This story is part of our coverage on the future of cannabis in L.A. See the full package here.
One of the true joys of living in Los Angeles is discovering — one by one, slowly, over time — its myriad neighborhoods. Each has its own distinct personality, its own vibe and — to risk sounding too Topanga Canyon New Age — its own energy. Some are happy accidents of geography (we’re looking at you, Malibu), others of industrial affiliation (Hollywood), but most were formed by the push/pull of Angelenos of a feather flocking together.
Korean immigrants gave rise to Koreatown, for example. Members of the LGBTQ community helped define West Hollywood, and Silver Lake emerged as a place for hipsters to hang their stingy-brim fedoras hats and tip their Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys. Over time, restaurants and shops catering to clustered clientele end up defining and reflecting the personalities of these neighborhoods even further.
With 4/20 on the horizon — and legal, recreational-use retail sales of cannabis in the state now more than three years in the rearview mirror — we found ourselves wondering (apparently out loud and within earshot of an editor) if there were pot preferences that similarly reflect the vibe of each L.A.-area neighborhood. Do the denizens of downtown have a penchant for industrial-sounding Sour Diesel? Are Malibuites mad for Blue Dream? Is Hollywood all about getting high on celebrity-endorsed buds? And, if that’s not exactly the case, might there be potential pot pairings that capture a neighborhood’s essence so well that you could almost travel the Southland without leaving the couch?
There’s a fruit theme afoot here, according to two delivery services we consulted. Emjay cites Banana Kush as the top-selling strain in the city, and Eaze points to Kiva Confections’ Camino Midnight Blueberry Gummies as a bestselling edible. However, neither quite captures the upscale vibe of the 90210 like Napa Valley-based House of Saka’s infused luxury beverages — a pink and a white — made from California grapes fermented and aged like wine before the alcohol is swapped out for 8 milligrams of THC per serving. And grapes are fruit, right?
Eaze says this neighborhood just east of downtown L.A. is partial to edibles — Wyld’s Marionberry gummies to be specific — and Emjay says the most-delivered flower here is the popular and pungent Gorilla Glue strain (a.k.a. Original Glue) named for the stuck-to-the-couch effect it induces. It’s the latter that feels like a symbolically perfect fit for the historical core of L.A., the sticky, binding agent at the center of the sprawling modern city.
Downtown Los Angeles
According to Emjay’s data, the urban core is all about OG Kush, a strain that was born elsewhere but became a famous name around the world after making the move west. Reps for Sweet Flower, which has four L.A.-area dispensaries, say the top strain at its Arts District location is a descendant of OG Kush called Private Reserve OG. Old-school strains for an old-school part of the city make so much sense. There’s also a strain out there named after the City of Angels — OG Los Angeles Kush.
Although L.A.'s southern neighbor near Los Angeles International Airport is home to a wide range of businesses (including, since mid-2018, The Times), the gritty, industrial vibe of the city is in large part because of the Chevron oil refinery here. Lean into this by tracking down some Sour Diesel, a powerful, energizing strain with a scent slightly suggestive of diesel fuel.
Emjay’s bestseller here is a strain called 805 Glue (named after a Central Coast area code), while Eaze says its top-selling edible is Plus Products’ Uplift Sour Watermelon gummies, neither of which keys into the movies or stars that have made the neighborhood shorthand worldwide for the entertainment industry. Why not pay homage to the history of the ‘hood by seeking out a celebrity-backed brand (Tommy Chong has one, as does Willie Nelson), or, better yet, fire up some Pineapple Express, which was born on the silver screen as a fictitious strain for the 2008 film that shares its name (created by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who recently launched a cannabis brand of their own) and only later became a real-life strain.
Eaze says Ktown’s cannabis crowd pops a cork for a strain called Pink Champagne, and Emjay reports a healthy appetite for another celebratory sounding strain called Wedding Cake, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a more perfectly paired pot product for the neighborhood than Korean-inspired streetwear and cannabis brand Sundae School’s Mochi Gummies, THC-infused tapioca sweet treats. Launched in March, they’re available in three flavors: Sour Yuzu, Lychee Dragonfruit and Milktea Boba Sundae.
When it comes to inhaling the essence of L.A.'s neighbor, what’s actually popular here is less important than honoring its most famous son — and one-man marijuana movement — Snoop Dogg. If you can’t avail yourself of anything from his cannabis brand, Leafs by Snoop, pay your respects by scooping up one of the strains named after him: Snoop Dogg OG or Snoop’s Dream, the latter of which is rumored to be a cross between two of his favorites, Master Kush and Blue Dream.
Emjay says the Maui Wowie strain is Pasadena’s preferred pot these days and, according to Eaze, Plus Products’ Uplift Sour Watermelon gummies are a bestseller. Therefore, why not pay homage to the home of the Rose Parade with a rose-themed product like a Drew Martin low-dose botanical-infused pre-roll that contains rose petals and peppermint or a rose hibiscus edible from Rose Delights?
Silver Lake and Echo Park
The two neighborhoods have earned a reputation as a haven for go-your-own-way, convention-shunning hipsters, but the pot that’s popular here tells a different story. According to Emjay, the top-selling strain is Blue Dream, a cross between two other popular strains (Blueberry and Haze) that has consistently ranked as a bestseller for years, not just in California, where it has its roots, but also in other states where cannabis is legal. Even so, its uplifting, energetic high makes it feel like a perfect fit, especially if it’s being used to enhance a stroll around the Silver Lake Reservoir.
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According to Eaze, edibles are where it’s at in this coastal L.A. neighborhood (Emerald Sky’s Wild Berry Gummies are the most popular of the category), but the delivery service also notes that Venetians buy a lot of mini-pre-rolls — about half the size of typical 1 gram joints — almost double the next-highest ‘hood (Beverly Hills, in case you‘re wondering). Emjay’s number-crunching reveals that Maui Wowie is at the top of the list here, which feels fitting given that the tropical-tasting strain’s origin story involves 1970s-era hippie pot smugglers and Hawaiian surf culture, influences that can be felt in modern-day Venice. According to Eaze, Venice has also had the highest demand for cannabis of any neighborhood during the first three months of 2021, with Hollywood in second place, followed by Silver Lake/Echo Park, Long Beach and Pasadena.
If you have an L.A. neighborhood pot pairing to recommend, send me a smoke signal at email@example.com.
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