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Oct 26, 2022
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How Vic Mensa brought premium legal gas to Chicago dispensaries

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Spark your engines. The 93 Boyz are taking off with Illinois’ first Black-owned cannabis brand. In May, the company made its official debut with fire pre-rolls that come in tubes resembling foreign sports cars. Their flower hit stores shortly after, and they’ve been selling out of Chicago dispensaries ever since.

Founded by Chicago musician, entrepreneur, and actor Vic Mensa, who hopes to play Prince in a biopic one day, and Preston Oshita, also known as rapper Towkio, the brand comes complete with flavors like Super Donut and Hood Candies.

“As someone with a lifelong experience of anxiety and depression, it’s amazing to be able to help people facing those and other issues while working with something I love,” Mensa told reporters in June.

As things took off in real time this summer, Leafly linked with Vic and the Boyz in May to ask how they did it, what’s next, and where to find their products across Illinois.

What are you smoking right now?

(93 Boyz)

“I’m smoking Pixie (by 93 Boyz), which is indica-dominant. It’s probably one of my favorite strains right now. But we’ve got some new genetics that are on the way that are almost out of the grow. So I’m excited to reveal those.”

Vic Mensa

A month after we spoke, those new genetics hit Chicago dispensaries in affordable $50 eighths. You can now order flavors like Super Donut, Jet Fuel OG, and The Lotto from Ascend dispensaries across Illinois using Leafly’s dispensary finder.

Giving back a portion of every puff

Vic Mensa 93 Boyz legal cannabis brand is Chicago's first Black-owned brand with a license. (93 Boyz)
93 Boyz grabbed their name from Mensa and his co-founders’ birth year, 1993. Yup, that means the “boys” are approaching the big 3-0. (93 Boyz)

93 Boyz works with SaveMoneySaveLife, a Chicago-based Indigenous and Black- led nonprofit, to advocate for equity in cannabis and prison reform. Vic and the Boyz also gave out free gasoline to Chicago residents this summer, as prices peaked. The entire cannabis industry took notice of the brilliant promotional stunt, which further established the brand’s goal to pair top-shelf genetics with a core mission focused on giving back to the community.

“The war on drugs has had a devastating impact on my community, and yet our representation in the cannabis industry is less than 2%, Mensa told Leafly. 93 Boyz is changing that narrative while combining high-quality, tastemaker weed with socially conscious initiatives.”

Weed funded my early music career

Vic Mensa 93 Boyz legal cannabis brand is Chicago's first Black-owned brand with a license. (93 Boyz)
“Weed fueled my first music projects, paid for all my initial studio time, and my videos. It taught me work ethic honestly, in a lot of ways.” (93 Boyz)

“Cannabis was my first hustle. Before rap. And it’s been a part of my life, integrally, since I was 11 years old. I started serving when I was 14–even trying when I was 12. But my weed was so bad, nobody was buying my shit. When I didn’t really have shit, I was trying to sell blunt guts in the bag. It didn’t really work. Shady shit. That’s what I was on when I was 11.”

Vic Mensa

What’s the highest you’ve ever been?

“Edible dinners. Infused dinners, they take me out this shit. It works every time. I did a TV show that was an infused Italian dinner. I had a great time. There’s a lot going on: Infused wine, infused bread. At the end, I start to realize, ‘Oh shit, I’m high as fuck!’ So the dinner finishes, and I’m speaking to this dude who used to be a Congressman. And I’m like, ‘Let’s exchange information or whatever. And he’s like, ‘Cool, what’s your number?’ I was like, ‘Damn G, I just forgot my phone number!’”

Vic Mensa

Cannabis enhances creativity—to a point

“I was in the car on the way back [from the dinner]. I was listening to Eddie Kendricks, this song called “My People” that J Dilla sampled. I was like, ‘Man, I gotta go to the studio.’ When I get to the studio, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was too high to function. By the time I got home, I was on the couch for a solid three days. I was debilitated. In the past, my mom has made infused paella’s at home. So my whole life I’ve been battling edibles.”

Vic Mensa

What is your favorite non-infused high snack?

Vic told us he recently realized that fresh fruit is the best snack for the munchies. He also heard If you eat mangos or citrus, it enhances your high by interacting with the terpenes.

“I also like orange juice with my mushrooms,” he revealed during the chat.

Sativa or indica?

Vic Mensa 93 Boyz legal cannabis brand is Chicago's first Black-owned brand with a license. (93 Boyz)
93 Boyz’  premium quality comes from a partnership with Aerīz, a significant aeroponic cultivation company. Aeroponic cultivation refers to the practice of cannabis being grown in a mist environment instead of soil or a comparative ecosystem.
(93 Boyz)

“I can’t smoke sativas. We have a sativa called Mai-Thai by 93 Boyz that I was smoking last year on some, ‘uplifting work vibe.’ But in general, my anxiety is too much. Sativas don’t really mesh with that. I’m just an Indica person. It will have my heart beating (fast), singing ‘Green Light’ by John Legend.”

Vic Mensa

Sometimes I cheat on Mary Jane with mushrooms

Vic Mensa 93 Boyz legal cannabis brand is Chicago's first Black-owned brand with a license. (93 Boyz)
(93 Boyz)

“My relationship with cannabis is almost two decades. But I’ve been in a relationship with the mushrooms for a solid decade. I’ve been microdosing, then taking a ‘trip dose’ here and there. But more recently, I’ve started taking the micro dose regiment seriously. It’s like one small dose, a small capsule. A non-psychoactive dose. You can feel it slightly— little sensations in your body. But it’s not like you’re high or intoxicated.”

Vic Mensa

Using meditation to elevate cannabis and psilocybin

“I’ve been meditating since I was like 16, and microdosing can interact with it very well. Sometimes I can go somewhere in my meditation. The Rastas smoke and meditate. I was just in Jamaica.”

Vic Mensa

Fighting for equity in Illinois’ cannabis industry

“Launching the first cannabis with minority ownership in Illinois dispensaries, the whole process in Illinois has been so bogged down with corruption, it’s just frustrating. But also a blessing to be able to get the product in the stores. We’ve been working on it for a couple years. We’ve been active and operational in the streets. But we’re just now stepping into the legal space. The ethos of the brand is that a significant part of our proceeds are going to go to different creative solutions to the problems that are faced by our people. Like, a program sending thousands of books into prisons in Illinois and potentially in California.”

“My life was changed by being able to help my friend Musa 12 years early on a 25-year sentence. And over that time, I’ve started building close relationships with some of my (other) people who are locked up. And I found that the most impactful thing that I’ve done in many ways has been sending them books.”

Not pot politics as usual

(93 Boyz)
The 93 Boyz vision is simple: Uplift the underserved while creating an indelible footprint in the booming legal market. The plan is to reinvest in the communities that built the industry while it was still illegal at the state level, while humbling all operators to the fact that they are still breaking federal law this very day—so they don’t have room to judge legacy pioneers that helped blaze everyone’s current path to pot prosperity. (93 Boyz)

“I wouldn’t say I’m a political leader. I’m politicized. I’m a human being with values and priorities and I care about freedom and justice, so I stand for those things in my music, in my businesses, in my personal relationships—and that’s why I do what I do. Not because I’m trying to be an activist. I’m constantly educating myself. I’m more concerned with the history of political movements, resisting movements, revolutionary movements, than I am with Lil so-and-so’s new album or relationship.”

Vic Mensa

Chicagoans are loving 93 Boyz fuel

Shawn Grant and Tay Tousana's Bio Image

Shawn Grant and Tay Tousana

Shawn Grant is a native of Chicago. He freelances across the media industry, crafting content in areas of music, film, sports, marijuana, and more.

Tay Tousana is a multi-hyphenate content creator based in Atlanta.

View Shawn Grant and Tay Tousana’s articles

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