The two sexiest commodities in cannabis are joining forces

The two sexiest commodities in cannabis are joining forces

Pipemakers branding hash are the new Jordan's of cannabis

VicesOctober 19, 2018 By Spencer J. Ward

Smoking weed just isn’t the same anymore. It’s seldom that someone passes me a joint, rarer still that it’s a blunt, and bongs mysteriously appear but mostly as ancient artifacts. Dabs, also known as “marijuana concentrates,” are the new kid in town, and everyone is dabbin’ em’. Grandma, the heady boys and girls, and the pipe makers — the rebel creatives who are turning the art world upside down. It is this latter group’s love of dabs that has created cannabis culture’s latest joint venture: glass artists collaborating with concentrate companies.

Fact: dabs changed the pipe art world forever. Around 2008–2009, as BHO (Butane Hash Oil) was rising in popularity, pipemakers experienced a parallel demand for oil rigs. In art history, this will mark the time that people like Eusheen and Banjo began to build up their creative mastery.

Fast forward to now. Glass artists are the new rock stars. Dabbing is everything. And naturally, the two sexiest commodities in cannabis are joining forces. In the last year alone, three superstar artists have collabed with Colorado concentrate companies. The future of hash branding is now.

The first artist to do this was Nathan Miers, better known as N8. For Nate, the dream of a pipemaker-hash collab started when he was fresh in the game, but like any artist, he first had to “pay his dues.” 

Momentarily, this meant making hundreds of pipes a month, mostly spoons, onies, and sherlocks. Despite his success as a production artist, he became restless and in 2007 decided to grow cannabis. In sunny California at the time, Nate was living his best life. Blowing glass, honing his greenthumb, and witnessing the birth of pipe branding.   

photo - N8 throws down on the torch at Illuzionz

[Truly in his element, N8 throws down on the torch at Illuzionz.]

From California to Colorado, Nate has experienced the green rush of legal weed. Eventually, he would see stars; and then himself become one of the most in-demand glass artists in the world. A self-described “hippy-at-heart,” he’s still a “business, man.” You kind of have to become one when everyone wants to buy your art. In 2017, Nate assembled a team of friends and creative partners to take his brand to the next level. One of their primary missions was to increase his art’s exposure through the infinite number of Colorado dispensaries. 

Nate’s mission was not so singular, however. Sure, he wanted more people to see, enjoy, and have access to his art, but this would merely serve as a launch pad for his higher calling: to marry glass artistry and hashmaking once and for all. Now that cannabis was legal in places like Colorado, the taboo of mixing pipes and cannabis was going up in smoke. Nate would rise to become the torch-bearer of this new cultural universe. 

In February of 2017, Nate was strategizing with his good friend, Sam, known as @THC_Samuel on Instagram, about how to get his brand into dispensaries.

Sam remembers, “N8 and I were hanging out at Everdream and I asked him why an artist hadn’t teamed up with a hash company to create a signature flavor yet. It seemed like a logical step for the culture and for the cannabis community as a whole. I grew up a huge sneaker fan and being able to go grab a pair of Lebron or Kobe’s sneakers was and still is an experience for many people. My goal was to try and replicate a similarly positive experience for glass collectors and cannabis consumers across Colorado by helping to create the first hash and glass artist flavor collaboration when we dropped Space Jam 1.0 with N8 and Olio. It’s been incredible to work with the Olio team. Working with N8 and Elbo and has been an amazing experience, and I think everyone has enjoyed working on the projects and what we are aiming to do for the art and hash communities. 

Oilo was an easy choice for Nate, too. He was on an oil kick and Olio was already putting out some of the tastiest terps.  The partnership would be effortless, and the project was the perfect combination of fun and hard work.

“My aim with this project was to be involved in every aspect. I didn’t want to just slap my logo on a box and call it a day. As an experienced grower and a self-professed connoisseur of all things cannabis, I wanted to put forth a product and experience akin to my best artworks. I watched the plants grow, toured the processing facilities, and worked intimately with Olio’s technicians to dial in the blends through countless R&D sessions. I also designed the packaging and worked with my team on the marketing strategies that would quickly become the status quo.”

The first release, which happened in July 2017, featured the eponymous Space Jam sauce. The Alpha sauce, available in medical shops, was a fusion of Skywalker 600, Brain OG, and Gorilla Glue. The Bravo sauce, available in recreational shops, was a blend of Skywalker 600, Stardawg, and Headband OG. Every gram included a dab tool designed by Nate.  

The release was hype. Olio hyped it. Nate and his team hyped it. But nothing was more hype than the golden tickets. Sold only in three cities in one store per city, 200 grams were available at each location. Despite this exclusivity, every person who bought a gram received a golden ticket for a raffle spot at the 710 launch party. 

The Space Jam launch was held at Illuzions Glass Gallery. Nate hosted the raffle and threw down on the torch with Puntington and Calmbo. Three lucky winners received a piece of art by Nate, one which was a solo rig. By every measure, Space Jam 1.0 was a success and created stellar momentum for 2.0.

photo - N8 - Elbo open-mouth raptor dab rig

[A ticket to win an Elbo open-mouth raptor, like the one pictured here, was included in one of the grams of the Elbo x Olio drop.]

“I also wanted to use these hash drops as an excuse to bring people together. Colorado has a large cannabis community and we like to smoke and party! And some of my favorite stories regarding my artwork are about it being the catalyst in bringing complete strangers together who then forge great friendships, and I sought to use this opportunity to do just that.”

Space Jam 2.0 followed in October 2017. Again, Nate would be intimately involved in the entire project. The drop included a Charlie recreational sauce, a Delta medical sauce, and an Echo solventless concentrate. The most exciting part: the golden tickets in this drop were not for a raffle, but were instant winners. This time, 50 lucky people won prize packs by Olio and Nate which included his limited edition 2017 signature murrine chip.

Space Jam 3 would mark the end of this particular journey with Olio. Dropping in March 2018, it featured rosin, sauce pens, and an extremely limited Zulu rosin sauce. 3.0 was the Big Bang of drops. Not only were there more kinds of products available, but they were available in more stores, in greater numbers, and for more people to enjoy. 

Now, it seems artist and concentrate company collabs are taking off. And Olio, along with their Social Media and Special Project Manager @THC_Samuel, has been the common spark to most of them in Colorado. 

Elbo, known for his heady Dino rigs, partnered with Olio in April. Like Nate, he designed the package, curated the terps, and included his own “special ticket.” He also documented the project in a two-part video on Youtube. Heady AF, every gram included not only a custom Elbo dab tool, but also a designer sham. Both are still flexed by collectors regularly on social media.

On 4/21 at 7:10, the Elbo x Olio event kicked off at Purple Haze Smoke Shop on Colfax. A Meet and Greet with Elbo, attendees were treated to a gallery-style showing of some of Elbo’s work. The biggest event of the night was the raffle. Three winners were chosen by Elbo, including one who would win a open-mouth solo Raptor.

The 2018 summer would close with another Olio collab, this one with Puntington, The King of Flips. True to the Olio format, Puntington curated a dab-and-collect experience for Colorado’s headiest. Solventless hash, custom dabber, and a chance to win a special Puntington tube.

Leifa Concentrates is the only other Colorado company to date to do a similar collab. Leifa partnered with Gordo Scientific on a solventless drop that included tasty terps and his highly sought after rip-tide technology. A pared down version of the Gordo riptide cap — a carb cap that uses directional airflow to control dabs — riptide chips were included with every gram. 

Collabs are popping elsewhere in the cannabis space, too. In California, Leisure Glass collaborated with Exclusive Melts and Dwreck on sauce jars. Perhaps the first three-way collab, Leisure handmade the jars, Dreck blasted them, and Exclusive Melts provided their award-winning terps. Also in California, NatureLabs collabed with Pakoh. In Canada, Korey Cotnam and Kind Selections have collabed on custom reticello jars. 

Clearly, this is happening everywhere, and the most exciting part is next phase of its evolution is already here: Lazercat concentrates. Named after Everdream Studio’s mascot, Lazercat Concentrates is the brainchild of Adam G., a.k.a., @thesweaterkingpin, resident artist and glass blower of over 17 years. Exclusively a solventless company, Lazercat will cater to glass collectors and concentrate connoisseurs. 

Lazercat Concentrates could be to this new model of marketing what Rockafella records was to hip hop. What is especially interesting about it is that glass artists are already in the habit of collabing. If and when Lasercat will begin working with every imaginable dope artist is anybody’s guess. In the meantime, those terps are tasting pretty, pretty, pretty good.