First toke: Joke’s Up Ice Kream dispensary grand opening taste test
Leafly rolled up and reviewed LA’s newest pot shop, including exclusive Joke’s Up strains from across the country
“The trap is finally open!” said Joke’s Up CEO Yung LB seconds before his new Joke’s Up Ice Kream shop opened its doors Saturday (June 18). The Studio City Ice Kream dispensary first opened in April 2021, but recently partnered with the man that popularized Runtz to become home base for the Joke’s Up brand’s national stable of products.
The new venture’s grand opening was also the big debut for some Joke’s Up products, including Yung LB’s first solo strain, DNA. 50-plus national brands currently partner with LB for access to Joke’s Up’s marketing, licensing, and cultivation services. The shop’s opening was the first time many members of the Joke’s Up family tree were able to unite in person since the movement took root during the pandemic.
LB cut the Ice Kream shop’s opening ribbon decked in a ganja-green jacket, with his lady and business partner Queen Pee beside him. Her Pwincess Cutt strain was also on the menu (check Leafly’s first toke review of that and more strains below).
Other influencers on the scene included Atlanta icon Trinidad Jame$, Philadelphia artist PnB Rock (who gave us his new Kandy Lane strain), and Bad Boy prince Justin Combs, whose Honeycombs cultivar could grow into an empire that makes his poppa Diddy a proud mogul.
Keep reading for the debut review of the Joke’s Up Ice Kream dispensary in LA, plus strain reviews of the new Joke’s Up Ice Kream flavors we grabbed, including DNA by Yung LB, Justin Combs’ Honeycombs, Queen Pee’s Pwincess Cutt, Kandy Lane by PnB Rock, and Zashimi’s Laughing Gas.
Joke’s Up Ice Kream dispensary debut review
To fully appreciate the Joke’s Up Ice Kream dispensary, you have to understand the Joke’s Up movement. Joke’s Up founder Yung LB became a strain star as the face and marketing muscle behind Runtz. The brand became so popular it was named the Leafly 2020 Strain of the Year, thanks in large part to LB’s guerrilla marketing of the product.
While sharing the Runtz empire with his co-founders, LB started building the Joke’s Up roster to empower legacy operators across the country. The brand is now a legitimate path to the legal industry for brands like Sharklato and Real 1 in Atlanta, and New York legends Styles P, Steph V (Certz, PCF), and Luca Brasi (GUMBO).
The vision for the Joke’s Up Ice Kream store came from LB’s partner Queen Pee. “I door knocked until I found Ice Kream and met (the owner) Scott,” she said. The Queen told Scott that her Pwincess Cutt strain was already a number one seller at the Cookies store. But she didn’t just want him to carry her brand. She wanted Scott to buy into the vision of a partnership between Ice Kream and all of Joke’s Up.
Saturday’s Ice Kream menu included a handful of Joke’s Up debut products. We left with 7 gram bags of the DNA, Honeycombs, and Kandy Lane, plus 3.5 bags of Laughing Gas and Pwincess Cutt. Here’s what we thought about the overall product selection, pricing, and customer experience.
Ice Kream dispensary menu highlights
The Ice Kream menu isn’t limited to Joke’s Up products. Staple flower providers like Compound Genetics and Runtz are available. Plus edibles (Cosmic), extracts (STIIIZY, Nasha), tinctures (Aura SF, Care by Design), and pre-rolls are all in wide supply.
Joke’s Up prices
If you’re looking for Joke’s Up strains, expect to pay $120 plus tax for 7 gram bags of heavy hitters like DNA, Honeycombs and Kandy Lane. Joke’s Up’s 3.5 gram bags will cost you $50-$80 plus tax.
The deal hunters will gravitate to Zashimi’s half-ounce smalls for $125, and Ice Kream’s homemade batches which go for $40 per 3.5 grams. High-end shoppers can drop up to $60 per 3.5 on brands like CBX Cannabiotix and Compound Genetics.
Located in a charming Studio City shopping center, the dispensary stands out to traffic thanks to a Joke’s Up billboard directly above it. Customers enter to a creamy all-white interior with modern display cases and ordering tablets that feel more like the Apple Store than the trap.
Beautiful neon signs and accents add a spark while friendly budtenders and ordering tablets give each shopper a personalized experience. Ice Kream-branded basketballs and bikini’s were a nice final touch for the merch heads.
After the grand opening, we grabbed bags from every brand we could get our hands on and spent Father’s Day and Juneteenth weekend smoking through them to see which star-backed strains live up to the hype.
First toke of DNA, Yung LB’s debut solo strain
The man who put the world onto Runtz and dozens of Joke’s Up brands finally dropped his own solo pack.
DNA is a light and smooth smoke that isn’t heavy on the lungs and delivers a mellow Zaza high that’s both calming and invigorating. This is the perfect strain to start the morning, or to smoke throughout a busy day without going too heavy on your lungs or eyelids. Breaking up the soft but crisp nugs is easy, but the dense trichomes will leave their mark on your fingers if you don’t use a grinder.
The packaging and DNA emoji are brilliant branding moves that should keep the strain popping for generations. We also visited the Joke’s Up cultivation that is growing DNA and saw the raw buds up close, but LB and his team would not reveal the specific genetics behind this exquisite smoke.
First toke of new Honeycombs strain by Justin Combs
Justin Combs has the keys to pop culture in his bloodline, and his new Joke’s Up strain has the juice to carry on the Combs tradition. This is a flavor and brand with massive pop appeal, plus effects and flavors that perfectly match the packaging.
The thick and sticky nuggets have a sweet piney smell when broken down. But when lit, a Wedding Cake-esque aftertaste takes over, giving smoker’s a sweet surprise. The effects are intense, so prepare ahead for the munchies and a nap. But if you like sweet and syrupy cultivars that aren’t too fruity or gassy, Honeycombs is right at home with Wedding Cake, French Toast, and Georgia Pie in your sweet tooth collection.
PnB Rock brings Kandy Lane from Philly
For smokers who want that sweet candy rain, this strain will hit your soul for real. The THC-coated buds have a dark and dense appearance that’s crunchy to the touch. But long and soft orange hairs add a sweet citrusy hint that jumps out when you break the buds.
The citrusy look and smell also come through when smoking, alternating with a shy juicy berry aftertaste. The high is relaxed but not sleepy, allowing for intimate conversations and deep reflection.
The Kandy Lane strain is a good match for Philadelphia rapper PnB Rock who specializes at mixing soft melodies with heavy subject matter. Thankfully, his home state is getting closer to legalization everyday, which means he could soon be offering this sugary high on the East Coast.
Pwincess Cutt’s new strain delivers a royal high
Queen Pee told me that her Pwincess Cutt brand was born during the pandemic as she travelled the world with LB. “I was always in the e-commerce industry,” she explained. “I do marketing for Fashion Nova, so I always wanted to market a (weed) brand for girls. The packaging (in weed) to me has always been rough–I’m always wearing pink and shit.”
Queen Pee wanted to create something delicate that feels like a fantasy when you open it and smoke it. “So I crossed High Octane with Super Sherbert,” she said. “And I wanted that feeling where you can let your barriers down and just start drawing, or if you do numbers, do crazy numbers. Keep your focus on what you’re doing, but get creative with it.”
Next up is the Queen Pee strain, which is not top shelf like Pwincess Cutt. “You’re spending about $80-$90 for an eighth for this, but for Queen Pee will be more $40-$50,” she told me. She also wants to launch a Wedding Cake strain “that makes you feel sexy and in the mood,” plus has plans for CBD lines in the future.
But before we get to all of that: How does Pwincess Cutt smoke?
I saved a blunt to smoke with my special lady last night and was shocked how much the product lived up to the packaging. The pink and blue diamond-shaped bag foreshadows the buds’ diamond-encrusted exterior. But the sweet fluffy cotton candy notes that hit you when your break it and burn it are a welcomed surprise. The anxiety-reducing effects Queen Pee promised in the store also delivered. Me and my lady unwound from a long day by laughing at the TV and feeling luxurious.
Reviewing Laughing Gas by Zashimi
This isn’t our first time encountering Laughing Gas in the field this year. Much like Boo J’s Laughing Gas by Apple Monkey, Zashimi’s Gas is a diesel-y delight that will have you laughing your ass off for hours.
Bred by Zeki genetics and pumped by comedian Joey Diaz, Laughing Gas is filling the modern void left by classic uplifters like Sour Diesel and Headband. Zashimi’s Laughing Gas has a darker hue than other versions of this strain we’ve encountered. But it delivers the same pressure we would expect from the name. This strain is perfect for uplifting adventures with a friend or powering through long work sessions with enthusiasm.
Smoke’s up, Joke’s up!
Overall, I was blown away by the products and presentation that Joke’s Up and Ice Kream were able to execute. Some canna-suers and purists will hate that the Joke’s Up menu caters so well to everyday smokers instead of weed snobs. But a lot of consumers just don’t care about terps, THC levels, and strain types. They want reliable Za, plus a little variety. And each Joke’s Up offering we tested delivers exactly that.
The names and colors of the packaging accurately convey the taste, smell, and effects of each product, making the shopping experience more intuitive for new smokers. It’s a throwback to skipping through radio stations by genre hoping to discover your new favorite song. You know what you’re getting vibe wise when you tune into a certain station. But you also trust the DJ to surprise you with some variety.
The future of legal cannabis is access for all, not exclusion. And the Ice Kream shop does a great job of providing a stable of options that satisfies all experience levels and desired needs, while also giving a platform to new and legacy brands that are ready to grow.
Based on our first toke, the Joke’s Up/Ice Kream partnership is not playing any games. From the energy I felt in person to the packs I left with, I have to give the whole experiences two tokes up.
Taste the Joke’s Up Ice Kream shop’s drip here via Leafly.