To spread the word, Milam says he reached out to the biggest dealers he knew and gave them each a quarter pound of Girl Scout Cookies to hand out to customers as a sample. Smokers loved the strain, but when they asked for more, their dealers were dry. “That’s what broke Cookies hard,” Milam says. The limited supply “created a hype around it,” he says, “just like Jordans.” In 2011, Milam capitalized on the strain’s notoriety by starting a brand called Cookies SF, which sold streetwear and eventually smoker’s tackle items, like rolling trays.
Milam began to hang out and record with rap’s stoner icons: Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, Curren$y, B-Real from Cypress Hill. He says he never asked rappers to mention his strains, but soon enough, Girl Scout Cookies began showing up in rap lyrics. Wiz Khalifa signed Milam to his label, Taylor Gang Entertainment, and invited him on tour. Milam wasn’t allowed to perform, though. So during other artists’ sets, he would walk through the crowd, “slanging trays and jars” directly to fans, “like a hot dog or peanut guy.” He says he would clear $3,000 in merch sales a day. The other artists made fun of him for not chasing after groupies and enjoying himself, but when the tour was in Texas, Milam showed up wearing a Rolex he bought from the legendary Houston jeweler Johnny Dang. The jokes at his expense stopped.
Throughout his rise, Milam was an active participant in the black market, with all that it entailed. “It was scary,” he said. “It was like ‘Ozark.’” The risk of robbery was ever-present. He sometimes acted as a middleman, connecting dealers with growers in Northern California, and people on either side could resort to violence if a deal went south. A path out of the black market appeared on the horizon as legalization began to spread across the country, starting with Colorado voting in 2012 to legalize recreational marijuana sales. Legal weed was coming to America, and Milam wanted in. He had name recognition and access to a steady supply of new strains through Jai. What he did not have was a functioning company.