Boom or Bust for the Black Market?

Co-founder and CEO of Cookies is Gilbert Milam Jr., better known by his stage name Berner.

Berner is to cookies what Steve Jobs is to Apple and Elon Musk is to Tesla; It is impossible to talk about the origin of cookies without him. Berner, a Bay Area rapper, founded the Cookies brand and now serves as the CEO of the company, which manages everything from retail stores to clothing.

According to him, Cookies is the world’s first legitimate $1 billion cannabis brand. “We’re a billion-dollar company,” he told Insider, “based on revenue, growth and potential growth.” The company has gone from a hoodie logo to a billion-dollar business/

A name and brand that has grown so far

Whether you live in a state where marijuana is legal or not, you’ve probably heard of cookies.

Aside from its 49 marijuana dispensaries, Cookies is perhaps best known for its famous eponymous clothing brand, which is distributed worldwide. (It’s a not-so-subtle reference to a similar cannabis strain name with legal issues.)

Cookies hoodies, with distinctive blue cords and matching logos, can be found at US clothing chains like Zumiez, in the company’s two department stores, and in music videos dating back nearly a decade.

During a podcast appearance at the end of 2021, Berner explained that the clothing brand alone generated sales of over 50 million US dollars last year. Fans will spend the night outside to be the first in line when a new cookie edition opens.

Berner’s successful careers as a rapper and clothing and cannabis entrepreneur are inextricably linked. Berner rose to prominence in the hip-hop industry while working at a Bay Area cannabis dispensary called The Hemp Center during the latter years of the last decade.

To say that Cookies has grown rapidly in recent years would be an understatement: Cookies grew from zero to 49 retail marijuana sales between 2018 and 2022. In addition, the company opened two flagship clothing stores in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Berner’s increasing notoriety as a famous artist contributes to the reputation of the clothing line and marijuana dispensaries, fueling the company’s growth primarily through organic advertising. As his popularity as a musician has increased, so has the brand he has developed. what’s more Cookies have announced that the brand will start selling home-grown weed seeds.

Turn challenges into opportunities

Speaking onstage with MJBizDaily’s Bart Schaneman on Wednesday, the buzzword co-founder and CEO of Cookies provided further insight:

  • Regarding medical cannabis, Berner explained that it feels like a “second chance at life” following his recent cancer diagnosis and treatment. I’ve seen and personally experienced the benefits of cannabis firsthand.”

  • About collaborations: “I love collaborating with others, I’ve always thought of myself as a social butterfly.” According to Berner, Cookies works with operators who are passionate about cannabis, the plant and what they do. We’re looking for people who understand the atmosphere. “I can work with you if we get along.”

  • On the legacy: “I want to make sure that Cookies have solid plans in place when I die, especially when I’m close to death. “I don’t want lots of blue structures everywhere with no purpose or vision.”

  • On East Coast Opportunities: Berner stated that he was so excited about the East Coast opportunity that he was considering buying a home there. “I adore New York…” New York has a very different vibe right now.” “I think Pennsylvania is going to be big,” he added.

  • About breaking the black market and selling seeds directly to consumers: “It’s very simple – you grow something that doesn’t exist on the street,” explains Berner. “It’s difficult to compete in the illegal market because weed is a lot cheaper, but if you have some s*** that no one else has, they will come.” You compete by just showing up with fire. That’s how you triumph. It all comes down to genetics.” The black market could also flourish to new levels once Cookie’s genetics are also cultivated by illegal operators.

On the main stage, cannabis leaders and advocates discussed the current obstacles and prospects in the cannabis sector with Chris Walsh, CEO of MJBiz.

The Parent Co. CEO Troy Datcher said the company’s home state of California is proving difficult, with a robust illicit market and high taxes. To weather the storm, the company has stuck to its goal of becoming a national brand, even though it has reduced its headcount by 33%. “We had to protect our balance sheet,” Datcher said. “We have one of the largest balance sheets in California.”

“We need to invest funds and resources to recruit talent to support us on this journey.” What keeps Datcher running? “We’re excited about the industry we’re developing, bringing black and brown people to the table and urging (US Senator) Cory Booker and everyone in Washington to stand up and help us get this thing done,” he said .

According to Nancy Whiteman, co-founder and CEO of Colorado-based edibles company Wana Brands, some of their biggest challenges are government regulations, lack of enforcement, pricing pressures, and the presence and dangers of delta-8 THC. “One child died after consuming Delta 8 items,” she explained.

“What will happen if this is made public?” Will all THC be labeled as hazardous?” Whiteman urged the company to lobby the FDA to regulate CBD and hemp. Reaching new emerging markets and focusing on innovation are ways that encourage Whiteman to overcome problems. “What cannabis can be,” she explained.

Delta-8 THC is also a challenge for Toi Hutchison, president and CEO of the Marijuana Policy Project, who said the advocacy campaigns are experiencing “donor fatigue.” “We’re getting the general public to understand that our work on cannabis isn’t over,” she said. “We still arrest 600,000 people every year.”

She said education is key to combating the spread of delta-8-THC. “Bans never work, bans never work,” she said. “It’s really important that we use the words synthetic cannabinoids.”


While the cannabis industry undoubtedly continues to face a mountain of challenges, there are still plenty of opportunities for people willing to look around. And that’s exactly what Berner did. There is a supply gap in cannabis seed native strains, and Cookies will fill such a gap in the market. While home growers may be happy, the move most likely won’t make a dent on the black market, in fact it can actually help the black market now that Cookies’ genetics are grown by “everyone” and are available on the street. Has the supermarket put restaurants out of business? no Preparing food takes work and time, just like growing cannabis. While some will enjoy 8 to 12 weeks of cultivation, most just head straight to the ready meals section and buy lunch or dinner.


Cannabis genetics 101


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