GIFT GUIDE PART I: SMOKE
The NABIS Holiday Gift Guide: Part I
As we move through this post-Prohibition holiday season, Nabis thought you might want some friendly advice on your cannabis purchases.
Every brand listed below is fully compliant, but that isn’t the only upside to these smokeable products. Unique business practices, community outreach, and sustainable farming are just some of the features of the brands in this guide. And of course, they all sell supremely dank weed. This is just the first installment in our gift guide, so keep your eyes peeled for more!
Buzzwords: sustainable, sun-grown, approachable, direct community outreach
Who it’s for: your friend who cares the most about the spirit of the season
With its sustainable business practices and small-batch, outdoor grow operation, Aster Farms would already be a top candidate for any cannabis gift guide. But after this company run by third-generation farmers survived the devastating fires that swept through Mendocino this summer, their commitment to helping their community means you can feel especially good about a purchase from Aster Farms.
Cannabis growers who use an indoor method have an easier time controlling the environment in which their plants mature, which makes the consistent quality of Aster Farms outdoor-grown flower all the more impressive. Aster Farms doesn’t grow outside just to show off, however. “Indoor grow operations were emitting approximately 17 million tons of carbon dioxide a year!” says Aster Farms Director of Business Strategy Julia Jacobson, “It’s statistics like these that reinforce our brand position and belief in clean cannabis.”
Indoor growers use science to try and emulate an outdoor environment, but no amount of lightbulbs can create the same unique spectrum of light emitted by the sun. Plants grown outdoors get to take full advantage of nature’s bounty, which is made all the richer in a place like Aster Farms. Located in California’s Wine Country, wine growers have spent years noting the benefits of the north Bay Area’s terroir. In case you also don’t know what terroir means, it refers to the nutrient dense soil, and how that soil’s taste comes through in the resulting harvest. Some consumers say sun-grown cannabis has the cleanest flavor profile. Aster Farm’s plants are also pesticide-free, making their buds far safer on your lungs than over 90% of the flower on the market.
Indoor growing became more common when Cannabis was illegal, in large part because it was easier to hide. Now that so many states are legalizing cannabis in some capacity, a large mission within the industry is destigmatizing the plant. Aster Farms is run by a family that’s been farming for three generations, tilling soil that’s been growing the rich crops of California Wine Country for centuries. It’s as American as Apple Pie.
Jacobson and CEO Sam Ludwig also make a point of sharing their own history of Cannabis use, emphasizing how they themselves had to combat their own attitudes toward the plant before embracing it wholly. They’ve even created an easy-to-understand guide for their customers, so new cannabis users don’t have to know the differences between indicas, sativas, and hybrids when they make a purchase.
Direct Community Outreach
While so many brands are trying to positively impact their communities, few do it as transparently as Aster Farms. Aster Farms launched a give-back program after losing a number of farm structures to the Mendocino Complex Fire, naming the program after a half-tabby, half-bobcat that went missing during the blaze. With every purchase of Harry’s Harvest - a pack of 5 prerolls constructed using Aster Farm’s finest flower - 2 dollars is donated to local volunteer firefighters in Lakeport, Lake County and Hopland, Mendocino County. Smoking weed already makes you feel good. With Aster Farms, it can make you feel better.
Buzzwords: single-sourced, estate-grown, technologically advanced, environmentally conscious, community oriented
Who it’s for: Tech-Savvy Tokers
THC Design partners with scientists and researchers, aiming to “set the standard for advanced cultivation practices and techniques while taking steps to create a self-sustainable operation via renewable energy sources.”
THC design burst onto the cannabis scene with their flagship strain XJ-13, which Culture Magazine described as, “the most perfect sativa ever.” Their single-sourced, estate-grown flower has been making waves ever since, and they now have over 52 types of cannabis to try. If you’ve got a cousin who obsessively tracks their activity with a FitBit, a friend who went nuts for the latest Mars landing, or a coworker who spends their lunch break perusing Popular Science, then THC Design is the bud for them.
If you’re unfamiliar with grow operation nomenclature, cannabis can only be considered “estate grown” if planting and harvesting occurs entirely on land controlled by the entity that’s ultimately selling the stuff. In other words, THC design isn’t processing trash bags filled with weed that randomly appeared on their doorstep; they’re overseeing their plants every step of the way. And in order to make sure their finished product is the highest possible quality, THC Design has each step of cultivation down to a science.
Poisonous pesticides now banned from use on food crops are still allowed on flowering plants. That might not affect the consumer much if they’re purchasing a bouquet of flowers or a Christmas wreath, but pesticides start to matter when you’re supposed to smoke your purchase. “99% of all marijuana you’re getting from a club or dispensary is going to have a banned poison or hormones in the plant,” says THC Design Founder and CEO Ryan Jennemann. In contrast, “ Whether it’s a pesticide or a fungicide, one hundred percent of what we spray on the plant is not only organic by the USDA standards, it’s organic with unlimited use by the Oregon Tilth.” Oregon Tilth is notorious for having the strictest organic certification standards in the country, so you can be sure that the people on your gift list are inhaling safely.
THC Design grows its flower indoors, but uses technology to give its plants the best Mother Nature has to offer. “Everything we’re doing here is to emulate the seasons of nature,” says Jennemann, “ If you look outside in the Spring, you see the sky’s much more blue. You look out in the Fall, you see it’s much more orange and red. That’s because the atmosphere and the angle of the sun and so forth. So we change over our bulbs as our artificial year progresses.” They also adjust humidity and temperature.
Okay, picture an infomercial host while you read the next part: And that’s not all! They even put on music for their plants, which grow especially fast after a few plays of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas.” Okay, that last part might’ve been made up-- but THC Design does play sounds that help their plant’s growth cycle. “There are scientific studies of different frequencies that foster different levels of growth,” explains Jennemann. “Some of it is birds chirping, but some of it is literally an alarm sound.”
Beyond the use of organic pesticides, THC Design further minimizes their environmental footprint by using a state of the art water reclamation system. Their HVAC and dehumidifiers recapture and recycle moisture from the air, allowing them to use lower-than-average amounts of water for a grow operation that produces an impressive 65 pounds of market-ready cannabis each day.
THC Design’s outreach team works to improve communities with initiatives like their Veteran’s Internship, LGBTQ Pride Alliance, Beach Clean-Up and Grower’s Co-op. In addition to educating consumers, THC Design tries to remove some of the stigma surrounding cannabis cultivation by offering guided tours to local and state politicians. We aren’t sure what music they play for the plants when a civic leader is taking a tour, but we are sure that THC Design is a great stocking stuffer.
The Weed Brand
Buzzwords: value, variety, accessible
Who it’s for: people who want the most bang for their buck
The WEED Brand’s slogan is “Great Bud, Great Price” - and they really live up to it. A product of the fertile Salinas Valley, a lot of products from The WEED Brand are available for less than fifteen dollars an eighth. And with The WEED Brand’s list of available strains always growing and changing, you can sample new highs without your bank balance getting low.
Monterey Tilth LLC is the entity behind The WEED Brand. Monterey Tilth grows flower for The WEED Brand using 200,000 sq. feet of greenhouse space spread out over 5 Salinas valley acres. As one of the top five cannabis cultivators in the state of California - a feat that’s all the more impressive considering they were founded in 2016 - their goal is to create “simply great weed.” As opposed to tinkering in a lab, The WEED Brand offers, “A simple selection of our trusty, classic strains for that superb, hassle-free high.” They grow popular strains with consistent harvests, sourcing the seeds for more than fifty cannabis strains from partners and their own nursery. What does all this mean for the consumer? You’re going to get a consistent, dependable high, from a brand that’s made sure to make the price point as accessible as possible.
The WEED Brand is especially connected to the cannabis market, visiting dispensaries for patient and customer appreciation days in order to get feedback on their product in real time. So you can make sure your purchase is the right choice for anyone on your gift list. Someone from The WEED Brand might help you out in person!
Buzzwords: sleek, high-end, instagrammable
Who it’s for: your most fashionable friend
Pure Beauty is a cannabis brand that’s based in Los Angeles, and they definitely factor that into the company’s look and feel. Their instagram is equal parts attractive people and avant garde artwork, with highly sought after photographer like Ryan Lowry, David Brandon Geeting, and Molly Matalon snapping gallery quality pics of their product. Pure Beauty is perfect for smokers who are into weed but not so into the tie dye, Cheech & Chong aesthetic more traditionally associated with the stuff.
Founders Tracy Anderson and Irwin Tobias Matutina emphasize that Pure Beauty is a design forward cannabis brand, describing their aesthetic as “one part minimalism, one part modernism, one part psychedelia, one part humor.”
Before you think Pure Beauty is smoking a little too much of its own medicine, their inclusion of whimsical stylistic details shows that they don’t take themselves too seriously. Much of their product includes a whimsical cartoon eye logo, which came from, “a need to make the brand feel more approachable… Humor is a big influence on us. it made us laugh to be able to put these eye balls on a cigarette.”
Pure Beauty is more than just a pretty joint, however. “We wanted to create a cannabis brand that had an eye on culture and creativity,” they say, “while delivering a high quality potent flower.” They selectively curate their indoor grown flower, and their products have upwards of 20% THC on average. You definitely won’t be sacrificing quality for appearance with this brand.
custom blended pre-rolls
Buzzwords: consistent, portable
Who it’s for: your friend with an endless to-do list
The end of prohibition has seen a wave of highly potent cannabis hit the market. While we love a hearty dose of THC, the stronger stuff might alienate new users. Enter Coast, a brand of pre-rolled marijuana leaflettes (tobacco-less cigarettes), that come in custom blends like Excite, Chill, Dream, and CBD. Coast has made it their mission to provide a balanced, comfortable high for novices and frequent smokers alike, so you can rest assured that this gift will go over well no matter who gets it at your office white elephant party.
The average THC percentage in cannabis has skyrocketed in the past decade, going from around ten percent to almost thirty. While this is exciting for seasoned smokers, it’s getting harder and harder for cannabis lightweights to enjoy the stuff. Even if you’re not a lightweight, sampling strains has become a tricky business; you never know if one type of flower is going to knock you on your butt.
Coast custom blends each type of leaflette they sell, ensuring that they provide a balanced, mindful high. That might mean a bit less THC than the high octane flower on the market, but Coast blends include a variety of cannabinoids and all of their associated benefits. Coast also uses no pesticides or fillers, so you’re not getting bombarded by unfamiliar chemicals or cannabinoids.
Coast uses a proprietary technology to roll their leaflettes, so there really aren’t any other pre-rolls like theirs on the market. Every pre-roll is uniformly constructed, with an identical burn rate and packing density. They also provide filtered and filter-less options, so users can pick which way they want to enjoy their smoke. And before anyone argues that filters get in the way of the smoking experience, Coast has created filters that remove harmful substances like tar without negatively impacting your toke.
Each pack of Coast pre-rolls is sold in a convenient (and cute) metal tin, so you can take them with you no matter where you’re traveling. You could even make a DIY variety pack with a pre-roll from The Weed Brand or Aster Farms.