The Hollywood Reporter’s guide to pot in Los Angeles reveals a smoking-hot market: “The normalization happened more quickly than expected.”
Four months after recreational marijuana became available in California, new products and experiences offering a high-end high are blooming, and in some corners, cannabis is becoming as much a part of the L.A. lifestyle as juice cleanses and hiking Runyon.
You can work it out at Higher Self Yoga, where vape pens are distributed at the beginning of class to help “ease into the sacred”; treat yourself to a Canna-cure pedicure at Bellacures; score an $889, one-of-a-kind, hand- carved Argentinian blue onyx pipe from pot lifestyle boutique Mister Green; then hit Alfred Tea & Coffee for a CBD-infused peach ginger iced matcha. “The theanine in the tea works in harmony with CBD to produce a super-zen like feeling,” says Jordan G. Hardin, food and beverage director of the Kardashian- and Jenner-loved chain. (Derived from hemp, CBD is non-psychoactive and has properties that help regulate stress and anxiety; THC is the ingredient that’s mind-altering.)
On the high holiday of 4/20, L.A. was ablaze with stylish celebrations of how far the industry has come. Luxe cannabis and cashmere lovers gathered at The Elder Statesman boutique in West Hollywood to screen a short film about the “regalization” of pot by lifestyle site Highsnobiety while sipping Lord Jones CBD cocktails (the brand’s gumdrops and topicals are loved by Busy Philipps, Mandy Moore, Sarah Paulson and stylist Karla Welch) and sparking up pre-rolls from Lowell Herb Co., with craft-paper packaging stylish enough to be pulled out at a dinner party.
At Green Street Agency, a cannabis brand showroom in the Miracle Mile, a crowd of entrepreneurs watched a demo of a joint-rolling robot named Otto before heading to a screening of Fox Searchlight’s Super Troopers 2, the sequel to the 2001 stoner comedy with cameos by Rob Lowe and Fred Savage. Attendees hopped Lyfts offering $4.20 discount codes for the day as part of a branding partnership with the studio that includes a mock PSA advising riders, “Don’t smoke and drive.” “The Fox-approved marketing [was] designed with the cannabis consumer in mind,” says Green Street Agency’s Joshua Shelton, who reps Broken Lizard, the comedy troupe behind the cult movies.
The fashion set, including model Behati Prinsloo and director Liz Goldwyn, gathered at jeweler Jacquie Aiche’s Beverly Hills bungalow for a “Garden of Weedin’ ” soiree, with shopping for $440 snakeskin “doob tubes” (to hold joints) and samples from Aiche’s forthcoming Sunshine California cannabis line. Lake Bell, whose husband, Scott Campbell, is co-founder of Beboe cannabis, says, “I have never been someone who can categorize themselves as a stoner. Beboe uses microdoses so that I don’t feel wasted but just like a better version of myself.”
Although it may seem so in L.A., it’s not a total green-for-all in the Golden State. Only one in seven California cities allows recreational sales, according to a study by The Mercury News. And although Donald Trump has backed off intervening in state legalization laws, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions hasn’t.
Aside from high heavyweights like Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson and Whoopi Goldberg, who have been in the business of bud for a while, Hollywood has largely stayed away. MedMen is still struggling to sign an A-lister to front its growing national chain of dispensaries, while digital platform 420TV — founded by ex-WME agent Alex Nahai with an MTV DJ Quddus-hosted show and a comedy by former Simpsons animator David Silverman — continues searching for advertisers to sponsor it. “We’re a long way from mainstream star power marketing efforts,” says industry analyst Thomas Adams, noting that state-by-state legalization prevents interstate commerce and makes brand building difficult. There’s also still a stigma, he adds, pointing out that only 10 percent of the U.S. population use marijuana monthly: “What’s going to change that is the wellness application.”
“I’m an out and proud cannabis user,” says Goldwyn, who was advised by a surgeon to try CBD cream for pain after a devastating leg fracture and who prefers Lord Jones or the Papa and Barkley brand. In recent months, more CBD-infused products have entered the marketplace, from a $95 face serum purporting to help with acne to tampons promising to alleviate menstrual cramps.
Cannatourism is also a burgeoning industry, and 4/20 marked the launch of InnDica, an online travel platform based in L.A. that will allow pot fans to rent an 18,000-square- foot house in Mt. Olympus with a private pool and screening room for cannabis-friendly parties. “It’s like if Airbnb and Eventbrite had a baby,” says founder Monique Fitzgerald, who aims to roll out full services by summer. Adds Cindy Capobianco, co-founder of Hollywood cannabis wellness brand Lord Jones: “The normalization has happened more quickly than even I expected. But we [Angelenos] live in a bubble.”
BRING THE CASH WHEN IT COMES TO THE NEW CANNABIS FASHION
Marijuana fashion and accessories have moved out of head shops and into boutiques. In Hollywood, Ariel Stark-Benz’s Mister Green boutique is less leaf than lifestyle, with $3,500 marijuana-themed watercolors by artist Kim McCarty for sale next to apothecary items such as the shop’s own smoky, woodsy “Hippie Shit” fragrance ($89/30 ml). For 4/20, L.A. knitwear guru Greg Chait of the Elder Statesman rolled out a new $1,885 “High End” cashmere sweater. Jewelry designer Jacquie Aiche, whose fans include Rihanna, Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner, has used the pot leaf as a design motif on her Sweet Leaf collection since before legalization. This year, she’s expanded into ceramic lifestyle accessories: “I felt like it was a missing component.”
This story first appeared in the April 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter