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A monthly box of mystery weed delivered to your door? We’re unboxing it

Photo illustration of a cannabis-themed subscription box from Nugg Club
Nugg Club’s Pride-themed cannabis subscription box program promises more than $225 worth of pot products. Each month a new Nugg Club box is delivered to your door for $99 plus tax.
(Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles Times)

The subscription-box format is supposed to be a win-win. Subscribers get a curated assortment of goodies regularly delivered to their doorstep at a less-than-full-retail price, and the brands in the box get much-needed exposure to potential long-term customers. In reality, it can be a tricky thing to get right.

The road to success for the likes of Birchbox (beauty products) and Dollar Shave Club (razors, men’s grooming products) is littered with the empty cardboard husks of those that failed to resonate with (enough) subscribers for one reason or another. That brings us to the cheery, rainbow-striped box sitting on the desk in front of me, reeking pleasantly of marijuana.

It’s the June Pride-themed box (hence the rainbow stripes) from a few-months-old cannabis-subscription-box company called Nugg Club that promises to deliver more than $225 worth of THC-containing products to your home for $99 plus tax (which in L.A. means another $29.85; credit cards are accepted). Subscribers get to choose their delivery frequency (monthly, every other month or every three months) and take a short quiz to determine what mix of cannabis flower, pre-rolled joints, vaporizer cartridges and THC-infused edibles (five to seven items total). Everything else is up to the Nugg Club folks.

The price can change for future boxes if you decide to take advantage of a 40% to 60% discount for add-on purchases of products from previous boxes (a particular strain of flower or tasty edible) that you’ve taken a liking to.

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From a spirited Zoom session to binge-watching “Tiger King,” there’s a smoke-free option to pair with it.

The service is currently only available in Los Angeles and Orange counties, but Nugg Club has plans to expand to other California locations in the near future. (While certainly novel, Nugg Club’s cannabis subscription box isn’t exactly a brand-new idea. Now-defunct ClubM was doing something similar for holders of medical marijuana cards back in 2015.)

I was able to track my box’s progress on my phone not unlike a Grubhub or Doordash take-out order. It was handed to me by an enthusiastic (and safely masked, I was happy to see) driver on the early side of my four-hour delivery window. Tracking is more than just a fun feature. It’s important because you need to be over 21 (or over 18 and in possession of a valid doctor’s recommendation) and furnish a government-issued photo identification to get your goods.

A rainbow-striped box with Nugg Club printed on the lid.
The June Nugg Club box is rainbow-striped as a nod to Pride Month.
(Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles times)

As I carried the fragrant box to my home desk, I turned it over in my hands. Printed on the underside of the box was: “Stop looking at my bottom.” I instantly felt seen.

Sliding the top of the box off revealed a sturdy cardboard sleeve (also rainbow-striped in this instance) printed with the words, “Enjoy your goodies. Meet the brands.” Inside were five 5-x-7 cannabis-brand flashcards with a name and logo on the front and brand information on the back. (A sixth card describes the Nugg Club philosophy and offers a discount for referrals.) More fun box messaging could be found inside the box top, which bears the words, “Hey, I’m your rolling tray.”

Although the specific contents will vary from month to month (as well as from person to person because they’re picked based on your personal preferences), the box on my desk contained the following items.

A display of five cannabis products and some smoking accoutrements from the June Nugg Club subscription box.
The five cannabis products in the June Nugg Club box are Atlas Edibles granola clusters, back from clockwise from upper left, flower from Dreamland Cannabis Growers, flower from Dropout Cannabis Co., a five-pack of pre-rolled joints from Stone Road and a vape cartridge and battery from Cannafornia. In front, clockwise from left, Pride-themed rolling papers, a Bic lighter and a Nugg Club logo chillum pipe.
(Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles times)

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First out of the box was a pouch of Atlas Edibles’ dark chocolate and hazelnut Cannabis-Infused Granola Clusters (3 ounces and 80 milligrams THC in the package, each of the four 20-milligram clusters is scored into quarters for easy dose control).

Next up was a five-pack of Stone Road pre-rolled joints (each one containing .7 grams of a cannabis strain called Watermelon Zkittlez for a total of 3.5 grams). The back of the pack touts them as “hand-rolled in unbleached French papers.”

The next two items on deck were Cannafornia-branded: a USB-rechargeable vape battery and a .5 gram screw-on cartridge of a cannabis concentrate strain called Diamond Sauce.

A glass jar of Headbanger sativa cannabis flower from Dropout Cannabis Co.
A 3.5-gram jar of Headbanger sativa cannabis flower from Dropout Cannabis Co. is one of the items in Nugg Club’s June subscription box.
(Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles times)

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Those were followed out of the box and onto the desk by two 3.5-gram jars of cannabis flower. One was a sativa strain called Headbanger from Dropout Cannabis Co., and the other, an indica strain called Willie Nelson OG from Dreamland Cannabis Growers. In addition to powerfully pungent bud, each jar contained a tiny humidity-regulating packet, which keeps the cannabis from drying out too much.

All that remained in the box, nestled against a bed of shredded blue paper grass (what, no green?) were three items that, like the rug in “The Big Lebowski,” tied the whole room together (if you laughed at that, there’s a good chance you’re high right now). There was a clear glass one-hitter pipe (also known as a chillum) emblazoned with the Nugg Club logo, a similarly branded Bic lighter and a rainbow-striped pack of rolling papers that snapped open and closed with a satisfying magnetic click. Tucked away on the inside flap was one final message that underscored the box’s color scheme, “Pride is a joint message,” accompanied by a smiley-face emoji.

Now is a Nugg Club subscription right for you? I have no way of knowing to be honest. (How long have we known each other, really?)

However, what I can tell you is that based on a little back-of-the-napkin math using a range of comparable products, the cannabis-containing items price out somewhere between $135 and $231. That makes it a savings right out of the box.

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For me, though, the magical striped box I received on a sunny SoCal Sunday afternoon managed to deliver something that can’t exactly be tallied or quantified — and something I hadn’t realized was sorely missing in the era of legal weed: a sense of fun, wonderment and joyful discovery.

For cannabis enthusiasts of a certain era (those whose herb-smoking heyday was three to four decades ago), pot-purchasing was part-crap shoot and part-winning lottery ticket; Iowa road weed in a garbage bag one day, skunky green bud smuggled across Lake Champlain from Canada on a rubber raft the next. And, instead of brightly lit store fronts, the go-to was a network of like-minded friends that formed, for lack of a better word, a club.

The inside of a rainbow-striped box printed with the message, "Hey, I'm your rolling tray."
“Hey, I’m your rolling tray,” printed inside the box lid, is one of the several jocular messages tucked into the Nugg Club box that make unboxing it so much fun.
(Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles times)

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The jocular box-messaging helps create the feeling of the latter. The curated jars of weed, vape cartridges and edibles from previously unfamiliar brands evoke the experience of the former in a safe and legal way to boot.

And here’s the bottom line. Unless you’re an insufferable herb snob, cannabis is a lot like chocolate. When it’s not the absolute best, it’s still a far, far cry from bad.

And delivered to your doorstep, it’s even better.

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