The cannabis industry has had its struggles, but for casual users and loyal customers alike, the culture remains vital and even surprising. From new ways to smoke (laser bongs, portable hitters) to places to actually gather and consume with others (legally), to online shopping destinations to books to businesses giving back, there’s lots to celebrate. Here’s our Cannabis Culture Picks for 2022.
We’ve never been to Amsterdam, but our fantasy about what it’d be like is pretty close to the welcoming and chill vibe at The Artist Tree. The West Hollywood consumption lounge is swathed with colorful murals and art everywhere you look, and yes, you appreciate them the longer you’re there. Guests are given an iPad in which to peruse the expansive menu here, which includes not only top-shelf flower and oil products, but cool smoking vessels to rent as well. With a homey library and bar (stocked not with alcohol, but with fancy bongs and more) the place also has a stage for entertainment, which changes on different nights. We caught a comedy night there recently and the sets were a “hit” (pun intended) even when they were sort of a miss. If you’re into interactive toking, check it out, but if you just want to savor the unique and very new experience of smoking pot with others in a public space made for that purpose, go here anytime.
Created by Lauren Fontein, Aviv Halimi, and brothers Avi Kahan and Mitchell Kahan (the group owns additional retail locations in Riverside County and Los Angeles with more set to open in the next 12 months), The Artist Tree also has a Cultivation Learning Center and a retail store with guides to picking out the best weed for you. Tree was the first business applicant to qualify for West Hollywood’s cannabis licenses in all five categories – including “recreational cannabis sales, medical cannabis sales, cannabis delivery, operation of a cannabis lounge offering edible products, and operation of a lounge where cannabis smoking and vaping is permitted and edible products can be consumed.” Look for more events to elevate the West Hollywood locale’s profile, including DJs, drag brunches, and meet-and-greets (Travis Scott just did one last week). One more huge plus: Kitchen 24 down the street is their official food provider (order alongside your weed so it’s there when you get hungry after a few smokes), and everything on the menu is munchie-perfect. theartisttree.com/studio-cannabis-lounge-west-hollywood
There’s No Place Like WeHo
It’s known for its lively gay nightlife, what some affectionately used to call “boy’s town” (it’s more mixed than that these days), but West Hollywood now has another nickname. On Oct. 27, 2021 West Hollywood declared itself the Emerald Village, hoping to be the world’s newest destination for cannabis travel and tourist attractions. “Emerald Village West Hollywood” marks America’s first municipal cannabis tourism board and they’ve done a lot to make this a reality, from creating tourism maps to launching a “Please Respect Our Neighbors” campaign promoting responsible cannabis (no smoking in public) to launching a “Come Out for Cannabis” movement highlighting similarities between decriminalization and the struggle for LGBTQ rights to networking partnerships with cannabis businesses in Amsterdam.
They’re out to tout both The Artist Tree (above) and Woody Harrelson’s theWoods – the gorgeous dispensary that just opened its own consumption lounge in the area, complete with lush garden oasis atmosphere and private cabanas available to rent by the hour. Look for more consumption spaces including one from High Times magazine (TBA) to bring more shine to this gem of a neighborhood. emeraldvillageweho.com/the_woods
Sun + Earth certified brands – distinguishing weed that’s holistically, responsibly, and regeneratively grown – are highlighted in displays at theWoods. They also top Flowerhead.co’s feel-good offerings. The user-friendly new weed web destination might become your new aesthetic addiction if you’re into the experience of online cannabis. Smoking out and shopping on the computer/cell phone are two pastimes many enjoy at the same time, after all. The style-minded marketplace created by Angeleno musician John Gold puts an emphasis on “highly curated” artfully packaged flower brands and high-end accessories (like fancy sleek pipe designs from Sackville and Session, for example). The e-commerce site also offers more in-depth product information than most, state-of-the-art search tools, easy product discovery and navigation, and branded content. Gold just collaborated on a hand-selected gift guide with his favorite gear and sungrown flower from theWoods, with Sun + Earth approved products, all of which you can buy on the site and have delivered to your door. flowerhead.co/, sunandearth.org/
Inspired by its origin as a family driven company, Tradecraft Farms touts a personal approach to weed. The So Cal-based company is owned by brothers Brent and Barry Walker, aka the Dub Bros (“dubs” standing for “w”), which was born in Downtown Los Angeles. They’ve been in business for a decade now focusing on cannabis as a craft, and a community. From cultivation to retail, they take an educational approach to their own grown goods and to the selling of others in their stores. Tradecraft grows hydroponic indoor because as they say, “it allows for precision” and removes unpredictable variables in the growing process such as pollution or air particulates. From jars to prerolls, there’s a casual and cool Cali vibe permeating all their products, which are clearly aimed at discerning smokers looking to buy the best. In addition to Tradecraft, the Walker brothers keep busy with their Stick.E.Vapes brand, their competitively priced Better Days Farms blends, their Cali Roots dispensaries, and local charitable efforts, including the upcoming Gobble Gobble Give and Skid Row Xmas events, both of which feed the homeless in downtown L.A. during the holidays. dubbros.com, shoptradecraftfarms.com
We’ve come a long way since the old Graffix plastic bong days. Today, there are countless smoking devices to choose from out there, and most are designed to deliver the smoke in the most efficient and enjoyable way possible. Hitoki is one of many brands on the forefront of “canni-tech” with its laser smoking devices. Their Hitoki Trident was apparently a big hit and now they’ve got a new piece on the market. The Hitoki Saber is a new portable take on their laser combustion device using the same technology but in a more compact way. Boasting a clean smoking experience, the handheld vessel is used with the Hitoki bubbler or your favorite glass rig. Water is added to the bubbler, which then attaches to the base of the unit, while LED settings vary according to the smoke you want. In all, it’s a form-meets-function-meets-force experience. hitoki.com
Taste the Rainbow
For many, a compact pipe to carry in a pocket or purse is The Perfect Companion. It’s the name of Perfect Blends’ adorable 5-Piece Micropipe Set, and it fits. Portability is a key component here, but the compact metallic rainbow collection also will appeal to compulsive matchers (guilty) who like every accessory to be part of their look. The slim cig-sized individual hitters offer a 75mg dose that should give three to four tokes per bowl. Microdosers will dig these, as will germaphobes – the company suggests stashing them away on the go and sharing a fresh pipe with friends instead of passing. This is the company that also sells joints you cut in half so you can avoid sucking the same wet doobie. COVID is still out there people! They also suggest matching the micropipe colors with their different blends, including Happy Camper, Pick Me Up, NightCap or Sexpot. perfect-blends.com
Rock n’ Roll
Wiz Khalifa, Tommy Chong, Wayne Coyne and Laganja Estranja are just a few of the notable pot lovers who contribute insights in the book, How We Roll: The Art and Culture of Joints, Blunts, and Spliffs. Exploring rolling culture around the world, the tome offers tips and tricks for perfecting an important skill: rolling the perfect joint, from “The Scorpion” to “The Braid” to “The Holy Cross.” The how-to guide has it all: diagrams, descriptions, techniques, dos and don’ts, quizzes, charts, illustrations and interviews. You’ll be rolling like Snoop Dogg’s highly paid “handyman” in no time. The book is actually written by Noah Rubin, the editor of Snoop’s hit cookbook, From Crook to Cook (he’s also the former editor-in-chief of Snoop’s media platform, Merry Jane, and the former editor-in-chief of Nas’s media platform/production house, Mass Appeal, before that). chroniclebooks.com/products/how-we-roll
Green Qween in Downtown L.A. remains one of our favorite dispensaries for its emphasis on equality and community. They survived two robberies last year, proving a resilience that anyone who loves this industry can appreciate. Their collab with bounce queen Big Freedia launching the new weed brand called Royal Bud – with strain names including Ya Wiggle (Hybrid), You Already Know (Indica) and Mardi Grass (Sativa) – brought a flamboyant new vibe to the crowded flower market and more is coming. We’ve written about queer nightlife producer Andrés Rigal (Evita, Jagger) many times over the years and his foray into cannabis brings the same aesthetic pizzazz and attention. We’re here for it and you should be, too. Women and QTBIPOC-led brands are prioritized on the shelves inside this colorful, high-design space, and proceeds are directed to the development of its soon to come DTLA Proud Community Center, providing much-needed resources and services to the queer community. thegreenqween.com
Read more Best of L.A. Cannabis Picks from Jimi Devine HERE.
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