Tag: gaming

The High Score: 8 Visually Stunning Video Games to Explore While Stoned

Welcome to The High Score, where we explore the creative, immersive intersections of cannabis and gaming through reviews, product pairings, and more. Check out more installments of The High Score series here.

Few things go together better than cannabis and immersive, atmospheric video games. Whether they’re impeccable imitations of reality or stunning worlds of animated imagination, recent years have treated us to many graphic masterpieces to get lost in. Here are eight that ranked at the top of our list here at Leafly, but the recommendations could go on and on. Share yours in the comments section!

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Remastered in 2016)

(Bethesda Softworks)

Console: Xbox One, PS4, PC 

Few games live up to the atmospheric standards set by Skyrim, which first debuted in 2011. Since then, its makers have remastered it and blessed console players with the ability to stack on additional mods, which take an already breathtaking game to the uppermost echelon of visual achievement. Even the soundtrack sings its way into the very fabric of Skyrim’s landscape, adding a beautifully hypnotic tone to the game’s wildlands.


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Horizon: Zero Dawn (2017)

(Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Console: PS4

Uniting environments of fantasy and sci-fi, Horizon: Zero Dawn is a game that masterfully paints a sublime world of civilization reclaimed by nature. The juxtaposition of a Viking-like society and robotic dinosaurs is disorienting in the best way possible, and it keeps you pushing deeper and deeper through the striking landscapes as you seek to answer the question of “what the heck happened here?” You can almost feel the breeze of this game, as winds run through grasses and Aloy’s hair to create detailed atmospheric movement.

Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt (2015)

(CD Projekt)

Console: Xbox One, PS4, PC

The world of the Witcher series is not only rich with mythological creatures derived from Slavic folklore, the landscapes that house them will have you wanting to roam the animated outdoors for hours on end. Inspired by geographies and architecture of Scandinavia, Poland, Russia, and many other real-world locations, Witcher 3 rebuilds these places with radiant detail given to light and textures.


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Uncharted 4 (2016)

(Sony Computer Entertainment)

Console: PS4

If you’re a sucker for realism, look no further than Uncharted 4. The places you’ll be swept off to may be unfamiliar, but the convincing imitation of real life will make you feel like you’re actually there. Giving attention to details as small as splinters of wood, kicked-up dust, and the flashing spark of a bullet against metal, the game often feels more like a live-action movie that you control.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (2013)


Here’s a nod to a game that’s a bit older than the flashy games of recent memory―although it did get an HD remaster in 2013. Originally released in 2002 on Nintendo’s awkward turn-of-the-century Gamecube, The Wind Waker demonstrated that not all immersive, explorative games had to march toward realism. It took a brave step away from the more “mature” artistic style and story of masterstrokes Majora’s Mask and Ocarina of Time, but gave players a wide open sea to explore by boat. Its artistic, cartoonish animation style already gave the game timeless qualities, but the added detail and textures of the HD remaster make it an even more accessible game to revisit.


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Final Fantasy XV (2016)

(Square Enix)

Console: Xbox One, PS4, PC

I’ve somehow never played Final Fantasy XV, but having seen the stunning screenshots, I knew it belonged on this list. So take it from our customer service specialist, Natalie: “The Final Fantasy franchise has never been lacking in unique stories with equally well-executed graphics/artwork, but what set FFXV apart for me is the massive open world concept complete with unique biomes and ecosystems. My two favorite visual aspects of the game are the realistic light/shadow effects used for day to night transitions (check out the sky at night in a dark lit area!), and the intense, cinematic boss battle immersions that affect everything from the landscapes to the weather during combat.”

Abzu (2016)

(505 Games)

Console: Xbox One, PS4, PC

Abzu is another video game that steeps the player into an environment generated from artistic imagination as opposed to mimicries of reality. You’re a scuba diver exploring the colorful undersea realms swarming with schools of fish, forests of kelp, and other ocean wildlife. Leaks of light spill from the surface, illuminating your environment with bright rods. The graphic atmosphere is not altogether unlike No Man’s Sky, but you’ll likely wrap this game up in just a few short hours. If you’re looking for a visually astonishing experience without much commitment, this is your game.


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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)


Console: Nintendo Switch, Wii U

This list would not be complete without one of the most accoladed games in recent years, Breath of the Wild. With a map that seems limitless at the start, players will see thousands of gorgeous sunsets and sunrises before finally reaching Calamity Ganon. There’s almost no surface you can’t climb, which means you’re constantly standing on mountain peaks gaping at miles upon miles of breathtaking landscape. Shadows stretch and contract with the sun’s movement. Nature sways and steadies with the changing weather. Though enemies and boss battles become repetitive with time, the ever-changing landscapes and immaculate atmospheric detail are what make this game truly phenomenal.

The High Score: The Best Nintendo 64 Games to Revisit as a Stoned Adult

Welcome to The High Score, where we explore the creative, immersive intersections of cannabis and gaming through reviews, product pairings, and more. Check out more installments of The High Score series here.

Who could forget the feeling of tearing back wrapping paper to reveal the box of the legendary Nintendo 64? Children foamed at the mouth with rabid euphoria, an emotion few of us have been able to replicate in our adult lives. At this very moment, my Nintendo 64 remains plugged in alongside the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Playstation 4. My love for this console is undying, especially as an adult who regularly enjoys reverting to a childlike state with the help of cannabis.

I know I’m not alone when I say that N64 games are some of the best to return to as a stoned adult. Sure, the graphics make everything and everyone look a bit polygonal, and yes, the controller’s design still puts you at risk for carpal tunnel. But many of the games released are some of the best of all time (in my humble and completely biased opinion). So grab your pipe, your favorite strain, and your dusty old N64 (…or a simulator) and let’s get gaming.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

Strain Pairing: Aliens on Moonshine – because that’s who/what I suspect designed this game to begin with. Its disorienting euphoria is also a perfect companion for this game’s strange, strange world.

It’s weird, it’s dark, it’s creepy, and it’s absolutely the most captivating N64 game to play while high. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask will make you feel like you’re in an alien’s nightmare with creatures and characters that look like they came from the deepest depths of some deranged imagination. And as you look up into the sky to find an evil, grinning, wide-eyed moon slowly descending to crush the entirety of mankind, you might wonder how you ever got through this game as a child without a calming indica strain.

Pokémon Snap

Strain Pairing: Cheese – Get it? You’re a photographer, so. (…Eh, I’ll see myself out.)

Now for something a little more lighthearted. Return to the world of Todd Snap, a photographer commissioned by Professor Oak, to go out and take photos of Pokémon doing adorable, whimsical things. Smoke up and try your best not to dissolve into a puddle of smiles and “dawww’s” as you bonk Charmander in the head with an apple or make Snorlax do the truffle-shuffle to the sound of your PokéFlute.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Strain Pairing: Timewreck – which basically sums up the musical-based time travel of this game; plus, the stimulating euphoric effects will have you immersed for hours.

Yes, another Zelda game. I know. But both Legend of Zelda games released on N64 were utter masterpieces. For me, Ocarina of Time demonstrates the tallest heights of creativity in gaming, from character design to music to plot to atmosphere. With a soundtrack so enchanting it’s been performed several times by symphonies around the world, this game’s story revolves around the power and mystery of song. Its characters range from darkly disturbing to endearingly hilarious, and they’ll lead you through Hyrulian lore so imaginative, leaving it will feel a lot like waking up from a dream.

Mario Party


Strain Pairing: Death Star – because guess what, you’re fighting to the death to become what Toad calls the “Superstar.” This indica will help slow time down, for better or for worse. You decide.

Oh, I remember the days when us third-graders would order a pizza and have ourselves a little Mario Party. Things haven’t changed much (other than adding a dab rig to the table), and even though there are now nine sequels to the game that started it all in 1998, I’m still forever loyal to the original. It’s simple and nostalgic, and who doesn’t love a little friendly* competition with friends?

*Disclaimer: this game can actually get vicious, so play at your own risk.

Mario Kart 64

Strain Pairing: Jet Fuel – this hybrid enhances performance through its focusing effects, and you can pretend it makes you zoom faster, too.

Whether or not you liked video games growing up, you probably remember some kid from your childhood forcing you to play Mario Kart 64 with him/her. And admit it, you had fun. Adding a layer of strategy through an artillery of shells, slippery bananas, and lightning bolts that shrink your enemies, Mario Kart 64 is much more than just a racing game. (Diddy Kong Racing and Star Wars Episode I: Racer were also great and you should play them, too.)

Goldeneye 007

Strain Pairing: AK-47 – because I think I remember guns being in this game (duh), and AK-47 is a magnificent hybrid strain that’ll ground you solidly in the couch while zoning in focus.

First-person shooters existed long before Goldeneye 007, but this game definitely provided many with their first experience in the genre. Whether you’re a skilled marksman or a hot mess spewing aimless bullets (me), Goldeneye 007 offered a playground of tactics from guns to grenades to landmines.


Strain Pairing: Transformer – a sharp cerebral strain perfect for gaming, Transformer also makes sense thematically when Banjo is given the option to transform into a walrus, a pumpkin, and, for some reason, a washing machine.

Banjo-Kazooie’s a puzzle platformer that is easy enough to enjoy while stoney baloney, and it arguably stands the test of time. You’re a shirtless bear who keeps a loudmouthed, cynical bird stuffed in his backpack. That’s Kazooie, and she’ll emerge now and then to poop out combat eggs or verbally accost other characters. The levels are sensibly designed and manageable in size, meaning you won’t be wandering anywhere long enough to forget where you’re going or what you’re doing.

Super Mario 64

Strain Pairing: Skywalker – Lose yourself to your couch with this heavy indica strain as you fly around the Mushroom Kingdom skies with your little winged cap.

The first game ever released for the Nintendo 64, Super Mario 64 is immortalized by nostalgia. For us kids who grew up exclusively with side-scrolling Mario games, walking into this 3D world felt a lot like the first time I tried cannabis: a new dimension opened, colors became brighter, and ohh snap, I can also fly. Super Mario 64 may feel a bit aged after Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy, but there will always be a timelessness to this game as the first of its kind.

The High Score: E3 Video Game Teasers That Have Us Readying Our Pipes

Welcome to The High Score, where we explore the creative, immersive intersections of cannabis and gaming through reviews, product pairings, and more. Check out more installments of The High Score series here.

This week, video game developers both large-scale and small gathered in Los Angeles for E3 2017, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, where they shared exciting projects currently in the works for video game enthusiasts worldwide.

E3 for gamers can be compared to Christmas morning for a 7-year-old; it can be the best or most disappointing day of the year depending on what gets unwrapped. Like when game developer Bethesda hands you an Elder Scrolls VI-shaped box, but inside is just paid mods and yet another version of Skyrim. Or when your sibling with the Playstation gets God of War, Day’s Gone, and Horizon: Zero Dawn…and you get Cuphead (which, to be fair, looks like one of the better Xbox exclusives).

Sure, there were a few lumps of coal in the E3 stocking this year, but there were also some real bangers. Which games have us loading a bowl in restless anticipation?


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Super Mario Odyssey 

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Console: Nintendo Switch

Release Date: October 2017

I’ll Be Smoking: Amnesia Haze, to achieve the weird, psychedelic euphoria this game deserves.

Nintendo was the undisputed champ of this year’s E3, dishing out major titles and nostalgic teasers that have everyone’s inner child screaming with delight. Cue Super Mario Odyssey, a game that harks back to the era when Super Mario 64 ruled our adolescent lives. But while the 3D platformer of yesteryear stayed well within the lines of what to expect in the world of Mario, Odyssey looks to be of a more vivid, actively hallucinating imagination as Mario possesses anything’s soul with the power of his hat.

You can be whoever or whatever you want. A T-Rex? Just give him your hat! A business man? You can be him, too. A taxi cab? Sure. Why not. Whatever you need to be to save Princess Peach again. The sky seems to be the limit.

Based on the trailer, I can’t tell if this game takes place in New York, Jurassic Park, Mexico, or a boat in the sky, but one thing I do know: I can’t WAIT to be stoned exploring it all with my sentient hat friend, “Cappy.”


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Console: Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC

Release Date: Fall 2018

I’ll Be Smoking: Kosher Kush, to slow down my sloppy, anxious trigger finger.

Anthem, you guys.

In this shared-world RPG, you’re a mechanical bumblebee-human that jetpacks around a rainforest with all your friends. Y’all are leaping off cliffs, flying through ruins, diving underwater among bioluminescent orbs, singing songs over headsets, and generally enjoying the stunning atmospheres lit by soft beams of light squeezing through green canopies. What a great day.

…Until an enormous mechanical Trojan horse-robot charges in carting in a chest full of laser-spitting enemies. Here’s where I pause the game, take a huge rip of the heaviest indica I can reach, and try to hit something–anything–with my little virtual bullets. I’m not huge on first-person shooters, but I’ve subjected myself to worse for breathtaking open-world environments that you can immerse yourself in alone or with a buddy.


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Rocket League

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Console: Nintendo Switch (just announced), Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac

Release Date: Winter 2017

I’ll Be Smoking: Chocolope, to enhance focus and to generate more creative insults for my enemies.

If Mario Kart and FIFA had a baby. That’s Rocket League described in a nutshell. The premise is simple: you’re a little car trying to bash a ball into a goal. The fun of it all comes from the chaos, the mayhem, the defiance of gravity, and cursing at your friends.

Rocket League has been around for a couple years now, but the announcement that it’ll soon be released on the portable Nintendo Switch came as a pleasant surprise to those of us who want to take the game with us wherever we go.

God of War

[embedded content]

Console: Playstation 4

Release Date: Early 2018

I’ll Be Smoking: Thor’s Hammer, to sharpen reflexes and because Norse stuff.

God of War has been around over a decade and has traditionally been set in the world of Greek mythology. But Sony presents a different God of War this year–a game with two feet firmly set in the snowpack of Norse mythology. Here, you’ll recognize deities like Thor, Odin, Loki, and creatures like giants and the World Serpent, Jormungandr.

Despite taking place in an era of Viking brutality, the fourth God of War shows a different side of the perma-aggro Kratos we all know. “This game is about Kratos teaching his son how to be a god, and his son teaching Kratos how to be human again,” explains the game’s Creative Director, Cory Barlog.

With its breakaway from the static of the previous three God of War games–and also its step into the surreal mythology of Scandinavian antiquity–I easily have not been this excited about game since Skyrim, Breath of the Wild, and Witcher III.


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Console: Playstation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift; Non-VR available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC

Release Date: Spring 2018

I’ll Be Smoking: Green Crack, for its mind-melting properties that will make this game as nightmarish as it deserves to be.

Elijah Wood has been up to all kinds of shenanigans since his days of gallivanting around Middle Earth as little Frodo Baggins. Apparently when he isn’t acting or DJing on the weekends, Wood is developing virtual reality games that could easily appear on an episode of Black Mirror (actually…didn’t it?)


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The game is called Transference–developed in collaboration with Ubisoft–and though the trailer leaves us with far more questions than answers, we know that it takes place in the mind of another person. In other words, you are entering a VR world of someone else’s memories, traumas, and thoughts, which is all made possible through uploaded neurological “data.”

I don’t know if I’m excited for or terrified of this game, but traversing the mind of another using immersive virtual reality is a concept I can’t help but be totally intrigued by, especially when you consider its uses beyond entertainment. Could virtual exploration of a traumatized mind eventually change the world of psychology and medicine?


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Ori and the Will of the Wisps

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Console: Xbox One, Windows

Release Date: TBD

I’ll Be Smoking: Northern Lights, for dreamy euphoric effects that ease you into full immersion.

Introduced at E3 with live piano performed by the game’s musical composer, Ori and the Will of the Wisps may have been Microsoft’s most visually stunning reveal of the expo.

With graphics that look painted with magical luminous paints and a soundtrack probably sung by a choir of ghosts, Ori is begging to be paired with your favorite cannabis strain. Its fantastical characters, dreamy landscapes with light leaks, and heartstring-tugging plot entertain all the senses, and I cannot wait for the next rainy day spent with tea, blankets, and Ori. 

What E3 reveals got you most excited (or disappointed)? Let’s talk it out in the comments section.

10 Thoughts We Had Playing the ‘Hempire’ Mobile Game While High

This article is sponsored by Hempire. Hempire, the world’s first comprehensive marijuana growing game, gives players the opportunity to build their empire, bud by bud. By producing a hundred strains, baked goodies, and cannabis extracts, players will build their empire, restore their city, battle local politics and pests, and compete against friends and foes for the greatest Hempire.

Have you ever considered building the most legendary canna-business in the world?

If you’re already working hard to get that going, perhaps some of Leafly’s Industry resources would be a good bet. But if you’d rather skip the exorbitant price tag, heavy lifting, and overall legwork and stake your claim to fame from the comfort of your own couch after a few good hits of your favorite strain, good news—that’s what Hempire is here for.

What is ‘Hempire’ All About?

Hempire Game Review | Leafly

The new mobile game, which launched worldwide on 4/20 and is free to download, was designed by British Columbia-based LBC Studios with the goal of celebrating the cannabis community with a true-to-life plot that mirrors some of the industry’s unique challenges and opportunities.

“We wanted to make a real game for the marijuana community. Something adventurous. Something great,” says Dennis Molloy, President of LBC Studios. “We’re really familiar with the industry … for many years prior to this we watched it develop and witnessed the public opinion shifting, which is when we realized that this audience deserves an outstanding game.” The team sought to fill the gap of worthy cannabis-themed mobile games with something that brought together cannabis enthusiasts and the cannabis-curious in a way that was relevant, meaningful, and most importantly, fun.


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According to the game’s description, “By producing hundreds of strains, baked goodies, and extracts, you will provide for people in need, restore your crumbling neighborhood, battle political corruption, and compete against real-world friends and foes to see who can grow the most legendary canna-business.” How exactly might you do that? Hempire is story-driven, so opportunities include:

  • Using the lab to breed and discover new strains;
  • Extracting THC from your plants to craft concentrates such as shatter;
  • Customizing your grow op;
  • Selling your product through a dispensary or striking deals with other characters;
  • Investing your cash in local businesses and real estate;
  • Helping little old ladies bake brownies;
  • Competing for glory in the Hempire Cup;
  • Taking back control of your entire home city in order to be victorious.


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To get a sense of what exactly game players can expect, we signed up three Leafly volunteers to give Hempire a whirl. And since they would be surrounded by plants, buds, edibles, and concentrates of all kinds in the online world of Hempire, it seemed only fitting that we should outfit them with some cannabis to aid them in their professional journey. Unsurprisingly, the volunteers were doubly eager to participate after they found out they’d be provided with “supplies” from nearby dispensary Have a Heart.

Meet the Panelists

Hempire Game Review | Leafly

  • Name and position: Jeremiah, strain researcher
  • Name and position: Marika, e-commerce developer
  • Name and position: Fermin, software engineer

After divvying up the array of products and pre-rolls they would consume while playing, the testing team went their separate ways to get into the game. For a picture of what gameplay is like, check out their observations and highdeas below, shared after several hours each spent building their Hempires.


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  1. You know it’s going to be good when Snoop kicks things off. “Opening Hempire, I immediately noticed two things: The loading bar states, ‘Rolling a joint…,’ and it is underpinned by a quote from the magnanimous Snoop Dogg: ‘I wake up early in the morning and it feels so good. Smoking on some shit that you wish you could.’” —Fermin
  2. Your character is a bit of a troublemaker. “The setup is innocent enough if you disregard the fact that your first few missions include bribing the Mayor’s Aid for a growing license with your illegally grown cannabis, getting extorted by your parole officer and his lackey, and setting up an illegal interstate drug distribution scheme. But other than that, it’s business as usual.” —Jeremiah
  3. Get ready to see some familiar faces. “Among the characters I met are some familiar faces—a bespeckled old science teacher who lives in an RV, a dealer who resembles a famous gonzo journalist—along with the usual suspects: the fuzz (an attractive, no-nonsense female cop just waiting for you to slip up), the government (via the mayor’s aid), and the incumbent competition (who warn you not to get too big for your britches).” —Fermin
  4. Best part while high? “The most fun while high was the grow process, from watering and using soil to trimming the bud itself—I was a growing machine! I also enjoyed selling to people, it was interesting to see what kind of bud was requested and I imagined what it would be like to sell cannabis IRL.” —Marika
  5. There’s something subliminally satisfying about digital gardening. “I’m given a batch of Afghani seeds and a pot of soil. Amazingly, the buds grow in mere seconds. I wag my finger over the plant and the clippers make a deeply satisfying sound as the colas tumble into my inventory. I feel a deep and yearning need to hear that sound again, and again, and again.” —Fermin
  6. You’re going to have to do some thinking. “Hempire challenges a cannabis consumer’s perception and management of time as they water, harvest, refine, and sell their cannabis and cannabis-infused wares throughout the city.” —Jeremiah
  7. You might actually learn something about growing… “Over the next hour I grow more plants. I get another two pots, learn to water regularly to increase my yield, and also install lights. I breed a new strain and diversify my offerings. The Flo I smoked is coursing through my body, into my thoughts, driving me to create a flow of digital buds to expand my Hempire.” —Fermin
  8. …or about strains. “One educational feature is the small descriptions on the strain information card that can be accessed after planting. This one to two sentence description elucidates some practical uses for the strain which players can use to inform future cannabis purchases.” —Jeremiah
  9. Don’t spend your gems all in one place. “I accomplished having a good time, growing some dank plants, and also spending all my gems on something I didn’t actually want … lol.” —Marika
  10. The right cannabis truly kicks it up a notch. “Flo OG…so good. I wish I still had some. It made me really good at that game.” —Fermin


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Our Conclusion

Hempire Game Review | Leafly

We played Hempire. Should you play Hempire, too?

Let’s put it this way: One panelist became a Level 10 grower in the space of three days, reached a net worth of $10,000, and dipped out after becoming one of the three top-ranked players on their friends-list leaderboard.

The other two panelists? They’re still playing.

Want to check out Hempire? Download it through the App Store or Google Play here.

Leafly’s High Five VR Challenge: Stoned People Compete in Virtual Reality

Five contestants lean back into the couch, disappearing inch by inch into the cushions with every puff off the vaporizer or join. A golden trophy, filled to the brim with a mixed ounce of Rainbow Jones, Moon Cookies, and Thin Mint GSC, sits nobly among a table full of snacks. The winner of Leafly’s High Five Virtual Reality Challenge would be the proud owner of the stash, but six episodes would stand between them and their prize.

In this inaugural episode, watch the five fearless contestants pass around the DaVinci IQ vaporizer before they slice and dice their way through a rousing game of Fruit Ninja.

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Meet the Contestants:

  • Josh, the familiar bearded face found on the popular YouTube channel Strain Central
  • Sasha, AKA SilencedHippie, another social media cannabis maven
  • YouTuber and strain reviewer Ashley, better known as Positive Smash 420
  • Jamila, a cannabis enthusiast who came dressed ready to play “Space Pirate Trainer”
  • Will, a budtender by day and EDM bandmate/harp player by night

Which participant maintained enough hand-eye coordination to be crowned Leafly’s High Five Challenge champion? Tune in for Part Two of our six-part series to see who advances and whose bowl gets cashed too soon.