Tag: Pop Culture

New York to Nor-Cal: How This NYC Fashion Editor Became a West Coast Cannabis Entrepreneur

In the fashion world, while Mata was constantly party-hopping and being offered flutes of champagne as part of her job, she had never smoked weed. Though fashion designers like Jeremy Scott and Alexander Wang has been using the cannabis leaf print in their designs to affect a counterculture appeal, women’s magazines were not yet speaking openly about cannabis in the same way they were speaking about margaritas. Sure, edgy “it” girls like Chloë Sevigny who spoke openly about cannabis were cool, because they didn’t give a fuck—but they were framed as cautionary tales, always flagged with stories of therapy sessions. Back then, it was the only way you could talk about cannabis in New York.

NYC to Nor-Cal: How a High-Fashion New York Couple Embraced West Coast Cannabis Culture | LeaflyMata and Gladish. (Drew Bird Photo for Leafly)

But New York has changed. Earlier this year, GQ published an article outing the Green Angels, a cannabis delivery service made of fashion model-turned-messengers (it’s an attractive alternative to bartending or waitressing). In 2015, Refinery29 wrote about GOODWITCH, an underground Brooklyn-based THC lip balm that counts employees at Vera Wang and Vogue as customers. And in July 2017, Vogue-favorite natural beauty retailer CAP Beauty released a CBD-based food supplement called The Daily Hit, promoting it to beauty editors by sending them CBD-laced brownies. (The first batch sold out two days after launch, and of course, it was featured in Vogue.) Former Lucky editor Verena Von Pfetten is also launching Gossamer, a glossy magazine about weed.

So by the time Mata moved to the Bay Area in 2016, she was ready for cannabis culture—and cannabis culture was ready for someone like her. It helped that her husband’s family has a history of cannabis entrepreneurship in Northern California, where he is originally from. Gladish (towering over the petite Mata at 6’1”) had moved to New York City after college to become an actor, and later switched his career endeavors towards nutrition and yoga. He has the chiseled jaw line of a 90s-era soap star and shaggy California surfer boy hair, which makes him and the equally photogenic Mata the perfect spokesmodels for their products.

NYC to Nor-Cal: How a High-Fashion New York Couple Embraced West Coast Cannabis Culture | LeaflyMata and Gladish wanted to raise a family where the pace of life was more relaxed than in New York. (Drew Bird Photo for Leafly)

They did not meet in yoga class, however—that’s too Californian for their love story. They met at a party in Manhattan back when Mata was still a full-time fashion editor, and in 2011 they eloped to get married at the luxurious Ananda Spa in India, which sits above the town of Rishikesh, the self-proclaimed capital of yoga. Both bride and groom wore all white, and Mata temporarily replaced her precious jewels with flower garlands and a kavala, a simple bracelet made of red string. They’ve since had two kids, currently at one and three years of age, and the move back to Gladish’s hometown was partly propelled by the desire to raise their children on the West Coast, where the culture is more laid-back.

Gladish and Mata have now settled in a routine of healthy moderation that involves cannabis as a wellness supplement and social lubricant. In addition to her collection of chic vaporizers, Mata has a bedtime routine involving her own topicals from Vertly: Every night, she uses Vertly Green (the one with THC, which she thinks tastes better) on her lips and temples. She is also testing another yet-to-be-released THC balm (Mata uses every product for six months before launch). Gladish, for his part, will use CBD oil on his temples before bed. “I put on a topical just before bed, and it’s the most relaxing way to go to sleep,” she says. “And my skin feels great the next morning.”

NYC to Nor-Cal: How a High-Fashion New York Couple Embraced West Coast Cannabis Culture | LeaflyMata’s cannabis-infused topicals accompany her on the go. (Drew Bird Photo for Leafly)

Mata left her job at W in 2016, and left behind 12 years of full-time work in fashion to begin freelancing as a stylist and creative consultant for fashion and jewelry brands based in the Bay Area, who could use a dose of her New York connections. (Vogue Mexico, for instance, is one of her clients.) She regularly gets drinks or lunch with her jewelry designer friends, like Monique Péan, when they come into town. She also found a home base of fellow former New York City fashion editors who are now San Francisco entrepreneurs, like former Vogue editor Emily Holt, founder of Hero Shop. “I still wear heels when I see them,” she says. But after getting introduced to the world of cannabis by her husband, she knew she wanted to put her creative talents and energy into the cannabis industry. “There are a lot of creative people working in cannabis, just like in fashion, and I was drawn to that,” she explains.

While Gladish helped run his family’s real estate company, Mata began taking classes at Oaksterdam University, an Oakland-based cannabis college that teaches courses like Irrigation Systems, Methods of Ingestion, and Intellectual Property—everything that a budding entrepreneur like Mata would need to know. She also took herbalist classes to learn about creating botanical-infused topicals. “This is something I would buy,” she says, meaning that the products don’t smell like patchouli or cannabis—they’re fresh, clean, understated, and would look at home on the shelves of Sephora.

‘The Trouble With Pot, Said a Doctor I Know’: The Week in Cannabis Quotes

The holidays are just around the corner, making us all wonder what the hell happened to this year. As you warily ponder what 2018 has in store for us, chew on these quotes to help stretch out your stomach for the impending Thanksgiving feast. In the latest roundup, Art Garfunkel gets weird(er) and waxes poetic about the herb, both politicians and late night talk show hosts take jabs at Jeff Sessions, an economist highlights legalization as a way to reduce crime, and more.

Here’s a roundup of quotes from the past week.

“Our policy is the same, really, fundamentally as the Holder-Lynch policy, which is that the federal law remains in effect and a state can legalize marijuana for its law enforcement purposes, but it still remains illegal with regard to federal purposes.”

– Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his appearance in front of the House Judiciary Committee to discuss his oversight of the Department of Justice. He also tepidly responded, “I think that’s correct” when Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) said that cannabis is not as dangerous as heroin.

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“You said one time that good people don’t smoke marijuana. Which of these people would you say are not good people? Is John Kasich a good person? George Pataki? Rick Santorum? Newt Gingrich? Ted Cruz? Jeb Bush? George Bush? Arnold Schwarzenegger? Judge Clarence Thomas? Which of those are not good people?”

– Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN)’s clapback to Jeff Sessions’ assertion at a Senate drug hearing in April 2016 that “good people don’t smoke marijuana

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“Jeff Sessions testified again as part of the Russia investigation, and at one point he was questioned about his stance on marijuana. Because, you know, it’s a little odd when a guy’s anti-weed but seems to forget every conversation he’s ever had.”

– Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon

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“Now can we get back to discussing legalizing marijuana and opening the state hospital network to combat the opioid crisis. I am sooooo disappointed by this national feeding frenzy about sexual indiscretions decades ago.”

– Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill, who bizarrely took to Twitter for a very much unprompted overshare about the “approximately 50 very attractive females” with which he was “sexually intimate” over the last 50 years

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“—The trouble with pot, said a doctor I know,
is: the insights, the color, quite wonderful—
are like fireworks…there and gone…
points in time…last year’s clouds”

– A poem excerpted from Art Garfunkel’s recently released memoir, What Is It All But Luminous: Notes From an Underground Man

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“You just can’t make those statements because then what happens is lay people say, ‘Oh my God, did you hear a kid died from marijuana poisoning?’ and it can be sensationalized. It’s not based on reality. It’s based on somebody kind of jumping the gun and making a conclusion, and scientifically you can’t do that.”

– Northern Colorado emergency room physician Noah Kaufman, responding to initial reports that an 11-month old suffered “the first marijuana overdose deaths” earlier this week. Thomas Nappe, one of the report’s authors who serves as director of medical toxicology at St. Luke’s University Health Network in Bethlehem, PA, added, “We are absolutely not saying that marijuana killed the child.”

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“A lot of the violence around in the big cities, at least the ones that I’ve been in, have been around crack cocaine, cocaine more generally. I think very effectively and quickly, we could dramatically reduce violent crime through the legalization, not just of, say, marijuana, but of all drugs. Now, I think actually that would be a bad idea in general. But for solving crime, that, to me, is an obvious and clear path to some success.”

Freakonomics co-author and economist Steven Levitt on the Freakonomics podcast discussing ways to reduce violent or drug-related crimes in cities

How to Be High in Las Vegas: Let’s Gamble!

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 Vegas.

Cannabis and Games of Chance Are Good Old Friends

(mecaleha/iStock)

“It’s not talked about much, but (cannabis) is pretty pervasive in the poker culture.”

Dutch Boyd, three-time World Series of Poker champion

It’s true: Cannabis has been part of the gambling experience for many years for many people, from giggly high folks plugging away at penny slots to the three-time World Series of Poker champion Dutch Boyd.

“It’s not talked about much, but [cannabis] is pretty pervasive in the poker culture,” Boyd told Leafly this summer, happily allowing that both his recent championship and the post-win “Thriller” dance he performed on the casino floor were at least partially inspired by cannabis.

Still, just because cannabis use exists in the gaming world doesn’t mean casinos welcome or allow it. Even with recreational use now legal, cannabis remains forbidden in casinos, which adhere to federal law, which still classifies cannabis as an illegal Schedule I narcotic.

This anti-cannabis stance of casinos isn’t a pose—ask Isaac Dietrich, former CEO of the cannabis news and information site MassRoots, who this summer was removed from the Wynn casino on the supposition that his gambling money was potentially profit from a federally illegal enterprise.

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So what are cannabis-loving gamblers to do? Furtively imbibe somewhere that’s not a casino, then get their discreetly high butts to a gaming floor?

I’m not here to tell you what to do. For that, let’s turn to Christopher Lee Womack, a poker player and licensed cannabis wholesaler in Colorado, who testified to the rightness of combining cards and cannabis in his own life—“It allows me to have an intoxicating buzz while still being able to think clearly”—and offered these tips for cannabis fans interested in exploring Vegas gaming

1. Take a class. “Pretty much every casino offers free classes on gaming basics,” says Womack. “Get real high and take a craps class, or a blackjack class. Classes are usually every morning at 7, 8, and 9 am, and students are sent away with a matched bet of $15-$20 to get themselves started. If it’s been a while since you played a game, go to a class! Casinos want you to gamble, they want you to have fun, and they’re ready to help you do both.”

2. When establishing your highness, stick to energizing, brain-awakening strains. “Stick to your sativas,” Womack says. “They’re gonna keep you calm and aware and relaxed. You just want to have your wits about you, and I find leaning toward the sativa side helps.” Any particular strain he likes for card-playing? “I like Flo. It has a great flavor, great look, great smell, and is just a great bud.”

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3. Set a gambling limit and stick to it. “Being high and gaming, you want to be cautious, you want to be safe,” says Womack. His top recommendation: setting a strict dollar-amount you’re willing to gamble (i.e. willing to lose) and sticking to it. It doesn’t matter if your limit is high or low—what’s important is compliance with a foreordained logical decision, to keep you out of the magical-thinking zone when things go good or bad.

4. Stick to what you know. “You want to have fun while you’re high, so don’t do anything crazy like play a game you’ve never played before,” Womack says. “Don’t go play high limits all of a sudden when you’ve only got $1,000 in your pocket. It’s about entertainment and fun. If you win some money, that’s great.”

5. Get very high and spend $5 in the slot machine of your choice. Christopher Womack has nothing to do with this tip, it is all mine. By some intricate miracle of targeted commerce, Las Vegas is home to 50 million slot machines, the best of which are high-tech multimedia explosions on a theme, and there is literally something for everyone. Love Downton Abbey? Enjoy the official slot machine, featuring looped video clips from the show and a thrilling orchestral swell upon each win. Love Dolly Parton, Sex and the City, Tim McGraw, Ellen DeGeneres, or the 1992 mob comedy My Cousin Vinny? Vegas slot machines have got you covered. And again, set a limit and stick to it. You’re here for fun, not to lose your shirt to a one-armed Real Housewives-themed bandit.

5 Reddit Communities for Cannabis Enthusiasts

Reddit, otherwise referred to as “The front page of the internet,” is a wildly popular news aggregator and discussion forum with hundreds of millions of regular visitors. The site supports a staggeringly wide rage of online communities around the world, making it among the most visited websites in existence today.

Not surprisingly, the site hosts a flourishing community of “subreddits” for cannabis enthusiasts and advocates. For those unfamiliar with the platform, discovering some of these communities can be difficult if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. The site is so expansive that its search algorithms can be tricky to master, and finding your preferred cannabis subreddit may be tougher than a simple query.

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Below is a list of my five favorite cannabis subreddits, along with an explanation of why each is worth checking out, to help you find your preferred community of marijuana enthusiasts.

r/marijuana

While not the most popular subreddit by subscription count, r/marijuana is a good place to begin when searching for a cannabis community. Boasting just under 100,000 subscribers, r/marijuana is an educational hub focusing on policy, advocacy, information exchange, and discussion. Threads tend to focus on current events and policy announcements, such as legalization efforts both foreign and domestic. Top posts here tend to include aggregated news articles on cannabis-related topics, such as this Motley Fool piece on The American Journal of Public Health study regarding the decline of opioid-related deaths in Colorado since legalization.

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Most of the time, and this applies to all subreddits, the juicy conversations begin in the comments section, and r/marijuana is no exception. This subreddit offers a mixed bag of opinions, pandering ranters, contributors expanding upon the source content with additional information or data, and reasonable discourse. A common rule when surfing content on reddit is that you really never know what you’re going to find in the comment section. Oddly enough, however, civility seems to surface more often in cannabis-based community threads.

r/trees

The history of cannabis communities on Reddit did not begin with r/trees, but it has certainly ended there. With over a million subscribers, this subreddit is soaring in popularity above the rest. Unlike other similar subreddits like r/marijuana or r/cannabis and r/mmj (the latter two focusing primarily on legalization efforts and marijuana initiatives), r/trees came into existence by former moderators (Reddit’s community administrators) as a means to build a community around cannabis enthusiasm. You’ll find a wide variety of content related to all things cannabis, with pretty robust comment threads that are easy to get lost in.

r/trees is so unique among the cannabis subreddits precisely because of its embodiment of community. Members of this subreddit refer to themselves as “Ents,” based around the ancient talking tree race from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings mythos. Discussions on this forum tend to favor support and positive affirmation of cannabis use in all forms. For example, take this 4/20 thread from earlier this year. Garnering 62,000+ upvotes and over 500 comments to become the second-most popular post of all time in the r/trees subreddit, the post centered around who was smoking bowls on 4/20.

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(Side note: if you’re wondering what happened to all of the arborists looking for a place to talk about actual trees, don’t worry; they cheekily named their subreddit r/marijuanaenthusiasts.)

r/glassheads

For a community centered around all things borosilicate, r/glassheads is the place to be. You’ll want to stop by if you have any appreciation for the art of both functional and nonfunctional glassblowing, as this community is great for collectors of glass art and enthusiasts alike.

Here you’ll find photos of pipes in all shapes and sizes, from dab rigs to tabletop giants, little spoons, and more. There’s a soft spot in this community for pendants as well as other glass-blown novelties like q-tip holders, dabber tools, bangers, and skillets. A great element in this community is that redditors are encouraged to promote artists when posting their work, giving an extra layer of exposure to these hard-working glassblowers and creators.

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Some of the best content on this subreddit comes from gallery shows like this one from the BIG Expo a few years back. If you appreciate the mind-blowing quality of work being put out in this niche of the industry, you’ll feel right at home within the r/glassheads community.

r/microgrowery

Don’t be fooled by the name; r/microgrowery is huge among the cannabis cultivator community! There are several growers forums on Reddit worth checking out, but none compare to the sheer size of r/microgrowery. With over 80,000 subscribers, this is the place to be on Reddit for those interested in the horticultural side of the cannabis community.

There’s a little something for everyone here, from harvest photos to grow methodology discussion and troubleshooting tips for garden issues. Each discussion includes a level of civility that makes surfing posts a relatively pleasant endeavor. Even nervous beginners in the growing community are made to feel welcome, and their questions almost never go unanswered.

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For those looking for some quick and digestible information on growing cannabis at home, this subreddit was kind enough to offer a beginner’s guide. Here you can find a relatively concise blueprint for where to begin setting up a basic grow. (If your grow knowledge is more advanced and you’re looking for discussions pertaining to larger-scale operations, the subreddit r/macrogrowery has you covered.)

r/dabs

Our list ends with a nod to enthusiasts of cannabis extracts and concentrates. r/dabs is a subreddit centered around anything related to the dabbing community. Here you can find pictures of various waxes, shatters, and concentrates; discussions pertaining to the style and form of dabbing; questions about methods and products; and more. For those new to dabbing, r/dabs has provided a beginners discussion forum to help with any questions. If you’re looking for some community feedback on which oil to look for, this is a great place to start.

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For those interested in a slightly larger community for extract enthusiasts or need advice on extraction technology, r/cannabisextracts is the place to check out. There you’ll find discussions geared more towards the technologically proficient.

Karl-Anthony Towns: Time for NBA to Allow Medical Cannabis

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns believes the NBA should permit the use of medicinal marijuana.

In an interview with ESPN published Wednesday, the 22-year-old Towns said he agrees with former NBA Commissioner David Stern’s stance that the drug should be removed from the league’s banned substance list. Towns raised the issue when asked by an ESPN reporter what change he would make if he were in NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s place.

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Towns told reporters in Minnesota before the game Wednesday against San Antonio that his experiences working with autistic children and his research into the medicinal benefits of cannabis have helped shape his belief. He said he hoped to help erase the “bad stigma” about the drug, which he said he has never used.

Art Festivals: Are They Worth the High?

Welcome to “Is It Worth the High?”, where our writers see newly released movies, listen to the latest album drops, and try other experiences while high to determine whether they’re worth your time, money, and most importantly, your cannabis buzz. This week, Dante Jordan meanders through a local art festival to get his cannabis-induced culture on.


Products enjoyed: Two joints of the finest Larry OG

High Experienced (1-10): 8 when I arrived, 5 when I left

As a stoner, I’m always looking for the best things to get high and do, so I recently got stupid lit before hitting the streets in search of a fun activity for my fellow smokers. What did I find? A random art festival that I didn’t even know was happening, that’s what. So I threw in my ear buds, pushed play on my Smoke This, Play Vol. 3 playlist, and walked over to the plethora of tents on the side of the road to find out if art festivals are worth the high.

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Art festivals are fun to walk around while just existing in your own head for a few moments. If you need some alone time and there’s one in your area, I fully suggest you stop by and just mosey around for a bit. You’ll not only get to live inside of your bubble, you’ll also see some really dope shit.

I stumbled upon some fire pictures taken from Oregon wildernesses that served as further proof that I need to move there; came across oil paintings of indigenous women that were so good, I had a moment of “Why am I not creating dope art like this?”; and I even came across a peanut sculpture that took my high to the next level, simply because it inspired me to push the boundaries of my creative abilities. If you’re in a creative funk, do some googling and find an art festival around you.

In addition to the creative inspiration you get from simply looking at incredible art, art festivals also give you the chance to network with like-minded individuals. You get to speak directly to artists and pick their brains, an opportunity that you may not have on a regular basis. I watch a lot of interviews and read a lot of stuff from artists to try and find the answers to my creative missions, but there’s nothing like that in-person experience. Just being able to talk to someone who makes a living off things they create with their bare hands and find out what inspires them—how they broke into the work they do, how they survive and stay motivated to evolve—can be a real life-changing experience for many of us.

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Art festivals are also worth your time because there’s sooooo much food. I repeat: soooooo much food. Ya boy had some delicious homemade lemonade (and a refill), a bag of cotton candy, two big-ass corndogs, and a bag of honey roasted nuts to make the cypher complete. And those only covered like 25% of the food options available. Shit, to be honest, even if you aren’t into art and creative endeavors, you can still attend an art festival simply for the food and feel like you had a worthwhile experience. Calories make the world go ‘round, nahmean?

Are They Worth the High? Obviously not all festivals are created equal, but generally the answer is yes. Art festivals can provide you with some much-needed alone time, creative inspiration and networking opportunities, and a plethora of food options to stuff inside of your tum tum. If you’re stoned out of your mind and don’t know what to do with yourself, go ahead and catch a Lyft to an art festival near you and feed your inner hippie. You will not be disappointed.

How to Be High in Las Vegas: Eat Food

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. 

Las Vegas Is the Entertainment Capitol of the World. This Includes Your Mouth.

From sensuous dining experiences to hardcore munchie indulgences, Las Vegas is loaded with seriously pleasurable experiences for people who eat. This is especially true for people whose senses are enhanced by cannabis, which can make peanut butter on a saltine taste like ambrosia so God knows what it can do to the professionally impressive fare of Vegas.

To find out, I got myself blissed out on a series of infused pre-rolls from the downtown branch of Canopi, waited for the munchie itch to hit, then steered myself towards a series of Vegas eateries, starting with…

Burger Brasserie

A Burger Brasserie burger (but not the one that costs $777) (Courtesy of Burger Brasserie)

Located in the mini-Eiffel-Tower-enhanced Paris Las Vegas Hotel, Burger Brasserie bills itself as a “sports bar with a French twist!”—cheeseburgers are available with brie, and instead of cheerleader outfits, hostesses dress in lingerie. It’s like the fanciest Applebee’s you’ve ever seen, staffed by Vanity 6.

It’s like the fanciest Applebee’s you’ve ever seen, staffed by Vanity 6.

It’s also perfectly great, with a vast menu offering something for everyone, from hot dog sliders and onion rings served with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos-flavored ranch to the legendary 777 Burger, featuring a Kobe beef patty topped with pancetta, goat cheese, seared foie gras, Maine lobster, and served with a bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne (cost: $777).

En route to a show at the nearby Bally’s and unwilling to clobber my munchies with a full-on, potentially sleep-inducing feast, I ordered sensibly, restricting myself to a $14 cheeseburger with a veggie patty and zero milkshakes. Among the jilted shakes: the Cap’n Crunch, featuring vanilla ice cream, Cap’n Crunch cereal, and Captain Morgan spiced rum; and the Peanut Butter and Chocolate, featuring both name-checked ingredients plus amaretto.

As is morally correct, Burger Brasserie’s veggie burger featured the classic Morningstar Farms-style patty preferred by everyone who’s ever smooshed a fancy chef-made veggie patty out the sides of an artisanal bun. Yes, flavor is important, but so is structure, and if your veggie patty can’t withstand a human bite without crumbling, you suck.

The food was good, the menu offered something for every budget, and the service was speedy. Though that might’ve just been the servers trying to keep warm in their camisoles.

Cravings at the Mirage

Cravings buffet, AKA Six Flags for your mouth. (Courtesy of Mirage)

Vegas is famous for its all-you-can-eat buffets, and I sought out one of the most beloved: Cravings at the Mirage, where $30 buys you access to an expansive universe of food plus unlimited beer and wine (!).

Our plan of attack for the buffet: Aim for stuff we’d never make for ourselves at home.

Billed as “the Ultimate Buffet,” Cravings is essentially Six Flags for your mouth. Along its walls reside eleven cooking stations, each representing a distinct locale and a crowd-pleasing approximation of its cuisine. (The “Latin” station features a taco bar, the “Asian” station offers sushi, and the three-quarters of the earth covered by water is repped by The Fishmonger.)

With me at Cravings was my guy Jake, who was also very high and pitched a sensible plan of attack for the buffet: Aim for stuff we’d never make for ourselves at home.

For Jake, this meant early Thanksgiving at the Cravings carving station. He returned with sliced turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and mac n’ cheese and returned for seconds. “Hot sliced meat is what carnivores come to buffets for,” he explained.

For me, it meant a tightly focused exploration of Foods Made Soggy by Cheese. From the Latin station, I got a small plate of queso-drenched tortilla chips. From Italy, a sensible platter of fettucine alfredo. From Jake’s plate, a thief’s portion of mac n’ cheese. And from the Cheesebread Fjord—essentially a make-your-own pizza party with fancy bread—I concocted a portion of pain au soggy frommage.

At the dessert bar, I took revenge on all the shakes I neglected at Burger Brasserie by assembling a Vegas-scaled soft-serve ice cream concoction, loaded with every ridiculous thing I could throw at it with a plastic scoop. I ate a third of it, and felt no guilt. Also, neither Jake nor I took advantage of the free all-you-can-drink booze, but we look forward to the unlimited dab bars of the future.

Spago

Spago: Home of killer prawns, famous movie scenes, and occasionally Siegfried! (Courtesy of Spago)

Located in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace—the upscale mall featuring outlets by Cartier, Chanel, Dior, Gucci, plus a Gap and Cheesecake Factory—Spago is the creation of celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, and hailed as the spark that ignited Vegas’ current fine-dining scene.

It’s also the site of a crucial scene in the terrible movie Showgirls, and after seating us, the maître d noticed me craning my neck to look around the sprawling dining room. “Is there something I can help you with?” he asked, with professional politeness.

The maître d was all grace, even though I’d essentially asked, “Can you point me toward the ditch where they shot that porno?”

“Um, there’s a scene in the movie Showgirls…”

“Right over there, sir,” he said, gesturing toward the very table where Nomi and Cristal commiserated sexily over doggie chow. The maître d was all grace, even though I’d essentially asked, “Can you point me toward the ditch where they shot that porno?”

This was but the first magical moment in my Spago experience.

Offering “seasonal cuisine with global influences,” the Spago menu was, on the day I visited, skewing Italian, so I ordered a classic Caesar salad and the spicy linguine with prawns. Both were straightforward and deeply, perfectly delicious, in that there’s-a-reason-some-chefs-are-worth-$75-million way.

The prawns in particular—grilled to surface crispness and exploding with flavor—sent my high-as-hell ass straight to heaven, with each bite providing a feeling of absolutely certainty that there is nothing better than this.

And then I notice Jake, sitting across from me with his eyes fixed on something over my shoulder. I turn to look, still chewing, and find myself looking in the eyes of a man who very much resembles Siegfried—of “& Roy” fame, but Roy’s not here, just Siegfried, his identity confirmed by his spangled blazer, flowing locks, and luxurious, believe-it’s-me gaze. “I am Siegfried,” his eyes say. “You’re welcome.”

As Siegfried wafts past, I swallow the last of my narcotic prawn, my ultimate Vegas experience unlocked.

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

Watch This: How Your Brain Reacts to Edibles

Gather ’round, pals, it’s time for science class. In this video, the narrator breaks down the ins and outs of what happens to your brain and body when you consume cannabis in edible form. Spoiler alert: you get uncontrollably high as shit for a long time. But why and how? That information is all in this video. Give it a watch, it’s pretty interesting. (And shoutout to the creator’s drawings of high humans—they’re really funny and adorable, just like all us stoners.)

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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