Snoop Dogg revealed his new cannabis product line, Leafs by Snoop, during a private gathering last night. And I got high.
Meet in a hotel lobby, be shuttled to an undisclosed location away from the city, oh and most importantly, absolutely no phones. This is how a handful of us writers begin our tepid Monday night on the back of a promise to attend an exclusive cannabis product launch hosted by the one and only Snoop Dogg.
I saw a movie start out like this once, I think; it didn’t end well for that group. What the hell am I getting myself into …
A few days prior, the event coordinator explained to me that the story is on the down low, and there are specific guidelines to follow if I want to be an attendee of the party. I’m not incredibly down with going out on a Monday night anymore, but i bite. Admittedly, after thinking twice about confirming my attendance, I’m frightened. I’m an amateur puffer, a real lightweed, and now I just got invited to smoke with the King of Cannabis himself? He’s going to make fun of my baby lungs, I just know it.
Fuck it, of course I go.
After browsing through the approved releases and product one-sheets before getting to the lobby, I gather that the appearance of Snoop is about his new line of cannabis and cannabis related products he’s launching in Colorado. Called Leafs by Snoop, the inventory hosts an array of branded goods that are bound to make any stoner interested at whatever level of smoking aptitude. From simple flowers (in close to a dozen different flavors) to high-potency concentrates, all alongside a wide assortment of edibles — dubbed Dogg Treats — everything has his new brand blasted all over it. This is the future of cannabis, whether purists like it or not.
How crazy it is to be alive right now. To witness first hand an industry crop up from the depths of the underground (and notably, many parents’ basements) to a lush, private soirée in a beautiful suburban home offered up by LivWell owner John Lord. Attempting to connect the dots of the relationship between Snoop and LivWell, I find that for the next 30 days, the dispensaries are going to exclusively carry Snoop’s products on its shelves. Then the brand moves to other dispensaries around the state.
For tonight, Lord has cleared out all of his belongings on the main floor to transform it into an atmosphere worthy of any reputable nightclub’s respect. DJ decks are perched before a vine-strewn wall near the balcony — like some sort of preacher’s podium — and the staff walks around, all fancy like, delivering lowbrow delicacies fit for a mind that itself is a mile high.
The mini corndogs and walking tacos are unmatched. Bacon wrapped dates — this is what stoner heaven looks like, confirmed.
Propped up against a wall, like an out of place awkward kid forced to go to prom, I’m there trying to shoot small talk and remember names about the crowd. Highest on the list of “to-don’ts” is to not spill my drink. The carpet, it’s superb. I'd hate to be the asshole that ruins it. Thread count? A billion. Can I take my shoes off and feel its richly made, woven cloud of comfort right now, or would that be weird? I can’t. I musn’t.
Looking around, I see the entire busload of journalists, both national and locals, rubbing elbows with legal marijuana’s elite. Suits. The lot of them are all in suits, and here I am, having left directly from a job where real life appearance is often a secondary thought, wearing a Colorado trucker hat (it’s a nice hat though) and rocking a Pretty Lights hoodie. I’m the fucking physical interpretation of what Colorado would be if it were made into an actual human being: A pale, state-loving wannabe stoner who cares about things like rent hikes and beetle kill pine. Consider me the awkward one.
I may be out of place from the jump, but then again, this is Colorado culture, and nobody really cares about this kind of superficial nonsense to begin with. Not really. So I buck up and head for the top shelf booze. You see, writers don’t get paid enough to afford Hennessy VSOP. But tonight, tonight the pours are smooth. It's time for an experience.
Loitering around the top of the stairs, I’m in a serious back and forth about the industry with one of the leading critics in town when we’re interrupted by security. "Snoop's on his way up from the green room soon," the large man says to us. Sure enough, five minutes roll by and he strolls up from the depths of the basement. He’s high as fuck already.
I’d seen this smile many times before, Snoop’s Cheshire Cat-like grin. It’s been with me since the early ‘90s, appearing on album covers, coming through TV screens, and high up on the stage as I'm standing 600 feet away — I feel like Snoop’s been with me my entire life. Just a stoned uncle, telling me what not to do through his lyrics, but at the same time always doing it himself. But now, here he is, within an arm shot, smiling and flirting his way through the crowd like he’s done this a million times before.
Grabbing the mic, he notes his decades long involvement in the push for legalization, and calls Colorado’s current culture a “beautiful thing.” A gold curtain is drawn at the back of the room, showing the product line as it glows like a freshly lit bowl, illuminated by the room’s calming lights. “Now we’d like you to sample it,” Snoop says in front of his grin, “but sample it responsible … as responsible as you can.”
More curtains. This time two large ones open up where a normal 9-5 family would host an evening’s dinner. Where dad might sit is a couple of gorgeous budtenders, dressed alike in Leafs by Snoop shirts and heels. They’re grinding up an assortment of buds plucked out of glass containers that make up the night’s main course. Where I’m imagining a little Timmy, or Tina, might sit doing homework, stands Snoop, all 6-foot-4 of him, waving his hands over the glass-nestled buds like a proud, bread earning father.
“Start me off with the Bananas,” Snoop asks one of the tenders, referring to one of the flavors about to be passed around. He inhales, smiles, nods, and then passes the glass pipe off to an awaiting guest. Unsurprisingly, given my close proximity to the table, the pipe comes my way soon after. I pull a light inflater into my lungs, fully expecting to hack it back out onto the head of whichever unlucky sap is standing in front of me — then predictably and uncontrollably sobbing to the wall, mumbling something about how vast the sky really is and if cartoon characters even have feelings. Because they don’t. They can’t. They’re just cartoons.
But I don’t. It’s the smoothest hit I’ve ever taken. And it’s not even getting me super duper high like I expect. Not yet anyways. I’m able to hang with my fellow smokestacks as we lob jokes towards one another about how crazy of a site something like this truly is. I get down on a Northern Lights rip and lightly taste the Purple Bush. Three of them, I say to myself, I’m only taking three hits. That way I don’t end up on the neighbor’s lawn, rolling around trying to find the meaning of area codes and cursing the current political regime.
Alright, maybe at this point I am high. But it’s not like I’m holding on to the luxurious, rich person carpet trying not to float away like I’d assumed I would be. My body is lifted, but not so out of my control that I have to repeat words just to make sense of anything around me. The bud bar is doing what's intended to do for the guests, the depleting stash signaling an apt time for Snoop to occupy his mighty throne behind the decks and throw on a genre-churning party mix. The room begins to turn up, and dessert comes, and comes some more. Lightly fried balls of Kool-aid flavored donuts, Cap’N’Crunch topped chocolate bars, and mac and cheese surround my fellow wallflowers and me. It’s an unending supply of munchies, wrapped in a guise of sophistication.
The night rolls on, and Snoop runs everything through the speakers from Elvis to Bruno Mars, he even raps his own parts on “The Next Episode” — a timeless treat none of us expect. A few more drinks go down and we all head back to the bus, with Leafs by Snoop swag in hand, all of us recounting the bizarre trip we had all just been through.
Even more so than before, Snoop Dogg is now synonymous with cannabis branding in Colorado. His Leafs by Snoop line is available for purchase starting today (Nov 10) and will continue to be sold at dispensaries — both for medical and recreational purposes — throughout the state for the foreseeable future. His flowers, his candies, his chocolate bars and his wax, it’s all his, all "hand picked" by the King of Cannabis — who now wants to share it with the rest of us.
When Snoop says he wants to share, or invites you to his party, it’s necessary to oblige. It’s that simple.
Though Snoop isn’t from Colorado, his vision — and of course his music — will always inspire its part in the state’s culture. With his before-brand already so successful, launching a cannabis line with his name on it comes as no surprise to anyone. Others in the country are writing and voting on their own legislation to mimic ours, which will certainly change the game up in ways we’ve never expected. But really, was any of this expected just a decade ago? It's possible that a celebrity endorsement like this will get as big as ones from Pepsi or Coke. It's all up from here.
The cannabis industry is a real thing, like it or not, and with Snoop Dogg jumping in to claim his stake in the green rush, it’s officially in the marketing mix seen everywhere else in commerce.
And my face? My face is fine — I just thought I'd lost it for a few minutes there after the third time I inhaled. Maybe next time I’ll only do two. Or not. Whatever.