Cannabis Now Gets Certified Dank | Cannabis Now

Nikki Lastreto holds a large bud up to her face and inhales the fragrance of top tier bud.


Photos Gracie Malley for Cannabis Now

Impressions from an Elite Tasting Session.


Gathered in the front garden on the mild spring afternoon are some of the most important minds in marijuana. The table has been set with glass pipes only slightly used after enjoying the first nip of our strain tasting sections and we’re on to the next round. I take a deep, satisfying pull of a joint filled with Aficionado Seed’s In the Pines and pass it to Ed Rosenthal directly on my left. As the joint swirls the intimate outdoor gathering it quickly makes it to the hands of the people who’ve planted its seed and coaxed it to flower. This particular joint, which expresses an acidic pineapple flavor, took careful and deliberate steps in order to be enjoyed by today’s group. Cultivated by Swami Select in Mendocino, California the strain’s effects are both functional and social. The tasting party picks up momentum, which is excellent as we’ve got a tall stack of joints yet to be smoked. For Cannabis Now’s iteration of a Flower Girls gathering we’ve gone beyond farm to table — we’re puffin’ tough with the farmers who grew our ganja.

A clear yellow pink pipe filled with bud is about to be lit by a hemp wick.

Friends lining the table include Rosenthal, his wife and publishing partner Jane Klein, Swami Select, made up of Swami Chaitanya and Nikki Lastreto, and the team of writers behind the Certified Dank strain reviews, Caitlin Podiak and Erica Edwards. When we reach the second round of joints, a Black Lime Reserve, also from Aficionado and cultivated from seed by Swami Select, I’m in just the right state of mood to properly soak up the collective knowledge of our assembled terpene troupe.

In the Pines, the first strain we’ve tried (well, OK not the first strain because when smoking with cannabis legends a certain base level has to be achieved), is made up of a Pineapple Thai, Master Kush cross combined with La Piña. It’s piney acidic aroma is described as an overripe pineapple and its effect is steady and conversational. This strain, Rosenthal explains rather clinically, slows down brain function, thus alleviating stress.

A clean sits atop a survey that will be filled out by the Flower Girls smoking society.

To fully explore each flower sample, we’re each writing notes on its aroma, flavor and effect as well as discussing these attributes aloud. As the party progresses our hosts pop out from the kitchen with an assortment of food and drink pairings to further compliment the strain selection. Somewhere in the moment after I sample a chewy tropical pineapple licorice bite followed by another puff of one the copious amount of joints circling the table I unlock a karmic cannabis connection. Enjoying the cannabis with the farmer who tended for these outdoor plants with such care, talking about its effects together and pairing it with complimentary food and drink, brings tasting marijuana into a whole new expanse. We’re appreciating every expression of our favorite flower with our friends and taking notes for the next time. Proper enjoyment of cannabis can make for a vivid and imaginative journey into the heart of dankness.

Originally published in Issue 22 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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