Chicago’s best weed strains of summer 2021

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Illinoisans and tourists on their way to visit, prepare to taste some of the roaring 420s as adult-use cannabis legalization enters its first non-pandemic summer in the Land of Lincoln.

Retail cannabis stores opened joyfully on Jan. 1, 2020, and no one had any idea of the toilet paper shortages that would soon follow.

Thankfully, regulators deemed cannabis stores essential last year. Over 100 medical shops that flipped to “rec” served more and more customers coming in from illicit markets. Medical and wellness patients can just buy cannabis over-the-counter (as they should—it’s less toxic than aspirin). All recreational weed in Illinois must be lab-tested and is for adults 21 and over with valid I.D.

The 17-month-old Illinois rec market did $115 million in sales in May alone, the Chicago Tribune reports. But don’t just drop by a dispensary for your first time without a plan.

The Herbal Care Center’s flower menu alone totals 74 flavors. (Take that, Baskin-Robbins!)

Go in with some goals—as in scoring one of Chicago’s legit strains of summer 2021. Below, we parsed the search traffic to identify what’s bubbling up and came up with a cheat sheet for shopping what’s popping in the Windy City for day or night.

Lakeside days

Nug with sunshine
(Leafly)

For backyard barbecues, cornhole, picnicking lakeside, or living that bike life, start light and effervescent. Illinoisans are crushing on citrus strains like:

Miami Punch is fruit and energy for daytime fun. (Revolution)
Miami Punch is fruit and energy for daytime fun. (Revolution)

“We are excited for our customers to experience the energizing cannabis products we are offering,” said Revolution President Dusty Shroyer. “Revolution is stocked up to ensure our customers get the products they need to uplift their summers.”

When you’re ready to pour it on thicker, the world of OG Kushes has four to watch:

Expect lemon-pine-fuel notes and hybrid stone from these players. See also: Rythm’s Jet Fuel OG; and big brand Cresco has an OG grandchild, Slurricrasher.

Block party nights

Nug on dark background with a moon

As day turns to night, you want to relax even further. The GSC or “cookies” family of strains defines “exotic,” from Compton, L.A. to South Side Chicago. Break up some piping hot packs of:

In Cake crosses, demonstrate your clout score in The 312 with:

Wedding Sherb (Courtesy Revolution)

Summer’s always been a time for flings. Illinoisans show a distinct interest in the mellow, versatile afgoo analog Love Triangle (spotted at Columbia Care).

Also apt for getting it on, Rythm sells some Strawberry Cough X Slimer OG—that’ll get things juicy. We’re also seeing a lot of Prairie State interest in Truffle Butter (Gelato X Chocolate Kush).

Lastly, when it’s time to konk out? The Second City is loving hashy, sleepy old-school indica go-to Black Afghan.

New Illinois stores and farms open all year long, so get out there and explore My Kind of Town.

David Downs's Bio Image

David Downs

David Downs directs news and lifestyle coverage as the California Bureau Chief for Leafly.com. He’s written for WIRED, Rolling Stone and Billboard, and is the former cannabis editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as the author of several cannabis books including ‘Marijuana Harvest’ by Ed Rosenthal and David Downs. He co-hosts The Hash podcast. TW: @davidrdowns | IG @daviddowns

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