A new monthly event in Palm Springs has launched aiming to be an open, welcoming space for the local cannabis community. Conceived by a cannabis entrepreneur, it is taking the scene by storm, as well as building a reputation as one of the desert’s most exciting new calendar fixtures.
When contemplating what a smoker’s paradise might be like in my imagination, it conjures some interesting and expectedly absurd images. Suffice to say, it would start with a private McDonald’s hatch where I can stock up on hamburgers 24 hours a day in my home, à la the Macaulay Culkin movie Richie Rich. For others, it might look more like Willy Wonka’s factory, with endless candy, or something even stranger, like a carnival scene out of American Horror Story.
But what is an actual Smoker’s Paradise?
Over the past couple of months since moving to Palm Springs, I have had the opportunity to visit a real-life one, and not only was it refreshingly different to other cannabis events I’ve been to, but I found it was genuinely striving to give something back to the cannabis community by opening its arms to anyone and everyone for its new event and giving us a place to enjoy something we love as a collective group.
Equal parts “sesh” (group smoking event), cannabis tasting event, Amsterdam-style coffee shop and live music show, this new night launched last month, and its impressive turnout matched an equally appealing vibe along with a smorgasbord of marijuana-themed madness.
There are some big name brands that attend the events, like 710 Labs, Grizzly Peak and Happy Fruit, who showcased incredibly tasty rosin-based gummies. The pineapple flavor was so delicious that I craved more just to satisfy my sweet tooth, regardless of the THC that was very obviously present.
Taking place at Green Dragon dispensary lounge above the main shop, the event provided food for thought – from incredible edibles, to my first dab on a Puffco, to a hash hole – a blunt containing rosin, hash and flower – which absolutely melted my face off.
Speaking to the organizer, who goes by the name Alfredo, I wanted to find out more about what drove him to create it. “I discovered there was a sore lack of cannabis culture like where I’m from in the Orange County area.”
After relocating to the Coachella Valley to work with cannabis company Grizzly Peak, he had a single goal in mind: to build a culture of like minded folks who want to get together to sesh and appreciate amazing terps.
Taking its name from a song penned by his father’s rap group, Spanish Fly, the idea was gestating in Alfredo’s mind for some time prior to this. “I created the concept when I lived in the OC where I worked at a local shop called From The Earth.
I had a vision of a fun, welcoming environment for fellow stoners. Our first night launched last month, and our Halloween-themed one taking place on 27th October will be the next thing we’re putting on.
The aim is to have new brands every month with new terps and flavors for everyone to try out. We want this to be something which offers new experiences, fresh music, great weed and socializing, and good times together with people – something which tends to get forgotten in today’s culture.”
“After being transferred to work here and not having many friends in a new area, I figured, what better way could there be to get to know people than build relationships with other sales reps doing the same thing as me?
We quickly realized we had more control of the scene than we thought, and could harness the power of our brands to reach new parts of the community who want to come and enjoy live events and experience this culture with us.”
While admission to the first event was free, the upcoming event will cost $3.00 per entry, however this is only to cover water and unlimited snacks for anyone who wants to come by. Personally, I was taken aback at how much rosin was available while my wife and I checked it out the launch night, evidence that this potent goo is becoming more prominent in the scene than ever.
Trying a quick dab from 710 Labs at the event, I was blown away by the smoothness and quality of the flavor experience. This was a sample of their special strain, Ode to Riley, named after an in-house grower who passed away.
Following his death, other fellow growers at the company banded together to create this flavor in his memory, and what a dedication it is. At once fruity, and pungently piney, the short but enjoyable moment completely changed how I look at dabbing, and where I had previously felt as though I could be experiencing some kind of violent death after taking a dab, this was by far a more gentle and pleasing experience.
That’s what makes this place so special – you may stop in just to see what’s around and who’s out for the evening, but you could also leave with your mind totally changed after tasting something new and wonderful.
The final thing I wanted to get the lowdown on was why there are so many public spaces, or smoking lounges in the desert, compared to cities like Los Angeles or New York where they are few and far between.
“That’s a great question!” Alfredo almost breaks out into spontaneous laughter when I ask this, drawing deeply on his freshly-rolled hash hole while contemplating the answer. “Living in OC and LA my whole life, I always admired the love and acceptance for weed that Palm Springs offers. It’s amazing! That was the driving factor to why I’m here today. The Bureau of Cannabis Control declares certain zones that allow lounges, according to each city.
For some unknown reason, which I would love to know more about, Palm Springs was the first to open these types of places. After that it slowly became more acceptable, and I have heard Costa Mesa has just now started to allow the first venues to open. I’m super stoked to see where the scene goes from here.”
Dr. Strainlove is a long time lover of fine weed and is always hunting for the latest and greatest strains. His search has taken him from the Coffeeshops of Amsterdam to the boutique dispensaries of California, and lots of other places in between. He loves making music, playing video games, and using marijuana to ponder the mysteries of the universe. When he’s not doing those things, he enjoys spending time with his wife and cat.