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East Coast smokers line up to taste Cookies’ debut batch

Cookies’ monster East Coast debut this August showcased the brand’s unmatched impact on the legal market.

Cookies is one of weed’s biggest brands (check its 3 million followers between the San Francisco store, Cookies clothing line, and owner Berner). Other multi-state operations have more stores and larger shares of the market. But Cookies debuts draw lines that other dispensaries only see on day one of legal sales in most states.

For two consecutive weekends in August, Cookies bred fresh life into Florida and New Jersey by bringing their highly-esteemed products to the market. Cannaseurs travelled thousands of miles and lined up before sunrise just to take part in the historic day, and partake in strains like Jealousy, Gary Payton and special editions like Piece of Candy and Collins Ave.

Here’s what Leafly contributors Mikhail Harrison and Moses Augustine experienced at the New Jersey debut of Cookies Corner in Lodi’s Apothecarium, and at the Cookies Miami store grand opening earlier this month, including time with Berner, Yung LB, Luka Brazi, and many more.

Greetings from Miami

Cookies lovers waited in line for hours to enjoy the first serving from the new Miami dispensary on August 13, 2022. (@Berner415 / Instagram)

“This was our first store in Florida, it was only right we did it right here,” said Berner before cutting the ribbon at his brand’s Miami location. By 2 am, about 100 people were already there, according to G’s bud blog. By the end of the day, the location reportedly moved $500,000 in product.

Cookies lovers drove from as far as Oklahoma to stand in line, and VIPs flew from across the country to show their support. That’s because Cookies delivers more to customers than any other brand of its size. Its products, moves, and marketing are so intertwined with global cannabis culture, that its arrival in Miami felt like the opening of an exclusive nightclub.

Right before opening the doors, Berner thanked everyone for enduring the “crazy ass humid heat,” and made one promise: “I can guarantee one thing, the team did their thing. The weed here is absolutely incredible. A lot of great people in the building, a lot of great energy.”

Delivering Florida’s finest

Long lines for Cookies’ legendary opening day in Miami, Florida. (@Berner415 / Instagram)

Cookies’ Miami team was hand-picked by Berner. Back in May, Cookies invited locals to bring their resumes to meet Berner in person on June 4. At the August 13 grand opening, we spoke to a staff member named Sukki who was chosen.

Sukki explained that the brand draws such crazy lines because “people feel connected to Cookies because they found a way to cross that line from just being a dispensary to being a culture.”

“It’s a family. Nobody’s uptight. People are in their regular clothes. It’s all-inclusive, there’s no discrimination… We got people from Texas, we got people from Tampa. It’s really an eclectic cast.”

Sukki, Cookies Miami employee

The store opening also drew VIPs like Yung LB of Joke’s Up and Runtz, Smokers Club legend Shiest Bubz, and GUMBO CEO Luka Brazi. Queens-to-Miami rapper N.O.R.E. said, “I feel like I’m in LA, but we’re in M-I-A,” because of both the star power and the strain power. Atlanta’s GasHouse founders Felix Murry and Kingston were also in the building.

Cookies cuts like best-sellers Madrina, Jealousy, and Gary Payton flew out the door. So did Cake Mix and Blanco by Lemonnade. At one point, the dispensary got so lit, the power went out for a few seconds.

Jealousy’s creamy purple exotic was the star of the show. Its alluring look and smell preview the fast-acting hybrid impact. While most weed smokers are against $60 eighths as a matter of principle, Cookies is the rare brand that makes the high price feel worth it across all of its multinational stores. It’s also one of the first legal offerings that is shamelessly loyal to the legacy market and trail blazers that made legalization possible.

The Miami-edition Cookies merch was curated to speak to local tastes, and the hand-picked authentic 305-flair shows an attention to detail that is present in every part of Cookies products, from seed to sale to marketing.

(courtesy of Cookies)

If they keep delivering on the hype, Cookies will have a huge advantage in Florida, where limited licenses keep quality down and variety limited for medical patients. Although it isn’t on South Beach or downtown, the new Cookies store should dominate the cannabis industry in Miami until the competition steps it up.

Pueblito Viejo Colombian restaurant was right next door, serving the best Colombian food in Miami, according to Berner. His new Miami dispensary is now home to the best legal bud in the state.

As G Bud’s blog put it in his review, Cookies has “weed from outer space” compared to other local offerings. He adds that the high price is reflected in the quality and presentation. He says it’s similar to the difference between Panda Express and Benihana, and it’s hard not to agree if you’ve tried both options.

You need a medical card to enter the Cookies Miami store, but if you’re in the area, just apply to get one. It’s easier than you think, and you can use your email confirmation to enter before receiving your card in the mail.

Lodi’s new Garden baked drive-thru

In April, Leafly checked in with Nick “NJ Gas Man” D’Amelio about his mission to bake Cookies’ first batch of legal Cookies in his home state of New Jersey. A limited release of Nick’s Cookies became available at TerrAscend locations across the state a couple months ago. But Saturday August 19 was the true debut of Nick’s full efforts.

The event included the NJ launch of Cookies vape cartridges and pre-rolls available in Pink Rozay, Apples & Bananas, Gary Payton, Lemon Pound Cake 75, Cereal Milk, The Soap, Laughing Gas, Jealousy and Day Day.

Cookies CEO Berner was on the scene for a meet-and-greet at the state’s first drive-thru dispensary, and NJ’s second Cookies Corner, a customized experience for Cookies customers that includes “bud bars, branded wall displays, accessories, apparel and a top-flight selection of flower.” All three Apothecarium NJ locations (Maplewood, Phillipsburg) will soon feature Cookies Corners.

New Yorkers like legacy pioneer Branson and social influencer Pio La Dintingancia made the drive from NYC, along with GUMBO CEO Luka Brazi, who said his GUMBO brand will be available in both New Jersey and Miami Cookies Corners soon. The hilarious Stoney Mama was also on the scene, spreading joy and laughs wherever she went.

Leafly contributor Mikhail Harrison took a photo with Berner and got an autographed copy of his Forbes magazine cover at the Apothecarium dispensary in Lodi, NJ. (Mikhail Harrison / Leafly)

Berner signed copies of his new Forbes cover and showed love to Jersey fans who have been waiting for a full scale legal Cookies offering ever since the adult market opened on April 21. Berner explained that the NJ location is a life goal, and to do it next to the strip club made famous by HBO’s The Sopranos only makes it sweeter.

“We keep checking off life goals, to have our second Cookies Corner in Jersey next to the legendary Bada Bing is epic. The customer journey is special at this location, we are ready for the East Coast.”

Berner, Co-Founder and CEO of Cookies.

Bada-bing!

Mikhail Harrison's Bio Image
Mikhail Harrison

Trinidad-born, New Jersey-raised content producer Mikhail Harrison has been a cannabis advocate and influencer for over a decade, working both on camera and behind the scenes to normalize the plant for all.

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