If you’re not familiar with the Deep East cannabis brand, prepare to fall in love. Their Zoap strain in particular is what put them on the map, and now they’ve launched officially in Nipsey Hussle’s family’s dispensary, The Marathon Collective, located in Canoga Park. The retail operation is owned by Hussle’s estate, run by his brother Blacc Sam. In the back parking lot, a huge mural of the late rapper is seen overhead, cementing his name in not only the music industry, but cannabis as well.
The crazy part is, this serves as Deep East’s first legal drop in a retail store.
Deep East's First Legal Cannabis Launch At Nipsey Hussle's Marathon Collective
On Saturday, September 30th, from 12pm to 4pm, the first 100 patients who came through the store were blessed with a goody bag from Deep East, and an opportunity to meet the brand’s founder DEO and his team. In the back of the shop was the Deep East tent, with their slogan “Invite Only” loud and clear. Next door was Little Joe’s Tacos, who provided the food.
Deep East Founder DEO Speaks: Oakland Origins And The Zoap Cannabis Strain
The story goes that Deep East is the brainchild of a breeder named Guero, otherwise known as DEO (Deep East Oakland Farms). A native to Oakland, California, DEO named the brand after his hood called Deep East, specifically 105th Avenue. But while they mainly grow in the Bay Area, they have clientele from all around the world: New York, Los Angeles, and even Europe.
DEO, who always keeps his face covered for safety reasons, states, “Zoap took me six years to breed. Basically I took a ZkittleZ x OG (aka ozkush), then I used the #41 pheno that tasted like Kern’s Pink Guava, and used it in the F2 as the receiver. I then took the male pollen from his ozkush f2 line and pollenated Sunset Serbet making the Rainbow Sherbet line (RS). I once again F2’d the RS line with the candy-leaning #16 pheno of RS. I popped around 100 seeds of these RS F2 seeds to find the Zoap, which was pheno #21. Basically, it’s the Mexican laundry detergent mixed with ZkittleZ. It's been a big hit since it came out.”
The Zoap strain is a hybrid, which won the epic Zalympix competition two years back. The taste is reminiscent of Suavitel, a Mexican cleaning detergent, mixed with Skittles.
Why Did Deep East Collaborate With Nipsey Hussle's Marathon Collective?
In regards to the collaboration with The Marathon Collective, DEO states, “We’re like-minded. We got similar origin stories. We started our own shit from nothing, more street related. Evolved out of that, grew up, and became legitimate. Became businessmen, it just made sense.”
Edward Guzman, a member of the Deep East team in Los Angeles, expresses his utmost excitement of “having three different flavors of Zoap now. We got Lime Zoap, Tropical Zoap, and Regular Zoap now, so completing the whole palette. It’s the favor.”
Plus, DEO knows the quality of his weed speaks for itself. “I got offered a lot of drops like this, but I'm not feeling most of the people in the industry,” he explains. “I’d rather stick with like-minded people.”
DEO’s personal connection to Nipsey Hussle goes beyond the music. He has the utmost respect for him as a human, and tries to emulate what Nipsey did for his city — but in his hometown of Oakland.
“I don’t leave my city, even though everyone says I should,” he adds. “I try to make it a little better.”
What's Next For Deep East And The Marathon Collective?
The support for Deep East was apparent, with people even traveling all the way from New Mexico to attend. There were also dope Deep East shirts available, with DEO spearheading all the graphic design and video content for the brand.
Speaking on what cannabis does for him, DEO states, “It saved my life. It took me from a negative path to a positive path. It mellows me out, self-esteem. It benefits my life in every way. It is my life.”
As far as upcoming drops, DEO has 24 strains ready to go, which he narrowed down from 3000 seeds since Thanksgiving 2021. While this is a slow process, with all the growing taking place back home in Oakland, DEO is clearly aligned with Nipsey’s ethos: “It’s a marathon, not a race.”
Shirley Ju is a journalist, media host, and seasoned music industry professional. She is the founder of Shirley's Temple, a podcast series with a focus on mental health, where her guests include Trippie Redd, Chanel West Coast, Ricky Williams, Blac Chyna, and more. Shirley's work has been featured in publications such as Variety, Complex, Nylon, Flaunt, and REVOLT; she can also be seen doing exclusive interviews for leading urban news source VLADTV, featuring a platform with 5 million subscribers. Find out more about Shirley at @shirju on Instagram and Twitter, and on LinkedIn.
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Featured image: The Marathon Collective's team outside the store's mural of the late rapper Nipsey Hussle, whose family and estate own the retail company (C) Shirley Ju / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @shirju