Showcasing Canada’s best dried flower products
“Good weed is hard to find!” That’s what the old heads used to say.
Not much has changed today. Except back in the day, it was easy to tell when you found some, because there was transparency.
Back then, you could look at the buds before purchasing. You could smell the buds. In fact, with the right connection, you could even grab a bud and snap it in half.
Consumers understood which quality factors mattered the most, while growers and dealers had to stand behind their product, face-to-face with the person that might purchase it.
Now everything has changed. Regulated cannabis is an entirely different beast. Instead of growers and dealers, we have producers and retailers. It’s not a person-to-person type of game anymore. Now it’s a CPG game, an analytics game, a marketing game. There is no transparency.
Everybody claims to be the leader in craft cannabis, selling today’s hottest fire. Yet most of the products on the market are subpar. Consumers routinely get tricked, as they predominantly shop for higher numbers on the label, instead of better quality inside the bag.
Back in the day, we used to grade cannabis in four different categories. Good weed was rated AAAA. Decent weed was AAA. Discount weed was AA. Bunk weed was an A. Just like today, the vast majority of flower available on the market back then was dubs and trips. Rarely did anything ever reach the glory of quad status. The ones that did reach quad status were always special. They deserved to be hunted after. They deserved to be remembered.
I’ve always loved good weed. Hash is delicious. I’ll even indulge in an intense dab every so often. But good weed rolled into a joint is my favourite way to consume it. I enjoy all different kinds of weed. Different aromas, different flavours. I like to examine the finer details. Over the years, I’ve learned that the only way to know if weed is good or not is to break it apart and smoke it. And from my experience, if the weed isn’t good, then it isn’t worth smoking.
Other people like good weed too. Yet with the structure of distribution and packaging, good weed from the regulated industry can be even harder to find than before. So I’ve refined the old-school grading system to meet the needs of today’s consumers. The new version has evolved from four tiers into a 100-point scale. I call it the OG Rating Guide. To be considered “good weed” (aka AAAA status), a product must score at least 80 out of 100 points.
As the regulated industry started opening for business in Canada, I put the OG Rating Guide to the test. It took a while for anything to reach good weed status. At first, it seemed like every store I walked into recommended something from the same group of producers. producers that claimed to be craft, but only really cared about the bottom line. Every time I opened the package with hope. But every time, I put out the first joint with disappointment. The products lacked vibrancy and appeal. Most importantly they lacked flavour and potency. It wasn’t long before I decided to go back to the old way of sourcing flower.
But as time went by, more craft producers entered the regulated space. Eventually, I decided to give the market another chance. One day I strolled into a store at Cook Street Village. It was a Trees Cannabis store, one of the original chains to boom in Victoria during the dispensary days. I asked for the best quality dried flower product. The budtender recommended I try something from Simply Bare Organic. They had the Sour CKS in stock. At $52.49 for 3.5g, I almost walked out of the store. But I was in a pinch and needed a smoke. So I went for it.
The Sour CKS came in a small, opaque glass container. The package date on the label read March 15. I was making the purchase on May 22, so I crossed my fingers and hoped the buds inside would still be fresh. As I cracked opened the jar and peeled back the seal, there were immediate signs the weed was good. My previous regulated purchases had all smelled like hay. This time a rich aroma of zesty dough wafted out of the jar. The buds inside were small. But as I started chopping them up with my scissors, I was impressed by the density and overall structure.
I rolled a half-gram joint and sparked it up. As expected, the burn was clean, and the flavour was full. The joint tasted sweet like cookies, mixed with orange citrus. I was reminded of an old GSC cut, crossed with Jack Herer. It was by far the best weed I’d ever sampled on the regulated market. My rating = 82/100.
It would be months before I would find another batch of good regulated weed. The next time I was in Calgary, Alberta. I had heard good things about a producer named Joi Botanicals. Eventually, I tracked down a 3.5g offering of their Cake Crasher. Just like the Sour CKS, the Cake Crasher product was also packaged in an opaque glass container. When I opened the jar, the buds appeared dense and colourful. The primary colour of the buds was a lighter shade of green, which for me has always been a common indicator of quality. As I broke up the buds, a pleasant fruity aroma filled the air. I rolled up a joint and sparked it up.
Good weed always wants to be lit, and this Cake Crasher loved the flame. The smoke was clean and smooth. The ash was light-coloured and stayed intact at the tip of the joint. These are signs that the grower took great care in producing their product. The flavour was delicious too. Sweet and gassy like soda pop. It reminded me of a Wedding Cake cut from the traditional market. My rating = 83/100.
After the Cake Crasher, I kept on searching for good weed. Next up was a product from Dunn Cannabis, a micro-cultivator based in Abbotsford, BC. Dunn had managed to transition from the traditional market, and I was excited to try one of his regulated offerings for the first time. I grabbed a 3.5g of their Secret Mintz.
From the moment I opened the jar, it was apparent the Secret Mintz would be a pleasure to burn. The buds were squishy and covered in trichomes. There was a sweet mint aroma as I broke them apart. Like the ice cream, but with a mix of skunk and pine bursting from the inner layers near the stem. The buds displayed all the traits of a Kush-dominant cultivar. The first joint burned so well, that I immediately lit up another one. I even went back to the store for a few more jars. My rating = 81/100.
By the end of 2021, the reviewer community was abuzz over a product from Organnicraft called Platinum Grapes. I had heard only good things about this Okanagan Valley based micro-producer. So I went out searching for a jar. But I couldn’t find any at first. I had to settle for a 3.5g of their Lilac Diesel.
As I cracked open the jar, I was reminded of a very floral version of Sour Diesel from the traditional market. Just like Sour D, the buds appeared fluffy but busted up into more than expected. And just like good Sour D, these buds loved to burn. Slow and even, with a lemon citrus aroma, and an earthy berry aftertaste. This is the ideal kind of weed to smoke while being active. My rating = 80/100.
That’s all for Part One. I hope you have enjoyed reading about these products as much as I enjoyed smoking them. My next column, Part Two, will showcase four more products from the Good Weed Board. Keep an eye out to find out if any of them break the Part One record score of 83.
Marty Wig is the cofounder of Overgrown Gardens, and creator of the OG Rating Guide. He has been grading cannabis since 2003.