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Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg talk cannabis, creativity and a lot of lost lighters

Longtime friends Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, whose creative work together includes “Superbad,” “The Interview,” “This Is the End” and the weed-centric film “Pineapple Express,” turned their attention to a decidedly different form of entertainment with the 2019 launch of their cannabis brand Houseplant in Canada (both hail from Vancouver).

Two years later, Houseplant blooms on this side of the border with three strains of cannabis flower named after weather systems: Diablo Wind, Pancake Ice and Pink Moon (a nod to the powerful, rain-packed “atmospheric river” known as the Pineapple Express — the namesake of both the 2008 stoner comedy and the powerful cannabis strain the pair invented for it). The strains are available via the Amuse delivery service in Los Angeles starting Thursday.

5:21 p.m. March 11, 2021 An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the cannabis strain Pineapple Express predated the 2008 film of the same name. It was originally a fictitious strain created by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg for the film.

At the same time, they’re launching Houseplant’s first foray into home goods, which includes an $85 ashtray set designed by Rogen, a budding COVID-19 pandemic-era ceramist; a chunky $220 Midcentury Modern-inspired table lighter; and a three-album vinyl box set ($95) of some of the dope-dabbling duo’s favorite music. (Unlike the cannabis, Houseplant’s Housegoods offerings are available for purchase online at houseplant.com.)

In advance of Thursday’s launch, the 38-year-old Houseplant cofounders had a video chat with The Times (from their respective Los Angeles homes) about their lifelong passion for weed, what moviemaking and launching a cannabis brand have in common, and what it’s like to get high hundreds of times in the name of research (a process Rogen described as “comically enjoyable”). Here are excerpts from that conversation.

You launched the Houseplant cannabis brand in Canada two years ago. Are the strains you’re offering in the U.S. the same?

Evan Goldberg: No they’re completely different because it’s across the border.

Seth Rogen: The system is so different that the strains are completely different, [and] the regulations are very different. We’re working with California growers here in California, and all of our weed in Canada is grown in Canada.

Cannabis-containing comestibles for almost every diet

Evan, Seth’s smoking is legendary. Do you smoke at the level he does?

Goldberg: [deadpans] I still haven’t tried the stuff. … We’re identical in our consumption, more or less. I tend to lean toward bongs and other things a bit more. Seth’s a joint man, but beyond that we share a desk, and pre-COVID, we’d share joints. I like the efficiency of the bong — clean and simple. I love a good joint too. I’m not anti-joint. … The bong is just largely because I work alone in a room a lot. But if I’m in a social setting, I much prefer the joint. I enjoy the social ritual.

Is there anything about creating a weed brand — and then a lifestyle brand to go with it — that’s similar to the way you guys collaborate on films?

Goldberg: One of the biggest things is just assembling the right team. It doesn’t matter how hard Seth and I work or how much thought we put into something, if we don’t have the right cinematographer and line producer and production designer, we’re not going to make a good movie. And it’s the same thing here. Without [Houseplant brand manager] Kaitlin [Juarez], [Houseplant Chief Executive and co-founder] Michael Mohr and [Chief Consumer Officer] Melissa Greenberg — the people we work with in our company — and having that team of incredibly talented people from different areas of expertise, we wouldn’t be able to pull off what we’ve done. [Houseplant’s other two founders are Alex McAtee and James Weaver, and Haneen Davies serves as chief commercial officer of L.A.-based Houseplant U.S.]

Rogen: Very much so. And I think, creatively, we’ve actually found that it’s a very similar pursuit in a lot of ways in that we’re trying to make a product that the audience loves and that they get a sense of who we are as people through that product, that we’re able to express ourselves through it, and people may relate to that themselves through that expression. That’s really what we’re trying to do with our movies. And weirdly — in a way that I never could have imagined — I think we have found a way to instill our sensibilities into things like lighters and ashtrays, you know?

Goldberg: [I’d] add that a huge difference is that you release a movie at a moment in time, and it’s out and in the world. We don’t work on “Superbad” anymore, but this can evolve and be worked on for the rest of our lives. It’s an ever-changing thing, and that’s one of the most creatively thrilling things about it.

How did the selection process work to pick the three strains you’re launching with?

Goldberg: The important starting point is that we brought our life’s experience to it. We didn’t start at, “OK, let’s find good weed now.” We came to the table and really got scientific. We were like, “What do we love? What does it share with the other things we love?”

Rogen: Exactly. And “What are the strains we already love? The growers we already love and that we were already fans of?” We brought all that to the table as well. But when it came time to really drill down on what strains we were proud to put in our little tin, it really had to be rigorously tested, and we would smoke ounces and ounces of the ones as we drilled down on to really make sure. [We asked ourselves,] “OK, can I smoke this all day every day?” and “Is this what I want?” I don’t want to lie to people or mislead people — ever. Can I honestly say this is the weed I want to be smoking? And it has to be. That’s the standard that it really had to hit for us.

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So when you settled on the sativa strain Pancake Ice — the Chemdawg X Mandarin Cookies cross — did that mean there was a second runner-up strain that didn’t make the cut?

Goldberg: The second runner-up you’ll see in a couple months. We know that our personal tastes are not everybody’s taste, so we’re going to keep [adding] more strains to the mix.

Will you just be adding strains or swapping some out like a limited-edition offering?

Rogen: I’m open to either. I personally hope we’ll always have Pancake Ice just so I can have access to it. It’s great, strong weed. Truthfully, Diablo Wind is more what me and Evan smoke all day long while we’re writing. It’s just slightly more functional. So those two strains are ones we really love, but we’re open. … That’s what’s fun about what Evan said about this being an ongoing creative endeavor. We can be really fluid with it in a way that we can’t always be with our films.

Seth, you’ve said your go-to strain is Pancake Ice. Do you have a preference, Evan?

Goldberg: Diablo Wind. [It’s] essentially an amalgam of two strains that Seth and I have been smoking for decades. We very much enjoy those specific strains.

Rogen: The Jack Herer [strain] that it’s derived from is one of our favorites strains, and we’ve been smoking it since we were teenagers. I think coming from Vancouver, especially, we were lucky in that we had access to some of these really pure kind of sativa strains that are hard to come by, and that smell of Jack [Herer] is always something that’s nostalgic for us almost.

Did you guys feel like kids in a candy shop when you were starting the strain-selection process?

Goldberg: I never liked candy this much. This is way better.

Rogen: It was comically enjoyable, and that was not lost on us. We are not smug or glib about it at all. The whole time we were like, “This is the . greatest thing we could ever have been tasked with doing.”

How many times do you think you got high in service to picking the strains you’re launching with?

Rogen: We’d really try to live with them, honestly. Weed is a part of our day-to-day lives. It is an intrinsic part of my lifestyle, so we wanted to put the strains through that testing. So the answer is hundreds of times. We smoked ounces and ounces and ounces of each of these strains before we were really confident enough to put them to market. I was like, “I need to smoke this for weeks straight to make sure that it’s something that I really love.”

High on pot, Seth Rogen live-tweeted the panned film “Cats” on Tuesday night — until he just couldn’t anymore. The whole thing was “pretty trippy.”

Why did you decide to name your strains after weather phenomena?

Rogen: We went with weather because we’re going to keep releasing strains — hopefully, we’ll have dozens of strains that we can put out into the world — and one of the reasons weather systems was a good area is because there’s tons of them with cool names. Pineapple Express is just sitting there. Ball lightning is one that I really like, [and] Venus’ Belts was one that caused a lot of controversy internally. St. Elmo’s Fire ticks the movie box and the weather system box.

Talk about the inspiration behind the stackable tins the Houseplant cannabis is packaged in. They remind me of the kind of tins tea comes in.

Rogen: Tin is a highly recyclable material and it’s very light. That was very important to us, [and] we liked that it has a nostalgic feel to it. . Truthfully, though, we wanted to make a tin that you were proud to display — not just one that didn’t look bad but one that actually looked nice and [that] you were happy to have out.

Goldberg: Every used one I have I use for something, which is the goal. I don’t throw any of them away.

Rogen: We have people asking to buy them in states where weed is not legal just so they can store things in them, which is very nice. But, honestly, that mentality is what really inspired a lot of the Housegoods. For so long, weed — and the things associated with it — were hidden and were not viewed as design objects or things that one should be proud to display. And that’s really what we wanted to make — things that if you’re someone who smokes weed or if you’re just someone who likes design that you’d be proud to have. And, as someone who smokes weed . I found myself really struggling just to find a nice ashtray, so I would buy vintage ashtrays because the ’60s and ’70s was the last time anyone was putting real design thought into these things. That’s really what started that conversation: What if we make our own versions of these things and kind of really tailor them to our lifestyles and what we would want and the functionality that we would be looking for? And it was very rewarding, and then I started doing ceramics and was actually able to physically design [some of] our products myself, which is not something I was expecting to be able to do, but it happened.

Is there a backstory to the chunky table lighter you’re offering? I imagine it has to do with someone losing a lot of lighters.

Goldberg: Seth’s wife and I talk about this constantly. Somewhere in Seth’s house — or life — is a portal filled with 15,000 to 25,000 lighters. It’s unfathomable. He buys trays of like 50, and then a week later we’ll be like, “Where’d all the lighters go?” And he’ll be like, “I don’t know.” It’s impossible. I can’t express how impossible it actually is. It must be a joke you’re playing that’s like 40 years long, and you’re going to [eventually] reveal a storage room [full of lighters].

Rogen: That would be a great joke. I remember 10 years ago, when I found out Evan and my wife were secretly texting one another about the fact that I lose a lot of lighters — and had been for a very long time. So, yeah, that was the motivation behind that.

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If you time-traveled back a quarter century to when you two first got high together and told your younger selves that you’d eventually have your own line of cannabis and cannabis-inspired home goods, how do you think past you would respond to future you?

Rogen: I’d be so . psyched, honestly. I’ve loved weed since I first started smoking it, and it’s something that I’ve put a lot of thought into for 25 years. And it’s thought that I [didn’t necessarily think] would lead to anything. It was just me thinking about a thing I really like. And the fact that now, in my late 30s, we found a way to take this thought and this energy and this passion and this love for this thing that we’ve had — me and Evan for 25 years — and that we’re finally able to manifest things with it is really exciting and really gratifying. And I would tell young me, “Yeah, anyone who tells you you should stop smoking weed, don’t listen to them.”

Houseplant cannabis is available for purchase in Los Angeles by those 21 and older starting Thursday via houseplant.amuse.com (suggested retail price for the three strains — Diablo Wind, Pancake Ice and Pink Moon — is $60 for 3.5 grams) with rollout to select bricks-and-mortar dispensaries slated for spring. For additional information and to order from the new home-goods collection, visit houseplant.com.

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9 best marijuana strains of the 2020 harvest

This year may be a dumpster fire inside a trainwreck, but at least there’s more fresh, legal, tested fuego for your bubbler than ever before.

Amid a global pandemic and historic political division, legal cannabis has become a silver lining deemed essential by authorities. Weed continues to get stronger, more flavorful, more tested, and more legal in 2020 than before.

And the pace of cannabis development is accelerating in 2020, said Kevin Jodrey, cultivation director and owner of Wonderland Nursery in the Humboldt County town of Redway, CA—the epicenter of global ganja innovation.

“It’s reaching a critical mass,” he said. “Growers have to be able to constantly innovate, constantly create, and you’re beginning to see people putting out a lot of interesting work.”

US farmers grow 29.9 million pounds of pot per year, … with leader California growing 13.5 million pounds… 60% of it outdoors

This October, tens of millions of outdoor-grown pounds are coming down from the hilly fields of the Emerald Triangle, Santa Barbara, and Oregon and Washington.

US farmers grow 29.9 million pounds of pot per year, New Frontier Data estimates, with leader California growing 13.5 million pounds, agriculture officials estimate. Sixty percent of the crop is grown outdoors, sewn annually in the spring and harvested through October.

Each year, Leafly talks to farmers about what’s ripening in the estimated $52 billion total US market, and where flavor trends are going, so you can shop the outdoor harvest like a pro.

Our picks stay 100% independent, and close to the plant: We grow it, smoke it, study Leafly search traffic, and interview commercial breeders and growers. Get your grinders ready!

Hot Gelato crosses

Vanilla Frosting

Stress eaters: Put down the cupcake and pick up the Vanilla Frosting for gobs of dessert flavor and relaxation with zero calories; that is, until the munchies hit.

This year, California’s leading seed-seller Humboldt Seed Company sold a blistering, record 110,000 seeds and clones of this Gelato cross developed by Happy Dreams Farm.

Vigorous and pretty, Vanilla Frosting blew the roof off of a 20-foot-tall greenhouse in Humboldt, said Humboldt Seed Company CEO Nathaniel Pennington. The farmer had to remove the ceiling to let the plants finish.

“The grower was just so happy, he was giddy,” said Pennington.

Vanilla Frosting (Courtesy Dark Heart Nursery)

Leafly recommended Vanilla Frosting in our 2019 seed guide, and spotted early light dep flowers in the September Leafly Buzz.

Now, a delivery fleet of Frosting flows down the hills to coat chronnoisseurs in velvety sweet vanilla and creamy fuel. The initial aroma attracts novices, while the high THC percentages satisfy tokers.

THC is the engine of all cannabis, said Pennington. But the aroma molecules—the terpenes—are the steering wheel.

“I tend to care more about where I go than how quick the trip is,” he said.

See also:

  • Rainbow Chip (grown by SPARC ) Sunset Mints (Sunset Sherbet x Kush Mints #11) from Seed Junky Genetics
  • Sherbinski’s Gello (Bacio Gelato x Mochi)

Zkittlez crosses

White Runtz

Trick or treat yo’ self to a bag of White Runtz this fall for a trendy melange of Zkittlez’s fruit syrup crossed to Gelato’s creamy berry-grape gas.

“It’s hard to argue Runtz isn’t the strain of 2020,” said Santa Barbara grower Graham Farrar, president of Glass House Group.

If Cookies-based Gelato is the older, more established strain, then Zkittlez is the newer kid on the block—the Kendrick Lamar to a Dr. Dre, if you will. Naturally, you pair old and new, and remix, first into Runtz and now into the Runtz crosses, among them, White Runtz.

A lot of Runtz is coming down,” said Jodrey.

Runtz quality will vary widely this year, because pounds of A-grade White Runtz fetch $5,500 on the East Coast street, Jodrey said. That attracts con artists.

Look closely for these small, white, dense, purplish Runtz nugs—and don’t pay top dollar for anything weathered, brown or green.

Growing Runtz outdoors is tricky to master—it’s better small and compact indoors than as a field of trees. Masters coax out notes of candied fruit and creamy berry-grape gas.

Runtz’s potency will knock most veteran smokers back on their couch.

“This is classic stoner weed,” said Daniel Hendricks, CEO at Humboldt County nursery HENDRX Farms.

See also:

  • Talking Trees Z-Money (Zkittlez x The Money) from Dying Breed Seeds

OG favorites

Fatso

Don’t bring your baby lungs. Fatso is for gas lovers, OG lovers, and GMO Cookies lovers.

Colorado breeder Cannarado crossed GMO Cookies and Legend OG to make Fatso, and it’s been gaining ground thanks to the two great tastes it brings together.

On its own, GMO Cookies dominated in 2020. It’s a savory counterpoint to all the dessert strains. Ultra-high in THC, GMO dumps resin for hashmakers.

“I think GMO will be underproduced for the demand that plant has,” said nursery operator Hendricks. “I’m excited to see Fatso in play.”

Underneath the hood, GMO is stacked with power from parents Animal Mints and Triangle Kush, said Jodrey.

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“It’s a great chassis to add things on,” he said.

Crossing GMO to Legend OG reinvigorates the OG line and makes it beefier. Give the thicc strain some love next time you see it.

See also:

  • Talking Trees Layer Cake #6 (GMO/Triangle Kush/Skunk x Wedding Cake)
  • HENDRX Farms’ Mother’s Milk #31 bred by Bodhi Seeds (Napali OG x Appalachia)
  • All of Sherbinki’s originals—Sherbert, Gello, Acai Berry, Bacio, and Mochi—crossed to Mandelbrot OG
  • Ethos’ Crescendo (Chem D and i95 X Mandarin Cookies #17)

A super Glue

Forbidden Lemon Glue

Engage in some aromatherapy with this super tart, citrus, and fuel child of Original Glue—formerly known as Gorilla Glue, GG#4.

A tsunami of outdoor Original Glue satisfies smokers yet again this fall. But in terms of unique crosses for 2020, Equilibrium Genetics’ Forbidden Lemon Glue dumps gobs of thick grapefruit and lemon stank atop glue’s fuel base. It also looks like genetically engineered roses from an alien exoplanet.

Unpacking the name, Forbidden Lemon Glue combines Forbidden Fruit (Cherry Pie x Tangie) and Lemon Glue (Lemon Tree x Glue 75%). That’s four equally intriguing genetic lines outside of a Cookie or an OG.

“An absolute delight to both grow and smoke,” said Michelle McIntyre, owner/operator of Full Circle Pharm in Mendocino County. “I love doing chores, housework, market shopping, and creative art projects while imbibing!”

Next year, shop Equilibrium Genetics seeds at licensed dispensaries and glue your own garden.

A great bake-off

Lemon Lava

Volcanoes are steaming with Lemon Lava this fall. The rich, lemony, fuelly cake cross is great for chilling without knocking you out.

PHinest cannabis and Cannarado crossed Lemon Heads to Lava Cake to make Lemon Lava—a winning recipe in the ongoing cake wars. High-end indoor growers LitHouse really popularized it.

Fields and fields of cakes get the chop this October—mostly Wedding Cake and Ice Cream Cake. So icy, so sweet, and so powerful, Wedding Cake kicked off a cake breeding frenzy that yielded the richer, gassier Lava Cake. Now, Lemon Lava adds a citrusy finish.

“You’re getting enough lemon to keep the lemon heads happy and you’re getting those cake heads happy.”

Kevin Jodrey, Wonderland Nursery

Lemon Lava caters to the “maybe buyers,” akin to the mythic swing voter who decides elections—or in cannabis’ case, drives sales.

“You’re getting enough lemon to keep the lemon heads happy and you’re getting those cake heads happy. You can sell it to both clusters,” said Jodrey. “Now you start having real velocity in a product.”

California indoor growers Lithouse took the 2019 Emerald Cup for Lemon Lava. 2020’s Lemon Lava light deps and outdoors are ready for your own ring of fire.

See also:

    (Wedding Cake x Serious Chem D)

Cheetah Piss

Track down Cookies brand’s exotic outdoor Cheetah Piss in stores this fall for a ferocious encounter with lemon, creamy berry, cake, and maximum THC. Rawwr!

Cookies planted a pride of these coveted Cheetah exotics outdoors this year. That means you’ll be able to spot a great deal on an ounce.

Don’t get your hopes up for a modern version of Catpiss, though. That legendary, biting strain is thought to be lost to time. This is Cookies’ cross of Lemonnade, Gelato #42, and London Pound Cake #97—a menagerie of on-trend terps.

Cookies’ Cheetah Piss (David Downs / Leafly)

“It’s so fun to smoke stuff that’s so bright, and light, and flavorful with such a nice mouth and nose,” said Jodrey, who ran Cookies genetics this summer.

You got the syrupy lemon, berry cream, and sugar butter all prancing around your olfactory bulbs. Fancy cannabis for lazy, self-care Sundays and gaming—pounce on it if you see it.

See also:

    Gelonade (Lemon Tree x Gelato)

Something sativa

Magic Melon

Love the balance of Blue Dream and a mild, approachable aroma? Pick mild sativa Magic Melon for a similar experience this season.

Magic Melon took the number one spot at Humboldt Seed Company in 2020, selling 124,000 seeds and clones because it grows well outdoors and yields pounds of evanescent, melony smells, plus moderate to high levels of THC.

Selected by Briceland Forest Farm, Magic Melon has just enough sativa energy to stay engaged, without so much that you take a personal inventory of your life’s failings.

“Deep down, people don’t want that much mental awareness,” said Jodrey. “[Traditional sativas] make them so aware of their precarious position in life, they almost wet their pants.”

Magic Melon (David Downs/Leafly) web

The biggest threat from the mild sativa melon? It’s easy to lose the ripe tropical notes to over-drying or poor storage.

“Growers can screw it up,” Jodrey said. “If you take away the nuance it’s just like bland fruit.”

Ask your budtender for the freshest stuff.

See also:

  • Squirt (Blueberry Muffin x Tangie) from Humboldt Seed Company

Fruit salad

Papaya Punch

Fill your online shopping baskets with cannabis’ stone fruit and tropical trends this year, including Papaya Punch.

“The papaya is smoking hot,” said Jodrey, “Both the original papaya and the punch crosses are scorching hot in the illicit clone scene.”

Oni Seeds took the flavor of 2018, Purple Punch, and mixed in the mysterious Papaya. Lots of big growers ran the cultivar this year, including Honeydew Farms, Nickel & Dime, Dimebag, and Cream of the Crop.

Light, soft tropical papaya notes take the lead. Behind it in the grinder is Purple Punch’s thick, sharp citrus terps. Fruity terps reign in its high-THC hybrid effects making it versatile day through night.

Grind Magic Melon and Papaya Punch up together for an electric daytime fruit salad.

See also:

  • Apple Gelato (Gelato X Sour Apple)
  • Berry Pie (Cookies X Blueberry)

Old school throwback

Island Sweet Skunk

For the old school throwback fans, Skunk 1 has delivered high-THC, high-terpene, mind-warping effects since London in the late ‘80s. But skunk also seems to self-limit its population. The racey, edgy 80% sativa is stinky as all get-out—enough to get you popped in prohibition states.

While authentic Skunk is due for a comeback, the closest most get are sweet skunk crosses like Island Sweet Skunk, an old-school Canadian cut that pops up in Select oil cartridges or in European seed banks. (Jack Herer and Green Crack are two skunk offspring.)

But the one true Skunk—acrid, eye-watering, almost vomit-smelling—is as mythic as Sasquatch. “That one is almost impossible to find,” Jodrey said.

So tell Leafly if you spot it. This harvest season, there’s more strains to explore than a lifetime allows.

“It’s the best it’s ever been, and it’s still getting better,” said Glass House’s Farrar.

Forbidden Lemon Glue (Full Circle Pharm) California produces an estimated 13.5 million pounds of cannabis per year. (Courtesy Humboldt Seed Co)