I obtained 99 issues however JAY-Z’s weed ain’t one.

The 22-time Grammy-winning rapper debuts in California’s adult-use marijuana market this 12 months with a premium-priced luxurious weed model—Monogram.

The precise herb high quality varies and the worth level attracts haters. However JAY-Z is a dime bags-to-riches American icon. He’s New York royalty and the proprietor of Roc Nation.

Beyonce’s husband instructions legions of followers with money and humble goals to purchase up not solely the weed however the backstory, and even recent inventory within the firm.

What we reviewed

So recent and so clean-clean: Monogram makes a severe first impression. (David Downs/Leafly)

This January, Leafly reviewed:

  • 2 grams of the “No. 3” flower ($40+tax)
  • 2 grams of the “No. 1” flower ($40+tax)
  • a 1.5-gram “handroll” ($50+tax)
  • And the No. 96 “loosies” pre-roll 4-pack ($40)

The loosies had been mediocre, the handroll and No. 1 flower got here out passable, and the No. 3 flower took the throne. All of it was a serviceable first effort from a celeb model.

Monogram’s naming system

Grown indoors in San Jose, CA, Monogram eschews pressure names and THC scores. As an alternative, strains change into numbers and efficiency is both “gentle,” “medium,” or “heavy.”

As a client, this isn’t useful.

The No. 1 looks as if an OG Kush and the No. 3 resembles an unique Cookies cross. However how do lovers of OGs and Gelatos discover these on cabinets?

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It’s identical to wine: Hashish pressure parentage brings alongside an viewers. Monogram jettisons that model worth.

Additionally, folks like their THC scores. Sure—some lab fudge scores. Sure—THC doesn’t inform the entire story, nevertheless it’s higher than nothing. Perhaps label it a “No. 1, medium,” however stick the main points on social media, or one thing.

Monogram No. 1 particulars

Monogram No 1 close up shows quality. (David Downs/Leafly)
Monogram No. 1 shut up exhibits high quality. (David Downs/Leafly)

Anyhoo—the No. 1 medium smelled like an OG cross, and appeared, tasted, and felt like one: a hybrid body-buzzing, chatty, sensory-enhancer. Not Watch the Throne-level, however strong, A-grade indoor. Respect.

Monogram No. 3 particulars

Monogram No. 3 may very well be Kush Mints. (David Downs/Leafly)

The “No. 3, heavy” does earn the throne.

It appeared icy and an unique white-green-purple, with a fancy, candy, cake, and gas scent. The No. 3 nugs felt hyper-dense and powdery with trichomes. The bottom aroma hit spicy, candy, delicious, and cherry. It had a cherry ice cream style and reasonably heavy results with loopy urge for food stimulation.

The No. 3 earns the title of “luxurious,” and also you pay for it—$40 plus tax for 2 grams.

Monogram 1.5-gram handroll particulars

The Monogram handroll is a bat. (David Downs/Leafly)
The Monogram handroll is a bat. (David Downs/Leafly)

You’ll really feel Shawn Carter’s fashion within the black handroll carrying case and the hand-crafted fatty inside.

Massive and black, the dimensions impresses. It conjures the doinks that pot growers roll with kilos sitting round. “Oh, you fancy, huh?”

The draw back: Half the terpenes—the fragrant molecules that give the bud its character—had left the constructing. This pre-roll nonetheless smelled higher than the {industry} common, however that’s not saying a lot.

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Indicators of top of the range: Nugs, not dry shake, went into this joint, and the flower wasn’t machine-ground. The dry hit tasted gentle, piney, and lemony. It burned advantageous and pulled advantageous—inoffensive and serviceable in each means.

Actual weed heads don’t pay $50 for 1.5 grams, as stoners can roll their very own. Nevertheless, this’ll make a fantastic present for the faculty buddy you listened to The Black Album with. Gross sales information present a rising share of shoppers prepared to pay $80 and up for an eighth-ounce of weed.

Monogram loosies No. 96 particulars

Monogram loosies No 88 (Courtesy Monogram)
Monogram loosies No. 88 four-pack (Courtesy Monogram)

Right here we’ve arrived on the weakest hyperlink, and it’s nonetheless not unhealthy. The No. 96 loosies are 4 small joints every in a black case—nice for a spaced seaside meet-up. People can smoke their very own, ‘cus don’t move that shit proper now.

Sadly, the terps right here had been industry-standard M.I.A.: lacking in motion. The joint tube didn’t harbor any nice smells, the weed smoked impartial, like the same old home pre-rolls across the Bay. It wasn’t harsh or bad-tasting, simply forgettable.

The story behind the bud

However right here’s the factor: Once you purchase and smoke Monogram, you’re not simply shopping for herb, you’re additionally shopping for a narrative. The model garnered mentions on Saturday Evening Dwell and The Tonight Present Starring Jimmy Fallon, and Instagram options by Jadakiss.

Carter began working with main California licensee Caliva in July 2019. He’s Monogram’s Chief Visionary Officer, with a reported 50% stake within the model.

Each Caliva, Monogram, and a dozen-plus manufacturers now reside in shell firm “The Mum or dad Firm.” They’re aiming for the crown of “Largest publicly traded hashish firm in California.”

Promoting weed, and inventory

Look past the bushes—it is a paper play. The Federal Reserve’s rates of interest make cash almost free, and beginner day merchants really feel frothy.

Not solely can you purchase JAY-Z’s weed, you should purchase securities in The Mum or dad Firm’s father or mother firm, Subversive Capital Acquisition Corp. Subversive is a so-called blank-check firm (known as a SPAC) and it explicitly goals to consolidate or roll up hashish manufacturers in California, and past:

  • Subversive raised $75 million on the Canadian alternate NEO
  • JAY-Z obtained 5 million shares of The Mum or dad Firm, whereas Roc Nation will get $25 million in inventory and a $7.5 million annual payment
  • The four-month-old “SBVCF” safety additionally trades within the US
  • Entertainers Rihanna, Meek Mill, Yo Gotti, and DJ Khaled are reported traders

In keeping with the Wall Avenue Journal on Jan. 14., early SPAC traders like JAY-Z carry little risk and can take major profits.

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“It’s a free lunch—there’s no means round it,” New York College assistant legislation professor Michael Ohlrogge informed the WSJ.

And late traders find yourself holding the bag. Instagram commenters speak up SBVCF, however purchaser beware: that is an “over-the-counter,” four-month-old inventory—untested and unstable.

All of which is to say: Your relationship to Monogram will coloration your enjoyment of it.

In a single nook, cash-strapped, legacy growers reflexively hate the brand new competitors. Within the different nook, beginner inventory pickers get excessive on their very own provide.

(Disclosure: I personal zero inventory in or positions on SBVCF; I misplaced my very own 401(ok) password.)

The underside line

Monogram isn’t for true gamers, however the true gamers are disappearing—melting icebergs within the warming sea of authorized weed.

Mainstream Grammy-watchers get to really feel fancy with Monogram this winter, and Jigga’s companion Caliva stands to ship.

Caliva processed 1.5 million authorized weed transactions in California in 2020 alone. Monogram is at present offered out. You possibly can’t knock this hustle.

David Downs's Bio Image

David Downs

David Downs directs information and life-style protection because the California Bureau Chief for Leafly.com. He is written for WIRED, Rolling Stone and Billboard, and is the previous hashish editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, in addition to the creator of a number of hashish books together with ‘Marijuana Harvest’ by Ed Rosenthal and David Downs. He co-hosts The Hash podcast. TW: @davidrdowns | IG @daviddowns

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