Man smoking weed outside.
AG Cubano holds his TasteDeezTreatz strain Pink Helado in Downtown Los Angeles, January, 2022. Credit: Visit Hollyweed / Visit Hollyweed

AG Cubano launched TasteDeezTreatz in 2020 by first selling branded bags in the streets. He had formed the company in 2019 with a good friend and weed expert Moises Ortiz and with his trusted graphic designer from his days in music, Johnny Zotic.

By 2020, Cubano knew he had access to the best product and knew how to brand and market it. Before long, TasteDeezTreatz caught the attention of moguls in the Cali music industry, Goldtoes and Berner. Both knew Cubano as a fellow artist and musician, but when they saw what he was doing with weed they took notice. Cookies worked with Cubano to get the brand licensed, legal, and on dispensary shelves.

Now TasteDeezTreatz is available at top spots throughout California, and it’s only the start. They’re in Cookies dispensaries, all Stiiizy dispensary locations, and over 70 locations covering Northern and Southern California.

Visit Hollyweed met up with AG Cubano to discuss weed, music, and helado.

AG Cubano’s Feet to the Streets

Adam “AG Cubano” Gil came out of the Bay area rap scene in 2009, coming up alongside artists like Mac Dre, The Jacka, and Berner. Cubano was the first artist signed to Goldtoes’ Thizz Latin label. After being signed to Rick Ross’s Maybach Music Latino, Cubano moved to Miami where he started trapping exotic weed as his music blew up.

For years Cubano sold weed that he sourced from the connections he made as a teen in the streets of the Bay area. He found that elite smokers in Miami and later in New York were willing to pay top dollar for Cali exotics. He moved to NYC and continued putting out records with artists like Don Dinero.

In 2019, Cubano left the New York scene and came back to the Bay area to start TasteDeezTreatz. He saw an opportunity that the recreational market created to really apply branding and marketing to selling weed.

Cubano says he started selling weed at age 12 before getting into selling harder stuff throughout his teens. He got arrested one too many times and by his late teens he took stock.

“I was heavy in the streets when I was very young” Cubano said.

“I got the point where I felt like I was running out of chances.”

According to Cubano, “That’s when I really started doing music.”

AG Cubano, rapper and founder of the weed brand TasteDeezTreatz in Downtown Los Angeles, January, 2022. Credit: Visit Hollyweed / Visit Hollyweed

He says music saved him from going down a different path, and also put him in the orbit of some high rollers. By his early 20s, he was signed to Rick Ross’s label and moved from the streets of the Bay area to the jet set life of Miami.

“Miami took me out of the hood, put me in a different environment, put me around some different shit,” Cubano said. He learned what it meant to run a million dollar business.

Being in Miami, he says, was also the start of his weed game.

“Dudes were trying to charge me 150, 200 for a quarter. I’m such a picky smoker, the shit out there I didn’t want it,” Cubano said. Instead, he started importing the fire Bay area exotics that he had access to and he found that everyone around him was down to pay top dollar for real Cali weed.

I used the same model as music when it came to my business. Instead of an artist I got to worry about it’s a strain. It’s not the artist no more, it’s the bag.

AG Cubano

For Cubano, whether it’s doing music or selling weed, it’s about the culture.

“It all comes down to weed culture. At least the weed culture I’m in is an urban culture. The rappers are dictating what weed is popping,” Cubano said.

“Music sets the tone or sets the hype. If you see famous rappers smoking your shit, your shit’s going to go crazy,” Cubano said. “They’re the tastemakers of this weed shit.”

Being a rapper and top-tier smoker who was already moving packs and supplying other artists, Cubano saw an opportunity as the recreational market in California took off.

He relocated and started to apply his music background to creating a weed brand.

“I feel like it was a seamless move getting into the weed game from the music game,” he said.

His approach to the weed bag was influenced by working with the same artists and designers that helped make his music videos and artwork. Being a producer as well, Cubano knows what it’s like to support an artist.

“I used the same model as music when it came to my business,” Cubano said. “Instead of an artist I got to worry about it’s a strain. It’s not the artist no more, it’s the bag,” Cubano said. 

TasteDeezTreatz design showing the Helado bag and announcing that the brand will be carried by Stiiizy. The brand is produced in partnership with Lyfted Farms. Credit: TasteDeezTreatz / TasteDeezTreatz

Before he even had a plan to get legally on the dispensary shelves, Cubano was focused on building a top-class brand. He hit the streets pushing his unique strains with Latin food names like Mojito Cubano, Helado, and Maracuja.

He had an obvious in with Goldtoes and Berner after working with them musically for many years, but he didn’t call in any favors to begin with.

“I know how Toes and Berner are. They don’t want to hear an idea,” Cubano said. “They want to see the ball in motion and then they’ll come in and really rock. That’s how all bosses move,” he said.

In fact, that’s what happened. Cubano’s bags and branding were so slick looking that people were asking Cookies if they belonged to them already. Berner and Goldtoes noticed what Cubano was doing with TasteDeezTreatz, and they got behind him to make the push.

Cubano says that their support was crucial. “Berner always supported us and Toes is my guy who always pushes us through,” Cubano said.

More importantly, Cookies the company took him through the process to prepare him to be carried at dispensaries. 

“I know how Toes and Berner are. They don’t want to hear an idea,” Cubano said. “They want to see the ball in motion and then they’ll come in and really rock. That’s how all bosses move,” he said.

Cookies was everything. We had the shit on point but they were the one that got us through to the farm, telling us how to do it along the way, because this was new to us.

Ag Cubano

Former Cookies Executive Gilyan Nickelsonz worked at that time with Cubano to fully bring the brand to market. He compares her to being like a music rep signing new talent.

“It’s like the music game. You see an artist that’s poppin and you’re like A&R. ‘I’m gonna help you get in the studio.'” Cubano said. “Instead she helped us get in the farm.”

Cubano said getting in with Cookies propelled his brand. “They’re the trendsetters. Cookies is like the stage,” he said. “If you can be on that stage, everyone’s going see it.”

Cookies helped put Cubano in touch with Lyfted Farms, a legacy brand that has one of the largest strain libraries in the state. Lyfted had made a name for themselves in the days of medical marijuana by offering rare unique tasty strains that no one else had available.

Working with Lyfted to select choice strains for his own bags has allowed TasteDeezTreatz to maintain independence while still competing on the top shelf.

“We’re like an independent label,” Cubano said. “We didn’t need to go to Atlantic. Lyfted is our Empire,” he said, referring to Empire records in San Francisco.

Still from AG Cubano’s “Competition” Official Music Video Dir. By Zaytoshotthat, December 9, 2021. Credit: Visit Hollyweed / Visit Hollyweed

Bringing the Flavors of Latino Culture

TasteDeezTreatz’s recent strains have been a huge hit. Beginning with Helado, the brand offers two variation strains, Pink Helado and Azul Helado. The bags show the familiar Mexican Helado fruit popsicle, juicy and wet, seeming to float in air, surrounded by sumptuous colors.

“That’s our whole thing, we want to crack the scene with flavors that people be like ooh, this don’t taste like nothing else,” Cubano said. “That’s always how we stood out.” 

As far as how he selects what strains will go into his bags, Cubano relies on his own experience.

“I feel like it’s an instinct of being a smoker myself,” Cubano said. He says he needs to feel it in order to offer it as his own. “I’m the type of person that I’m not paying for any weed unless I’m excited to smoke it,” he said.

TasteDeezTreatz’s association with the ice cream man is on purpose. In keeping with his Bay area background, Cubano’s brand offers strains that are unique and extremely tasty.

The brand’s logo features the iconic cart of the Palateros.

For Cubano, the ice cream branding communicates something to his own Latino culture.

That was our vibe. We’re like the Palatero man because when we pull up we got the flavors and we’ve been out here pushin’.

Ag Cubano

“In the Latino community it represents a lot,” Cubano said, of the Palateros cart. “It represents hussle. It represents having flavors,” he said. 

“The Paletero is also in the streets heavy. He’s literally pushin in the streets,” Cubano said.

“That was our vibe. We’re like the Palatero man because when we pull up we got the flavors and we’ve been out here pushin’,” Cubano said.

Cubano sees the brand continuing to tie its top-shelf strains to the flavors of Latino and South American desserts.

“No one’s really tapped in to the Latino market. For me, that was my niche,” Cubano said.

Look for more flavors dropping this year and prepare to see TasteDeezTreatz on more shelves in the coming months.

Cubano is also ramping up the merch and clothing line for TasteDeezTreatz, including an upcoming clothing drop available soon on Tastedeeztreatz.com.