I’ll never forget my visit to a certain Glendale dispensary two years ago, a place that might have had the highest prices for the lowest-quality bud in town. I felt like Comic Book Guy as I smelled and rejected each dry, musty jar of old pot. To make matters worse, the budtender knew nothing about any of them. “We just sell wholesale strains,” she said. “You’d need to ask the grower.”
Asked who that grower was, she named a nondescript LLC that had no available information on the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division website other than its license and address. That was all the experience with wholesale strains I thought I needed.
But times have changed. Just like the rest of the cannabis industry, the wholesale sector has evolved as the effects of vertical integration — a rule that required Colorado’s first recreational shops to be established medical dispensaries that grew at least 70 percent of the pot they sold — slowly wore off. Today, wholesale growers are providing more than just an emergency supply of inventory; they’re growing some damn good herb. And they’re proud of it, too.
“All we do is grow. We don’t need to worry about other dispensary aspects,” says Mike Leibowitz, partner and head grower of Veritas Cannabis, a branded wholesale grow. “This is by growers, for growers.”
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Recently, Veritas has taken its branding aspirations to new heights, with soil-grown cannabis available in thirty-plus dispensaries across the state. After placing second among over forty commercial growers in the inaugural Grow Off for its potent Race Fuel OG, Leibowitz asked us to check out some Veritas strains. How could we say no?
Here’s how they rate:
My favorite of the four Veritas strains when it comes to smell and flavor, Cherry Diesel instantly woos any fan of tart diesel notes. This is easily the tastiest, most sativa-forward take on the hybrid I’ve ever tried, pushing out sour, syrupy Cherry OG genetics in its flavor while letting the uplifting effects of its other parent (Turbo Diesel) take over after the smoke. Cherry Diesel is also a favorite at the Veritas growhouse, where it’s Leibowitz’s go-to before workouts because of the zone it allows him to get in. It was popular with my friends, too, after they took one whiff of its intense aroma, a smell so sweet and sour that this could pass as cherry-flavored weed candy.
Any sativa that opens both eyes wide with a simple sniff is almost guaranteed to boost your energy, yet Cherry Diesel still exceeded all expectations in that department. As with other strong Diesel strains, you don’t want to go overboard with this one, as it can cause restless legs, slight paranoia or lack of focus if you smoke more than you can handle. I’ll save it to impress connoisseur friends who’ll appreciate the honeydew flavor; its high is more for the active and productive crowd. Those trying to curb their caffeine addiction should consider a toke or two as an alternative.
And Sour Diesel just might have to watch its back: This cut has all of the same energy, but with cherries on top.
Effects: An espresso-type sativa that allows users to maintain focus — if smoked moderately. More than one bowl will take most too far, but a small amount of Cherry Diesel is a therapeutic start to the day for medical patients suffering from eating disorders, exhaustion, depression, attention disorders and minor pain. Its energetic and social high is a good fit for bored recreational users looking for trails to explore.
Chiesel is a time-tested hybrid from across the Atlantic, bred from an English classic, U.K. Cheese, and an American upstart sativa that is now a pillar of its own, East Coast Sour Diesel. While Chiesel is usually a funky combination of tart diesel notes and sweet, creamy cheese, the Veritas version, Cheesel, incorporates heavier sour and floral notes, creating the smell and flavor of a citrus-heavy tea — which might be why this take is spelled with an extra e. But cheeseheads need not worry: The funky cheese notes pop out after breaking up a nug, and combine with diesel and floral flavors to create a sour, zesty smoke with a creamy finish.
Most cuts of Chiesel stay pretty close to the middle as far as hybrids go, with some leaning slightly toward sativas. However, Cheesel leans indica, and it’s not even close. Although the high starts out with an engaged buzz that’ll make even CSPAN interesting, it smoothly transitions to a head-bobbing melt full of relaxation — but not drooling relaxation, which is an unwelcome surprise many indica hybrids can bring. With round, extremely dense buds and a dusty coat of resin glands, Cheesel isn’t an ugly date, by any means. But its dark color and amber trichomes might make it go unnoticed next to the bright, snow-covered Gorilla Glues and Cookies of the world.
Don’t make the mistake of overlooking Cheesel. This after-dinner delight is perfect before dessert or alongside a glass of red wine — and it has the decadent high to match.
Effects: This indica-leaning hybrid can fool users into thinking they’ll have the energy or mental capacity to do adult things for hours, but don’t fall for it: An indica massage will calmly loosen your body to a puddle of one-word answers and stoner giggles. The relaxing euphoria also helps medical patients suffering from anxiety, insomnia and stomach issues.
Keep reading for two more Veritas strains.
Bubba Banner was by far the most intriguing Veritas strain I tried. Its parents shouldn’t be hard to guess, but Veritas took it a little further by breeding this strain with Pre-’98 Bubba Kush instead of the standard Bubba, which can be even heavier in both flavor and effects than the newer version. Bruce Banner #4, the chosen Banner phenotype, imparted its sweet, earthy notes and bright-green color to contrast with Bubba Kush’s dark hues and coffee and chocolate flavors. The parents mix well, creating a zesty, barrel-aged taste great for those looking for a break from sweet, diesel-heavy strains or the overload of OGs. Bubba Banner’s looks are even more successful, with a foundation of bright-green calyxes set against milky trichomes, dark leaves, tan pistils and spots of purple: a true beauty for an Arizona boy like me, used to sunsets on desert mountains.
Bubba Banner’s high was probably the most even of the bunch. Its heady sativa buzz kept me alert enough to deal with the heavy relaxation that came in about 45 minutes after smoking. Both effects bounce off each other long enough to keep you awake and alert for a couple of hours of creativity and fun — but be ready for a comedown, because it’s inevitable. The pain-relieving properties of the Pre-’98 Bubba are just too strong for any crossing strain to hold back.
Effects: Proof that opposites can attract, Bubba Banner starts off with the euphoric, wall-riding buzz of Bruce Banner #4 and finishes with a Bubba Kush tidal wave that won’t stop until your eyes are closed. Smoke small amounts if you’re scared of the comedown, but this high is great for reading, writing, arts and other creative, thinking activities — until it isn’t. Medical patients use its potency to treat stronger forms of pain and stress.
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After a quick sniff or pull on an unlit joint, you’d easily spot the Kush genetics in Veritas’s OG Sin — but its exact lineage is different from that of most OG spinoffs. Bred with Ghost OG, a citrus-heavy OG Kush phenotype, and Fuma Con Diablos, a rare Skunk/Haze hybrid from Boulder, OG Sin brings skunky, citrus and spicy notes to liven up an American classic — like that bacon-wrapped hot dog you tried at a Mexican restaurant. The strain’s bud structure is a harmonious blend of its parents, looking like an athletic but silver spoon-fed son of an NBA player. Its compact, round bud structure is as dense as they come, but its blooming calyxes have the shape of broccoli heads and mushroom clouds. Its color, smell and flavor coverage are all very OG-like, but brighter, spicier and more vibrant than its heritage, proving that the sativa addition to a timeless favorite was well worth it.
The “Sin” part of OG Sin isn’t too evident until you blaze it. The world slows down around you, switching to an unholy pace that’d make a sloth jealous. The indica-dominant hybrid blocks the peripherals, putting you in a zone of interest and happiness, making the strain perfect for one-on-one chats or winding down date night.
Effects: Instant, powerful indica effects will make everything — especially your mind — move at a slower pace, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be incapable. Although not suited for public appearances, OG Sin can still spark interesting and intimate conversations in small groups, making it a good choice for a night in with pleasant company, but not instant sleep. On top of relaxation and bliss, medical users can use OG Sin for anxiety, eating disorders, chronic pain, insomnia and stress.