Who’s Got the Real Cookies?

How the masterful branding behind Girl Scout Cookies created an iconic cannabis strain that’s gone well beyond the buzz.


“Everybody thinks they got the real one, but the truth is we never let it out to no one,” says Jigga, the legendary breeder behind Girl Scout Cookies.

No other strain in modern cannabis history has caused as much controversy and hype as the Cookies. The commonly believed story is that it’s a cross of several strains, probably including the genetics of OG Kush, Durban Poison and Grand Daddy Purple. Another commonly held belief is that it’s a cross of Cherry Pie Kush, which contains GDP, OG and Durban Poison.

According to Jigga, none of that is true.

“Man, those are the stories that we put out there to keep people from trying to copy our shit,” he says.

This, however, could have also been a misdirection. Still other Mendocino growers in the know have flat out stated that it’s a derivative of Cherry Pie Kush that turned hermaphrodite due to a light leak in a grow room. The resulting seeds were planted and the name was coined due to its distinctive Girl Scout Cookies smell. Until we have a more fully mapped cannabis genome, we might never know for sure.

What is for sure is that Girl Scout Cookies (rapidly shortened to just Cookies due to obvious copyright issues with the Girl Scouts of America) took the cannabis world by storm. Like Grand Daddy and OG Kush before it, when this strain – with its minty nose and smooth taste – quickly became all the rage.

In 2012, Cookie clones were selling for as much as $1,000 a stem. Like OG and GDP, it was a low yielder initially with many experienced growers only getting a half-pound or so per 1,000 watts (before the advent of the game changing Gavita lights). The herb itself wasn’t even that spectacular, but it was popular due to the rise of the Instagram cannabis nation.

Four years on, it’s hard to imagine the cannabis world without Instagram – but the “Cookies Fam,” as they refer to themselves, was the first to exploit this new medium and mount a genius branding campaign around their strain.

The rapper Berner was the main driving force behind this phenomenon. He started name checking the Cookies in his music and then rapidly expanded its marketing reach by creating an entire line of branded clothing, hats and ashtrays. Pretty much anything one could imagine was branded and sold. There is now even a Cookies clothing store in San Francisco and young fans nationwide – many of whom might never have even smoked the Cookies – rep their brand.

A close-up photograph of a nug of the real Girl Scout Cookies by breeder Jigga, all against a green background.

Photo Allie Beckett

As Berner’s career took off (he’s now on Wiz Khalifa’s label and hangs with Snoop as well), the Cookies went right along, too, with photos and short videos of him smoking nationwide filling Instagram feeds. When Instagram went after cannabis-centric sites, he was able to successfully argue that he was primarily a musician and avoided being censored.

The cannabis industry, like so many others, tends to thrive on drama and the Cookies story is testament to that fact. As with many cannabis tales, this one also has a pretty interesting backstory and Jigga is in the process of writing a book telling his side.

“I’m going to let folks know how this story really went down and let them decide for themselves who deserves the credit for all of the real work behind the breeding,” said Jigga.

The split can’t have been too acrimonious, though, as Jigga and Sherbinski (the breeder responsible for Gelato and the Sherbet) are all featured on Berner’s new web series “Marijuana Mania.”

The furthered strain developments of Gelato and Sherbet – as well as all the offshoots like Thin Mint or crosses like Blueberry and Strawberry Cookies – shows that this family of strains, like OG before it, is around to stay. The Cookies Fam and Berner are long-term players in an industry that they have helped to create. Their early recognition of the power of social media to drive cannabis brands will probably prove to be at least as big a contribution to the industry as the Cookies strains themselves. For fans of the “fam,” this is good news indeed.

Originally published in Issue 20 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

TELL US, have you had the privilege of smoking the real Cookies?

Rick Pfrommer started as an intern for NORML in 1987 at the tender age of 19. He met Jack Herer soon after and helped co-found Cannabis Action Network (CAN) with Debby Goldsberry. The two of them ran Hemp Tour for over five years. After CAN he moved to Hawaii and learned to cultivate cannabis. Returning in 1997, he worked for several years selling organic nutrients and cultivating cannabis. In 2004 he moved to the Bay Area and was General Manager of the Berkeley Patients Group for two years before helping to found Harborside Health Center in 2006. From Purchasing Manager, General Manager and now Director of Education, he has helped Harborside grow and become the world class institution that it is today. Pfrommer is a regular contributor to Cannabis Now Magazine.

5 Comments

  1. Gremlins

    December 4, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Phantom cookies was from ken not jigga

  2. Real Talk

    May 16, 2017 at 4:11 am

    Jigga didn’t breed shit, Cookie Fam is a bunch of goons. They found seeds in a p , and dug them out and started all this bullshit. They don’t talk about the lineage because they don’t know. Posers

  3. Real talk

    May 16, 2017 at 3:11 am

    Cookie Fam and berner are goons, they don’t tell people the lineage because they don’t know. It’s not their strain, they got a p that had seeds and thinking of Chem, he scrounged them up and started his bs campaign. Fuck Cookie fam , fat boy berner, jigga, all those posers

  4. Lukas

    March 20, 2017 at 3:10 am

    Como compra

  5. Lukas

    March 20, 2017 at 3:09 am

    Essa deve ser a melhor pra compra como faz

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