Arkansas offers famous brands of cannabis

Arkansas offers famous brands of cannabis

This article first appeared on Arkansas Times a new online marijuana industry publication.

This celebrities have landed in Arkansas. Or at least their cannabis brands have.

Cannabis flower and other products associated with celebrities such as comedy duo Cheech and Chong, basketball player Gary Payton and rappers Method Man, Rick Ross and Run the Jewels hit Arkansas shelves this year.

Led by its founder, Berner, Cookies is a well-known brand in the cannabis world. While the Cookies brand isn’t associated with any particular A-lister, it does have celebrity appeal. Berner’s by Good Day Farm, a dispensary in West Little Rock, sells the largest selection of Cookies hemp products in the state.

While the celebrities may be familiar to customers, the business arrangement that allows products to be sold here is not. Under federal hemp law, state brands cannot act as brands in other industries. The solutions are a bit complicated, but at the end of the day, Arkansas consumers have the ability to purchase hemp products that carry the Star Seal of Approval.

How does it work?

Like many things in the cannabis industry, it’s complicated. While cannabis is legal in many states, it remains illegal federally, meaning businesses cannot operate across state lines. Instead, companies work state-by-state in places where cannabis is legal at the state level.

Marijuana is legal for medical use in 38 states and for adult use in 19 states, according to the National Marijuana Law Reform Organization. It is legal for medical use in Arkansas, and the group is pushing for a state constitutional amendment to legalize adult marijuana in November.

According to federal law, national cannabis brands cannot manufacture products in a single facility for distribution across the country. Instead, national brands work with individual growers in states where cannabis is legal to produce a product that is sold under the brand name and with the brand’s unique packaging and marketing.

Brands can’t be franchises because of federal cannabis laws, said Summer Thomas, director of regulatory affairs for Canna Advisors in Boulder, Colorado. Instead, the brand uses licensing agreements with growers in the states.


So what exactly is this product? It varies from brand to brand. Some brands use their own unique plants (known in the industry as genetics), while others work with local growers to select the right strain.

For example, imagine Coca-Cola. If someone buys a can of Coke in Little Rock or Las Vegas, they will get the same drink in the can. But this is not always the case with cannabis. National brands often license their genetics to their own products. Instead, they work with local cultivators to find a flower strain that meets the brand’s requirements for quality, THC content, terpenes, effects, and more.

So the product you buy in a national brand package has that brand’s seal of approval and meets their expectations, but the products in the package vary from country to country.

In some cases, as with cookies, the brand provides its genetics. This means that the product a customer buys in a package is usually the same regardless of where it is purchased.

But cannabis plants aren’t like recipes where you can whip up ingredients and get the same results over and over again. According to Annie Iselin, BOLD’s senior director of operations, hemp plants are grown by different growers in different states. Results may vary.

“Every time you harvest plants, it’s not going to happen exactly the same way,” she said.

Iselin doesn’t see much difference whether a brand uses its own genetics or uses strains from a cultivator that meets the brand’s standards. She works with Cheech and Chong Cannabis and Method Man’s brand TICAL, neither of which license their genetics.

But since the products vary from state to state, some caution that brands may fall victim to a lack of consistency and quality.


The Cookies brand was launched in Arkansas in April with the opening of Berner’s by Good Day Farm Pharmacy in West Little Rock.

In Arkansas, Cookies is partnering with Good Day Farm, a Jefferson County grower affiliated with the larger Good Day group, which owns Berner’s by Good Day Farm Pharmacy and operates dispensaries in Van Buren and Texarkana.

Berner’s by Good Day Farm offers the widest selection of Cookies in the state, according to Good Day Farm Marketing Manager Lori Gregory. Cookie products are also sold at select pharmacies throughout the state, including those not owned or operated by Good Day Farm.

Founded in San Francisco by rapper Berners and “growth expert Jay,” Cookies has become an industry powerhouse. Berner, whose real name is Anthony Milam Jr., said he initially rejected an $800 million offer for a majority stake in the company. Now, he says, the company is worth more than $1 billion. If true, it would be the first legitimate billion-dollar cannabis brand, Business Insider reports.

There are many different types of cookies such as Red Velvet, Big Face, Laughing Gas, Cereal Milk and Fish Scales. Cookies also produces Gary Payton’s strain and Collins Ave, rapper Rick Ross’ cannabis brand.

Chech and Chong

BOLD Cultivation of Cotton Plant introduced the state’s first celebrity brand in February, involving Cheech and Chong Cannabis Company. If you’re reading this story, you’re probably familiar with Tommy Chong and Richard “Cheech” Marin, the marijuana-fueled comedy duo that rose to fame with movies like “Up in Smoke” and “Still Smokin'” in the 1970s and . 80s.

Chong and Marin previously co-founded the Cheech and Chong Cannabis Company to release their own cannabis brands.

In Arkansas, BOLD produces the Tommy Chong Cannabis and Cheech and Chong’s brands. The Marin brand, called Cheech’s Private Stash, is not sold in Arkansas.

Cheech and Chong Cannabis Company does not provide its genetics. Instead, Iselin worked with the company to find the right brands in Arkansas.

In Arkansas, Cheech and Chong strains include Panama Red, Hash Plant and Acapulco Gold. The Cheech and Chong brand obtains the highest quality nuggets of these three strains, while the smaller nuggets are sold at a lower price as Tommy Chong’s Cannabis.

FAME COMES WITH THE FLOWER: Celebrity strains like rapper Method Man’s TICAL are produced and sold in Arkansas.


The latest celebrity brand to hit Arkansas shelves is TICAL from rapper Method Man, aka Clifford Smith Jr., of the famous New York rap group Wu-Tang Clan. The brand, which stands for Taking Into Conversion All Lives, was founded in 2020 by the rapper and actor.

BOLD launched TICAL in May with the Heavy CREAM strain, a 25% THC strain that Weed Maps describes as relaxing and euphoric. BOLD launched a second TICAL strain in July called Glueball, a 27% THC indica dominant hybrid strain.

TICAL, pronounced tih-KAL, does not license its genetics. Iselin worked with TICAL executives to match strains suitable for the Arkansas market while meeting all company standards.

“We have parameters [with T.I.C.A.L.] in terms of THC levels, in terms of how many nuggets can be in an eighth jar, because they want to be known as premium,” Iselin said.


While some brands are well-known and highly successful, one industry expert says you shouldn’t make assumptions about brands’ success in new markets.

Michael Werner, senior business development manager at Canna Advisors, said consuming cannabis shouldn’t be oversimplified. Just because a brand is successful in one part of the country doesn’t mean it will be successful elsewhere, he said.

For example, he said, people drink wine in Sonoma, California, beer in the blue-collar suburbs of Chicago, and cocktails in Manhattan.

“It’s all alcohol, but very different cultures, vibes and approaches,” he said. “You can’t just say, ‘Oh, wow.’ Cookies are incredibly recognizable, they will kill in New York. It might be, but you can’t just accept it.

Addison Aquino, a member of the CROP dispensary in Jonesboro, said the customers he’s seen don’t really know who Berners is, but they’re familiar with Method Man and Cheech and Chong.

“Everybody pretty much knows Cheech and Chong,” he said.

Aquino said that celebrity brands are more expensive and that the cheaper, non-celebrity strains that come from Arkansas grow facilities are good and affordable.

“Celebrity strains are on par with everyone else,” he said. “You do get a cool package though. I’m sure that’s part of it for some people.

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