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The “real” cookies

There is only one trademark Girl Scout Cookie – and it is a cookie, not the famous cannabis strain of the same name. But there’s an “official” brand of that most hyped flower of recent years — which begs the question: Have you smoked unbranded cookies?

A skinny young man strides through the winter sun on Mission Street on a recent weekday morning toward a stout fellow standing on the sidewalk with a gun clipped to his belt.

The gunman stands guard outside a barred-window storefront just south of Geneva Avenue, near the far southern edge of San Francisco and the border with Daly City. The young man stops. Another gunman is just standing in an alcove by the door of the company. A break.

“These Cookies SF?” the young man asks, before being buzzed through the store’s security gate with a nod.

Yes, indeed: this is Cookies SF, home of the “real” Girl Scout Cookies, the dark-and-minty mix of marijuana that turned name-dropping rappers and taste-seeking cannabis connoisseurs into a bona fide, San Francisco-grown cannabis craze that’s still going on. is still strong.

Following the “purple” craze of the mid-to-late aughts, “Girl Scout Cookies” or one of its many, many variants – Animal Cookies, Thin Mints, Monster Cookies, to name a few – is becoming everywhere pharmacies worn in California. Strains that claim the name have also achieved cannabis cup victories on the coast.

The cookie-searching man was right when he asked if he was in the right place. On the outside, the pharmacy’s signage still bears the name “Tree Med”, the mark of the pharmacy’s former operators.

Adding further confusion is the fact that there are two dispensaries in San Francisco that use the name “cookies.” About 20 blocks down Mission Street toward downtown, you can buy Sherbet, OG Thin Mints, and other cookie-themed cannabis flowers of the same name at The Cookie Co. 415.
This raises a question: what are “real” cookies? And who says anyway?

The answer is a crash course in cannabis genetics and an introduction to pre-legalization business practices.


If you go into a bar and order a vodka soda, the result is predictable: a bland grain-distilled alcohol and club soda. A vodka soda in Las Vegas will be much the same as a vodka soda in Hong Kong or on the moon.

The same is not true for cannabis. OG Kush in the Mission may be different from OG Kush in Bernal Heights. That’s because, unlike Gray Goose bars, which are made to a strict formula under controlled conditions, different pharmacies use different growers.

These different growers grow under different conditions and use different seeds or clones to start their crops. All these differences mean different results, meaning different cannabis – this is a flower that is sensitive to subtle changes in heat, humidity and CO2 levels, remember, and a psychoactive one at that – and a wide, wide world of weed that has a common title. shares.

Cannabis cultivators are known for their secrecy and the jealousy with which they guard a much-loved strain with unique, one-of-a-kind traits. That’s where Cookies started, says the man behind the desk in the back room of Cookies SF.

This is Luke (he asks that I don’t use his last name), and he is the operator of Cookies SF. An experienced pharmacy clerk, he struck a deal to exclusively transport cannabis grown by a crew called “The Cookie Family”, an anonymous but famous pot growing crew anchored by Instagram personality @Jigga415.

They were the breeders who discovered strains like Cherry Pie, Sherbet and newcomer Gelato, as well as Girl Scout Cookies. All those species have a common parent: a cut of Durban Poison, known as

And F1 is the key and the genesis of Girl Scout Cookies.

Durban Poison is a South African landrace strain known for its spicy nose and uplifting sativa punch.

But F1 is a bit different.

The hit is long and stony, more indica than sativa. It has a musty, sweet smell that “hangs in the air,” Luke said, and it has a distinct look: so dark it’s almost black, with long red colas.
In other words, exactly the kind of genetic mutation to launch a weed craze.

The Cookie Family keeps the Durban F1 cut close to the vest. You cannot buy clones or cuttings. Other Cookies editions sold at other pharmacies may come from S1 Durban – that is, Durban grown from a seed found in a bag of “official” GSC that someone germinated and planted.

But cannabis is tricky. New genetics are not stable. There is no guarantee that a daughter-of-F1 grown from seed will have the same properties.


Like the hype-fueled “purps” craze, Girl Scout Cookies blew up and became a phenomenon thanks to showmanship and business savvy.

It was Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa who, in 2011, appears to be the first major musician to name Girl Scout Cookies. He was close to the Sunset District-bred businessman and rapper Berner, who ran the pharmacy at The Hemp Center in the Richmond neighborhood.

Thanks to Berner, Cookies has a dedicated and successful pitchman.

He has pushed the name Cookies far into the consciousness of cannabis consumers and identity-conscious children with frequent mentions in his lyrics and by slapping the name Cookies on clothing, grinders, roller bins and anything else that could contain a logo.


“Cookies SF” is a registered trademark of the clothing and equipment company. Such trademark protection does not yet exist for cannabis: The US Patent and Trade Office canceled a plan in 2010 to allow growers to trademark plant names.

And in general, plant varieties can not be trademarked.

As a result, market demand and lack of regulation means cannabis, called Girl Scout Cookies, is being sold everywhere.

At The Cookie Co. 415, an offshoot of a San Jose-based crew that also owns a South Bay club called Cookie Co. 408, employees have their own patented Durban – Blue Durban – from which Monster Cookies and other efforts are derived.

Some people may prefer Durban, which is a bit lighter and airier than the stinky, gritty F1.

But are they the “real cookies?” Not for the above reasons. But it might not matter.

The cannabis world is changing rapidly. Purples came and went. Cookies may already be on their way. Luke thinks so.

“Girl Scout Cookies is last year’s news,” he says. He’s counting on yet another strain to be this year’s hotness: Gelato, Sherbet’s successor.

Is it the next hype strain? Could be. If not, the new Cookies are sitting somewhere under grow lights or drying out in a plastic tub, waiting for the right moment – and the right momentum.

cookie fight
OG Thin Mints (Cookie Co. 415) vs. GSC Private Reserve (Cookies SF)

We put together a panel of experts to judge these two varieties against each other, plus a third competitor: real Girl Scout Cookies, like the Thin Mints you eat.

Neither smelled exactly like the minty, chocolatey path to obesity. But neither of them smelled of each other.

GSC Private Reserve, with the F1 Durban parent, had a dark, damp nose that filled the room as soon as you opened the container.

OG Thin Mints had a lighter nose, with a slightly brighter kick.

The stone was also heavier and darker with GSC, with more faithful sativa notes familiar to Durban from OG Thin Mints.

In other words, one was better for insomnia and pain, the other probably more suitable for a mood-lifting afternoon hit. The third turned out to be a sufficient snack.

Photo by Mike Koozmin

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