Why You Should be Using a Joint Holder

A good cigarette holder is much more than just a prop—it safeguards your throat, fingers, makeup, and clothes. It also makes the most of your stash. Gone are the unattractive roach clips of old. Now there’s a modern cigarette holder for your joint…and it all started with a lip gloss.

The NYC Cannabis Scene—from Legacy to Legal

The NYC cannabis scene has already changed tremendously since New York legalized recreational adult use. New Yorkers are embracing open cannabis consumption everywhere. That ranges from a casual smoke on the street to wine-tasting style rolling classes and high-end infused dining. Happy Munkey was one of the first companies to welcome people to legal consumption at their acclaimed BYOC experience Happy Munkey x Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit After Hours. The company is on a mission to introduce NYC to the cannabis lifestyle through events, podcasts, videos, editorial, and social media. What makes Happy Munkey unique from other NYC cannabis companies is how it brings lovers of the plant together from all walks of life.

The Legendary Vlad Bautista

Happy Munkey is a legacy operator that was co-founded by Vladimir Bautista. Vlad is a formidable advocate, leader, and public speaker in the cannabis space. His relationship with cannabis goes back into his early teens. Now, his connection with the plant is changing the way other people view cannabis. To close out Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re thrilled to get Vlad’s take on NYC cannabis culture and the role of social equity in cannabis legalization.

Vlad Bautista of Happy Munkey

You were one of the pioneers of the NYC cannabis scene—what originally drew you to the plant? 

I started consuming at an early age. I grew up in a rough urban environment (infested with hard drugs). So, the plant helped me cope with my surroundings without getting caught up in all the hard drugs in the area.

Where does the name “Happy Munkey” come from? 

My partner Ramon has always been into animals. So much so that his spirit animal is the monkey. And our goal has always been to make everyone happy. Thus, Happy Munkey. 

What role does your Latine heritage play in your relationship with cannabis? 

Dominican culture is rooted in hospitality. Making people feel good is a big part of how we’re brought up. With that in mind, we center our approach to event planning and hospitality around a culture of giving. We always look to make everyone feel at home and provide a space where everyone is welcome

How would you describe NYC cannabis culture? 

NYC is not just the financial capital of the world. It’s also the cannabis consumption capital of the world. Even though the city operated under the rule of prohibition for over 80 years, we’ve still been able to hold onto that title. In such an intense environment, New Yorkers use cannabis to help balance the fast pace of city life.

How have you seen the NYC cannabis scene change since legalization? 

We’ve seen the stigma slowly fade away. The fact that you can now legally consume cannabis anywhere that cigarettes are allowed has helped show people that it’s not the “drug” that some people assumed it to be. Plus, we’re starting to see cannabis events pop up all over the city, like our bring-your-own-cannabis Happy Munkey After Dark event at the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit New York. It gives people a sense of liberation. 

With Happy Munkey, you’ve built an incredibly loyal and chichi following. What’s your secret? 

We treat people the way we like to be treated. That means, we treat everyone like a VIP.

What, if any, challenges have you faced in the industry? 

The biggest challenges we’ve faced has been the transition from legacy to legal market. In an industry where we’re the veterans, legacy brands still have to constantly prove themselves to novices just entering the market. Also, we often get treated like charity cases rather than being seen as the assets we can be to the corporate sector.

How would you like to see social equity provisions realized in the NYC cannabis industry?

I’d like it to be different from the way it’s been done in other states. That’s because other states haven’t created true opportunity and entrepreneurship. So I hope New York provides social equity businesses with the resources they need to succeed.

What are your personal social equity goals? 

As a legacy operator making the transition to legal cannabis, I personally want to see legacy operators accepted and encouraged to enter the space as well! But, as states come on line for adult cannabis use, I don’t see the door being opened for legacy operators. That needs to change.

How would you describe Happy Munkey in 6 emojis? 

Brown Fist Statue of Liberty Globe 100 See-No-Evil Monkey Wave

Can you elaborate on how you give people an entrance to the NYC cannabis lifestyle? 

Through our events and media, we connect to people on the entrepreneurial side as well as on the consumer side.,

What role do you think your Latine identity plays in Happy Munkey’s success? 

I’m a first-generation American by way of the Dominican Republic. In many Latin American countries, the stigma around cannabis is way worse than in the U.S. And the propaganda runs deep! Basically, if you smoke cannabis, people view it as the same as if you smoked crack. One of the things I hope to help dismantle is the miseducation of our people and our relationship to the plant.

At Happy Munkey, you say you do it for the culture. How does NYC cannabis culture influence and inspire you?  

The people inspire me the most. New Yorkers have an energy that you can only find here. The people of NYC cannabis culture are some of the most innovative in the world. I’m also a little biased. New York isn’t just my home. It’s where I was born.


Vlad Bautista at NYC Cannabis Event

With legalization, what’s next for Happy Munkey in the NYC cannabis scene? 

We’re anxiously waiting for the release of license applications. We plan on applying for several so we can finally touch the plant legally in our city and state.

Images courtesy of Happy Munkey

8 Cannabis Strains and Candy Pairings

It’s that time of year again. Our favorite candies have hit the shelves for Halloween. With everyone getting in the spirit, there’s no better time to pair up your candy of choice with strains that complement it. Start getting ready for Halloween now before the candies and cannabis you love have already been gobbled up. Which candy’s your fave? Are you a peanut butter cup junky, or a Starburst lover? Or maybe you’re all about Halloween classics like candy corn. Either way, there’s a strain that pairs perfectly with your go-to candy. Here’s the pairings that are satisfying our munchies this spooky season. 

Wedding Cake is one of the cannabis strains that pairs great with chocolate

M&Ms and Wedding Cake

Wedding Cake is one of the best cannabis strains to pair with M&Ms. This strain is as sweet as it sounds. It work with these classic colorful chocolates because it brings out the fruity undertones of the chocolate. The natural sweetness of the strain enhances the sweet, sugary taste candy-coated chocolate. The earthy and floral notes of the cannabis compliment those of the cocoa bean. And not only is Wedding Cake the perfect sidekick for the classic M&Ms. It also compliments peanut, caramel, and other varieties of this beloved treat. 

Wedding Cake Cannabis Strain Effects

In the last few years, Wedding Cake has become a more popular cannabis strain, and for good reason. Among other benefits, this indica-dominant hybrid strain is known for providing relaxing and euphoric effects. It calms both the mind and the body. Trick or treating can get stressful. Making the costumes, keeping the kids happy…and don’t forget to post the Instagram photos! Wedding Cake will help you stay calm and collected all day.

Lamb's Bread is one of the best cannabis strains to smoke with the buttery sweetness of candy corn

Lamb’s Bread and Candy Corn

Candy corn is one of those controversial candies. You either love or hate it. If you’re on team candy corn, chances are it’s to the point of candy addiction. Just one candy corn is never enough. So, since you’re gonna be compulsively chowing down on handfuls, try it with a cannabis strain like Lamb’s Bread. This sativa brings out the butteriness of these tricolored candies. Candy corn is super sweet—like creamy vanilla and marshmallow combined. But, under that flavor, there are hints of nuttiness. Lamb’s Bread enhances with that nuttiness with overtones of pine and herbs.


Lamb’s Bread Cannabis Strain Effects

Lamb’s Bread is a strain known for its energetic and uplifting effects. It’ll give you the energy you need to get through the long slog that Halloween can be. It’s known for long-lasting cerebral highs that’ll keep you feeling uplifted and energetic all day. Fun fact: this strain was a favorite of the one and only Bob Marley, the king of reggae! Now there’s a good costume idea….

The citrus notes in this cannabis strain are perfect for Sour Patch Kids

Sour Patch Kids and Pineapple Express

A sour-to-sweet gummy is the perfect pairing for Pineapple Express. Sugar-coated Sour Patch Kids will initially make you pucker. That’s the perfect time to take your first hit. As the sour flavor moves into sweetness territory, take another hit. Pineapple Express is one of the most renowned hybrid strains. It has notes of fresh apple as well as its namesake, fresh pineapple. Roll it up in our Galactic Rolling Papers and, with each hit, you’ll experience new citrus flavor combinations. 


Pineapple Express Cannabis Strain Effects

Pineapple Express is a hybrid of sativa and indica that’s strong, but not overly so. It’s a lovely amalgam of physical and cerebral effects. It’s meant to relax you without putting you to sleep. Pineapple Express is the perfect cannabis strain to enjoy early on in the evening with your Sour Patch Kids. Take a hit when you’ve flipped away from handling the stress of getting costumed kids ready and you’re just waiting for the doorbell to ring. Or try it for a minute of sanity while you’re zoning out to Adult Swim. This strain is also great for taking the edge off that anxiety we’re all feeling about trick-or-treating during the pandemic. It’s benefits are also touted for sore muscles and joints—or if it’s that time of the month on top of everything else.

With it's berry aroma, Blue Dream is a great cannabis strain to pair with berry Skittles

Berry Skittles and Blue Dream

Yep, not just any Skittle, but specifically the berry-flavored varieties. One of the most popular strains, Blue Dream, has a beautiful, sweet berry aroma, that makes berry Skittles its perfect candy companion. The right Skittle flavors to delight your taste buds while enjoying Blue Dream include berry punch, strawberry, melon berry, wild cherry, and raspberry. But they all taste the same to us. So just pop a few in your mouth and take a hit. You’ll be berry glad you did. 


Blue Dream Cannabis Strain Effects

Blue Dream is one of the more potent strains. If you’re a newbie, just be careful about how much you imbibe. Blue Dream’s euphoric calm can help keep you in a positive mood. One of the sativa-dominant hybrid strains, Blue Dream starts with a head rush that descends into full-body relaxation. More stimulant than not, it’s also said to combat depression. And that can be a necessity as we continue to navigate the new normal of pandemic life.

Sweet and nutty, Bubba Kush pairs perfectly with peanut butter cups

Bubba Kush and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Who doesn’t love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? Pairing the orange-haired Bubba Kush strain with the creamy, nuttiness of a peanut butter cup is exactly what you need right now. Bubba Kush is an indica-dominant cannabis strain that’s also sweet and nutty, with hints of coffee and chocolate. This taste combo is one of our most indulgent. Roll it up just as indulgently in our L’aperitif Pre Rolled Cones.


Bubba Kush Cannabis Strain Effects

Bubba Kush is a dreamy cannabis strain that’s powerful enough to de-stress you, even in 2021. This indica hybrid is famed for inducing a mind-blanketing euphoria as well as deep muscle relaxation. It’s perfect for the pandemic’s greatest hits—anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Just a warning, though, you could wake up surrounded by Reese’s wrappers, blissfully unaware of when you fell asleep.

Girl Scout Cookies is one of the best cannabis strains for Junior Mints

GSC and Junior Mints 

We all have our favorite Girl Scout Cookie cannabis strain…ours is the Thin Mint. That’s why we’re pairing it with another candy classic, Junior Mints. GSC (aka Girl Scout Cookie) is a classic hybrid with strong flavors of lemon and mint. Junior Mints’ dark chocolate coating and velvety filling help highlight the underlying, sweet notes of GSC, making these two a winning match. 


Girl Scout Cookies Cannabis Strain Effects

With an intense cerebral high that can last for hours, our minty combo might launch you straight into the stratosphere. As much as stress might make you want to go all out, take it easy if you’re a beginner. Thin Mint will give you a strong body buzz that can leave you lethargic on the other end. Both the languor and its appetite-inducing properties fit right in, though, with our now ubiquitous loungewear. This pairing is perfect for a sweat-panted evening and a slow-start morning after. Here’s a House tip, put the JM’s in the freezer. You’ll definitely thank us. 

The sweet citrus aromas of Gelato make it a great cannabis strain to pairs with Starbursts

Gelato and Starburst

Complimenting its fruity parent strain, Sunset Sherbet, Gelato hits you immediately with sweet notes of citrus, lavender, and a touch of strawberry. We pretty much just listed out every Starburst flavor. So this pairing is a given. Starburst’s flavors are bright and not too heavy. Similarly, this is one of the hybrid strains that can induce a mellow, balanced high that’s conducive to socializing (distantly, of course) on Halloween night.


Gelato Cannabis Strain Effects

Gelato is one of our favorite strains to get into a creative mood. And Starbursts are that sugar spike you need to stay up till the last few trick-or-treaters stop by. This indica-dominant hybrid is known for psychedelic effects like sound sensitivity and time dilation. So definitely give it a go to take a stress break, or just to make your Halloween a little pleasantly spookier. Gelato is, however, a particularly pungent cannabis strain. If you’re trying to keep your consumption discreet, look for an edible version.

Combined with Hot Tamales, Jack Herer is a cannabis strain to give you a nice kick in the pants

Jack Herer and Hot Tamales

Jack Herer—ah yes, the infamous sativa-dominant hybrid that’s sometimes better than a cup of coffee. JH is one of those cannabis strains that can snap back at you. That’s why we paired it with a spicy candy that’s never subtle—Hot Tamales. The kick you get from hot tamales stands up to the sometimes overwhelming skunkiness of Jack Herer. 

Jack Herer Cannabis Strain Effects

When lit, JH has an herbal aroma that hits quickly. It’s meant to induce a balanced mental and physical high. More enlivening than disorientating, try this cannabis/candy combo when you’re looking to keep alert and happy. Pack it up in our Le Pipe ceramic one hitter, and get motivated. And if  Halloween night doesn’t go as well as you wished it would’ve, JH and Hot Tamales are the perfect way to wake and bake.

No matter whatever happens this Halloween, you can at least count these 8 combos to help keep you sane. And if none of these sweets are chocolatey enough for you, try our molten cannabis brownies.

Cooking with Cannabis Latin Style

Cooking with cannabis is one of our favorite things to do. Infused food has come a long way over the past few years. It’s so much more than just brownies and gummies. Many Latin dishes lend themselves spectacularly to edibles. So we decided there’s no better way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month than by sharing our favorite infused Latin recipes with you. Here’s a full menu. Start with a cannabis cocktail to complement an appetizer of infused empanadas. Then move on to a main course of seafood and finish up with an infused tres leches. iBuen provecho!

How to get started cooking with cannabis

First things first, to make any infused dish, you’ll need cannabutter. You can buy it, or make it yourself. If you’re new to cooking with cannabis, we suggest starting with this easy recipe to make your own cannabutter. Once you’ve got cannabutter, you’re ready to get cooking!

Dosing with edibles

Before you put your apron on, let’s talk about dosing. When you consume cannabis, you want to pay attention to dosing. Cooking with cannabis is no different. Typically, cannabis chefs plan meals with a total 30mg THC per guest. That’s what our menu here is geared toward as well. But, of course, the dosing can easily be adjusted to fit your needs. If you’re a microdoser, you can adjust the THC content in these recipes much lower. That’s really easy to do. Just proportionately substitute some regular butter or oil for some of the infused variety that each recipe calls for.

Cannabis infused cocktails

Whether you’re looking to spice up your happy hour or just starting to dip your toe into the waters of cooking with cannabis, start with a cocktail. Cannabis cocktails are easy to make and great for anyone who’s new to cannabis cuisine. And they’re delicious. This cannabis-infused cocktail recipe is perfect for celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month or to enjoy year round.

A margarita recipe from the Queen of infused Drinks

For all things cannabis cocktails, Jamie Evans is your go-to. While this isn’t exactly cooking with cannabis, Jamie’s truly an expert on all things cannabis cocktail. Earlier this year, we got the scoop on her new book, and she shared a recipe with us that we think you’ll love. Her Spicy Melon Margarita has the perfect blend of spicy, sweet, and refreshment.


Blender or food processor

Fine-mesh strainer

One 8-ounce (240-ml)

Sterilized Mason jar


Citrus juicer

Old-fashioned glass

Shaker tin


Hawthorne strainer

Spicy Melon Margarita, an infused drink by Jamie Evans



1/2 small seedless watermelon


1 tablespoon (9 g) salt 1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder or standard chili powder

1 lime wedge


3 ounces (90 ml) watermelon juice

1 ¼ ounce (38 ml) fresh squeezed lime juice

½  ounce (15 ml) Infused Rich Simple Syrup (see recipe in Cannabis Drinks)

½  ounce (15 ml) tequila blanco

½  ounce (15 ml) mezcal

½  teaspoon Aperol

1 small jalapeño pepper, sliced into rounds (set 1 round aside for garnish) 

Lime round, for garnish (optional)



Place the watermelon flesh into a blender or food processor. Purée for 1 minute or until the watermelon chunks turn into juice. Using a fine-mesh strainer, separate the pulp from the juice over an 8-ounce (240-ml) Mason jar. Discard the pulp, and set the jar aside.


Combine the salt and chile powder in a shallow saucer. Rim the glass with a lime wedge. Then dip the glass into the salt mixture creating the chile rim. If you have Tajín on hand, this works great, too!


Add all the ingredients into a shaker tin, including the watermelon juice and the jalapeños. Add ice, cover, then shake for 25 seconds. Fine strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with jalapeño rounds or a lime wheel, and enjoy!

Savory Cooking with Cannabis

Are you ready to make a seriously delicious cannabis infused food? Start off simple, with one of Chef Keena Moffett’s savory recipes. Keena makes cooking with cannabis both easy and delectable. Her infused beef empanadas are really quick to make. So they’re perfect as an appetizer. Or you can also use them for your main dish.


This is a quick recipe with a cook time of only 20 minutes that makes 15 empanadas with a dose of ~13.33mg THC in each.


  • 4 tablespoons cannabis butter (200mg THC)
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dry oregano
  • 2-3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, whisked (for egg wash)
Chef Keena Moffet's Infused Beef Empanadas are the perfect way to start cooking with cannabis



Heat the butter in a large frying pan. Add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are soft. Add the oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Add the ground beef, stir until the meat is fully cooked.  Allow to cool completely before filling the dough


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200C)   
  2. Place a generous amount of the beef filling on the center of each empanada disc.
  3. Fold the empanada discs over the filling. Gently seal the edges with your fingers. To seal, crimp the edges of the empanadas with your fingers or use a fork to press the edges together.
  4. (Optional) Refrigerate the empanadas for 30 minutes to an hour, or make ahead overnight.
  5. Place the empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Brush the empanadas with the whisked egg.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

For more recipes, tips, and tricks for cooking with cannabis, check out Chef Keena Moffett’s YouTube channel.

Main Course: cannabis-infused blue crab

For your main course, go a little lighter with some seafood. Sisters Shanelly and Roshelly Pena from Higher Dining make some of the cannabis-infused recipes. In spring 2020, they told us about how they’ve been cooking with cannabis to bring their cuisine to another level. One of their most popular recipes is their cannabis-infused locrio de jaiba con coco. We were lucky enough to nab the recipe from them for you.


Serving size 3-4


1½ cup of uncooked rice

1 13-oz can of coconut milk

1 tbsp of kosher salt

1 tsp of cannabis oil


In a medium saucepan, stir in coconut milk, salt, and cannabis oil. Bring to a boil, and add rice. Stir and cook on high heat for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to low, and cover for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid, stir, and serve.


2 tbsp of cannabis oil

1 tbsp of chopped shallots

1 clove of garlic finely minced

1 tsp of salt

¼ cup of chopped celery

¼ cup of carrots diced small

½ cup of corn

1 tbsp of tomato paste

1 tsp of sriracha

3 tbsp of white wine

¼ cup of coconut milk

1 cup of blue crab meat

4 blue crab legs

3 cups of cooked rice

Cannabis oil to drizzle

Chopped cilantro (to garnish)


On a wok, or in a cast iron skillet, heat 1 tbsp of cannabis oil and add shallots. Cook shallots on medium for about 2 minutes and then add garlic. Allow the garlic and shallots to sweat a bit in their own juice. Then add celery and carrots—cook for 3 minutes. Add the corn, followed by tomato paste and sriracha. After the tomato paste and sriracha have been thoroughly combined with the other ingredients, add the white wine and reduce or cook on high heat for 30 seconds


Up your cooking with cannabis game with this Latin seafood dish

Add the crab legs, crab meat, and coconut milk and allow to sit on low heat for 5 minutes. Mix in cooked rice. Make sure all of the white rice attains color—light pink. Once rice is mixed in, drizzle with cannabis oil and stir. Serve and garnish with cilantro for a final touch of flavor.

Infused Dessert—A Sweet Latin Treat from a gourmet chef

Last year we got to chat with Chef Angelina Bastidas. She made a name for herself on both Top Chef and Bong Appetit. Now she graces Chicago’s fine dining scene with her delectably infused dishes. Her favorite food to cook is tres leches—infused, of course. Here’s the recipe she swears by for this quintessential Latin dessert.


  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • ½ cup RSO infused butter 
  • 1 cup white sugar 
  • 5 large eggs 
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk 
A tres leches cake is one of the best ways to start cooking with cannabis


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer (or using a large bowl and whisk), cream eggs and sugar until pale yellow. Next, on medium speed, add infused butter and vanilla. Follow with sifted baking powder and flour, lastly adding zest. Once all ingredients have been incorporated, place in a buttered or oiled baking pan or quarter sheet tray with parchment. Bake cake until a toothpick is clean, about 20-25 minutes. While the cake is baking, in a clean mixing bowl, whisk whole milk, condensed, and evaporated milk until combined. 

Once the cake is fully baked, let cool until slightly warm. Add the three milks; cool the cake in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight to set. Garnish with the Chantilly cream or fresh strawberries.

 To keep up with what chef Angelina’s cooking up in her kitchen, follow her on Instagram, @chefangelinabastidas.

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