannabis
The Certz Lounge stamped this pack as authentic Haze from Dyckman. For decades, Dominicans in Harlem owned the Haze trade, and Harlem rappers like Shiest Bubz and The Diplomats popularized the strain nationwide in the 2000s with projects like Cam’ron’s Purple Haze (2004). (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

Price: $40 per eighth

Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)

Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (4.5/5)

Real purple haze isn’t purple, it comes with fluffy red hairs that resemble Peggy Bundy’s ’90s hairdo. True Haze heads might end up married with children if they get their hands on this updated reboot of classic NYC genetics.

Calvin Stovall


Legacy cannabis strains from Purp Invaders and The Smoker's Club.
We learn as kids not to judge books by their covers, but it’s hard not to judge Shiest Bubz’ packs by the amazing bags. Bubz has spent decades pioneering packaging like no one else, including bags that resemble Nike Air Force 1s, green aliens, and, in this case, a big middle finger.” – Amelia Williams (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

Dex Lauper by Purp Invaders

Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (4.5/5)

Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)

The middle finger bag’s strain is Dex Lauper, a stoney hybrid that still allows you to function while floating. The bag had a nice gassy nose even after months of sitting in The Smoker’s Club historic catalog. The high was good for playing video games and watching videos or a movie. But definitely not a social weed smoke for me.

Amelia Williams

Grand Slam OG by The Smoker’s Club (pictured above)

Price: $50 per eighth

Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (5/5)

Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (5/5)

Grand Slam OG carried a strong locker room funk and it smoked just as strong as advertised, considering New York’s Kush God, Smoke DZA, is pictured on the packaging. The nugs were small and kind of distressed but still packed their original punch. Overall, a home run high that will leave any OG-lover wanting more.

Calvin Stovall


Madison Square GUMBO by FlyTrap

Madison Square GUMBO NYC cannabis strain
GUMBO is all over the city. The only question is if you have the real thing. We found everything from Spike Lee-themed bags, to authentic Cookies Madison Square GUMBO packs so far this year. The real GUMBO never disappoints, but we’ve found that many unlicensed stores are throwing the name around fraudulently. They’re stuffing certified boof in bootleg GUMBO bags hoping to ride the brand’s massive wave. So if you’re not buying from GUMBO-stamped legacy sellers in The Bronx, Harlem, or Brooklyn, you could be smoking anything. (Tash Patwary / Leafly)

GUMBO by FlyTrap

Price: $50 per eighth

Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4.5/5)

Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)

The Spike Lee GUMBO pack we got our hands on had that exotic spice that’s makes GUMBO one of the most mysterious but sought after strains nationwide. Soft to the touch, easy to break down, endlessly flavorful, GUMBO’s name will continue to ring on the legacy and gray markets as New Yorkers wait to buy licensed GUMBO packs from Cookies, and GUMBO co-founders Luka Brazi and Alex Major.

Calvin Stovall


Coochie Runtz by Runtz

a display of packaged 8ths, including one shaped like, and depicting, a woman's legs and buttocks
This is the closest thing to authentic Runtz gang products you will find in New York. Secret NYC smoke lounges have marked-up Runtz packs from California and other markets, and the quality is worth the high ticket. From the collector’s-quality bag, to the super-strong Cali-grown product, the only other way for a New Yorker to secure this smoke is to hop on a six-hour flight. (Calvin Stovall/Leafly)

Price: $80 per eighth

Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)

Quality: 🔥🔥🔥💨💨 (3.5/5)

This is solid zaza smoke, another well-grown Lemon Cherry Gelato descendant. No complaints here, besides the price and availability. Just don’t buy Coochie Runtz expecting arousing effects (unless the packaging get the job done for you). But buyer beware, the city is also full of imitation Runtz, like the Munch Runtz reviewed below.

Calvin Stovall

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Knockout by Jim Jones x High Tolerance

Knockout Golden Gloves cannabis by Jim Jones and High Tolerance.
Harlem Rapper Jim Jones’ dark, frosty buds live up to their packaging. They will do exactly as promised and knock you out if you don’t consume with caution. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

Price: $50 per eighth

Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4.5/5)

Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (5/5)

The buds are fluffy to the touch, but this strong purple flower hits hard from the first pull, and carries an intense high that will put you out for the count if you’re not a heavyweight. Named and branded by Harlem legend Jim Jones, this strong pack is sure to make noise in 2023 as more New Yorkers get their hands on it, and as High Tolerance finds ways to get it into licensed stores.

Mikhail Harrison

Related

Charting Harlem’s long history as a hotbed for cannabis culture


I Can’t Feel My Face by Juelz Santana x High Tolerance

I Can't Feel My Face by Juelz Santana cannabis High Tolerance.
Harlem rapper Juelz Santana’s new “I Can’t Feel My Face” strain is packs a powerful hit of nostalgia that will instantly send even the most seasoned of weed connoisseurs back to their earliest highs. (Dan Reagans / Leafly)
  • Price: $50 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (5/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (5/5)

Hard to get, but worth the chase. From the very first pull down to the last drag, this frosty deep purple flower out performs most celebrity weed brands. It was hand picked for a concentrated high that will reset one’s sensory system. Definitely a nighttime strain, and by no means made for beginner smokers. The high price point (73.00 per eighth) should keep beginners away. This hard-to-find flavor is doing numbers in California, but it’s also flooding the streets and weed stores of NYC and the rest of the East Coast. The head-banging experience numbs your mind and takes you back to classic purple exotics of the 2000s, when Santana was buzzing as one of New York City’s hottest artists.

Dan Reagans

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EAST KAPRI by Dave East x High Tolerance

East Kapri by Dave East and High Tolerance
(Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $50 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (5/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4.5/5)

Sweet and light. Incredible bag appeal, and a taste and high that live up to the packaging. NYC rapper Dave East released this collaboration with High Tolerance along with another flavor, East Pop. Both packs are fluffy and soft, but Kapri’s petite pillowy nugs are lighter than a feather, and provide an easy fruity smoke that I can enjoy throughout the day while remaining clear and collected.

Calvin Stovall


Gusherz by City Gold

Gusherz by City Gold legacy NYC cannabis strains.
(Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

Price: $50 per eighth

Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (5/5)

Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (5/5)

City Gold has a subdued brand identity, but the weed speaks volumes! The Gusherz comes with that piney, diesel smell, plus hints of fruit and dark purple buds. The taste was sharp, even after a week. Good density. Smoked flavorful and stony.

Amelia Williams

This is one of the best strains I had this past year. The rich outdoorsy smell, the slightly fruity taste, and the incredibly powerful effects set the bar so high that it took weeks to find a worthy East Coast pack to follow this one. Not to mention, incredibly professional service from the dispatcher and delivery driver. I will definitely be shopping with this provider again and hope they get licensed by the state ASAP.

Calvin Stovall


White Durban by City Gold

White Durban cannabis by City Gold nyc legacy cannabis
(Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

Price: $50 per eighth

Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)

Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (3/5)

The White Durban was supposed to be a Durban Poison cross, but it didn’t really look or smell like a true DP. It’s also unclear where the “white” part of the name originates—maybe White Runtz? It does have that Runtz (LGC) look. My quarter ounce was mostly one big bud. It gave a slightly peppery smoke, and nice heady effects, but true sativa lovers might not love it. But if you want an upbeat hybrid buzz, these buds were enjoyable, fresh, and exemplified good growing practices.

Amelia Williams


Tropicana Cookies by New Amsterdam

Tropical cookies by new amsterdam new york cannabis
(Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $50 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (5/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4.5/5)

Legacy growers from New Amsterdam is growing some of the freshest most delicious buds around, and waiting patiently to join the licensed market. These buds smell incredible, and smoke great in the morning leaving a strong orange aftertaste and mind-clearing buzz. After years of perfecting the cultivation and distribution side of NYC’s underground market, New Amsterdam is poised to elevate the licensed market for years to come.

Calvin Stovall


Gorilla Glue #4 by Nature Always Wins

Gorilla Glue #4 by NAW new york cannabis
(Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $50 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)

The legacy growers at Nature Always Wins are giving the people what they want with this phenomenal GG4, grown organically in New York. GG4 is the most popular strain in New York, according to Leafly search data. And this bag stands up next to the very best with sour gassy notes and an earthy pine freshness that will satisfy 90s and 2000s era smokers who miss that classic sour funk.

Mikhail Harrison


Rating New York City’s unlicensed cannabis products

Woman holds cannabis bag and pulls out buds in NYC.
New York lawmakers don’t mind the small, underground delivery and private cannabis services that have been feeding the city’s massive demand for decades. But regulators and legacy sellers alike agree that unlicensed stores who pose as legal providers must go. The state’s cannabis office assured Leafly that no law enforcement will target small-time sellers who are operating discreetly and within the MRTA’s rules for possession and consumption. But brick-and-mortar stores, lounges, and trucks that are selling and soliciting in the open are another story. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

Within a 10-block radius of Housing Works, we were able to find two stores and three unlicensed sellers that had a wide range of quality, consistency, and price. Here’s how NYC’s unlicensed providers stack up (names have been changed to protect the dank).


Bodegas and Smoke Shops

If you don’t see this stamp on a storefront or packaget, it’s not legal. (Leafly / iStock: 400tmax)
Don’t be fooled by the thousands of “legal dispensaries” popping up across the city. Licensed shops have a QR code and stamp on the outside verifying they have tested and regulated products. (Leafly / iStock: 400tmax)

Bodega weed serves the exact purpose that a bodega does—you get convenient access to a variety of foods and products that aren’t available nearby. But while corner stores are a great place to grab munchies or last second toiletries, you probably don’t want to buy your bud from people who have no experience sourcing or selling the plant. Here’s what we found from unlicensed shops posing as legit dispensaries.


Motor Breath by Jungle Boyz from Smoke Shop

Motorbreath by Jungle Boys illicit nyc nug shot and package
(Calvin Stovall)
  • Price: $50 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (3.5/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)

Dozens of bodegas and smoke shops have white bags of Jungle Boys for between $40-$60. The bags are sealed and have California labels, but there’s no way to know if it’s authentic. The Motorbreath I grabbed on our bud crawl smoked potent, but it wasn’t up to Jungle Boys standards. The nugs lost some of their body and felt light and airy. But I can see this passing the standard for most NYC smokers, especially at this price.

Calvin Stovall


Cereal Milk by Cookies from Bodega

(Courtesy Cookies)
The nearby bodega sells a variety of flower on any given day, in addition to edibles, vapes, and accessories. It’s all cheaper than you’d find at a dispensary and with more options than a medical dispensary. But I can say with confidence, having smoked my fair share of true California Cereal Milk, that this was not it. (Courtesy of Cookies)
  • Price: $50 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🗑️🗑️💨💨💨 (2/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥💨💨 (3/5)

This was not Cereal Milk. The buds didn’t look right. They smelled off too—the smell out of the bag was a lot earlier and more peppery, whereas Cereal Milk is supposed to evoke its namesake—milky, sweet, and a little doughy. That raised red flags. The high was fine, but a bit nondescript. It felt very squarely hybrid. The onset wasn’t too intense and it lasted a decent amount of time. Whatever it was was fine for $40, but it certainly wasn’t Cereal Milk.

Amelia Williams


Seller 1

person texting text message
We saw enough from the bodegas and decided to see what local sellers have to offer. These three sellers had dozens of flavors to complete our haul, giving a full view of what NYC is smoking in 2023. (AdobeStock)

Marathon OG from Seller 1

Marathon OG by The Cure Company
“I loved this pack so much, I had to fly to Cali to get the real thing and compare my illicit pack to The Cure Company’s authentic collaboration with Nipsey Hussle. It wasn’t quite the same quality in terms of freshness and cure timing, but the terps certainly lived up to the brand name.” – Calvin Stovall (Leafly)
  • Price: $60 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (5/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (5/5)

I’m not sure if an East Coast grower got their hands on real Marathon genetics, or if this is a reject batch from the real Cali growers that trickled down to the black market. Either way, it’s the best weed I smoked this year while east of the Mississippi. During a trip to Cali I tracked down the real thing and was surprised how close the packs were in terms of taste and high.

Calvin Stovall


Sour Diesel from Seller 1

Sour Diesel nug shot
(Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $35 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)

Sour is still alive and well in NYC. Throughout 2023, plenty of sellers and stores are offering reboots of the all-time great. This pack from a local NYC seller had the skunky smell and sour piney taste Sour heads look for. The smoke was also up to par, just not up to par with some of the other Diesel packs floating out there as this NYC fixture continues to spread in popularity nationwide.

Calvin Stovall

Related

Fuel up for NYE on Sour Diesel—December’s Leafly HighLight

The legacy of a true Sour Diesel hangs heavily over New York City. Nowadays, that astringent, gasoline, pine tree palate is hard to find, but we managed. This Sour was a zinger, but I have a hard time remembering anything super exceptional about it. It had a pretty look and nice nose, and it suited my long train ride home for pondering the world.

Amelia Williams


GG4 from Seller 1

GG4 strain photo
Pound for pound, GG4 is New York’s favorite strain, according to Leafly search data. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $35 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)

On a night out, choosing the right strain sets the tone for the night. GG4 is ideal for a long, social evening for barhopping and dancing. This bud was fresh, and had that gluey, herbal flavor to match its rhythm-inducing effects. Even hours later.

Amelia Williams

Related

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This has been my go-to pack for months. It’s not Zaza, it doesn’t knock me out, and it’s consistently potent. The Sour Diesel in its lineage make this strain destined for dominance in NYC. Add the rich chocolatey notes and chemical burn and you get a flavor and high that will probably never go out of style.

Calvin Stovall


Lamb’s Bread from Seller 1

Lambs Bread from NYC's legacy market.
(Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $35 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥💨💨 (3/5)

It was exciting to track down the classic Jamaican strain that was famous in 90s NYC. But the interesting look (super fluffy orange hairs) and taste (understated earthiness with a hint of pepper) did not culminate in a great high. Looking forward to the breeder who figures out how to reboot these classic genetics with a modern punch.

Calvin Stovall


French Toast from Seller 1

French Toast from NY unlicensed market.
Terribly cultivated and cared for. Visibly unhealthy buds make the semi-sweet smell irrelevant. The terps don’t lie, as the weak aroma foreshadowed a predictably mid-grade high. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $50 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🗑️🗑️💨💨💨 (2/5)
  • Quality: 🗑️🗑️💨💨💨 (2/5)

Rainbow Belts from Seller 1

Rainbow Belts from illicit market
This is the worst case scenario for shopping outside of the legacy or licensed market. Dusty buds with nugs that appear black when they should be purple. Straight to the trash, not even using this to make brownie butter. (Leafly)
  • Price: $35 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🗑️💨💨💨💨 (1/5)
  • Quality: 🗑️💨💨💨💨 (1/5)

White Truffles from Seller 1

White Truffles nug shot illicit nyc strains
Sweet, sticky, and luxurious. White Truffles is great for a date night or intimate moments. Expect to catch the giggles, become more open socially, or even to be slightly aroused with heightened sensitivity. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $35 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)

Bad Apple from Seller 1

Bad apple cannabis strain
Bad Apple is right. These buds were clearly rotten. Despite a decent smell and visible trichomes, we didn’t make it to the bottom of this bag before throwing it out in favor of healthier nugs. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $35 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥💨💨 (3/5)
  • Quality: 🗑️🗑️💨💨💨 (2/5)

Seller 2

photo-of-cannabis-on-a-scale
One NYC seller claimed to have authentic Cali pack. Here’s how the seven strains he grabbed from them were smoking. (AdobeStock)

Apple Monkey from Seller 2

Apple Monkey cannabis strain
This was not the deep purple Apple Monkey I got from the source in Cali last spring. The buds are not as purple, but the high is just as intense as we’ve come to expect. The bags and brand name are showing up across NYC, which means the monkey is on the move nationally and could be on the verge of a licensing deal that would put it in New York markets. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $60 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (5/5)

Boo J’s Sweet Tooth & Gas House from Seller 2

Boo J's Sweet tooth package
While his Apple Monkey raised eyebrows, this seller did appear to have real Boo J products, including Sweet Tooth and Gas House. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)

Related

Rare review: Pro skater Boo Johnson’s new Laughing Gas strain, powered by Apple Monkey


Boo J sweet tooth
This is your typical dessert strain with an added hint of funk. Expect deeply relaxing vibes and a taste that will make it hard to stop hitting. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $50 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)

Boo J's gas house cannabis strain.
Formerly known as Laughing Gas, the name change was made with respect to Joey Diaz and Zashimi, who have a laughing gas of their own. Gas House balances the indica leaners in the Apple Monkey line with an uplifting diesel funk that is best for daytime and social smokers. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $50 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (5/5)

Gas Cream Cake from Seller 2

Gas Cream Cake strain photo
Modern reboots of classic gassy strains are all the rage this year. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $35 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)

Gastro Pop by Compound Genetics debuted in late 2022 as one of many modern reboots bringing classic gas into the new age of exotic dessert strains. Gas Cream Cake hits all the same notes as Gastro Pop, giving both OG and new age smokers a common ground to get high on.

Calvin Stovall


Gary Payton from Seller 2

Gary Payton from NYC's unlicensed market.
(Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $30 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (5/5)

This was up there with the very best strains we found in NYC. It came off a plane from Cali, and appears to be authentic GP from the Cookies fam. The trichomes were glistening, the buds were firm, and the smoke stuck to my heads for days. The nugs did not look completely healthy, so this might be a reject batch that didn’t pass testing, but it’s definitely the best case scenario when you consider price and source.

Calvin Stovall


Bruce Banner from Seller 2

Bruce Banner strain photo
(Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $25 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)

There’s no denying that this was some high quality Cali-grown bud. But it took me a while to smoke through this pack because they nugs were clearly distressed and and unhealthy. Not sure if it’s chemicals in the cultivation process, but it didn’t appear, smell, or taste like the best version of Bruce Banner.

Calvin Stovall


Seller 3

Our final provider said they sourced their bud from the city’s top lounge in midtown, plus indoor growers throughout the Northeast. The price were high, but the quality was top of the line. (contentdealer/AdobeStock)

Marshmallow by Kandy Co. from Seller 3

Marshmallow by Kandy Co
(Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $80 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (5/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (5/5)

I don’t like spending this much on weed, and I really don’t like when it ends up being worth it. This is the highest-end bud you will find in New York City. It literally smells and tastes like marshmallows, and kicks in one of the most intense hybrid highs I experienced so far this year.

Calvin Stovall


LA Beatnik from Seller 3

LA Beatnik from NYC seller, grown in MA
(Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $45 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (5/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (5/5)

I was told this came from an elite Massachusetts grower with strong connections in NYC. It’s by far the freshest and stickiest bud on this list, a clear mark of expert curing and peak freshness. Incredible for daytime relaxation, and suitable for nighttime creativity–I look forward to the day when this level of smoke is available in all New York stores.

Calvin Stovall


Yellow Fruit Strips by Lemonnade from Seller 3

Yellow Fruit Strips from nyc illicit market.
This was packaged to look like the best-seller from California’s Lemonnade stores. It seemed authentic, but ultimately wasn’t worth the cross-country mark-up. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $50 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)

Fire Flower from Seller 3

Fire Flower bag and nug shot
Frosty and dark, this is a perfect nighttime indica. Engineered for binge watching, video game playing, or deep physical and mental relaxation, the sweet grape notes will pull you into a purple wave of deep sleep if you don’t tread carefully. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $70 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (5/5)

Kryptochronic from Seller 3

Kryptochronic strain photo
This is solid smoke, especially for the price. Sharp and sweet with a gassy kick to keep you on your toes, we will keep an eye out for more variations of this indica-leaner that helped with creative work and boosted my appetite. (Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $35 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)
  • Quality: 🔥🔥🔥🔥💨 (4/5)

Munch Runtz from Seller 3

(Calvin Stovall / Leafly)
  • Price: $25 per eighth
  • Presentation: 🗑️🗑️💨💨💨 (2/5)
  • Quality: 🗑️💨 💨 💨 💨 (1/5)

Even the most consistent plugs fail sometimes. This struggle pack of Runtz was named after NYC “it girl” Ice Spice, who has fluffy red curls and a hit song called “Munch (Feelin’ U).” Sadly, I wasn’t feeling this strain in the least. The nose is deceivingly strong, buy the touch, taste, and high feel contaminated and left me with a mediocre high and a slight headache.

Calvin Stovall



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