You might recall Thai Stick and Maui Waui from your misbegotten youth, but today, the legalization of marijuana has spawned an infinite number of strains, all with, it seems, a wacky name. For Esquire, Bill Shapiro goes behind the scenes of the weed industry to learn about naming practices and participate in a naming activity by partaking in some products.
But that was then and this is now, and the cannabis space has entered a fascinating, fast-flowing moment where legalization—which begat commercialization, which begat corporatization, which begat commodification—has created today’s modern dispensary where the choices for consumers can be dizzying. As it turns out, there may be no better gauge of the changes rippling through cannabis culture than the humble menu at your local dispensary. Weed names have always added to the fun and intrigue (as a teen, even the relatively straightforward Thai Stick sounded entrancingly exotic), but today, as the power dynamic shifts from seller to buyer, and as growers and retailers find themselves strategizing to make their products stand out on increasingly crowded shelves, the names are taking on even more importance.
The names. Dear lord, the names. Strawberry Cough. Kosher Kush. Blueberry Mojito. Glueberry Slurm. Pineapple Trainwreck. Donkey Butter. Animal Face. Pink Panties. Purple Haze. Sour Joker. Sweet Jesus. Moby Dick. Fugu. Fatso.Tongue Kiss. Cat Piss.