Go ahead and have a sniff—the hype new cannabis strain Permanent Marker has earned Leafly Strain of the Year 2023.
Tingly, chatty, and arousing, with sweet, deep marker fumes of grape candy, creamy berry, and solvent—Permanent Marker became the fastest-growing new strain on US menus this year according to Leafly, which hosts over 3,000 dispensaries in North America.
Permanent Marker went from 10 store menus in August 2022 to 587 stores in November 2023—an increase of 59x.
Permanent Marker doesn’t look backward like Lemon Cherry Gelato from 2016, either. It’s a refinement of Jealousy, Leafly’s Strain of the Year 2022. Los Angeles breeder/growers Seed Junky Genetics mixed Jealousy, Biscotti, and Sherbert—selecting for even more big, dark, icy buds with grape candy-gas smell and taste that smokers would embrace. Global weed marketing juggernaut Doja Pak picked the name and in 2022, a series of released cuttings retailed for $1,000 each. The genetic went global.
In 2023, the country’s best growers grew Permanent Marker, including LA Family Farms, CAM, and Doja Pak in California; Torus, Skord, and Freddy’s Fuego in Washington; Preferred Gardens in Florida; and Seed Junky themselves in California, Michigan, and New Mexico.
“It’s easy to grow and it’s what the people want,” said Nicholas Mossman, Head Cultivator at Freddy’s Fuego in Washington. “We really enjoy Permanent Marker—it’s one of my personal favorite smokes lately.”
The menu growth coincides with increasing hype as well. Permanent Marker is now a top-200 strain nationally in web traffic on Leafly, up from number 2689 a year ago. That translates to people coming into stores asking for it, and it selling out.
In July 2023, Michiganders picked Permanent Marker as the state’s best pre-roll—a North Coast x Pressure Pack 2-gram cannon. Pre-rolls notoriously kill the smell and taste of weed. Permanent Marker joints, however, hold up to rough treatment.
“That strain’s been flying off the shelves,” said Brendan Gagain, who helps run sales at CAM in California.
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Seed Junky works on a ton of new crosses with it—and they don’t work on stuff that bores them. “We just want to give the people what they want,” said J Beezy, the strain’s breeder.
And the deal-sealer: US budtenders recommended Permanent Marker more than any other new strain in our first-ever Budtenders’ Choice Survey, which drew more than 900 respondents from across the US in October.
Congratulations to Seed Junky Genetics for back-to-back Leafly Strain of the Year wins—with last year’s Jealousy and now Permanent Marker in 2023. It’s a dynasty!
A winning strain combines undeniable genetics optimized for the grower and smoker, ambitious logistics and distribution, and global marketing skills that cannonball the cultivar into the culture to make an undeniable wave. Here’s how the marker got made.
The experience of Permanent Marker
Permanent Marker makes an indelible impression. From the first rip of the bag seal, it leaks and reeks to perfume your pocket and then the room. This strain will get you caught.
A proper example will stain the palate with authentic, sickly-sweet marker fumes. This is that gas—but refined beyond crude petrol. This weed mimics petrosolvents like xylene, toluene, and urethane resin.
Nicholas Mossman, Head Cultivator at Freddy’s Fuego in Washington said: “The smell and flavor profile keep me coming back while it’s growing. It has the smell of fruit loops on the front end and a hint of chemical, almost acetone-like smell, it really fits the permanent marker description. The taste of it is honestly one of the reasons I like it so much. The flavor stays in your mouth for much longer than most strains; very soapy Gelato-like taste that lasts longer.”
When Leafly reviewers tag it vanilla, tobacco, and menthol—think of fuel fusing and flipping into soft vanilla. Think of the deep sweetness of fresh Dominican tobacco leaf. Think of the nose-opening quality of menthol.
Then back up and take a look at Permanent Marker. Big, black, glimmering close-up pictures of the cultivar hang in the lobby of Seed Junky HQ, behind gate and guard in the San Fernando Valley, CA. There’s a size race and a bling race in modern weed, and this strain helps set the pace. Ample and bulbous, dramatically dark purple leaf sets off orange pistils and a white resin frost. Flecks of green peak out hither and thither.
The effect of the Permanent Marker strain
As for effects—everything Seeds Junky releases hits like an ether rag. Prepare for profound indica-hybrid effects. Leafly Reviewers give it 4.8 out of 5 stars after 32 reviews. Sorry, but this blows LCG and Runtz out of the water. It’s like an Acura Integra versus a Space X Falcon 9 launch vehicle.
“It has a really heavy, strong high, and it matches the way it smells,” said Seed Junky breeder JB.
Newbies could get anxious, dizzy, or cottonmouthed. Pick a safe place, sit down, and bring water.
“Oh my sweet Jesus, is this a potent strain,” said one reviewer.
Permanent Marker can change your plans. Use it like an after-dinner brandy, or a digestif. J Beezy prefers it after work, not before. Hit Permanent Marker before an epic weekend brunch, or while kicking it in the park on a cool fall day. This intense top-shelf experience runs $40 to $75 for a premium eighth-ounce. The strain regularly tests 25-30% THC, but the maker’s selection can manifest far more than that.
Permanent Marker’s breeder, and origin story
Permanent Marker comes from the LA breeder/growers Seed Junky Genetics. Founded in 2007, they’re on a mission to chart new, hype flavors of dank-ass weed, and boldly go where no breeder has gone before. Makers of Wedding Cake and Ice Cream Cake, they’re a fountainhead of modern exotics, especially on the GSC line.
After making the “Gelato times 1,000” strain, Jealousy, Seed Junky kept pushing even more pungent, next-level herb, assessing 50 to 60 new strains per week in their massive, former rocket factory.
Seed Junky worked on Permanent Marker from 2019 to 2021. Co-founder and breeder JBeezy mated a Biscotti S1 and his backcrossed Sherbert, Sherb Bx1 male, and selected a keeper female. He hit that with his Jealousy F2 male, and then hunted through those and selected the marker. The cross reads: (Biscott1 S1 x Sherb Bx1) x Jealousy F2.
“It just stood out with candy-gas,” said JB. “It smoked the best and it was the cut that satisfied both of what we wanted. I wanted the candy, Wes wanted the gas.”
But Seed Junky selects for more than what the THC and terpene scores can reveal. A whole world of smells and effects lies beyond what the machines measure. Consider J Beezy a Rick Rubin of weed design—with undeniable instincts for what the people want.
“It absolutely crushed it,” said Wes, of the Permanent Marker debut.
Released before as Adios MF, and Gunnpowwder, marketing juggernaut Doja Pak Ryan found the winning name for the strain, and ran a global marketing campaign.
“The guy made the biggest wave with it,” said JB. “He really liked it. He’s the one that really pushed a lot of it and the people really got behind it.”
Doja called it “a diverse creeper that’s as visually stunning as it is stupid LOUD,” in its debut.
They released $1,000 clones of it in Jan. 2022. And in the spring and summer of 2022, Doja drove a huge global marketing wave for it—essential to any strain gaining mega-traction. More $1,000 clones dropped on Dec. 15 2022 in Hollywood.
Permanent Marker’s impact and future
Similar to Wedding Cake, the strain’s debut and rise demonstrate the power of mass-distributing coveted genetics. Gone are the days of $8,000 pounds, and a sole owner hoarding a singular variety. Seed Junky doesn’t forfeit flower sales with trays of $1,000 clones going all over the world—they gain an army.
“We gave out a lot of opportunity,” said Seed Junky Wes, who handles the logistical side of the company.
Imagine open-sourcing the blueprint for a Tesla Cybertruck factory. Who knows what people can and will do with it.
Freddy’s Fuego’s Nick Mossman said, “We like to stay ahead of the market and try to fit the flavor profiles and strains that are becoming hype. When we see a strain doing really well in other states and it catches our eye, I’ll hit my buddies up in California and in New York to see if it lives up to the hype. Which, I can tell you, it certainly does.”
By the end of 2022, Permanent Marker made multiple High Times critics’ lists for the year.
All through 2023, Permanent Marker made its mark on smokers and helped farmers illicit and legal stay in the black.
We bought the strain for $30-per-gram at The Dank of England private club in Barcelona in March 2023—under the “Cali Weed” part of the menu.
A grower’s strain
California operator Anna Willey of CAM said, “the stretching is perfect, it’s just a beautiful plant, and one the plants that always finishes. Top performers have to be consistent.”
CAM’s Brendan called it “one of our top smokers every harvest.”
Freddy’s Fuego’s Mossman said “It’s very easy to grow,” he said. “The structure is one we enjoy, too.
In May 2023, Seed Junky released feminized seeds of it, fueling the next wave in 2023 and into 2024.
By fall 2023, breeders and nurseries reported doing great with Permanent Marker and ratified the hype. And Leafly learned that the illicit side of the market did awesome with Permanent Marker—pressing into new crosses like Permanent Marker x Push Pop.
In a world ruled by Runtz and LCG, “it was what they needed,” said Seed Junky’s Wes.
We expect to see tons more Permanent Marker growing in the new year.
The next batch of markers: Gello Shotz, Pineapple, Mango, Bubblegum
The next wave for Permanent Marker is just beginning. Walking through their flower rooms at harvest, we saw the largest, iciest, stickiest, more rowdy-smelling weed in the country—again. Purple Push Pop, Sherb Cake, Red Eye, Magic Marker, Magic Shotz, Permanent Paradize, and Permanent Marker herself.
Around Thanksgiving, Seed Junky launched a direct-to-consumer seed website, and sold out of $200 packs of fire: Permanent Cherries; Permanent Pearadize; Permanent Fruz/Pineapple.
Permanent Marker x Gello Shotz? Permanent Shotz. Permanent Marker x LCG? Red Eye. Magic Marker? RS-11 x Permanent Marker. Anyone can get on the Permanent Marker wave and potentially find something next-level.
JB says to pop those packs of Permanent Marker Bx. “There’s better yielders, and plants that are easier to grow than the clone. There’s better to be found in Permanent Marker.”
Up next for Seed Junky is a members-only club for fellow seed junkies who have to get first dibs on all the drops, and at a discount. All those growers function like a test-bed, and Seed Junky learns from their successes and challenges.
JB is particularly hyped on Gello Shotz crosses to Permanent Marker. Vivid fumes of pineapple and mango await in plants with increased yield and even higher THC. “There’s a bunch of different variations coming,” JB said.
The company has never innovated so fast or as deeply.
“We dreamt of this eight or nine years ago—to have 50,000 square feet and nine to ten testers each week, with tissue culture and genomic sequencing. We’re excited for next year.”
JBeezy and Wes say they just want winners out there growing the fire.
“Make your own lane, push your brand, and don’t just copy everybody,” said JB.
“Remember, the dank always wins,” said Wes.
So, get out there, buy up, and sniff and smoke some Permanent Marker—Leafly Strain of the Year 2023. And congrats to the hardest working team in weed—Seed Junky Genetics. They’re always in the kitchen cooking up what’s next, respect.
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