LaCroix & Baked Lays: Los Angeles’ Weed Parties
Stoner picnics, consumption lounges and dab bars: a week in Hollyweed.
By Clare Sausen
High Functioning is a monthly column exploring the weird, wide world of weed events. From dab legends to porn stars and tattoo artists to ceramicists, we talk to them all to find out what the future holds for the new party scene.
A Week in the Life:
As a freelance cannabis writer living in Los Angeles, my inbox often fills with events all over the city promising stoner networking and free bud (my parents are so proud).Recently This week, I decided to attend three daytime weed parties of varying degrees. The first was a wake & bake picnic hosted by a buzzy accessories brand, the next an inaugural anniversary bash for one of the country’s only consumption lounges, and finally, a technicolor women-owned dispensary’s deal-a-thon.
My first stop was YewYew’s picnic in Silver Lake Meadows: a park directly adjacent to the city’s famed reservoir path filled with ankle weight walkers, stroller pushers, and speakerphone talkers — even at 11 am on a Thursday. The spread was intimate but well-curated, with trendy pastel-colored milk crates filled with grapes, carrots, pink and yellow sugar-topped pastries, and, of course, various fun-sized chips. The coolers were filled with jugs of iced coffee, Califia Farms Barista Blend Oat Milk (God’s favorite), and Cherry Blossom La Croix. The she’s, they’s, and a handful of he’s gathered to work on fiber arts and bake in the sun. I played a very non-confrontational game of BS with one group composed of a non-profit director, a marketing manager, and a studio artist. I discussed the stoner’s penchant for bedazzling with a vegan challah baker. I met one woman who had just left a public relations company I had just started with, a cruel reminder of how ephemeral jobs in this industry can be.
After about an hour and a half, the group had dwindled to nearly half its size. I walked the path and broke out a CBD menthol (I know, I know) to sober up.
YewYew's picnic. Photo courtesy of Clare Sausen.
On the other side of town, you could smell the one-year anniversary celebration at The Artist Tree’s Studio Lounge — a consumption lounge in West Hollywood where you partake onsite Amsterdam-style – from down the street. The space itself is a millennial-ified clubhouse: painted a rich gray-blue and featuring an extensive wall-to-wall bookshelf of nude spines. Its leather booths and club chairs face a striped awning-covered, open-air patio on the building’s second level. The lounge space was business as usual besides a DJ booth and – yet again – an assortment of La Croix and a variety of mini chip bags. I grabbed a Múre Pepino Cúrate (a blackberry cucumber tallboy, for the uninitiated) and a bag of Baked Lays to decompress before heading upstairs to the party.
The third floor, typically closed to the public, was wide open today to show off its wraparound, floor-to-ceiling windows’ view over Santa Monica Boulevard. The room had been taken over by 710 Labs – a household name in the concentrates space – to offer some stereotypical, yet undeniably crowd-pleasing, stoner activities. I first headed to the tie-dye station, where I was offered a white t-shirt emblazoned with a massive photo of a dab on the front to dye. I went for the classic spiral and the only other woman there complimented my juxtaposition of lime green and deep purple.
I then moseyed to the dab bar, where a small room with a balcony held as many men as could squeeze in. Two presided over a console table filled with concentrates in all consistencies and dab rigs of all varieties. I first spotted Puffco’s Peak, a fully electronic rig that I’ve been dying to try due to my deep fear of blow torches, and knew this was my chance to comfortably embarrass myself on the first try. The brand rep sized me up as a newbie and gave me quite possibly the smallest dab physically possible on the device’s lowest heat setting. I inhaled it fully and was surprised at how little I felt. I let the guy behind me take a turn and, just as our instructor suggested turning the temperature up, my linemate tripped over himself running to the balcony to cough up a lung. I asked for another hit and, yet again, I could barely bubble up any smoke. I sighed and turned out of the crowded corner before deciding the next time I dabbed would be with a woman. To confirm my choice, he caught me on my way out.
“Are you dead? Did I kill you?” he asked.
“No, I’m good. Don’t worry,” I replied.
“Good, because I feel kind of responsible for you now.”
My last event of the week was at Wyllow — a small dispensary on the west side of the city promising gift bags, discounts, live music, brand demos, and refreshments (a pseudonym for adaptogenic tonics and La Croix, as it turns out). The dispensary space itself gleaned with pink and orange neon lights wrapping around mirrored archways and emerald green curtains. Each corner featured a dusty pink velvet bench, making the most of the space’s tight quarters. Once I secured my gift bag with purchase, I headed to a similarly teeny space in the parking lot, where I was first greeted by a THC-infused chamoy fountain. Stoned patrons were dipping cucumbers and mangoes into the thick, self-recycling sauce. Other booths offered cannabis-infused seltzers and troll doll lighter cases amongst many quirky others. I spun a wheel and won a plastic grinder. Once I made a round, though, it was clear that the space was too tight to linger. My girlies radar went off when I spotted a cannabis accessories boutique’s booth set up in the corner, so I slipped them a business card (always be closing!) before I headed back.
What We Smoked:
The picnic offered Pure Beauty jars and pre-rolls. I showed off my knowledge to my new friends by informing them of the brand’s color coding (yellow is sativa, black is hybrid, pink is indica — duh).
At the Studio Lounge, the pay-to-play event model began to emerge, and it didn’t come cheap. To go to the party upstairs, you had to first make a purchase of at least $50 in the consumption lounge. I bought an eighth of a sativa strain from Canndescent ($52) and rented a bong ($15). Later, at the dab bar, I tried 710 Labs’ Cherry Zest Live Rosin. There was also a man rolling joints with rotini noodle crutches, but I didn’t partake.
At Wyllow, the only THC-infused treat I had was a CANN seltzer (think White Claw for weed) where I chose between the regular version with 2mg of THC and 4mg of CBD (a recipe for a snooze by this point in the afternoon) and a tallboy with 5mg of THC. I went for a Lemon Lavender flavor of the latter. Like the Studio Lounge, you had to purchase something to enter the party, so I went for the BOGO deal from Rose Los Angeles (their gummies are among the few I love). Two eighths of Mandarin Cherry Lime Dog later and I was ready to party. In my goodie bag, I got a few different gummy samples, a pre-roll, and a Lagunitas Hi-Fi (now think O’Douls for weed).
Despite the variety, the through-line of these daytime soirees were lightly flavored sparkling water and corn/potato-based snacks. Though the late-night weed parties are usually a bit more lively, I appreciated the opportunity to have conversations at a normal volume with people who are apt to avoid the club. That being said, the picnic was by far my favorite: still brand-built, but much more organic than more formal pop-ups and — most importantly — actually free.
Since this week leaned much more sponsored than seedy, its grade comes up at a C+: passable, but plenty of room for improvement. Stay tuned next month as we party with some of the creatures of the black lagoon from the black market.