In a small, 10-foot corner of Great Northern Cannabis’ cultivation, 26-year-old Niko Blake works his magic. Known by some as the “King of Doobies,” Blake once knocked out 5,000 pre-rolls in one afternoon – and he isn’t showing any signs of stopping any time soon. As Great Northern Cannabis’ lead joint roller, Blake has a hand in producing nearly every joint that comes out of the facility. We sat down with him to learn more about what drives his passion for the pre-roll.
We understand that you discovered your dream job at a really early age…
Weed was illegal in Louisiana when I was growing up, but let’s just say I didn’t have any trouble finding it at a really young age. We must have been baked at the time, but I remember sitting with my friends and talking about all the artists and famous people who would actually pay people to roll their joints for them. I just thought that was really cool. Like, who wouldn’t want to roll joints and get paid for it? It was my dream job.
What made a career in Cannabis so appealing to you?
Growing up in Louisiana, you could get the max prison sentence for being caught with weed, and I think some of the danger appealed to me as a young kid. The fact that it was taboo just made it that much cooler. I still remember trying to roll my first joint as a kid, and it was a shitshow. I tried to use Bible paper, and it was so loose that when I lit it, all of the weed just fell out as the paper burned too fast. My friends and I just sat there staring at all the weed we wasted, ‘Like, well, that sucked.’
When did you finally realize your lifelong dream of rolling joints?
I was working at an Anchorage cultivation in 2017, and they needed someone to produce their pre-rolls, so naturally, I volunteered. It was pretty awesome calling my friends back home and telling them what my new job was!
So, what were those first joints like?
Oh, they were terrible! I literally had no idea what I was doing, and I was trying to use a sifter thrown together with chicken wire and a square frame. I also had to pack the joints by hand, and there were sticks and stems in them. Literally, they were just awful, and it was a big battle.
That sounds like some humble beginnings! How did you step up your joint game?
Really, a lot of it has been just working at Great Northern Cannabis. Our Cultivation Manager, Jerad Brown, has an eye on quality and pays really close attention to what is going in the rolls. We’ve also secured some great tools like a Knockbox, which makes it easy to fill 100 joints in just two minutes. That’s really been a game-changer for me.
In your mind, what makes a good pre-roll?
I think everything, including growing weed, has a really good middle ground. You don’t want the roll to be too tight or too loose. You can also tell by the way the joint burns. If you hear a popping sound or the embers are black, the joint is probably filled with sticks and stems, or the weed wasn’t well grown. A really high-grade pre-roll will have a little oil ring near the ‘cherry,’ but I’ve only seen that on a few of the joints out there.
Spending so much time around Cannabis has probably made you a connoisseur. What are your favorite things to smoke?
Anything that’s really stinky and maybe kind of nasty. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really exist right now up here. People are doing more garlics, so I’ve generally been smoking garlic stuff. But really, I’ll smoke just about anything.