With thousands of goodies and tools to choose from, these are the dabs, blunts, and bites we keep restocking
We have bowls and bucketfuls of products to run down here, so we won’t spend too much time with the preamble. Other than to state the obvious that only assholes call such compendiums “best of” lists, and that this is a completely arbitrary spread compiled by Talking Joints Memo contributors based on our top finds of the year.
We know that there are many other awesome prerolls, nuggets, vapes, dabs, and bites; there are literally thousands of items available, and while we had our hands and lungs full all year, even our gang of devoted stoners can only get to so many samples. (This is probably a good time to add that we will soon have loads of reviews at the soon-to-launch talkingjointsmemo.com in the new year).
Also, yes, we understand that some of these treats may have been on the market, perhaps in a similar fashion or even with the same profile and packaging, prior to 2022. Nevertheless, most of them are new, and all were new to us and have since been added to our regular rotation (when we can find them, since not everything is always available). We hope this comes in handy, not only for your New Year’s celebration but in the coming days, weeks, and months as well. Our forecast for 2023: cloudy.
And finally, we have to shout out Cloud Cover Cannabis for its White 99 sativa strain, an explosive cross of Cinderella 99 x The White has basically powered our newsroom for the past couple of months, and to Green Gold Group for its Alien Rock Candy dabs. The latter, a cross between Sour Dubble and Tahoe Alien, may be indica-dominant, but a few pulls helped us saddle up for the long journey of writing this list.
We met the Fireball crew at NECANN and learned an interesting fact: more Fireball whiskey is sold in Mass than in any other state, which is especially impressive considering how much of that is in nips. That volume was the reason that the cannabis spinoff of the hot cinnamon party brand launched its infused gummies in the Bay State, and we’re glad they did. The candies are much more nuanced than the liquor, from the taste to the effect. If you have a reasonable tolerance and dig cinnamon spice, you may even want to consider using these as breath mints.
Around here, we are always looking for outstanding edibles, as in products that stand out from the pack. Betty’s Eddies chews are just that, something between a gummy and an especially soft piece of salt water taffy. We tried varieties for pain, sleep, and stress, with the latter, “pineapple orange chews infused with a natural blend of THC, CBDV, and CBG, plus passionflower, chamomile, and L-theanine,” rocketing to the top of our regular shopping list. The raspberry creme nighttime numbers are probably our favorite, but with 10mg of CBD and 5mg of CBN, the fast-acting chews are hardly suitable for daytime action.
ATS-42 Grow Tent System
Do you remember the Armoire, the nondescript piece of furniture that doubles as a clandestine grow shed in the middle of your living room? Well, in 2022 the thinkers from the Mass-based Green Goddess Supply behind that clever contraption introduced their latest development, the ATS-42 Grow Tent System, a “complete kit that contains all of the hardware you need to start growing.” Their pledge: “just add seed, soil and water.” Designed to support Green Goddess Supply’s proprietary High Yield + Easy Grow Autoflower Protocol, the setup “makes it super easy for anyone to get an average of a quarter-pound of flower per-plant in as little as 60 days, with folks often getting double that, per plant.”
PAX Live Rosin
For years, PAX has furnished handles and devices that we’ve used to get high on cannabis made by other brands. That’s unlikely to change anytime soon, but with their new solventless cartridges, the enduring company is now officially in the game in Mass on its own terms. Their Live Rosin with Natural Diamonds pods, which slide into their thumb-sized Era devices, has no heavy metals, pesticides, or combustion byproducts, while the “addition of natural diamonds, a purified liquid form of THCA, allows for enhanced potency and a perfectly balanced experience.” More from their team: “PAX’s Live Rosin will feature seven seasonal, small-batch strains, including both timeless faves like Blue Dream and Pineapple Express, and creative contemporary cultivars such as Guava Gelato and Wifi Mints.” We shall try them all.
Terra Blueberry Bites
As the California-based Kiva explains, their “dried blueberries are dusted with cocoa powder then finished with a generous coating of creamy milk chocolate infused with cold water hash,” with each “of these handcrafted treats [taking] 10-plus hours to create.” They ain’t kidding. They’re phenomenal, something different and then some. Small enough to shoot out of a small straw and hit your friend in the face, they’re also made using real fruit, so health nuts ought to line up. Some of you are probably reading this and saying, Yeah, General Obvious, Terra Blueberry Bites, I’ve been munching them for long enough to simply call them the “Blueberries” (the manufacturer’s nickname). To which we say, Then why didn’t you tell us about them sooner?
Sweet Victory BBQ Sauce
Frankly, this is the first BBQ sauce we’ve ever drunk out of the bottle. This collaboration between pitmaster Andy Husbands of the Smoke Shop and Bountiful Farms, one of the Bay State’s most applauded cultivators and manufacturers, is smooth on ribs and brisket, but it’s also fun to ladle straight onto the tonsils. Bountiful General Manager of Cultivation Zach Taylor is an alchemist of sorts, and his latest collab line—with Plant Jam and chef David Yusefzadeh of Cloud Creamery fame—is already shaping up to be a highlight for 2023. If you have yet to taste the magic, we recommend starting off with a Sweet Victory lap.
Chemdog Clone Drops
While we could feasibly feature any of legendary cultivator Chemdog’s Smash Hits on this list—say, for example, his sweet-and-sour Member Berry hybrid nugs, or his bonkers solventless live hash rosin collaboration with Treeworks. But of all the fire Chem released this year, what seemed most worth mentioning are his clone drops, which he explains are “really about supporting the spirit of legal homegrow in Massachusetts with some really fantastic strains.” While aficionados have been traveling to Canna Provisions in Western Mass from all over the country for Smash Hits for more than a year, the addition of actual clones to the menu (on an occasional basis, for now) amount to one of the most unique community-minded maneuvers of the year.
Caramel Apple Chewee’s
We’ve been recommending these convenient milky cubes manufactured by New England Cannabis Corp to anyone looking for indica edibles in particular. In addition to a moldable texture closer to an Airhead than bubble gum and less sticky than both, they’re delicious and take a few hours to kick in completely, making it likely the whole shebang won’t take effect until you are either fast asleep or at least deep into a Hulu series.
Fernway Recycling Program
It would be criminal to exclude Fernway from a 2022 moment mashup, and not only because it’s the year the Northampton-based company seemingly rose to the head of the top-shelf vape race, including with the recent release of their live resin carts which pack serious flavor. But they also had the temerity to confront one of the elephants in the room that too many others wind up ignoring—namely, industry waste. And lots of it. Fernway is now placing receptacles for their Traveler products via a new Fernway Recycling Program at dispensaries across the state. As their Chief Marketing Officer Liam O’Brien told us in September, “the only path to comprehensively solving the waste problem is through changing regulations but in the meantime, brands still have the opportunity to act, so that’s what we’re doing.”
Edie Parker Prerolls
The New York City-based Edie Parker is the rare accessory and fashion line that asks for you to confirm that you are 21-plus before entering their site. That’s because the home decor and handbag maker also goes hard in the green space, not just with pipes and clutches that conceal the smell of weed, but also with an actual cannabis line. Their Happiest Hour creamsicle two-pack has become a staple in our lineup, and not just because the stylish box looks the part in any breast pocket or purse. They’re also tight and tasty plus, yes, they exude style right down to the floral filter. As other fashion brands enter the market, they’d be smart to watch the moves that Edie Parker’s making.
These pre-rolled blunts from David Ortiz brand Papi Cannabis via Rev Farms pack a full gram and come stuffed with either Lava Cake #7, Motorbreath #15, Bootylicious #4, or Black Mamba #7. They’re tasty, easy on the lungs, and good for at least two serious sessions—all of which are qualities that cannabis consumers can expect to see more of in their blunts, as manufacturers roll out new tobacco-free formulas. In this realm, we also love the “twist on a traditional blunt” from Berkshire Roots, a joint-sized (.75 grams) herbal wrap made of mate, chamomile, and cacao. The result smells the way you want a cinnamon stick to smell before you actually sniff one and are disappointed.
ConNectar 510 Electric Dab Straw
Who needs a $400 dab rig when you can grab a ConNectar for $20? Seriously. You won’t need an open flame for the ConNectar, since it’s “made to fit any 510 threaded button battery,” which you’re basically “turning it into a nectar collector,” as the manufacturer Stache Products puts it. The ConNectar simply comes with the base attached to a mouthpiece, straw, coil, and ceramic tip, plus a convenient cap to shield your bag or pocket from stickiness between sessions. If there’s any downside, it’s that the optics aren’t optimal—frankly, it looks like you’re freebasing. Nevertheless, it’s a brilliant tubular companion that works better than rigs which cost several hundred dollars.
Green Gold Group Liquid Gold Dablicator
If there’s someone in your life who enjoys indulging in the occasional infused pre-rolled joint, then there is probably someone in your life who is tired of paying astronomical prices for those products. Lucky for them, Green Gold Group recently introduced what may be the most advanced stoner accessory of the year, if not the goddamn decade. This is for serious heads who are also into arts and crafts; imagine a syringe-like pen device filled with a gram of concentrated cannabis that you can use to coat—or dablicate, if we’re being specific—the inside and/or exterior of a blunt or joint with an added sweet and sticky dose. Currently available in Reba or Sour Diesel strains.
This one is a show stopper, hands down one of the most eye-catching products on the Mass market to date with the flower power to match. Think we are exaggerating? Just break one of these boxes out at a party, strike a match on the side of the box, light one of the seven half-gram prerolls, and watch the crowd react. We also like the way that these are spun like cigarettes; there’s nothing wrong with a cone that is twisted at the end, but the straight-leg format and exposed leaf makes for big and even puffs from start to finish. Inside the ones we grabbed was a Gushers hybrid that got us ripe with a clean and heady high that neither energized nor exhausted. A solid strain for sure, but let’s face it, you’re copping this one for the package. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Pumpkin Pie Bar
We first sampled this one in a non-infused version, and that inspired us enough to seek out the real thing. We’re glad we did; as we extolled in a roundup of autumnal winners, while there were several pumpkin-themed and flavored treats in play, this limited edition bar from Garden Remedies, an orgasmic marriage of graham cracker and Callebaut white chocolate, made our mouth water the most. We hope to see a comeback next fall.
Double Baked Chocolates
If the name of the game is unique, one of the top players on the infused edibles front has to be Northeast Alternatives. Their Double Baked products are called chocolates but really they’re something more. The cake batter cheesecake ones are blended with pop rocks, while their blueberry-cheesecake graham-cracker pucks had us dancing on rooftops. They all melt in your mouth, making for a sensory experience more interesting and complex than is typical of most sweet treats that get you ripped.
We have sampled Tasteology’s milk chocolate and strawberry blonde bars, as well as their chews in three styles: blood orange, blueberry, and raspberry. The former feature cocoa beans from the gourmet French chocolatier Valrhona, while the latter are made with real fruit purées by Ponthier, another iconic French brand. Most importantly, all are outstanding, top notch bites with fairy dust on top, with the strawberry blonde and raspberry ones especially standing out. As Director of Manufacturing Matthew Petersen of Jushi, which is behind these products, recently told us, the “We committed to finding the highest quality ingredients to craft this product line, which for us, looked like no colorings, preservatives, or artificial flavors.”
We’ve always been a big fan of the Ardent Nova. It’s beyond convenient and uniquely helps harness the most out of your decarboxylated herb. You know where this is going—their new can is smaller and more affordable, a full-on winner. The Mini has three separate settings: THC and CBG, CBD, and infuse. You can also use the unit itself to bake small items, or to “hold up to one ounce of flower depending on density and six ounces of oil.”
Levia Blueberry Cobbler Seltzer
Clear leader Levia went to town on their limited release Blueberry Cobbler this year, from the throwback dark pop-art design to the outstanding berry bubbles on the inside. We also kept one to display on the shelf, since the “limited-run seltzer features original artwork from Dean McKeever, a local Mass illustrator specializing in craft beverage can design.” Keever “chose deep blues and purples to portray the haunted season that comes with the new flavor while tapping into the bright elements of fall using vibrant pinks and oranges around the witch.”