Tag: Events

What It’s Like to Get High in a Lloyd Wright House

Lloyd Wright’s John Sowden House in Los Angeles gets a lot of attention due to its famous architect. It’s also infamous for being the possible site of Los Angeles’ most notorious unsolved murder. Yet on a sunny December afternoon, there were no dark shadows or lurid tales. It was the first installment of Afternoon Delight, a series celebrating art, food, wellness, and cannabis.

(Courtesy of Alanna You)

Afternoon Delight comes via Katie Partlow, who throws 420-friendly parties via her events company LITTLE FACE. At such events, guests might be treated to burlesque, music, comedy, or art in an environment where they can freely consume and learn about cannabis from brands, educators, and activists. After many successful LITTLE FACE events, Partlow tells Leafly she was contacted by the owners of the Sowden House, who were interested in having her curate events within their space.

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The Sowden House easily lends itself to entertaining. It was built in 1926 by Lloyd Wright, son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, for painter-photographer John Sowden. While a Mayan temple was the inspiration for the house’s stunning design, many have since compared the jagged textile block facade to the open maw of a shark. The single-story house is dominated by an open-air courtyard with a small rectangular pool and spa. The various rooms, including an open kitchen, bedrooms, and bathrooms, surround the courtyard. Despite the airiness of the layout, the courtyard still feels private, as the house is set far back from the road and high on a hill.

(Courtesy of Alanna You)

“The house is a work of art, architecturally, with a lot of history,” Partlow said. “There’s a secret alcohol stash room where people put their booze [during Prohibition] behind a bookshelf. And there’s a rumor that one of the previous owners of the house maybe murdered the Black Dahlia.” Dr. George Hodel, a prominent doctor known for throwing lavish, often risqué parties, owned the house from 1945 to 1950, and has long been suspected by some of murdering Elizabeth Short, better known by her newspaper nickname, “The Black Dahlia.”

(Courtesy of Alanna You)

When Partlow and the Sowden House’s owners decided to begin collaborating on events, they named their company The Black Dahlia. Partlow’s first Black Dahlia event, on Halloween, was titled Hollywood Forever and encouraged guests to come dressed as celebrities who had passed away, as a means to pay tribute to them. When she contemplated her follow-up event, she knew she wanted a day-time gathering with food, cannabis, artists, music, and self-care.

(Courtesy of Alanna You)

“I wanted to bring people together to share ideas, in a safe space where they can share their artwork—where they can consume together and socialize, but in a more private way,” Partlow said. That idea manifested as Afternoon Delight. It wasn’t even a little creepy, and there were no references to the home’s unconfirmed past aside from the name of the company.

Guests were asked to secure their phones at the beginning of the event. Each mobile device was sealed in a small Yondr pouch, locked with a device that only the host at the doorway held. The intention was to force guests to be present and engaged, and people didn’t seem to mind the inability to check social media. Instead, we strolled around the courtyard, where each open door offered something new. When choosing vendors and artists, Partlow specifically sought out women, people of color, and LGBTQ participants. Some stations were focused on cannabis, while others emphasized general wellness.

(Courtesy of Alanna You)

The parlor furthest from the entrance offered a collection of smooth stone pipes from Miwak Junior, reiki sessions via practitioner Goddess Adorned, and tea with Lit Yoga Studio. Lit Yoga, based in Venice, offers a 15-minute tea and cannabis ceremony to kick off their 420-friendly yoga sessions, and for Afternoon Delight, they brought along their wooden tea table. We sat on cushions around the intricately carved bar, while sipping small cups of hot herbal tea. CBD honey was offered for sweetening the tea, while joints via Higgs and flower from Henry’s Original were freely available.

In the kitchen, chef Holden Jagger of Altered Plates worked diligently to set out small bites like fried chicken biscuits with honey aioli, soba noodle salad, and peanut butter cookies. Most of the food was not infused with cannabis, though some of the cookies did contain two milligrams of THC for microdosers. For a slightly higher dose, Denver-based Rebel Cookie Company offered open-faced macarons with a Moscow Mule-flavored infused “caviar,” each small cookie containing six milligrams. Though there was no alcohol served at the event, guests could sip on CBD-infused spritzers or spiced tea mixed with CBD-infused butter.

(Courtesy of Alanna You)

Elsewhere, Malibu Essential Oils offered a blending class and whiffs of their signature formulas like “Brain On” and the libido-enhancing “Sex Mist.” Artist and candlemaker Amaya of While You Were Dreaming encouraged guests to write love letters to themselves, before she delicately sealed each letter with rainbow-colored wax. Tarot card readings were available in a rear bathroom, where the tub had been filled with inflatable golden balls. An adjacent koi pond offered clandestine seating on a secluded bench, only accessible by gingerly using stepping stones to get across the pond. In one of the more intriguing rooms, Mar Vista-based Healing Through the Soul had set up a “brainwave entrainment” station where guests relaxed on a bed with their eyes closed, headphones on, while a machine displayed a rapidly blinking light meant to synchronize brainwaves. If that was a little too strange for one’s taste, guests could unwind via a 10-minute chair massage instead, or drop in for a bud trimming class near the pool.

(Courtesy of Alanna You)

As the afternoon wore down, Low Leaf and The Ascension performed as the sun sank behind them—their set began at 4:20 p.m., naturally. The mellow and soulful sound, layered with flute and harp, was a perfect cap to a peaceful day.

Partlow intends to continue using the Sowden House for other 420-friendly events, including future Afternoon Delights and an upcoming immersive theater show. As Afternoon Delight gatherings are private events held in a private residence, Partlow will not be publicly promoting them, but sending out individual invitations instead. Curious parties should make an email introduction to Partlow if they desire an invitation—you can find her here.

(Courtesy of Alanna You)

5 Mandatory Montreal Experiences for High Folks

For at least two decades, cannabis-scented air has been a common part of Montreal’s olfactory character. At any time of day or night, you can walk down “The Main” (Saint-Laurent Boulevard) or Sainte-Catherine Street and smell someone enjoying a pinner on break from work, or out walking their dog, or concluding a business meeting. Yes, cannabis is still illegal here—at least until this summer’s deadline for national legalization—but the overall culture of our city is enormously cannabis-positive. If you’re coming to Montreal, here are five fantastic places to visit while high.

1. The Tam-Tams

(UpdogDesigns/iStock)

Every Sunday during the summer, hundreds of people gather around the statue of George-Étienne Cartier in Jeanne-Mance Park to join in a massive drum-circle and attempt to hotbox the great outdoors. This has been going on at least since the early 1990s. Police are present but don’t bat an eye at people sparking a joint (they’d have to arrest all 400 people), so a massive cloud of skunk smoke hovers over the crowd from lunchtime till dusk. This makes it easy to find: If you’re in Montreal’s Plateau area, just follow the sound of the drums until you smell weed, and let your nose guide you home.

The Tam-Tams appeal to a particular type of cannabis consumers, those who identify with “cannabis culture.” This can be a turnoff—not everybody loves Bob Marley, hacky sacks, and white college students wearing Baja Hoodies in Jamaican colours. But if you like to get high with a crowd of other cannabis enthusiasts and explore the rhythmic textures of a hundred drums, you couldn’t ask for a better place to spend a Sunday.

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2. Kondiaronk Belvedere, Mount-Royal

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Montreal is named for the large hump in its centre, Mount-Royal. This isn’t a mountain, exactly, but it’s enough. If the Tam-Tams scene is too busy for you, follow the Chemin Olmstead trail through the Frederick Olmstead–designed Mount Royal Park until you get to the gigantic staircase. This will require you to climb a couple of hundred stairs more or less straight up, but the reward for your effort is a fantastic view. The biggest and most famous lookout at the top of the mountain is the huge and stately marble Kondiaronk Belvedere, which is lighted at night. The view of the city from here is breathtaking, and if you want to play some music, hoof a hacky-sack around, or throw a frisbee, this is the ideal place to do it. It can be crowded in daytime, but thins out after dark.

Also: At the top of the stairs, there is a smaller path that veers off to the right—this leads around the crest of the hill to a series of tiny, secluded lookouts in the woods that offer even more stunning views. Don’t like crowds? Prefer the feeling of getting high in deep nature while looking out over a teeming city? This is your spot.

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3. Poutine Heaven

(spasmik/iStock)

If you’re not from Montreal, you probably haven’t had poutine. Sure, maybe you’ve had something called poutine, and that’s great. But the precise combination of fries, local cheese curds, and sauce brune is something that other cities never quite get right. Once the munchies set in and your tastebuds are dialed to delicious, Montreal offers you an imposing selection of poutine-speciality restaurants. I will offer here only four:

  • La Banquise: This legendary all-night poutinérie is so thick with grease that its floors are literally slippery. With a selection of 27 poutines, it frequently gets listed as the best poutine spot in Montreal by locals and visitors
  • Chez Claudette: A perennial also-ran, this casse-croute (snack bar) with more than 35 poutines was selected by the New Yorker’s Calvin Trillin as his favourite poutine in Montreal. Its fries are a little crispier than La Banquise’s.
  • Lafleur: This local chain of fast-food joints has McDonald’s-style benches and fluorescent lighting, making it a shade less welcoming than either of the above. However, they balance that out by cutting fresh fries around the clock from a bucket of potatoes and don’t change their oil very often. The fries are dense and heavy with a crisp outer edge. Importantly, Lafleur’s poutine only comes in one flavour: poutine.
  • Poutineville: Standard bearer of “the New Wave of Poutine,” this relative upstart offers a pub-like ambiance and build-your-own poutine menu, which is especially useful if your stoned-tooth has a craving for something wild (say, marinated eggplant and filet-mignon with brie and red-wine gravy, over house-special crushed potatoes). If the traditionalist snack-bar/fast-food quality of the classic joints doesn’t excite you, you can get inventive here.

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4. Saint Joseph’s Oratory

(Olivier Bruchez/Flickr Creative Commons)

When Saint-Joseph’s Oratory was completed in 1967, it was (and remains) Canada’s largest church. In a city where exquisite church architecture adorns nearly every corner, the Oratory stands out as a singularly magnificent building, visible from much of the city. It’s stunning enough you don’t even need to go inside (and if you’re reeking of skunk, you may not want to). At all hours of night and day, you can walk around the grounds and gardens and the Stations of the Cross soaking in the immensity of Brother André’s faith. But venture inside is worth it: the gigantic building’s mid-century vintage means it’s designed like a Sistine Chapel imagined by Gene Roddenberry. Whether or not you’re religious, a visit to the Oratory is a far-out experience.

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5. Dollar Cinéma

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Are you the type of person who likes to get high and experience something bewildering? Take the metro out to the inner edge of suburbia, where you’ll find the post-apocalyptic Décarie Square Mall, legendary even in the 1980s for its high vacancy rate. Wander its surreal halls, past the Dollarama and the empty stores, and enter one man’s cinematic vision: Dollar Cinéma. Legendarily odd hair-loss miracle-cure promoter/cinema owner Bernie Gurberg took over Décarie Square’s two-screen movie house (abandoned in 1997) in 2004, and by most accounts he is the only person who works there. Dollar Cinéma’s lobby feels like his garage, kind of dingy and filled with thrift-store furniture but decorated with genuine enthusiasm. Admission at the Dollar Cinéma is now $2.50, but snacks remain a very enticing $1 each. Bernie takes the tickets, sells the candy, and apparently starts the projectors on the second-run movies he programs. In 2009, the Dollar Cinéma debuted the spectacularly strange VIP Room, a large storage closet filled with patio furniture and a large-screen TV on which Bernie plays DVDs of movies. There is no better theatre in the world in which to see The Room. This is disorienting enough sober, so be prepared.

The Best Humboldt County Events for Tourists

With the opening of California’s recreational cannabis market in 2018, Humboldt County—also known as America’s cannabis heartland—is expected to receive an influx of cannabis tourists seeking out the roots of California cannabis culture.

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Want to plan a trip yourself? The best time to visit Humboldt County is between May and November, as Humboldt winters tend towards being long and rainy. We recommend centering your trip around one of the cultural events happening in the area during that time. See below for a calendar of Humboldt events during peak cannatourism season. Exact dates for many aren’t announced until a few months before the event, so check the websites for updated information. Once you’ve decided when to go, check out our Cannabis Traveler’s Guide to Finding the Real Humboldt County for a suggested three-day itinerary that goes beyond tourist traps.

What began in 1969 as a friendly wager between two local artists has grown into a totally unique three-day endurance challenge for elaborate pedal-powered art cars. The 42-mile race—over land and water—is free to attend and entirely volunteer run, with teams entering simply “for the glory.”

Humboldt County’s top oyster purveyors gather on Arcata’s central plaza for a two-day food festival, with local beer, wine, and cider also available, plus live music right in the center of town.

Set in a stunning redwood forest with swimming access on the Eel River, this top electronic music fest brings dozens of incredible DJs together for a weekend-long, rage-all-night celebration with a distinctly Humboldt vibe. In 2016 it became the first music festival with a designated area for on-site cannabis consumption.

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Going into its 34th year, this annual reggae music and arts festival gathers top talent from around the world for three days of good vibes and great music in an absolutely stunning backwoods location.

A week-long celebration of LGBTQ culture and activism culminating in a parade through the streets of Eureka with food, vendors, and live music.

The THC-infused brains behind local humor magazine Savage Henry throw an annual stand-up comedy festival featuring top Humboldt talent plus high-minded acts from around the country.

Centered around a competition for the best local cannabis, concentrates, edibles, and topicals, the Humboldt County Cup is a good old-fashioned harvest celebration with a twist, and features dozens of vendors, live music, speakers, and more.

Historic Vapor and Communal Spirit: 5 Takeaways from the Canadian Cannabis Awards

What do you get when you put some of the Canadian cannabis industry’s top minds into one of the country’s swankiest party venues in black-tie attire? That’s what we set to find out Thursday at the fourth-annual Lift Canadian Cannabis Awards, held at Toronto’s historic Carlu Concert Hall. Here’s what we learned.

Despite a week that saw Aurora Cannabis attempt a hostile takeover of CanniMed, the industry happily put aside drama for a night of togetherness.

1. MedReleaf and OrganiGram stole the show with multiple awards.

While it seemed no licensed producer left the awards show empty-handed, the big winners of the night were MedReleaf and OrganiGram. The former won the Best High CBD Strain award with its prized Avi-Dekel strain, which also for Best CBD Oil. MedReleaf also took Top THC Flower for its Eran Almog strain, and won the coveted Top Licensed Producer award. OrganiGram, on the other hand, won Best Sativa Flower with its Wabanaki strain, Best Value Variety with its Blueberry strain, and Best Licensed Producer Compassionate Pricing Program.

2. One of the acceptance speeches had us teary-eyed.

Adam Miron gave one heck of a speech while accepting the Best New Product award on behalf of his company Hydropothecary, which they won for their activated cannabis powder Decarb. Miron, batting away tears, told the audience that his father was the very first client of the company. He’s since passed away, but Miron says, “I know these products made a difference in my father’s life.” His company would later also win Top Licensed Producer Packaging.

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3. Community ruled the night.

Despite a week that saw Aurora Cannabis attempt a hostile takeover of CanniMed, the industry happily put aside drama for a night of togetherness. Where else could you mingle amongst CEOs, lawyers, master growers, and W. Brett Wilson, the business entrepreneur best known for his time as a judge on TV show Dragon’s Den, while eating shockingly delicious pierogi?

4. The cannabis industry can be a tough crowd.

Comic relief for the night came from the Lucas Brothers, the twin-brother comedy duo that famously associated themselves with cannabis use via their animated television show Lucas Bros. Moving Co. The Lift Awards Gala seemed to be a tough crowd for the duo – at one point, one of the brothers lamented that their jokes went over better in front of US audiences. Still, they scored their hits: In an impromptu moment that broke the fourth wall and had some members of the audience wailing in laughter, the brothers sat down at the table of accounting firm MNP, continuing their set while munching on the chicken breast entrée and trying to get their new executive friends to agree that “Mussolini was the number 4 dictator in the world.”

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5. All cannabis events should have a vape lounge.

One of the best parts of the evening was the complimentary vape lounge for authorized medical cannabis patients (which, like most vapour lounges, was bring-your-own-bud). Hosted by vaporizer e-retailer TVape in the Carlu’s Circle Room, the lounge featured velvet couches, high ceilings, and what seemed like every portable vaporizer known to man. As the emcee told the crowd, history was being made: It was the very first time the Carlu had allowed medical cannabis users vaporize cannabis within the confines of their walls.

By this time next year, cannabis will be completely legal in the True North, and we can’t wait to see what kind of innovations that spurs for next year’s party.

La soirée d'hier fut magique pour Hydropothecary! Nous nous sommes démarqués lors de la soirée de remise des prix du #CanadianCannabisAwards qui se déroulait hier soir à Toronto. L'entreprise a remporté la première place dans la catégorie Meilleur nouveau produit grâce à notre gamme Decarb alors que notre Elixir No.1 a pris le troisième rang. Le prix du Meilleur emballage a également été décerné à Hydropothecary! Félicitations à toute l’équipe! ————————— Yesterday's evening was magical for Hydropothecary! We stood out at the #CanadianCannabisAwards last night in Toronto. The company won first place in the Best New Product category with our Decarb range while our Elixir No.1 took the third place. The prize for Best packaging was also awarded to Hydropothecary! Congratulations to the whole team! . . . . #liftcca2017 #hydropothecary #medicalcannabis #acmpr #gatineau #toronto #teamwork #decarb #elixir #packaging #funnight

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Here’s Why VR and Cannabis Are a Match Made in Heaven

Not that long ago, recreational cannabis and virtual reality both seemed like distant dreams. Now, advocates of both are merging the two, claiming they complement one another perfectly and make for a more enjoyable virtual experience overall.

Ceven Grey, founder of arts and entertainment company Seven Ghosts and cannabis company JADE, has been working in both virtual reality and cannabis for the last three years. For a time, Grey ran a VR arcade in downtown LA, where they held a variety of events. The popular Little Amsterdam series offered guests a cannabis bar, VR, board games, live music, live art, burlesque, psychics, and more. Though they’ve since shuttered that location, Seven Ghosts still hosts Little Amsterdam and other 420-friendly events, included medicated meals and an upcoming Christmas party, at numerous satellite locations around Los Angeles. Grey says he’s noticed that people who indulge in cannabis before entering a VR world—or “going under,” as he calls it—are typically more relaxed and less self-conscious as to how they might appear to people on the outside.

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“I love giving people the chance to take a dip into virtual reality while they’re high, and I think it’s a unique experience because VR in itself is unique, but giving people the option to smoke prior gives them that extra depth. It makes it even more surreal, like a reverie,” Grey said. “It also feels like there’s more fluidity in [the player’s] movements. They figure out [how to interact in virtual reality] quicker, in a sense, even if it’s something they’ve never done before.”

Here's Why VR and <strong>Marijuana</strong> Are a Match Made in Heaven | LeaflyCannabis at Grassfed’s recent Virtual Reality Elevated event in LA. (Courtesy of Grassfed)

Grey’s company even developed a custom strain called VR OG, specifically for smoking before embarking on a virtual journey. The strain is a hybrid, split as evenly between indica and sativa as possible. Grey said he didn’t want anyone to get too sleepy with an indica-dominant strain, but wanted to curtail any possible paranoia or anxiety, as some users already experience those emotions when experimenting with VR for the first time. Grey describes VR OG as smooth with a sweet, piney scent.

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“I think it’s the only VR-named strain of cannabis out there and we specifically did that because I’ve been in those two markets for several years, so it was just a natural evolution,” Grey said.

The type of virtual reality content that a high player might enjoy varies from person to person. Grey notes some participants still enjoy the first-person shooters, but most prefer something “a little more subdued” than trying to fight off a horde of zombies. Popular content includes musical interfaces and experiential environments, such as a virtual art gallery where users can flip around paintings and browse various collections, or atmospheric simulations where they can teleport around scenic destinations. Grey’s company even came up with an escape room game for VR titled Reverb.

“I noticed that when [players] were not high, they had a really hard time maneuvering it and figuring it out. But when they were high, it wasn’t as scary or foreign and they kind of floated through the game a little bit easier,” he said.

Here's Why VR and <strong>Marijuana</strong> Are a Match Made in Heaven | LeaflyGrassfed’s Virtual Reality Elevated event in LA. (Courtesy of Grassfed)

Another escape room game, Confined, was one of several titles offered at a recent Grassfed event, Virtual Reality Elevated. Though one might think puzzle solving would more challenging when high, I myself managed to get out of the room before my seven minutes were up. Though I had a little trouble figuring out how to pick up clues in the beginning, I soon realized I had to crouch all the way down if I wanted to “grab” something on the floor. Once I mastered that skill, I was on my way out of the virtual cell. Other attendees immersed themselves in painting simulator Tilt Brush and survival shooter The Brookhaven Experiment, in between visits to the cannabis bar where vendors offered Fully Baked ice cream, MoonMan’s Mistress paleo cookies, and Bloomfield flower, vape pens, and concentrates.

Grassfed was founded in 2016 by Dan Braunstein, and produces 420-friendly events including standup and burlesque shows, as well as VR arcades. Tomer Grassiany, a cannabis activist and founder of Culver City’s The Art of Edibles, came on as a co-producer in May. “Both cannabis and VR offer an immersive experience, are rapidly growing, and [are] about to become a part of mainstream life,” Grassiany said. “We believe that mindful consumption of cannabis enhances your senses, increases creativity, and can make a virtual reality experience feel more like reality.”

Here's Why VR and <strong>Marijuana</strong> Are a Match Made in Heaven | LeaflyCannabis at a recent Grassfed event. (Courtesy of Grassfed)

This feeling was echoed by Mike Guerrero, CEO of Portal Zone VR, who sets up the VR stations at Grassfed’s events. He can see the added creativity in properties like Tilt Brush, and he believes cannabis helps VR neophytes soothe any nervousness they may have about trying VR in public.

“When you use cannabis, you’re less inhibited,” Guerrero said. “We have a lot of people who come in lingering, but after a few dabs, they’re like, ‘Yeah, I want to try this,’ and they let loose and have fun.”

I decided to do a little investigating myself at home, with the help of my Google Pixel, Google Daydream View, and a bowl of Bloomfield’s sativa-dominant Sour Piña. I tried out escape room game Relic Seeker and action-adventure game Twilight Pioneers. I found myself more easily immersed, often no longer able to tell which direction I was facing in the real world, especially when I switched from sitting in a swivel chair to standing. I found my movements surprisingly smooth, and enjoyed the way the sound panned depending on which in-game direction I was facing. Though I typically don’t experience nausea in VR, a friend told me she has an easier time playing Skyrim VR when high because cannabis alleviates the eye strain and nausea she usually feels.

The added immersion is also an advantage in meditative VR properties, like Relax VR, which may be helpful for those who medicate to fall asleep or relax. And if you’re looking for something on the nose, you can also take a virtual tour of Dawg Star Cannabis in Seattle.

5 Takeaways From Van der Pop&rsquo;s &lsquo;Women & Weed&rsquo;

With nationwide legalization just around the corner, Canadian cannabis is shaping up to be a billion-dollar industry. However, gender dynamics already play a large part in the burgeoning field, which is why Van der Pop, North America’s leading female-focused cannabis brand, held its very first Women & Weed event earlier this month in downtown Toronto.

According to a study conducted by Van der Pop, 66% of women hide their cannabis usage.

Packed with researchers, producers, and designers, the day-long conference got us up close and personal with some of the incredible women breaking ground and setting standards in the legal cannabis space, covering everything from crafting policy to influencing the forthcoming retail market. Here are five key takeaways:

1. Van der Pop is launching two branded cannabis strains with WeedMD

April Pride, CCO and founder of Van der Pop, took the stage to welcome everyone and share some exciting news: a collaboration with the licensed medical marijuana producer WeedMD, for which Van der Pop will produce a pair of branded cannabis strains. The collaboration will stay true to the VdP brand with sleek, airtight, childproof, and UV-protected storage jars. “We’re confident that these carefully chosen, grown, and cultivated strains will fit in perfectly with the rest of our Van der Pop offerings,” shared Pride.

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2. Women still face stigma for using cannabis in their daily lives

According to a study conducted by Van der Pop, 66% of women hide their cannabis usage. On the panel “Weed: Where to Start,” panelists Ljubica Kstovic (co-founder of the Museum of Cannabis), and Irie Selkirk (head of medical outreach and education at Emblem Cannabis) mentioned that many of their female patients lack a trusted source to speak to about their cannabis use about and fear being stigmatized by coworkers and peers if they’re honest about using cannabis for health and wellness. The Van der Pop study echoed these statements, confirming that 70% of women feel cannabis use carries a stigma.

3. Licensed producers should lead the charge for medical research

Noting the lack of medical research on cannabis in Canada, Dr. Biljana Kostovic of the Etobicoke General Hospital called on licensed producers to start engaging the medical field, to see how different cannabinoids might work for different ailments, as well as possible interactions cannabis might have with other medications. 

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4. Cannabis cosmetics are happening

During the “Weed in Fashion, Beauty & Design” panel, we were introduced to Brandi Leifso, CEO and founder of Evio Beauty Group. Her story was captivating for a few reasons: She launched a highly successful all-natural line of cosmetics while living in a women’s shelter, and now she’s expanding the line into the cannabis industry. (According to a VdP survey, 60% of women are interested in cannabis-enhanced skin care products, and Leifso is ready to help.) While Leifso couldn’t release too many details, she mentioned having locked down a licensed producer and announced plans to donate $1 from every product to YWCA Canada. Go Brandi Leifso!

5. 32% of women want to work in the industry, so why aren’t there more of us?

Panelists Antuanette Gomez, chapter head of the cannabis organization Women Grow, and Tahira Rehmatullah, managing director of the financial group Hypur Ventures, noted the gender disparity that continues in the cannabis space. While it can seem discouraging, Rehmatullah urged the crowd to “be the change” we want to see, starting with inviting more women, women of colour, and queer women to the table for board positions and job opportunities. For interested newbies, Gomez suggests checking out one of the Women Grow monthly networking events, featuring panelists who discuss industry topics and can help connect, educate, and empower women all across the cannabis industry into different jobs and mentorship opportunities.

How to Become a Judge at a Cannabis Competition

Becoming a judge at a cannabis competition may just be the ultimate bucket list item for a cannabis enthusiast. After all, the prospect of being given dozens of cannabis products to rate and review seems like a literal dream come true to the budding ganja connoisseur.

However, there’s much more that goes into judging a competition than meets the eye. If you’re considering applying to be a competition judge, this guide will help you determine if you have what it takes to qualify and can provide a basic understanding of what the judging process entails.

Who Can Judge a Cannabis Competition?

Judge's samples of cannabis product for a cannabis competition(Patrick Bennett for Leafly)

Determining who can qualify to judge a cup depends on the type of competition or event. On one end of the spectrum are closed competitions, where judges are hand-selected by staff officials based on merit and experience. These judges are often well-known professionals within the industry, so this type of event isn’t typically open to the public for judging.

On the other hand, some competitions are completely open to the public, requiring absolutely no prior experience, qualifications, or affiliations within the industry. In these cases, those interested in judging simply purchase a pass ahead of time in the same manner as someone who is planning to attend the event.

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Many competitions have adopted a vetting system whereby applicants fill out a questionnaire detailing their experience and industry affiliations. While the public is open to the application process, the event’s staff is given the final say in who is selected for the judging process. This system has become more or less commonplace for competitions today, as it provides fairly open access to the public as well as some control for the event staff to determine qualifications.

How to Qualify to Be a Judge

A judge's kit of samples for a cannabis competition(Patrick Bennett for Leafly)

There are no universal qualifications that must be met when applying to be a cannabis competition judge. However, a few considerations should be taken into account before applying.

1. Do you have any prior experience in competition judging?

Understanding the nuances of a particular competition can help you gain an edge when applying as it shows you have a basic understanding of the process. Although not required, having prior experience will go a long way if you’re being vetted for a judge position.

2. Are you an industry affiliate?

If you’re applying to judge either a closed competition or one with a vetting system in place, having industry affiliation can give you the competitive advantage over other applicants. Your ties lets competition organizers know that you could be more experienced with the industry and with cannabis products, and can display a fundamental understanding of the qualitative measures taken to judge submissions.

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3. Are you local to the event?

Many competitions require those who judge to be local to the event. This is due to several reasons, the most important of which is that products must be distributed beforehand in order to provide judges with an ample amount of time to review and submit their considerations. Remember, it’s federally illegal to transport cannabis across state lines, so people who live out-of-state can’t pick up their samples and fly or drive home to another state and try them before the event date.

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Aside from these three considerations, having a basic understanding of the judging process may be the most qualifying factor in becoming a competition judge. Contrary to what some industry professionals would have you believe, judging a competition requires much more of you than simply consuming massive amounts of cannabis in a concentrated timespan while indiscriminately assigning numerical values to the samples at hand. Although each competition weighs qualitative assessments differently, having a keen understanding of how to rate and review a cannabis product is paramount.

One must be proficient in the following areas:

  • Understanding terpene profiles (e.g. the difference between an OG strain and a Tangie strain)
  • Identifying key aesthetic traits in various cannabis products (like bud structure, color profiling, etc.)
  • Assessing tactile nuances (such as cannabis density, concentrate consistency)

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How to Prepare as a Cup or Competition Judge

Samples of cannabis product with a judge's notes for a cannabis competition(Patrick Bennett for Leafly)

Competition judges are selected well in advance of an event. If you were fortunate enough to have been chosen to judge a particular category of cannabis product, or if you have purchased a judge pass in an open competition, here are a few ways you can best prepare yourself ahead of time.

Read the Rules

Before receiving your samples, familiarize yourself with the rules of the competition so that you have a full understanding of the rating process. Take notes on the competition protocol and keep them on hand when reviewing each sample so you can refer back to them as needed.

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Plan Ahead of Time

Make sure that you have a safe and sufficient space to perform your judging duties. Prepare your space with adequate ventilation. Amenities such as food and beverage should be on hand both as palate cleansers as well as for sustenance.

Build Your Tolerance

Judging a cannabis competition is much more about endurance and much less about the sprint. Consider that some competitions will have you judge dozens (sometimes over 100) samples in a time period ranging from 10 days to as little as three. This means you will be cycling though samples rapidly, so make sure you can handle the rush of cannabinoids to your system (and clear your schedule of any other responsibilities if you can).

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Take Notes While You Try Samples

In order to fairly assess a product, you’re going to want to take as many notes as possible. Oftentimes, going back and trying samples multiple times is simply not an option due to time and/or product constraints. Taking notes can help tremendously in these scenarios to shortlist top performers and select notable entrees for a final rating and review.

There are many benefits to judging a cannabis competition, such as being able to sample and review your favorite cannabis products, knowing that your opinion will factor into determining which company takes home a trophy, and receiving free merchandise to take home after the event. But remember that no matter the competition, be it an open judging process or a closed event, choosing to participate as a judge should be taken seriously at all costs. These events carry a lot of weight for the companies involved, so in order to ensure these competitions remain open to the public, having respect for the process is your responsibility as a chosen judge.

Carry this responsibility with pride; after all, you’re judging a cannabis competition! What could be better than that?

How to Be High in Las Vegas: Go See a Show

Nov 15-17 brings the annual Marijuana Business Conference to Las Vegas. The huge cannabis industry convention is expected to draw 14,000 guests from all over the world. In advance of MJBizCon—and in celebration of Nevada’s freshly legal recreational cannabis market—Leafly presents a four-part series for cannabis fans ready to make the most of their time in town. 

The Entertainment Capitol of the World Just Got More Entertaining

Las Vegas exists to delight and amaze.

That Las Vegas should now be home to legal recreational cannabis feels cosmically apt.

That this particular destination should now be home to legal recreational cannabis feels cosmically apt. With its density of sensory pleasures—from dazzling theatrics to ostentatious buffets to the great parade of gawkworthy humanity that is the Strip—Vegas seems the perfect playground for the cannabis-enhanced. So I got myself to Vegas, got high on legal cannabis, and ventured out to a handful of Vegas shows, starting with…

She’s giving you everything, every night, people. (Courtesy of Vegas.com)

Staged in the 7,000-seat AXIS auditorium at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Jennifer Lopez’s All I Have is the multimedia superstar’s first Las Vegas residency, and the mere fact of its existence is a testament to the rightness of her superstardom. (Complacent superstars do ad campaigns that require lounging in couture for a weekend. Ambitious superstars do Vegas residencies that require delivering the goods live onstage several times a week for months.)

J-Lo wields her stardom with the joy of a hungry newcomer.

It is my delight to report that J-Lo delivers, wielding her stardom with the joy of a hungry newcomer. Her pleasure in the sheer doing of it is contagious. A high-tech, career-spanning tour of all things J-Lo, All I Have features 23 songs, two languages, a parade of backup dancers in ever-morphing costumes, and multiple blockbuster set changes—at one point a Brooklyn subway car storms the stage, with J-Lo splayed across the bow like a glamorous Tom Hardy in Mad Max: Fury Road.

One great advantage that residencies have over tours is technical stability. Free of nightly builds and strikes, residencies can get ambitious with set and tech design in ways too intricate for touring shows. At virtually every moment of All I Have, the show offered something delightful. Perhaps the most dazzling moment came when Lopez passed singing duties to a backup dancer, stripped down to lingerie, and writhed purposefully for several minutes on a chaise lounge. (Do you know why 48-year-old zillionaires writhe semi-naked onstage? BECAUSE THEY WANT TO.)

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Lopez danced (awesomely; remember In Living Color?), sang with help from backing tracks that enabled the awesome dancing, and made all seven thousand of us feel like we were at a relatively intimate club show. My only disappointment was my own issue: During J-Lo’s time onstage, Puerto Rico was suffering through a period of deadly neglect from the U.S. government, and I longed for this daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants to rip the government a new one. But she’s such a pro the most she said about current events was, “We need more love in this world!”

Does All I Have hold any special delights for high people? Not explicitly—but God knows my ability to smile and sway through a couple dozen similar-sounding J-Lo hits was greatly enhanced by cannabis.

James Brown, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Martha Reeves…kind of. (Courtesy of Bally’s)

I cannot tell a lie: I bought tickets to this show because RuPaul told me to. Not directly—it was on his podcast, where he raved about the low-tech, low-glitz, raucously winning pleasures of this decade-spanning soul revue starring “America’s Greatest Soul and Motown Impersonators.”

Solid Gold Soul is a low-tech show loaded with moments that are truly thrilling.

And so I joined the small but enthusiastic crowd in Bally’s Las Vegas’s  Windows Showroom—a low-ceilinged conference room with a stage along one wall and stackable banquet chairs extending out before it. On the stage: a generation-spanning, four-person band, composed of pros who’ve toured the world with music’s biggest names, and here tonight to lend their skills to a parade pf alternately transcendent, delightful, heartwarming, and hilariously ramshackle approximation of ‘60s soul superstars.

On the marquee: James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross & the Supremes, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, Sam Cooke, and more. Among the cast: Pete Peterkin, an America’s Got Talent alum with a knack for channeling Ray Charles, and Grady Harrell, an actor who played brother Jackie in the TV movie The Jacksons: An American Dream and dazzles here as an effortlessly dexterous and appropriately gorgeous Jackie Wilson.

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RuPaul wasn’t lying: By Vegas standards, Solid Gold Soul is a low-tech, almost rough-hewn show. But it’s also got moments that are truly thrilling, where the goofy hindrances bounce off the amazing talent to create the most impressive spectacles.

Is it good for high folks? Ask the 14 minutes I lost to mulling the deeper meaning of being driven to cry real tears by a man performing Four Tops covers in a polyester wig.

Frederic Da Silva: Do not be skeptical of his ear piece. (Courtesy of Bally’s)

In the interest of a well-rounded sample group, I deliberately steered myself toward a show outside my natural circle of interest: Paranormal: The Mind-Reading Magic Show, performed by the family-friendly mentalist Frederic Da Silva, who took the stage of Bally’s Windows Showroom in shimmery black menswear and headset mic to spin the mind-reading magic he’s perfected over the past 25 years.

‘Paranormal’ is a testament to the power of professional showmanship.

For those open to paranormal fascination, Da Silva’s show will be a goose-pimply thrill ride. Da Silva’s not just a mind-reader and card-predictor, he’s also a feeling-transmuter, bringing a pair of audience members onstage to tickle one with a feather and causing the other to feel it.

For non-believer me, Paranormal is a testament to the power of professional showmanship, and watching Da Silva expertly manipulate the attention of the room through rhythmic speech, light mime, careful set-ups (“Here is the young man who was earlier skeptical of my ear piece!”), and a Moby-ish background soundscape was its own thrill.

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I’d also eaten part of a highly dosed cannabis candy bar, purchased off the medical menu at Reef Dispensary, and strong enough to slowly but steadily transform me over the course of the show into a very high human. This resulted in me being ferociously engaged with everything happening onstage, while living in perpetual fear of being tapped for audience participation.

I made it out unscathed, but it seems worth a warning: If you are someone for whom cannabis creates a vortex of insularity, avoid shows where your high ass might get dragged onstage in front of magic-loving families.

Beatles LOVE: one of the greatest experiences a human high can have.(Courtesy of Cirque du Soleil)

Beatles LOVE is the Cirque du Soleil production set to an all-Beatles soundtrack, staged in a custom-built showroom at the Mirage and described as “a rock ‘n’ roll poem brought to life by a cast of world-class aerialists, acrobats and dancers.”

‘LOVE’ is a nonstop pleasure machine, perfectly aligned with the sensory enhancement that comes with cannabis.

It is also one of the greatest experiences a high human can have. From the dazzling physical rigor of the circus artists to the inexhaustible pleasures of the Lennon/McCartney songbook, LOVE is a nonstop pleasure machine, and perfectly aligned with the sensory enhancement that comes with cannabis.

Set in a high-tech wonderland of Beatle-y totems (screaming Beatlemaniacs! Blue Meanies! Colonel Sousaphone!), the plot-free show is basically an excuse to watch amazing circus acts while luxuriating in Beatles melodies.

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Among the visual amazements: trombone stilts, tricycles pedaled by empty boots, a tap-dancing Jimi Hendrix, little kids in white masks and hard plastic Beatles wigs, a full-sized VW bug that breaks into pieces and is spun around on sticks, and two and half minutes of extreme rollerblading set to “Help!”

As for the show’s cannabis-friendliness: During the preshow, a vagabond clown blows smoke from (scentless) incense at audience members, ensuring them, “It’s medication!” GO HIGH OR NOT AT ALL.

5 Tips for High Folks Attending Vegas Shows

1. Aim for “Visual Spectaculars!” From high-tech diva shows to the Blue Man Group to the cornucopia of Cirque du Soleil productions, Vegas is rich in shows featuring world-class professionals working very hard to amaze you, and it is their job to succeed.

2. That said, don’t be afraid to check out a lower-marquee show. Not everyone can swing the cost of Vegas’ big-ticket shows, and there’s plenty of joy to be found in Vegas acts that don’t break the bank. See Solid Gold Soul and Paranormal above, or the many mid-price magic, comedy, and music shows that abound around Vegas.

3. Give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go. As in quicksand and Congress, nothing travels fast in Vegas, especially humans, who are steered through complicated rotundas, block-spanning skybridges, and seemingly never-ending rush-hour traffic. What’s more, it’s all fascinating to look at, especially if you’re high, so consider showing up early enough to behold the attendant wonders of the show-hosting casinos.

4. Show up on time. The show time on the ticket is the literal start time of the show. Of the four shows I attended, only J-Lo started later than the announced time AND SHE’S J-LO.

5. Prepare to deal with drunks. Las Vegas is a liquor city, with free drinks in casinos, open drinking in the streets, and a fair amount of boozy aggression in the air. While waiting in line for shows, I witnessed three drunken flare-ups, of the “You gonna say sorry for bumping into me???” variety. Prepare your high self by practicing inner tranquility and a few drunk-calming phrases, such as “I’m so sorry! And may I say you look wonderful tonight?”

Next up: Being High in Las Vegas: Fine Dining, All-You-Can-Eat Buffets, and Other Thrill Rides…

Lead Image: Wirepec/iStock

How to Get High in Las Vegas

Nov 15-17 brings the annual Marijuana Business Conference to Las Vegas. The huge cannabis industry convention is expected to draw 14,000 guests from all over the world. In advance of MJBizCon—and in celebration of Nevada’s freshly legal recreational cannabis market—Leafly presents a four-part series for cannabis fans ready to make the most of their time in town. 

Yes, Cannabis Really Is Legal Here

We now live in a world where you can visit the singular city of Las Vegas, Nevada, with all its glamour and gambling and world-class sensory delights, and in between the buffets and thrill rides and high-tech shows by pop superstars, you can stop by a store to purchase legal, sensory enhancing cannabis.

Cannabis may only be legally purchased by those 21 and up, who must show government-issued ID.

This pinch-me reality comes with clear boundaries. Cannabis may only be legally purchased by those 21 and up, who must show government-issued ID to enter one of the city’s several dozen retail cannabis stores. Once inside, customers may purchase up to one ounce of cannabis flower and 3.5 grams of cannabis concentrate, all of which is subject to a 10% retail excise tax. (Purchases by US medical patients are tax-exempt.)

Once purchased, cannabis may be legally transported in your car, but not across state lines, and it can’t be lit on fire. Smoking cannabis in a motor vehicle can result in a DUI charge, complete with jail time and a fine of up to $2000.

Tourists can buy cannabis everywhere but can smoke it almost nowhere.

So where can you smoke it? Unfortunately, Vegas doesn’t provide many options for tourists, who can buy cannabis everywhere but can smoke it almost nowhere.

At present in Las Vegas, it is only legal to imbibe cannabis in a private residence with the shades drawn. (Public consumption is banned, including consumption “exposed to public view.”) So, Vegas visitors lucky enough to know home-owning, cannabis-friendly vampires are in luck.

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The rest of us are on our own. A good percentage of hotels forbid smoking of any sort, while casinos, which abide by federal guidelines, forbid even possession of the federally prohibited substance. The handful of Vegas cannabis stores that make deliveries all make the same stipulation: No deliveries to casinos.

Here’s a fun way to remember where you can and cannot ingest cannabis in Las Vegas: Wherever alcoholic beverages are allowed—which in Vegas means the airport, casinos, plazas, and out on the streets and sidewalks—cannabis consumption is forbidden.

Public cannabis consumption could result in a $600 ticket. Thankfully, it appears police aren’t aggressively hunting offenders.

What’s more, public consumption of cannabis in Las Vegas could result in a $600 ticket. Thankfully, it appears the city’s police aren’t aggressively hunting offenders. As attorney Carlos Blumberg told Leafly in September, his law firm has seen no rise in the ticketing of tourists since adult-use legalization began on July 1.

But none of this helps tourists in possession of legal cannabis but lacking places to legally imbibe. If it’s any consolation, Las Vegas County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak feels our pain. “I’m very sympathetic to these people because they have no place to go to,” Sisolak told Leafly in September. “They’re purchasing product they can’t use anywhere and we’ve got to address this situation.”

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For now, there are a handful of cannabis-friendly AirBNBs not far off the Strip, and the promise of adults-only cannabis lounges in the future. (Legislation to establish such venues failed this spring but will be revisited in 2019.)

5 Tips for Getting Yourself Properly High in Vegas

1. Forgive the home-team plug, but for god’s sake use the Leafly app, which will tell you the location of the nearest dispensary down to a tenth of a mile. If you’re required to travel more than an eighth of a mile, drive or be driven. Vegas is infamous for its deceptive distances, and many attempted strolls to visibly nearby landmarks have turned into death marches of sweaty friends hallucinating their way toward an ever-receding mirage. I blame the heat, and the humongous scale of the place. As Drake will croon in a 2019 chart-topper, “Vegas is the place for Lyft.”

2. Shop around. Vegas’s retail cannabis scene is a mere 18 months old—essentially a still-morphing newborn—and the differences between the retail outlets should be celebrated. Among my most highly recommended offerings: Reef Dispensaries, perched at the tip of an industrial-block-filling warehouse grow-op (and a mere block and a half from the Erotic Heritage Museum!); Las Vegas ReLeaf, tucked in a Strip-adjacent shopping center across the street from the world’s largest gift shop; Sahara Wellness (beautifully appointed and open 7 am-1 am daily!); Oasis Cannabis (also beautifully appointed and opens 24 HOURS A DAY); the casual Blum (whose waiting room boasts a half-dozen mirror balls); and Essence, which recently opened an elegant outlet in the 15-miles-south-of-Vegas desert oasis of Henderson.

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3. This isn’t directly related to being high, but is instead a general quality-of-life directive: Unless you are someone who really loves casinos, consider staying at a non-casino hotel. Casinos are crowd-packed carnivals of excitement—which may not be what you want at the bottom of the elevator first thing in the morning.

4. Medical patients: Know that you will be well taken care of in Vegas, which maintains a firm distinction between recreational and medical cannabis. Dispensaries offer menus of high-dose medical products to patients that are off-limits to recreational users. (Maureen Dowd would no longer be capable of buying the medically-dosed candy bar that sent her beyond and back.) Just be sure to bring your home-state medical card and/or documentation.

5. Leave what remains behind. Only criminal dunces attempt to smuggle their purchased Vegas pleasures home with them. Yes, throwing away cannabis may seem to invalidate everything you ever knew about yourself, but the alternative is a possible high-drama bust that will at least ruin your trip and at most complicate the rest of your life. Be smart, and leave any and all surplus Vegas cannabis behind. To quote the beloved psalm, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

Next up: Being High in Vegas, which surveys the city’s cannabis-friendly entertainments.

Photo credits: Banner photo: LPETTET/iStock; supplementary photo courtesy of Reef Dispensaries

‘SLEEP’ Might Just Be the Scariest Cannabis Experience in the World

Haunted houses, creepy corn mazes where things pop out when you least expect them … the season for getting scared in the dark is upon us. Are these intentional horror experiences better or worse with cannabis? One extreme Los Angeles-based haunt thinks they’re better, and is trying high horror out for the first time this Halloween.

Cannabis produces this dissociative state that makes free association more likely to happen. You’re actively producing your own narrative out of your paranoia.

Ash Newton, performer in SLEEP

Heretic House/The Parallel, purveyors of boutique, exclusive, full-contact horror experiences, have decided to play up paranoia and dread with their first 420-friendly haunt, SLEEP. The projects are all visions of husband-and-wife team Adrian Marcato and Jessica Murder (not their real names), and to call their performances ‘haunted houses’ is something of an understatement as well as a misnomer—what Heretic House does is different.

Year-round, they creep up with elusive horror simulations, open to only a handful of guests per show. Guests must apply to attend, submit full medical evaluations in advance, and sign waivers if selected. Many of these shows take place in LA, where Marcato and Murder live, but they frequently stage shows across the US and in Europe. Some of them are particularly aggressive, with guests being dragged around in the dark by masked actors who zip them into body bags, dump prodigious amounts of fake blood over their heads, or snip away at their clothes with scissors. Yet it isn’t all senseless terror; in each production, a story is told.

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The first show I ever attended was called HEX, and it explored the uncomfortable nature of sleep paralysis. I was checked in to what was I was told would be a sleep study, before being tucked into bed on a damp mattress with my wrists duct taped together. I soon encountered demons who thrashed me about, whispered threats in my ears, and wheeled my around on a gurney while shrieking, “Don’t you want to wake up?” A second one, ISO & DREAD, poked at claustrophobia, forcing me into increasingly smaller spaces. Shows I haven’t attended include a series of events taking place in a remote cabin in the woods, just like all your favorite horror movies.

SLEEP is one of the first cannabis-friendly haunts in existence. Per the website, it is “an extreme horror experience that will challenge you psychologically.” Though not as physically aggressive as other shows such as HEX, SLEEP will place its victims inside an immersive, waking nightmare. Guests will be bound, held down, or guided throughout the hour-long experience, while simultaneously forced to watch a series of disturbing vignettes that swirl around them. In between these vignettes, guests will be moved to other rooms, where they have the option to consume cannabis in multiple forms, which may include flowers, edibles, and wax. (Guests may decline at any point if they so choose, and can stop the simulation at any time by calling a safe word, which will be written on their arms in case they forget.)

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“We’re using monsters and other creepy elements, but it’s more based on paranoia because sometimes when people smoke, that’s what gets enhanced,” Marcato said. “So we play up the paranoia a lot with heavy visuals. You can tie someone that’s high to a chair, and make them see this creepy thing in front of them that escapes behind them, and then they have to wonder when it will attack them. There’s a lot of psychological dread that we try to plant inside the guests—moments where you’re alone in the dark, where you’re seeing things, or where you’re held down.”

Murder is the one who came up with the idea for SLEEP. Originally, she had wanted to start or invest in a dispensary, and while that has yet to manifest, she later had the idea of combining the horror theater she and Marcato were already producing with cannabis. The couple visited a cannabis festival in Northern California and found the community welcoming to their ideas.

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Though they plan to expand in 2018 after California’s recreational cannabis laws have gone into effect, the 2017 show will only take place on October 30 and 31, and not everyone who applies will be admitted. All guests must be 21 or older, must possess a medical marijuana card, and must undergo a screening process, during which they discuss their medical and psychological history as well as the frequency with which they use cannabis. They must also come with a friend, who will safely drive them home after it’s over. A nurse is present throughout the entire show, the guest will be monitored at all times, and none of the actors will be high or ever come into contact with the cannabis.

Marcato said safety is important to them, and he’s not interested in replicating this experience with alcohol, saying that he’s worked security at horror theme parks that allowed drinking, and found himself having to break up fights among drunk guests. High guests are, as one might expect, a lot more chill.

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So far, SLEEP’s beta tests are working well, with participants citing an enhanced (terrifying) experience after consuming cannabis. Ash Newton, a performer in the show and a creative partner at Drencrom, an upcoming collaborative series of performances, said he thinks it’s possible the scariest moments of the show will be when the participant is alone.

“[Cannabis] produces this dissociative state that makes free association more likely to happen. You’re actively producing your own narrative out of your paranoia,” Newton said.

This ties into what one of my friends said: her mind wanders, and she creates backstories for the monsters in the haunts. What stories would a guest come up with, if left “alone” in a dark room?

Marcato predicts we’ll see more cannabis-friendly haunts and psychedelic Halloween attractions in the future. After all, people are already going to haunts and horror movies high, even though these venues may not explicitly allow it. “People are probably going to see ‘It’ high tonight,” he said.

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