Consumption Lounge: Everything to smoke + toke this 420
Your guide to April flowers, beautiful bongs, precious papers and potent edibles
Every year since I’ve started covering cannabis, I get ambushed with a bunch of new products right before 4/20. And each time, they’ve gotten better and better.
As more states move to legalize, the market has seen a demand for products with improved formulas and technologies, the emergence of mind-expanding experiences and private dinners/clubs, elevated accessories with artist-driven designs, chef-approved edibles worth eating, and an increased call-to-action to support farms with sustainable values. Yet, even as the industry matures and normalizes, cannabis remains this bizarre cultural paradox where everyone seems to be living in different realities. We’ve come a long way since I was blowing smoke through a dryer sheet-stuffed toilet paper roll out my dorm window, baby!
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Places like California and Colorado have witnessed the rise and fall of an industry decimated by venture capitalist interests and very little accountability to the countless people who remain locked up for cannabis-related offenses. Other states like Michigan, Illinois, New Jersey, Nevada, and Massachusetts immediately went corporate and no one was surprised at all.
Some states remain quiet, no matter how they’re functioning (looking at you, Oregon, Washington, Oklahoma, Florida, Vermont, Montana, Arizona, and Maine). New York is beginning to test out equity programs and giving a head start to local small-scale farmers (including large parts of Hudson Valley and the Catskills)—even though that roll-out has been receiving flak and many towns are still opting out, too. We saw states like Delaware and Kentucky legalize, while other states are still fighting to join the Green Nation as legislators ignore polls showing majority support from their constituents.
This past year, we watched as a nation as W.B.N.A. star Brittney Griner was held in detention in Russia for 10 months for a vape pen before being prisoner swapped for a a Russian arms dealer known as the Merchant of Death. We said goodbye to ‘Father of Cannabis Research,’ Raphael Mechoulam. International destinations like the U.S. Virgin Islands and Thailand opened the doors to cannabis tourism as Germany inches towards decriminalization. Meanwhile the legendary weed city of Amsterdam is fed up with being the universal destination for gross stag parties.
Cannabis may be currently ranked as the 6th largest cash crop in the U.S. that’s traded on the stock market, but it remains a massive banking headache and taxation nightmare for investors as a federally illegal industry. At the same time, consumers can’t get enough of the luxury market, leading to celebrity-backed dispensaries, products, and AirBnB cannabis experiences with eye-catching designs. And that’s just a slice of what’s new. It’s truly tough keeping up!
Even if you’re a seasoned stoner, you might not know the history of 4/20 (luckily, I laid it out for you last year) and let’s face it: even as cannabis merges into the mainstream, it’s still an underground subculture where connections matter. So, as we celebrate another 4/20, it’s worth remembering how much we’ve moved forward and recognizing how much further we have to go.
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The Consumption Lounge
Best things to smoke and toke for 4/20
A mega list of choice picks coast-to-coast for all your 420 needs (and yet somehow there is still so, so much I couldn’t even fit in).
PHASES - Phases isn’t the first to make an approachable effects-based cannabis brand, but you’ve got to love a pre-roll variety pack with a joint for every occasion. From the sativa-based Vibration for socializing to the relaxing hybrid-based Reverie and sleepy time indica-based Dreamcatcher, their pre-roll flight is a handy way to try out a few different options before committing to a whole eighth. Bonus: it comes in a cute tin for your on-the-go stash. While it’s currently only available in California, keep an eye out as the brand is actively working to expand on a national level in larger, emerging markets
A Golden State - There’s no shortage of California-grown weed, but A Golden State truly managed to capture the state’s namesake into a classy, ethereal line-up of the chillest nature-based strains like Alpine Sunrise, a frosty, terp-heavy cross between F1 Durban x Paris OG ripe with limonene, caryophyllene, and linalool that delivers a gentle, lifted high and relieves anxiety (possibly the anxiety of being around so many people for 4/20 or trapped at Coachella), and Night Sky, a high-potency indica derived from Face on Fire and AGS Male II with notes of lavender, sour peach, and pine packed with limonene, myrcene, caryophyllene, linalool, pinene, and humulene that will have you melting into your bed.
Stone Road - Did you catch last week’s podcast with Stone Road CEO Lex Corwin? Learn more about why this brand is one to watch.
Dennis Hopper’s cannabis? - I actually haven’t smoked this. I’m just intrigued that it exists. When it was brought to my attention that Dennis Hopper—the legendary actor who is no longer with us—has his own cannabis brand called Hopper Reserve, I thought, “Well, I guess it’s a little weird he’s not alive, but also kinda on-brand for Dennis Hopper to have his own cannabis label.” Each comes in three different strains with very badass names—The Artist of the Mind (hybrid), The Mystic in the Desert (indica), and The Strong-Willed Rebel (sativa). Founded by his daughter Marin, there’s a very touching backstory about his dreams of building a “cannabis company with purpose.” And that’s what they’ve done, supporting veterans and artists along the way.
Sundae School - Sundae School’s infused mochi gummies are the stand out fav, but I have to give a shout out for their pre-roll packs that come in aluminum tins engraved with “10 Commandments” including “Thou shall not steal lighters” and “Thou shall not kill unless thou slay.” But it’s not all flash—this Emerald Triangle whole flower is infused with hash and THCa diamonds that’s popular with medical users because it’s perfect for passing out and getting a solid night sleep.
Baby Jeeter - I know. “But Carly, you’re a cool sungrown indie label girl. Why are you messing with these mass-market crystal-infused dog walkers covered in kief and packaged in the cheesiest branding?” Um, because they rule. Baby Jeeter might actually be the perfect joint and it’s a complete travesty that it’s not available in every state. Baby Jeeters are kind of like the mango JUUL pod of joints—much beloved; slightly questionable. Their website definitely has zero transparency about its farming methods or sustainability efforts, but it’s undeniably a very potent and reliable bang-for-your-buck. Plus, it’s hard not to love a joint that tastes like a watermelon Jolly Ranchers or orange daiquiri. If New York is looking to bank on some of that sweet tax money on the product that I have zero problem sourcing on the unregulated market, they should get Baby Jeeter to expand here. Just putting that out there.
Space Coyote - Space Coyote is another brand I absolutely adore and wish was here. Unlike like the aforementioned plea for eastbound expansion, these are lovingly hand-rolled joints encased in very lovely sustainable packaging. Each of its three varieties—hash-infused, live resin-infused, and THCa diamond-infused—are extremely potent and not for beginners. That said, the five-pack of sativa live resin joints hit the spot for chilling out and eating cold pizza on my friends’ balcony in Los Angeles that looks like it was ripped out of Architectural Digest and making me question my life choices.
Brother David’s - I am such a sucker for the strain blueberry muffin, which is why I picked up an eighth of this at Woody Harrelson’s dispensary-cum-consumption lounge, The Woods during my last visit to L.A. Somehow I missed that this is David Bronner’s cannabis brand (the grandson of the founder of Dr. Bronner’s soaps) in partnership with Flow Kana (which is not doing well right now) that has a feel-good, crunchy ethos supporting sustainable, sun-grown farmers as a non-profit to support “beyond organic” Sun+Earth certification. But I just looked it up, and it looks like this is curbed. So, uh, sorry you missed the moment.
Flowerhouse - OK enough about California. Let’s give a shout out to New York weed! Obviously I am very excited about Hudson Valley cannabis, but I was pleasantly surprised by how lovely and smooth the eighth of Grass Valley Girl I picked up at Housing Works Cannabis was. This high potency hybrid clocks in around 20% THC that I smoked before doing yoga and going on a really nice hike to icebox waterfalls the last time I was in the Catskills, so take that inspiration as you will.
Florist Farms - Another Hudson Valley newcomer, I picked up some of their Banana Runtz a couple months ago and really loved it (also, kind of on a Runtz hybrid kick lately after just finishing a very frosty Rainbow Runtz from Source). Florist Farms relies on regenerative agriculture practices for their vegetable and cannabis farms, which was a huge plus and evident in its incredibly fresh, aromatic and sticky bud.
Fume - This was a last-minute tack-on at Sweet Flower because it was on sale, but I was so happy that I was convinced to do it (as if anyone really needs to twist my arm). The Strawberry Bananaz from Santa Cruz Canna Farms is described as a “euphoric and uplifting experience that is perfect for a great day of adventuring” and that’s exactly what I did.
Tales & Travels - In typical Chicago fashion, you’ll pay a lot in taxes for everything—including weed—but I did not regret buying an eighth of Bear Dance during my last visit. This is one of those Frankenstein triple-hybrids that merges Pure Kush, Uzbekistan Hashplant, and Snow Cap but it’s a solid combo that works, delivering an uplifting, active, and social sativa-leaning blend perfect for summer.
93 Boyz: Good job, Vic Mensa! 93 Boyz is Chicago’s first Black-owned cannabis brand focused on giving back to the community (with pretty stellar bud to boot). Picking up a pack of Jet Fuel—a sativa hybrid of Aspen OG and High Country Diesel, this was a productive and uplifting strain for taking care of business.
Bongs, Bubblers, and Other Pipe Dreams
Wandering Bud - Not so long ago, Natalie sent me a messaging asking about bubblers. Admittedly, I hadn’t used one for a very long time. Bubblers are great because they rely on water vapor to deliver a smooth hit like bongs, but in a much more compact size. That said, it’s also very rare to find a cute one. Fortunately, this Kansas City woman-owned ceramics studio came on my radar and I am now officially obsessed with the Billie Bubbler (as well as this gorgeous new Whitney Manney collaboration). The handmade stacked design is eye catching and functional, but has a design-forward aesthetic that easily blends in with other bookcase knickknacks.
Lune Noire - I’ve had this elegantly minimalistic Félicie pipe from French lifestyle brand Lune Noire perched on this lovely vintage brass tray next to a container of lavender petals and decorative rolling papers for the past several months and it makes my desk look classy AF. The artisan-crafted black matte porcelain pipe rests on two gold holders and guaranteed to impress whomever you gift this to.
Vessel - Honestly, I love anything Vessel puts out, so I was not surprised that their newly released Pipe is a total stunner. Easily among the best classic pipes I’ve smoked out of. Aside from the strikingly elegant and sleek gold design, the bowl contains a double chamber to prevent the much-dreaded blowback of Scooby snacks and deliver a smoother hit.
Session Goods - Session Goods makes one of the best contemporary bongs, hands down. I’m partial to the frosted white Designer Bong (the new limited edition Glow version is also cool if you are into a lava lamp kitsch aesthetic) and appreciate the removable no-slip silicon bottom. Check it out on the conscious cannabis marketplace, Flowerhead.
Elevate Jane - The Chroma Mimi from Elevate Jane is also among the coolest bongs I’ve ever seen. Sleek and minimalistic, this is the type of bong that is begging to be on the coffee table of a mid-century modern household.
House of Puff - Discover how this woman- and Latina-owned accessories brand is elevating the weed witch lifestyle on the Pipe Dreams podcast with founder Kristina Lopez Adduci.
PAX - Dry herb vapes! I wrote a whole thing about PAX Plus, the dual-use, portable vaporizer that gives super smooth hits of flower or concentrate. You can read it here.
Go Easy - Have you ever wanted to smoke out of an iridescent cloud? Now you can! Go Easy, a woman-owned cannabis accessories brand, has a new Cloud Nine Pipe that comes in three dreamy finishes of premium borosilicate glass in a handheld cloud inspired by the great state of Texas—a place with terrible conservative-induced legislature but a growing cannabis scene! Also, at $50 this among the best budget-friendly pieces for the aspiring cannasseur.
Jenn Wilkinson - Chillums are another woefully neglected smokeable typically relegated to college-approved weedheads. Which is why I love this unique glass and polymer design from artist Jenn Wilkinson featuring hand-cut charms that brings a much-needed revamp to the whole category.
Rompotodo- I’ve been a longtime fan of this woman-owned, Argentinean-based ceramics studio best known for its cosmic geo pipes. It’s been so heart warming watching her brand grow from her home studio into a larger space where she and her friends handmake heart- and ghost-shaped pipes that they ship worldwide. This is a cute addition to your stash box because it’s made with love!
Ficus Ceramica - As a food writer, I am desperately wanting the whole Ficus Ceramica “Feast” collection and kind of embarrassed I don’t have it already. Iridescent oysters, bright king crab claws, adorable asparagus, and even fried chicken pipes make up an amazing functional art display and centerpiece for any cannabis-laced dinner party.
Field Trip - I always struggle with the price tag of objects that I am literally paying to burn, but these psychedelic printed organic rolling papers from Field Trip are so cute they’re worth the extra cash—as well as an incentive for those of you too timid to try your hand to learn (preferably on cheaper paper you can throw away).
Blazy Susan - Speaking of being bad at rolling, I am okay-ish at rolling blunts. So, at $1.49 for two Blazy Susan rose extract infused blunt papers, you can’t really go wrong giving it a try. Among the reasons you’d try beyond the obviously tempting rose flavor: blunts have a much slower, even burn than regular papers. Also, there’s the bonus of having cred for smoking blunts.
Papers + Ink - This brand came on my radar a few years ago at some cannabis event/party where I first spotted their chic assortment of original prints. Match your style with Modrian-inspired pop papers from Tuleste, Indica moon howl papers by Kerry Krogstad for nightly rituals, munchies-inducing sushi rolls, and dainty little vintage roses.
Z’s Life - Z’s Life makes fantastic rolling papers with durable, design-forward cases and built-in magnetic snap closures, but one of its most underrated features is its perfectly sized filters. I don’t understand why everyone has these massive filters built into their joint paper cases, but find myself frequently dipping into my Z’s for them when trying out other papers.
Edibles For Discerning Tastebuds
Klaus - I profiled cocktail impressario and writer Warren Bobrow in the edibles cover feature of Different Leaf, but in case you missed it, his brand Klaus is among the best tasting cannabis-infused canned beverages (that you can only get in California right now, womp womp). Bobrow is meticulous about his ingredient sourcing and does not shy away from amping up the terpene flavor profile. That includes the distinctively spicy Picketts ginger syrup, lime, and rice vinegar in the Mezzrole—an ode to Mezz Mezzrow and his infamous jazz cigarettes.
Tonic - I’ve been consistently impressed by this New York State cannabis brand, particularly their Chill Tonic tincture. But lately I’ve been blown away by their new line of high quality Flor de Maria CBD chocolates that come in flavors like lemongrass and ghost pepper caramel. More gourmet chocolates, please!
Sonder - Not to be confused with the hospitality company that shares the same name, Sonder is a California-based family-run cannabis company built with creativity and heart. The woman- and queer-led brand uses top-notch bud from the Emerald Triangle for its design-centric products that include infused pop rocks (or as they call the, “Space Crystals”) in flavors like peachy passion and stoned fruit.
Gron - Check out this line of premium gummies and chocolates from a “women-led band of visionaries” in Portland, Oregon founded by mother and architect-turned-chocolatier, Christine Smith. Using hand-harvested, Fair Trade cacao beans for their chocolates with add-ins like Jacobsen sea salt, it’s nice to see a craft product with wider availability in Arizona, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Oregon.
Malus - For the Cali sober curious, Malus is a non-alcoholic cider infused with fast-acting live resin. But don’t be wary of the live resin—these are only 3% THC, making them super easy to test drive microdosing with a familiar flavor profile.
Papa Barkley - As a longtime fan of Papa Barkley’s CBD capsules and relief balm, I was excited to try their line of ice water hash-infused gummies after hearing their praises from Christina Wong of Fruit + Flower. And they do not disappoint. Using single strain and farm-specific flavors, these high quality gummies are unmatched. Just be cautious: while flavors like Papaya Punch and Sour Guava Melon Berry taste as good they sound, each gummy is 10mg of THC that could easily send beginners into outer space.
Sweet Talk - Massachusetts is just a state over, but I really don’t get out there very much. So, you’ll have to forgive me on my limited knowledge of their edibles market (shout out to David Yusefzadeh of Plant Jam who is making killer ice creams though!). However, I did get a bar of this raspberry chocolate from Trulieve in my mailbox and thought it was pretty good—probably on par with Incredibles and about equal distribution value.
Koi - If you find common ingredients like menthol and capscium to be irritating for your skin, Koi’s full-spectrum CBD balm has none of these and a whole bounty of calming, fragrant essential oils instead: peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, sweet basil, lavender flower, ginger root, ravensara, cinnamon leaf, lemongrass, helichrysum, chamomile, and aloe. The balm—a mix of highly concentrated grapeseed oil, coconut oil, beeswax and hemp extract—has 3000 mg of hemp-derived CBD that instantly moisturizes and soothes aching muscles.
oHHo - oHHo’s Dream Cream is the standout winner of luxurious topicals, but their Repair Balm is the underrated hero. This stuff works magic on cracked, dry skin and cuts and bruises thanks to 1200 mg of full-spectrum CBD combined with shea butter, beeswax, and a bunch of fragrant essential oils including cypress oil, black pepper, camphor and cedarwood.
Kush Queen - Do you find yourself rubbing your own shoulders from sitting too long or carrying stress? Kush Queen’s Melt CBD Lotion is your new best friend. A little goes a long way with this lotion, featuring 100 mg of fast-acting CBD that does as it says: melts right into your skin. No grease, no residue. But plenty of essential oils! Get the full spectrum of meadowfoam seed, menthol, capsicum, white camphor, chamomile, eucalyptus, juniper, and about a dozen more.
Walala - I first tried this Japanese synthetic CBD luxury skincare line at the Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference and became instantly obsessed with their Repair Lotion toner and Point Cream. The toner is now an essential part of my daily skincare routine, which moisturizes as it purifies rather than drying out skin like most toners. The caveat, of course, is that you presently have order it from Japan in yen, which comes out to around $60.
Bloom Farms - I’m a little sad that Bloom Farms no longer sells its CBD Sport Stick, which was an amazing concentrated rollerball salve that massaged right into your sore spots. The upside is that they still have this 600 mg Relieve CBD lotion with a hypoallergenic, clinically tested formula that absorbs quickly to deliver instant relief.
Pachamama - Pachamama’s CBD Pain Cream landed in my lap several years ago, but as a testament to its longevity, it still holds up. Light and creamy, this 850 mg CBD cream melts into the skin with a cooling blend of menthol, Frankincense Oil, copaiba balsam, capsaicin, arnica flower, and eucalyptus to soothe tired muscles.
Moon Mother Hemp Co. - Give your skin the glow of the full moon with Moon Mother’s line of CBD-infused Renew Eye Serum and Glow Serum. Both of these formulas deliver a radiant, dewy glow and much-needed moisture for dry skin.
Eclectica and Etcetera
Rogue Paq - Class up your coffee table with a gold rolling tray worth showing off! This woman-owned cannabis accessories brand features high-quality wares with a sexy-meets-functional aesthetic. Pair with a pack of their cheeky Send Nudes matches and “Thank you for smoking” gold grinder because you deserve better than shitty caustic plastics with ugly weed leaf motifs.
Higher: The Lore, Legends, and Legacy of Cannabis - This new release from Dan Michaels offers a portrait of the 100 most popular strains, their lineage and cultivation, deep-dive global histories, and political evolution, making this a very 4/20 appropriate read.
Tulip - Now that you bought all this stuff, you need somewhere to stash it. These discreet, minimalistic lockboxes keep your stash odor-free and safe (especially handy for parents or people who live with roommates constantly dipping into their bud) and come equipped with modular jars and spaces to hold your wares.
Different Leaf Magazine - While I may be a little biased because I contribute here, I objectively think Different Leaf is among the best cannabis magazines on the market right now. The stories are informative and compelling, the graphics are amazing, and the culture is relatable for those of us who know there are communities and brands outside the bro-fest.
GanjapreneurGal apparel - Launching on 4/20 is this amazing woman-owned indie apparel brand featuring some of the coolest cannabis leaf-stamped jean jackets and bustiers worth wearing.
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What an excellent list of goodies!