In researching fake vape cart brands and counterfeit knock-offs of real cart brands, we often find ourselves visiting some very weird corners of cannabis culture. But the Runtz story, without a doubt, is one of the most confusing rabbit holes we’ve ever dived into. We could fill a documentary just with a Runtz case study.
Let’s get right to the first point:
Runtz vape carts are from a 100% fake brand
There is no controlling or regulating company we can find. Not a dispensary. Not even one of those lifestyle brands selling Tshirts. The entire brand is conjured out of thin air. The packaging is for sale anywhere and everywhere:
Notice that the Runtz cart packaging often crosses over with other fake or ripped-off brands. We’ve seen mutations of “Chronic” and “Gruntz,” but more than that, Runtz packages tend to pop up in the same page with other fake / rip-off brands we’ve covered before: Jungle Carts, Dank, and Cookies. Anything goes, it seems.
The “Gruntz” “brand” seems to be taking off as a spin-off now:
There’s also lots of flower bag packaging and even canisters with the Runtz brand:
What is White Runtz strain?
To this date, we have no confirmation of any strain called “white Runtz,” “pink Runtz,” or any other color or variety of Runtz. Runtz itself is alleged to be a strain, but even that seems to be poorly sourced. For “white Runtz,” there is literally one paragraph on WeedMaps and a couple reviews which are themselves ALSO showing this fake black market packaging. If you go to any source and they show you a picture of packaging like anything you see here, it’s bogus!
Is Runtz a real strain?
Again, we can find no source of any cultivator, nursery, or distributor who actually has a strain called “Runtz.” There’s this circle of websites on the Internet who all claim it’s real, but every last one of them links to each other. Honestly, to anybody reading this: if you are a cannabis cultivator or work anywhere in the production side of the cannabis industry and can verify that there is an actual, physical strain of cannabis named “Runtz,” please leave us a comment here. At the very least, we can guarantee you a nice long published interview. We feel like we’re chasing Bigfoot here.
Brand Analysis: Runtz is just packaging
The official name “Runts” is a fruit candy brand owned by Nestlé. Note the ‘s’ in the spelling. The Willy Wonka brands of candy were also licensed by Nestlé, directly from British author Roald Dahl, of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fame. Here is an example product from the real life candy company:
In the Runtz packaging, you can see the elements of the Wonka design with the whimsical font and the hat made famous by the late Gene Wilder’s character. Indeed, the Wonka candy line also runs brands like Nerds. Are there Nerds carts too?
You bet your sweet bippy! In fact there’s a whole Wonka cart thing out there too:
Still going with the same hat. Seriously, guys, what did Gene Wilder do to you?
Obviously, there is no way that a commercial company could get away with this without Nestlé suing them into next century.
The fake calling out the fake!
We found a page calling out a fake Runtz brand. They claim to speak for the “real” Runtz brand. It even says “we know the owner and creator of the Runtz brand.” They link to an Instagram page for “@runntz,” purported to be the authentic source of Runtz brand packaging. This is what we found:
Didn’t we just mention Cookies? And there’s “Chilly Wonka” now. Leave Gene Wilder alone!
At this point, this is one of the mother lodes of fake cannabis branding. It’s like one of those conspiracy theories that ties all the other conspiracy theories together.
But wait, there’s a YouTube link and an Instagram image that shows “Yung LB and the RVNTS GVNG.” It also has the “Joke’s Up” logo even though the nutter we mentioned earlier savaged “Joke’s Up” for being the fake and then linked to this page as the real McCoy. Where does the YouTube link go? Well…
It links to a channel called “Runtz Media” with a whole three videos up. Two of them are “official” music videos for Runtz-themed hip-hop songs and one guest vocal for something unrelated. One of the Runtz songs is titled “Runtz Yo Life Up.” While this flyer clearly proclaims that you can buy tickets “@RuntzLoudandUncut,” there is no such account at any social media platform anywhere, writing at this time only two weeks until the proposed event date on that flyer.
We’re getting suspicious of this whole hip-hop artist’s career. So we searched around and found a hashtag #RuntzYoLifeUp, like the song title, but going to an entirely separate social media account:
We’re back to Danks again. The rabbit hole never ends, folks. At this point, it would take David Lynch to make sense of the narrative.
“Runtz” was originally alleged to be a cannabis strain
Runtz is the alleged name of a hybrid bred from “Gelato” and “Zkittlez.” Fake vape cart packaging tends to latch onto these names and slap them onto every cart and label, even if it makes no sense. There’s even just a #runtz hashtag on Twitter, popping up on the kinds of posts that spin the hashtags for every random fake vape cart brand.
So that tells us something about what’s going on. What is happening is a counterfeit “brand” comes out, then other counterfeiters copy that, and it just goes around.
There’s just one thing left we’d like to ask…
Does anybody actually own the copyright to the Runtz T shirts, at least?
The Runtz brand is looking for an owner…
Have you encountered Runtz products out there in the wild? What else is out there? Anybody from Gene Wilders’ estate or Nestlé care to weigh in?
We’d love to hear from you in the comments below or in our forum!