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Hugely popular Cookies weed strains will soon be available in Illinois

Dozens of Cookies strains — including Lemonnade, Runtz and Minntz — are expected to hit shelves in Illinois early next year.

Cookies’ Gelati strain will be available in Illinois early next year.
Cookies’ Gelati strain will be available in Illinois early next year.
Cookies website

Weed grown by Cookies Enterprises, a California-based brand that has developed some of the country’s hottest strains, will soon be available to Illinois pot smokers.

Ascend Wellness, a Massachusetts-based company that operates a cultivation center in Barry and dispensaries in Springfield and Collinsville, announced the partnership in a statement last week. While dozens of Cookies strains — including Lemonnade, Runtz and Minntz — are expected to hit shelves in Illinois early next year, it’s unclear if they will be available when sales kick off on Jan. 1.

“Cookies varieties have dominated sales since they came out in California a decade ago,” Abner Kurtin, Ascend’s founder and CEO, said in the statement, which notes that the weed strains are “widely counterfeited” on the black market.

Berner, Cookies’ co-founder and chief executive, is a well-known rapper who has used his connections in the music industry to bolster his brand’s reputation. The San Francisco native has collaborated with other stoner rappers like Snoop Dogg, B-Real and Wiz Khalifa, who signed Berner to his Taylor Gang record label in 2012.

Cookies is headquartered in California’s Bay Area and has three retail stores in the state, including two in Los Angeles. The company — which first gained notoriety for its namesake strain, a sativa-dominant take on the popular Girl Scout Cookies varietal — has developed a library of over 50 unique types of pot and a range of other products, including vape cartridges, edibles and gel caps.

Berner, whose real name is Gilbert Anthony Milam Jr., noted that an expansion to Illinois made sense for the brand.

“Chicago’s the center of Midwest hip-hop and rap. And they closely follow Cali’s flower trends,” Berner said. “Taking this step ensures Illinois gets the best genetics and flower out there.”