Cash Only’s 420 Recs: Emily Eizen, Artist and Model

Emily Eizen is a multimedia artist whose 420-tinted work spans painting, sculpture, photography, and design. Her oeuvre is interdisciplinary, but her MO ties it all together: “My message was, and still is, focused on showcasing the beauty and diversity of cannabis users and culture.” Can we get a hell yeah?

Her practice takes cues from classic ‘60s psychedelia while updating those aesthetic tropes for 2023 and beyond. This rings loud and clear through her dedication to showcasing queer and marginalized folks both inside her frames and outside ‘em, while still maintaining a vibrant, playful, pop attitude in all her various projects. 

Outside the studio, Eizen contributes photos for publications we’re near and dear to, including High Times and Playboy, as well as serves as the Creative Director of alcohol-free beverage brand bonbuz. 

Lucky for us, the talented artist made some time to indulge our questions about her relationship with the plant. Below, Eizen sounds off on her love of citrus-y strains, her dream to collaborate with Seth Rogen’s Houseplant, and the visual artists who’ve inspired her most over the years. Thanks, Emily!

Courtesy of Emily Eizen

What was your first time smoking weed like? How old were you and what was the context? 

Emily Eizen: My first time smoking weed was in the bathroom of my college dorm room with my best friend and roommate. I was 18. It was honestly magical. It felt like my creativity as an artist finally made sense and I felt so connected to art, music, and everything beyond my essays in political science. 

When it comes to consumption, what’s your day-to-day relationship with the plant like these days? 

My relationship with the plant today is daily. Ideally, I would like to be smoking mostly at night, unless I need a little inspiration for my work. I have been one of those “all day every day” type stoners, but this new year I feel like I need to decrease my intake so that when I do smoke, it’s more special. 

Emily Eizen photographed by Tae Royál

Do you have any favorite weed strains or farms? How do you like to consume ‘em? (Bong, joint, etc.)  

I almost exclusively smoke joints. I don’t discriminate between strains, but have preferences based on mood/occasion. During the day or for creative and energetic purposes, I love a citrusy sativa like Tangie or Jack Herer. At night, any dessert-y indica is amazing.  

Do you have any favorite weed products — any particular papers, grinders, or whatever? 

I love my gloopy ashtray from Houseplant. It’s an amazing piece of art and a conversation piece. It is the only ashtray I have that actually keeps all the ash off of my vintage coffee table. My favorite papers are classic RAW papers or cones. If I’m feeling like it’s a special occasion, a hemp wrap blunt with a glass tip is my go-to. 

Emily Eizen photographed by Emily Rose Krouse

How does cannabis influence your art practice? Do you consume prior to creating? Does it enhance or hinder any parts of your creative process?

In the beginning, cannabis was extremely important to my practice and often made a physical appearance in my work. My message was, and still is, focused on showcasing the beauty and diversity of cannabis users and culture. As I evolve as an artist and a person, I don’t need weed to make an actual appearance in my work. I’m more focused on creating editorial photography in the mainstream world, but I still use cannabis to inspire my concepts and ideas.

Do you have any favorite artists who speak to you specifically when you’re stoned? Sativa-inspired Stendhal Syndrome, so to speak.

I will forever cherish the works of Andy Warhol and Keith Haring as two queer men who used art to send a message, but also branded themselves extremely well and made art into a business. In terms of being faded and enjoying art, I just visited the Palm Springs Art Museum and saw very trippy works by an artist named Phillip K. Smith III. I’m inspired by his use of light and color. 

Artwork by Emily Eizen

Do you have any white whales or dream collaborators within the weed world — particular people or companies you’d love to work with on a custom project?

Houseplant, for sure. I think everything they make is so awesome. I would also love to work with any female celebrity venturing into the cannabis industry. I’ve seen lots of cannabis brands started by male celebs but not many women. Rico Nasty, I’m looking at you!

Do you like to do any particular activities after you’ve gotten stoned? (Could be anything! A hike, a restaurant, digging on eBay for x, etc.) 

Hotboxing my car and going to the movies.

Can you recommend something to watch while stoned?

Across the Universe.

What do you like to listen to after smoking? Any albums, radio shows, or podcasts?

SZA’s new album is the perfect smoking and listening experience. 

Can you recommend something to read after smoking?

Broccoli Magazine.

Emily Eizen photographed by Jon Haloossim

Do you think weed is considered “cool” amongst young people right now? Why or why not? 

I think cool is the wrong word, I think it’s definitely accepted as normal. What I have noticed, too, is a lot of young people being Cali sober or completely sober, or gravitating towards mushrooms to help with depression and anxiety. 

Who’s in your dream blunt rotation? Dead or alive!

Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Andy Warhol, and Ilana Glazer.

Any upcoming products, events, or projects you’d like to plug?

Keep an eye out for my solo art show coming this year!

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Cash Only’s 420 Recs: Adult Performer Valentina Bellucci

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For this week’s Cash Only, we have an easy, breezy interview with the Italian adult performer, producer, and StepHouseXXX studio head, Valentina Bellucci

In case you’re not familiar, StepHouseXXX is a fresh erotica imprint that features up-and-coming amateurs alongside industry MVPs with a focus on the “taboo” genre. Recent scenes showcase talent like Melanie Hicks, London Rose, Paris Knight, and Valentina herself. Despite being a nascent studio, it was just nominated for an AVN Award (the adult equivalent of an Oscar) in the category of Best New Production Banner — big ups!

And while Valentina is also fairly recent to the adult industry, getting her start with solo videos in 2020, she’s skyrocketed into notoriety, with dozens of her videos surpassing a million views on tube sites like xVideos and Pornhub. An admirable feat, to be sure! 

The adult entertainer is also 420-friendly, though she is a steadfast edibles fan who doesn’t like to smoke. In our conversation below, Valentina discusses how sticking to infused food saves money, explains why she won’t consume THC until after a shoot has wrapped, and notes which politicians, musicians, athletes, and pornstars she would love to have a sesh with. Thanks Valentina!

Do you have a current favorite weed strain? How do you like to consume it?

Valentina Bellucci: I usually go for hybrids or sativas. Even before sleep hybrids usually work well for me. I have a few favorite brands like CAMP, WYLD, and Incredibles. I only use edibles. I never was a smoker and smoking joints or bongs don’t work well for me. Occasionally I will hit a vape pen, but with such a big selection of edibles, I stick to them. I buy pretty much all edibles. Gummies, droppers, infused drinks, chocolate bars, and capsules. Also, I have a pretty high tolerance when it comes to edibles so I’m not really worried about them hitting me too much. 

Do you have any favorite weed products — any particular papers, grinders, or whatever?

Not really, because as I mentioned before I mainly use edibles so I don’t need any extra products. Now when I think about it, I’m realizing that I probably save some money this way! 


Do you use weed prior to making adult content? How does it benefit or influence how you perform? 

No, I don’t. Whenever I shoot or direct, I am 100% sober and I am never under the influence of anything. With that being said, weed is a great way to relax after a long day at work. Not using anything before the shoot makes it even better and more rewarding when everything is done. 

What activity do you like to do after you’ve gotten stoned? 

I can do pretty much everything when I’m stoned. I’m actually quite productive. I usually work out, hike, work on new scripts/ideas for StepHouse, review edited videos from my shoots, or do some computer work. I try to stay away from food and restaurants because as everyone who likes weed probably knows, munchies can be one of the bigger side effects, especially when you try to stay in shape. 

Can you recommend something to watch while stoned?

Lately, I watched Man vs. Bee with Rowan Atkinson and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to get stoned, relax, and laugh for a good couple of hours. 

What do you like to listen to after smoking? Any albums, radio shows, or podcasts?

I prefer to watch TV series or movies, but I also listen to chill music, occasionally jazz, and some podcasts. I really recommend Lisa Ann’s “Dudes Do Better” podcast, not only because I was a guest recently, but because I listened to a few episodes and got hooked. Lisa is doing a great job as a podcast host and it’s definitely a podcast that a lot of people will find very interesting.

Can you recommend something to read after smoking? 

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It’s a very interesting book about self-freedom. I also have two dogs, so I read a lot about dog behavior and training. 

Who’s in your dream blunt rotation? Dead or alive!

In the adult industry, that would be Tera Patrick, Lisa Ann, and Angela White. Music: Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, and Louis Armstrong. Politics: Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Sports: Nate Diaz and LeBron James. Realistically, I’d be super happy if I had an opportunity to smoke with even one of the people from this list who are still alive. Hopefully, one day it will happen! 

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Cash Only’s 420 Recs: Tobias, Musician

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For today’s Cash Only interview, we have the up-and-coming musician Tobias here to talk THC. In November, the young gun dropped the very excellent LP Two Birds on True Panther Sounds, the record label where I cut my teeth as an intern in 2010 (shout-out Dean Bein!).

The album wistfully mixes shoegaze, bedroom indie, and math-y guitar licks that make me think of Algernon Cadwallader. It’s a great autumn/winter listen, perfect for long walks accompanied by a big spliff. I don’t want to cosplay as a music critic, so why don’t you give it a rinse yourself here. Tobias says it’s a “kind of mission statement… borne of seclusion and intense contemplation,” which feels on point, especially after we exchanged some emails about their complicated relationship with weed.

In our interview, Tobias touched on some interesting ideas regarding the negative sides of cannabis consumption, some of which resonated with me heavily. For example, they explained how weed can flare up their OCD symptoms, but other times it can give them “intense relief” from the psychological disorder. I, too, have OCD and have found that the plant is either the best panacea for how my OCD manifests… or it dramatically enhances the condition’s effects.

Tobias also noted how being stoned “makes the concept of being in a human body incredibly disturbing,” yet the “abject terror” of getting too high can be humbling, as well. I fully agree, my dude! You ever watch Videodrome after ripping the bong?

Overall, I really enjoyed hearing about Tobias’ love-hate relationship with the plant because it emphasizes that there is no one-size-fits-all quality to cannabis. Share a joint with anyone and your bliss might be their nightmare. The musician also described getting so high their first time smoking that they thought they were a dolphin (literally making “ack ack ack” sounds), and mentions how they eat Kit Kats like a hamster when lost in the infused sauce. Thanks, Tobias!

What was your first time smoking weed like? How old were you and what was the context?

Tobias: The first time I smoked weed, I was 15-years-old (too young), but it was incredible. I had full-on psychosis and thought I was a dolphin. I was flopping in a chair like a dolphin and going “ack ack ack ack” like a dolphin. Music sounded terrible, though. I was at my parents’ house, hanging in the basement.

What’s your current relationship with the plant like? Are you a regular user? Casual dabbler?

I was pretty addicted in the past. I had used it to stay off of harder substances as I’m an addict of really whatever scratches the itch until it doesn’t. I was smoking an 8th to a quarter a day up until June 2022. Now I smoke like a spliff a day and have a panic attack from it. I have pretty bad obsessive compulsive disorder and weed flares it up really bad, but I also use it for chronic pain and I find the abject terror of it humbles me. Sometimes, randomly, it’ll give me intense relief from the OCD; it’s kinda a crapshoot.

Also, once the pure horror of it resolves, I’m very relaxed and play Fortnite for like three hours straight. Also, not sure if you all have heard about this, but I’ve read a study that when chronic users take tolerance breaks, their THC tolerance hits a wall and can’t really come back down, but the chemical that makes you panic completely refreshes, leaving you unable to get high the same way… but you still having panic attacks. Interesting stuff. Might be pseudo science, but it echoes a lot of sentiments I’ve heard from long-time users. 

Do you have a current favorite weed strain? How do you like to consume it? (Bong, joint, etc.)

I like anything that has an intensely sedative effect. I don’t use weed so much for creativity; I use it to sleep and reduce inflammation in my body. I like to smoke spliffs with fronto, but since I left New York, I just smoke cigarette tobacco spliffs. I used to like Backwoods, but they were giving me the lung health of a decades-long cigarette smoker.

Do you have any favorite weed products — any particular papers, grinders, or whatever?

Not really, I buy Rick and Morty grinders and stuff like that because I find it funny. Papers-wise, I’ll smoke anything that’s not bleached.

Do you think music sounds better or different after smoking? How does it affect the listening experience for you?

Honestly, no. Since I turned about 17, weed makes me hyper critical of all media I consume. Even the first time I smoked weed — which was giving me thought loops and hallucinations that were incredibly intense — music was very underwhelming. I found Clams Casino a few times smoking after that though, and that was crazy. 

Do you use weed to aid you creatively in any ways — whether while writing songs, performing live, or winding down after a studio session or concert?

Not so much. I use it to regulate my chronic pain because recording is very taxing, but it ends up having me fight through so many critical thoughts about whatever I’m making. If I smoke weed before I get on stage, I actually hallucinate voices telling me I’m doing a terrible job and need to just stop. So I stopped smoking weed before any shows or public appearances.

Do you like to do any particular activities after you’ve gotten stoned? (Could be anything! A hike, a restaurant, digging on eBay for x, etc.)

I like to go outside or play video games, especially an immersive RPG. I also end up eating Kit Kats like a hamster. Very strange behavior.

Can you recommend something to watch while stoned?

Banjo Gyro on YouTube. The Pond by madcatlady. Also Twin Peaks season three, or Slacker by Richard Linklater.

What do you like to listen to after smoking? Any albums, radio shows, or podcasts?

10 Hour Descending Shepard’s Tone on Youtube or Roblox Oof Noise Reversed. I’ll replay those with my mouth agape like a mutant, but if I’m in a more serious mood: Super AE by Boredoms, or Hold Your Horse Is by Hella.

Can you recommend something to read after smoking?

Powers of Horror by Julia Kristeva. It’s sort of a purposeful freak out recommendation, but I like to torture myself psychologically when I’m high like a lab rat. I think it also makes more sense when I’m stoned because something about being high on weed makes the concept of being in a human body incredibly disturbing.

Do you think weed is “cool”? What aspects are cool versus corny?

It’s frustrating to me whenever something as spiritual as a psychotropic/psychedelic substance enters the binary of cool vs. corny out of its control. A lot of weed culture is arguably corny because it deems itself cool. I think being “cool” is also corny and played out. I play Fortnite and wear Minions merch. Being cool is a psychological operation to get you to consume more or co-opt movements in a way that removes them from their original purpose. That being said, I find cannabis as a plant very beautiful and interesting. The way THC developed as a defense mechanism for the plant itself is kind of mind-blowing. Also, respect to anyone making a living out of it off the books, and free everyone wrongfully imprisoned for anything weed-related.

Who’s in your dream blunt rotation? Dead or alive!

My girlfriend, my band, EYE from Boredoms, Grouper, Phil Elverum, Roberta Flack, Zach Hill, Rob Crow, Dean Blunt, the entirety of Coaltar of the Deepers, Robert Pattinson, Max Roach, Townes van Zandt, DJ Screw, and James Gandolfini.

What upcoming projects do you have on the horizon?

I’m always working on records, but besides that I have a couple music videos coming out soon.

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Cash Only’s 420 Recs: Sackville Founders Lana Van Brunt & Haley Dineen

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In nearly every Cash Only interview, I ask subjects to recommend their favorite piece of weed ephemera, whether a particular pipe, grinder, or rolling paper brand. Time and time again, the artists and pot entrepreneurs featured here give a big ‘ol shout to New York’s own Sackville & Co. — and for good reason: Sackville is one of the coolest design-dedicated cannabis lifestyle brands doing it on the East Coast. 

Founded by Hayley Dineen and Lana Van Brunt in 2018, Sackville & Co. aims to create art objects, not mere smoking accessories, yet their products are still affordable without sacrificing on quality or elegance. Choice items they make include the Big Apple Grinder, a Crystal Ball Pipe, and their infamous Gilded Grinder, which is hands-down one of the finest pot pulverizers I’ve had the pleasure of using.

And with Sackville Studios, their product design and production studio, the duo has developed a true multidisciplinary marijuana brand and collaborated on projects with the likes of Playboy, Miss Grass, Curaleaf, GZA, Killer Mike, and other lit luminaries. 

Since Sackville regularly gets the head nod in our interviews, and I’m a personal fan, it felt like time to feature Hayley and Lana in our 420 Recs series. Unsurprisingly, the stylish and thoughtful founders came correct with some killer musings on terpene-rich flower (particularly strains with lots of limonene), details about the aesthetic inspirations for their very visually-unique branding, and the memorable idea that weed “doesn’t need to be cool or not; it finally just is.” 

Thanks Hayley and Lana, you’re both shepherding NYC cannabis culture in the right direction at a time when we need real heads to carve the path ahead!

Photo by Christina Stoever

What was your first time smoking weed like? How old were you and what was the context? 

Lana Van Brunt: I grew up in a super small town so my first time smoking weed was legit at a playground behind my junior high. I don’t fully remember the context, but I do remember hacking my lungs out after one puff and not wanting to smoke again for a long time after that. 

Hayley Dineen: My first time smoking weed was in my friend’s basement in high school. We raided her parents’ cantina and watched movies — hell of a time.

When it comes to consumption, what’s your day-to-day relationship with the plant like these days? 

Lana: I smoke every day. It’s become such an important part of my self-care routine, ending my nights with a joint grounds me and allows me to shake off the stress of the day. I also use cannabis medicinally, primarily for headaches and body aches (topically) if they arise. And lastly, cannabis is my preferred social tonic over alcohol any day.

Hayley: I also consume daily. For me, as a parent, cannabis has become a great tool in my arsenal to de-stress and be more present. I find I search out more low-THC goods (beverages, gummies, and flower) as it makes me feel great without feeling out of control. 

Photo by Peter Fisher

Do you have any favorite weed strains or farms? How do you like to consume ‘em? 

Lana: I’m a sativa girl all the way and really curate my weed to have terpene-rich blends that are fun, uplifting, and energetic for nights out — like limonene. I’m in a smoking phase, so I love to roll a joint or stuff a cone for my evening night cap!

Hayley: I agree with Lana, love a good sativa! Mango Haze has always been a fav strain of mine, and generally I love terpene-rich cannabis that leans towards limonene and pinene!

Do you have any favorite weed products — any particular papers, grinders, or whatever? Maybe shoutout one Sackville product and one from another brand!

Lana: Hayley and I are loving Miss Grass’ Fast Times pre-rolled joints; they’re honestly the perfect vibe for a night out. When I’m rolling a joint at home, I cannot live without our Gilded Grinder and pre-rolled cones. I promise you: Once you start grinding with the Gilded Grinder, you won’t be able to use anything else. The flower comes out so fluffy, and because the Gilded is on the larger side, the grinder feels great in your hands when you are grinding. Lastly, I use our cones with the Gilded Grinder because you can scoop right out of the base of the grinder to stuff a cone, so it’s an all-in-one piece! 

Hayley: Yes we do LOVE the Miss Grass Fast Times joints! They are great. Honestly, once we started making our own cannabis accessories, there was no way I could use any others because we really did spend so much time perfecting them to have the perfect hand feel, the perfect grinder/smoke, and be appealing to the eye! I use my Gilded Grinder and Crystal Ball pipe daily!

Photo by Christina Stoever

One thing I appreciate about Sackville is how it doesn’t feel green-washed or like it’s pandering to the mainstream by sanitizing the content and aesthetics. This even includes the casual nudity in the product photos on your website. Can you tell me about how you approached the visual aesthetic of the brand — what your goals were, what other brands were inspirations, etc.?

Lana & Hayley: Oooo this is a big question, we’ll try to keep it concise because we could talk about this forever! First of all, thank you for noticing that — we have always felt like our aesthetic was left out of the cannabis industry. It felt like when you saw sexual imagery, it was always through a male gaze that didn’t feel like the women/people pictured had much agency or the power dynamics were just off.

We wanted to create a brand with Sackville that really spoke to feeling empowered in your choices — free to make the choice to consume cannabis, as well as our choice to show up as you truly are, on your own terms. With our photography, we wanted to play with sexuality through our own lens, and showcase what empowered branding can look like in cannabis. It’s important to us that we create a space where women, men, and non-binary people feel un-judged and safe to explore cannabis.

Sackville Studios has already collaborated with some iconic brands, including Playboy. Do you have any white whales or dream collaborators — particular people or companies you’d love to work with on a custom product?

Lana & Hayley: We have a never ending dream list for Sackville Studios and Sackville & Co.! We would obviously LOVE to collaborate with Rihanna — she is such a pinnacle of style, art, and creativity. It would be incredible to do something with her.

We really love working with brands that want to take a stand in the space and show up in a new way. I think as cannabis consumption becomes more and more commonplace, there will be more exciting opportunities for us to work with brands that haven’t felt comfortable yet in cannabis.

Photo by Peter Fisher

Do you like to do any particular activities after you’ve gotten stoned?

Lana: This really depends on the day for me. When times are really busy and I can’t quite get all the work I need to do in the day, I like to leave all my really tedious tasks to the evening, spark up a joint, and get down with Excel haha. On less boring days, I love smoking a joint while on a walk with my dog. It makes the neighborhood so much more peaceful and interesting. 10/10 for vibes.

Hayley: Getting high can make a lot of activities more fun — like cleaning lol. But ideally, I love doing creative things while stoned like making food, sewing, or listening to music, etc.

Can you recommend something to watch after consuming?

Lana: I smoke every night, so I’m stoned while watching everything haha. Everything’s better when stoned EXCEPT I can’t get down with scary movies or psychological thriller stuff. I’m here for the vibes only and that just ain’t it. Best recommendations for a good time are Love Is Blind, Breeders, and Shark Tank!

Hayley: I LOVE watching Tiny Desk concerts stoned, or watching ‘90s/2000s music videos — top notch music video era. They are IDEAL for stoned viewing.

What do you like to listen to after smoking? Any albums, radio shows, or podcasts?

Lana: I love listening to music. Once upon a time, I used to throw parties for VICE and searching for upcoming artists was such a big part of that job that I still spend time doing that to this day. It’s definitely a hobby for me, and getting into rabbit holes is easy for me. You start out with one song and follow the feature, to the next song, to the next artist, etc. and before you know it… it’s late AF and you need to go to bed! 

Hayley: I am a big podcast listener, I really like political podcasts. I’ve actually started getting into Master Class which you can listen to as a podcast cause it makes me feel like I’m educating myself!

Photo by Christina Stoever

Can you recommend something to read after smoking?

Lana: I don’t read as much as I would like to, so maybe y’all can recommend something for me to read haha. That said, I read a few books by Colleen Hoover recently, and they’re so good I think I cried every time. So, if you don’t want to cry, don’t read those lol

Hayley: I wish I read more, but the last book I read was Women Who Run With Wolves, which is a really great book to sink into!

Do you think weed is considered “cool” amongst young people in NYC right now? Why or why not? 

Lana: I think the cool thing about weed now is that it doesn’t need to be cool or not, it finally just is. It’s now a viable option to be a part of your mental health support, physical support, party vibes, Sunday brunch, or whatever you want it to be. So people can now curate and have fun with the experience vs. have to hang on to the simple act of smoking weed to be what’s cool. 

Hayley: I think people are much more open and communicative about doing what makes them feel good, supports their lifestyle, and aligns with their values. Weed has always played a big role in people’s life and I think people are just feeling happy that they don’t have to hide that part of themselves anymore.

Who’s in your dream blunt rotation? Dead or alive!

Lana: Rihanna, Emma Grede, Jimmy Iovine, Adele. 

Hayley: Rihanna, Cher, Ilana Glazer, and AOC.

Photo by Peter Fisher

Any upcoming products, events, or projects you’d like to plug?

Lana: We recently launched an NFT Collectible on TYB and gets you access to the Sackville Social Club. We release exclusive products, fun discounts, and access to brands we love around NYC, restaurants, concerts, so much fun stuff, so buy the Collectible and join! We also have so much cool shit happening in 2023, follow us for more updates!

Hayley: We really do have SO much coming down the pipeline for 2023 — it’s an exciting time! Just stay tuned, we will be releasing a ton of great new products and have some amazing collabs coming out that we can’t wait to share with the world! So keep your eyes peeled and join our mailing list!

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Cash Only’s 420 Recs: Maya Kendrick, Adult Film Star

Maya Kendrick is a cool ass stoner chick based in L.A., who’s known for her adult film work. We met through mutual friends and I quickly became a fan of her Instagram, which features snapshots from her mellow day-to-day life — hitting the bong, hanging with the cats, lots of hot girl ring light selfies, etc.

Maya entered the smut industry in 2016 and has appeared in hundreds of scenes and movies since. She took a brief hiatus from working this past November to “get mommy milkers” — as she explained on Twitter — so we thought now would be a good time to publish a very fun conversation with the performer and pot lover.

Over the course of an hour phone call, Maya explained how smoking weed in high school felt like a totally different high, bravely admitted that she doesn’t know how to roll joints, and also detailed the first time she tried DMT. She was accompanied by some trippy scientists at a crypto conference, and the bros blabbed about shooting mice with lasers while she laughed her ass off throughout the trip. 

This was a very fun conversation with a very lovely person — thanks Maya!

What was your first time smoking weed like?

Maya Kendrick: My first time smoking weed was on a trail in the park across from my house with a bunch of my friends during the summer after eighth grade. It was in Washington State. So we were smoking weed out of an Arizona Iced Tea can and I remember being very paranoid cuz there was some sort of park maintenance person whose truck was parked nearby. They were wandering around the area and I was like, “We’re gonna get arrested by this park ranger for smoking weed!” I was so scared for absolutely no reason. That man definitely didn’t give a shit.

Did you get stoned during this first time smoking?

I was slightly high, but I was more just in love with the experience of doing something I wasn’t supposed to. I had been so eager to rebel in some fashion. And then the second time I smoked weed was out of a cheap purple plastic bubbler. And that time I got insanely high. I did enjoy the experience. I wasn’t scared or paranoid or anything. I just had a great time, and everything was a million times funnier. I was happy.

Did it become a regular part of your life from then on?

Every Saturday, when I hung out with my friends, we would try to sneak away from whoever’s parents and smoke. We would sit under a blanket on a deck and hotbox it. Back then, we’d get so stoned. Like fucked up. Getting stoned in high school feels like a different drug. It’s different and I wish I could get that stoned now. I have a vivid memory of being high in high school and one of my friends drove me to my house so that I could pick up clothes, and we were already high. And when I left, I kissed my mom on the mouth. I was so stoned, that it seemed normal. I didn’t know how to operate my body normally. And I was like, “She’s going to know I’m high. I haven’t kissed her on the mouth in like eight years!” [laughs]

What’s your day-to-day consumption like today?

Some days I wake up and start smoking right away. Other days, I wait until later in the afternoon. Generally, now, any type of weed I smoke makes me tired. Even if I’m smoking sativas, it makes me sleepy unless I’m also on Adderall. How weed affects me just changed maybe like a year and a half or two years ago. Before, I used to be able to dab. I used to exclusively dab for years. I still do it occasionally, but I don’t do it as my main method of consumption anymore. I feel like I have no tolerance these days. I will smoke a sativa joint and be like, “I need to take a nap. I’m kind of sleepy.”

What’s your preferred way to consume these days?

I smoke out of a bong and I vape a lot. I can’t roll anything, and I’ve never been able to roll anything. And now I feel that that ship has sailed. I live in a state that sells pre-rolls, so why try now? I admire other people who can roll, though. I genuinely think of it as a skill set. My hands just are too dumb — it’s not gonna happen.

Do you have a preferred type of flower, whether a specific strain or just a certain flavor profile?

I actually don’t. I kind of like everything [laughs]. I’ve always just been like, “The more weed, the merrier.” I’ve never had a favorite anything. I like it all. I’ve never felt like, “Oh I want to be this specific type of high.” I’m willing to gamble.

Where do you buy weed in L.A.? Any particular dispensary?

For years, I went to this dispensary deep in the Valley in a strip mall that had no signage or anything. It just said “dispensary.” All the girls there were so hot and I became friends with them all; it still makes me mad that I never got any of their Instagrams. Now, they’re just, like, in the wind. This dispensary didn’t tax anything, and I’m pretty sure they were just very, very sketchy. But the weed was great and reliable. And I went there literally once a week for two and a half, maybe three years. Then I went back one time and everything was gone and it was just boarded up.

What about today? Where do you get your weed?

I immediately pivoted to ordering delivery. Grass Door is my preferred dispensary for delivery. It’s just so easy. They also have sales all the time and I love a sale. It makes me feel better about buying a dumb amount of weed. I’ll buy a few half ounces of different stuff and then I’ll get a few disposable vapes. Sometimes I smoke less weed when I’m busier. Some days, I’ll smoke an eighth. I haven’t smoked flower in like three days. I occasionally try to take a tolerance break. It used to be so hard for me. I couldn’t even think about not smoking for like two days. Today, though, I can take a break if I’m busy — that’s easy. I’ve definitely matured in my relationship with weed, whereas before, I was just like dabbing all day, every day.

Are there any types of weed products, like ephemera, grinders, or pipes that you like?

I really like my grinder. It’s from Sackville and Co. It’s the one that doesn’t have a kief catcher. It’s my favorite. I’ve had it for like a year and a half, and it’s indestructible. I like that you don’t have to grind up weed everyday. I’ll just grind up weed every three days and it will fill the grinder. It was the biggest barrier in getting me to transition from dabbing to flower. I was like, “I have to make myself enjoy this. So let’s get a bong that I like. Let’s get a grinder that I like.” Then it was easier to transition into using flower regularly.

Do you just stick to weed, or do you like psychedelics, too?

I do psychedelics sometimes. I did shrooms once in high school and had a really great experience with it. I just don’t take them regularly because they’re time-consuming. I did acid for the first time last September, and I was super wary of it. I was really nervous. So I only took like half a tab and then like basically nothing happened. Occasionally, I’d be like, “The ground looks a little weird.” [laughs] I’d be into trying more now. I’m no longer scared. 

And then I tried DMT for the first time that same night, and I really liked it. I hit a DMT vape pen. I was at a mountain retreat in Denver after a crypto conference. This guy was really selling me on DMT because he was very into it. He said it only lasts 20 minutes and if you don’t like it, you don’t hit the vape again. So I tried it. I don’t really mind that it tastes like plastic; I can get over that [laughs]. And I had the BEST evening. We were sitting on this deck in the Colorado wilderness watching the sunset and I vaped DMT for like three hours. It was so fun and so funny. 

I didn’t really know any of the people I was with, and they were mostly these insane scientists talking about experiments they used to do on mice where they would shoot them with certain lasers. I was just sitting there laughing — it was funny that they were talking about their actual jobs as scientists. I was just like, “I don’t know why I’m here. I do porn. I am so unqualified to be listening to your science experiment talk.” So I just sat there, did more DMT, looked at my hands, and cracked up. “Thanks for the DMT, babes!” You know?

I’m curious if weed plays a role when you’re performing in adult films. Do you ever smoke before getting to set?

Yeah, I definitely have. I used to always dab before set because by the time my makeup was done, I wouldn’t be as high anymore. I was like, “I’ll just sit there really high and get my makeup done for an hour and a half and then I’ll be slightly less high and I’ll go to work.” So I used to do that all the time. Now I will vape outside on set. But for a long time, I didn’t smoke weed on set because the producers were so strict, specifically like with the girls.

Was it a consent issue thing? Like they were worried you’d be incapacitated or something?

They were worried that I would be a worse performer. They were not worried about consent. They were worried that my performance would suffer. They were more worried my eyes would look fucked up [laughs].

Does weed make you perform differently?

Sometimes it’d make me more comfortable. Like, I can do everything that I can do sober when I am stoned, you know? I don’t think it’s great if I’m doing scenes where I have to do tons of dialogue and acting — weed won’t help me reach my peak performance. But for gonzo stuff, I don’t think it affects me negatively. It’s almost like a background thing. I can be high and do high-performance sex; that’s not an issue. After all, I used to smoke weed at six in the morning and then go to the gym with my old porn agent.

What about in your personal life? Does weed make sex more enjoyable for you?

Yeah. I think I like both. There’s definitely some times when I’d like my head to be as clear as possible. I like being high when I have sex and I like being sober when I have sex. I feel like I do both equally. I smoke weed more before I do escorting work — way more than I smoke weed before shooting porn. I’m generally an anxious person. So whenever I smoke weed, I am typically more relaxed. I was never anxious on set, but I can be when meeting a client. So I usually smoke a little bit before meeting them to calm my own nerves. Not that there’s anything to be nervous about. I’m just a nervous type of person [laughs]. Porn made me nervous during the first 30 scenes or whatever, and now it’s 300 later so I’m not nervous doing it anymore.


What activity do you like to do after you’ve gotten stoned?

I like to do the dishes and laundry when I’m really high. Dishes are my favorite calming activity after I’ve gotten too stoned. Sometimes if I’m really high, I’ll just walk into the kitchen and while it wasn’t my intention to do them, that’s where I end up. It feels nice. It’s meditative. Sometimes I’ll listen to music while doing it; sometimes I won’t listen to anything. Or I’ll do my laundry and then I’ll come inside and I’ll smoke weed and play video games. And then 30 minutes later I get up and fold the laundry. And then I come back and smoke more weed and play more video games. It’s a nice little routine. I’m often accidentally productive when I’m stoned. I’ll get distracted into a productive task.

What about something you like to watch while high? Anything particular?

I really like the YouTube channel Good Mythical Morning. This is kind of a corny answer, but it’s these two dads who have a daily talk show on YouTube that they’ve been doing since I was right out of high school. It’s funny, it’s short. I don’t have to think about anything, and it always makes me laugh hysterically. I’ve been watching it for like over 10 years. I watch it basically everyday without fail.

Have you ever met them or spoken to them online?

I haven’t, but I did fuck one of their employees one time [laughs]. When I first moved to L.A., I followed a bunch of the crew members and show producers on socials. I thought that one of them was really hot, so I followed him on Twitter and then he hit me up one night when he was drunk with his friends. And I was like, “Yes, I need to capitalize on this opportunity. This is what I moved here for: to fuck random crew members from this weird YouTube show.” [laughs] I don’t know if the hosts know who I am now, but I hope the crew member told them, “Hey, me and my friend tag teamed this porn star.”


Do you prefer any type of music or radio shows while stoned?

I generally listen to the last 10 songs that I’ve liked on Spotify. So there are some songs from Father’s new album. I love this song called “If We Were a Party” because it reminds me so much of Miley Cyrus, circa 2012. I can’t get that one out of my head. I’ve also been into hyperpop the last few years. I love the new Harry Styles album. I was a big One Direction fan as a teenager. That’s basically the gist of my music consumption.

Do you like reading while you’re high?

I usually read the news or articles that I see retweeted on my Twitter feed. Whatever catches my eye. I follow a lot of people who are into crypto and stuff and sometimes I’ll just look at somebody’s feed and try to understand what they’re saying [laughs].

If you could smoke anywhere in the world that you have not been to, where would you want to sesh?

If I could go anywhere in the world, I’d go somewhere in Thailand with an infinity pool. Sounds like a nice answer. I just got my passport last year, so I’m eager to travel. Plus, Thailand has reformed its weed laws — no more death penalty! They’re trying to capitalize on the global weed market.

Last question is if you could smoke with any person dead or alive, who would be in your dream blunt rotation?

I’m gonna go with Anthony Bourdain and John Waters. It would just be so interesting. I don’t want to squander this opportunity on someone like Snoop Dogg, though no offense to Snoop Dogg.

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Cash Only’s 420 Recs: Brett Heyman, Founder of Luxury Cannabis Line Edie Parker

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Like her cannabis company’s slogan, Brett Heyman is “here for a good time.” The founder of accessories brand Edie Parker — as well as its luxury cannabis arm, Flower by Edie Parker — has an infectious confidence and sense of humor that exudes “life of the party” energy. 

During a video interview, the brains behind one of the more stylish weed lines had me cracking up in earnest — a rare treat for an introductory chat over Zoom. Edie Parker has been described as the “Coco Chanel of Cannabis,” and that makes sense; Coco was funny on top of being fashionable, too. 

Heyman’s vibe made it very clear how a former fashion exec (she used to spearhead PR at Gucci, and previously worked at Dolce & Gabbana) could achieve the not-so-simple task of merging haute couture and cannabis under one seamless umbrella. The boss knows what she likes and what she wants, from her personal consumption preferences, to her thoughts on design and culture. Her convictions trickle into a cohesive vision, which in turn inspires good products and an exciting brand.

As such, Flower by Edie Parker offers a myriad of products, including tabletop lighters, sexy handmade ashtrays, flavored crush cones, wearable one-hitters, and premium flower (currently sold in Massachusetts and Illinois). Their releases sometimes remind me of Jonathan Adler’s tastefully absurd, drug-inspired decor — but more youthful and femme. In any case, Edie Parker ephemera is ideal for potheads and fashion enthusiasts alike. (They’re also charitable; peep The Edie Parker Foundation.)

In our interview below, Heyman sounds off on how her husband originally sparked her adult relationship with cannabis, explains how the couple does at-home R&D on their pipes, and speculates about the future ties between weed and fashion in NYC.

What was your first time smoking weed? 

Brett Heyman: I haven’t answered this in a while. It’s embarrassing, but I started smoking weed for a boy. I was in high school and I was a little bit afraid of drugs — I had very, very conservative parents. They had me thinking that cannabis was really bad, anything that was illegal was really bad. Certainly any other type of drug was really bad. And I was very into music. I played guitar, I loved the Dead. I loved all these things that made my parents very uncomfortable, so they were distrusting. 

I did a lot of ceramics in high school, and I won the pottery award, so I would come home with ceramic little mushroom things, little pottery pieces that I made. And my dad would always come in and like lift them up because he was always looking for drugs. And the irony is I didn’t do drugs.

And then I had not a boyfriend, but a best friend who I really liked. We were like Ross and Rachel — his words. But he smoked a lot of cannabis. And so I started smoking pot through him when I was in ninth grade. It definitely took me a while to figure out how to use weed in a way that worked for me. I’m still like this as an adult, where less is more for me. I like to have a little bit of cannabis a lot of the time, you know? I never like to be ripping a bong or dabbing. I don’t do any of that. So I have a very good relationship with cannabis now, but it took me a long time to figure it out. 

At what point do you think you fell in love with the plant? When it wasn’t just a rebellion or recreational thing?

I’m gonna sound like such an anti-feminist, but again for a boy [laughs]. A different boy, totally different boy, who’s my husband now. So I had a relationship with cannabis through high school and college, but again, it would be the kind of thing where I’d get really drunk — or I would do other substances — and then I’d smoke cannabis in order to go to bed.

It wasn’t until I lived in New York City that I truly got into cannabis, but it wasn’t immediate. What happened was I went on my first date with my now-husband. I had agreed to go to lunch with him. That day, I didn’t eat breakfast, I exercised in the morning, and then I had two martinis at lunch… and that was it; I never left his side. But after lunch, we decided to go home and watch Almost Famous. He had cannabis at home and I was like, “Oh, I haven’t smoked in a while. Great.” 

We used this ridiculously obnoxious pipe with a girl’s butt on it, which we still have. So I smoked with him and I think it was the first time where it was the right amount of weed. Maybe he had better stuff than I’d tried before. Anyway, it finally felt like having an adult relationship with cannabis. Not getting crazy, but just enjoying the plant in the way that I enjoy it now. So I think I fell in love with it then. We started dating when I was 26, so that’s the age I developed a real relationship with cannabis.

Brett Heyman, photo via Marijuana Venture

What’s your day-to-day use like now? Are you a nighttime smoker? Is it a medicinal tool?

I mean it’s not just medicinal for me; I really like the pleasure aspect, too. I like to smoke either a little bit or have a gummy before I go to bed. Those Wyld gummies are really good for sleep; I love those. But mostly, my relationship with cannabis is still the pleasure of it. So I really love combining sex and cannabis, especially when you’re married for a long time. You just need something to spice it up, and make it feel like, “Oh, this still feels good.” Just kidding [laughs]. We have a house in the country now, and we take a lot of walks. So we’ll smoke a little bit of cannabis and then I’m like, “The green is so beautiful, and it’s different every season!” My husband is my partner in all of that and he loves it. I think it’s really like a pleasure center for me, but I do use it for bed.

I wanted to ask you about the Edie Parker flower line. Do you have any current favorite strains?

The real, tough truth is that I don’t get a lot of Edie Parker all the time because we only sell it in Massachusetts and Illinois. So no, I don’t have a favorite Edie Parker strain, unfortunately. But I think our goal is to offer flower that inspires really consistent, good experiences — not just weed that will knock you off your chair. So things like THC percentages in the low 20s. As I said, I don’t like to be so stoned where I can’t see straight and have to lie down. So it’s about offering a consistent experience. Obviously, sometimes I want to feel headier or sometimes I want a body high, but both are options with the flower we sell. 

Do you have a preferred consumption method when you do use flower?

I like to smoke. Well, I like to smoke a joint, but just like a little bit — for me, one or two puffs of a joint is perfect. And that is my favorite consumption method. I’ve never talked about my husband so much in an interview, but we also have this really romantic tradition where our brand makes a lot of pipes, so we are always testing them. Very sweetly, he likes to fill up the pipe for me, light it, and then give me all the cool smoke after he takes the hot hit. That’s so thoughtful. No one ever did that for me before, but he always does it. He’s like, “Oh, let me hit it first, and then you just take all that beautiful, cool smoke.” So we do that a lot — R&D for our products, as a couple.

Of all the ancillary products that you make, which one do you personally use most? 

Um, I’m kind of lame. I’m not like a good joint roller, so I use the pipes a lot. But also, we have these cones that I think are great — and we just launched crush cones, which have a flavor profile. I like those and think it’s really nice to have something that’s functional and quick and New York-y. I like things to be quick and efficient, so I like the cones and use them. I like the pipes, obviously. I also love our tabletop lighters and have one in every room. They’re really pretty, there’s an ashtray built in, and they’re handmade. They’re labor-intensive products that last forever. They combine our heritage of being this handbag and accessory brand that went into cannabis. So products like this have that obvious marriage and compatibility. I just love these things.

Edie Parker one-hitter necklaces

Are there any brands out there that you think are kindred spirits to Edie Parker? Brands that you respect what they’re doing.

I mean, I respect everybody that’s doing it because it’s so hard for sure. But I love Pure Beauty and think they’re doing interesting things culturally. Their collaborators are interesting, their photographers are interesting. I think that’s amazing and I love that. And what I think we do is help with that conversation around the mainstream-ification of cannabis, like using collaborators from different industries — whether fashion or art — to just put a different spin on cannabis. Pure Beauty does that, too. 

I also like Houseplant. I think they’re doing an incredible job with accessories. They have very different aesthetics than us, but their stuff is amazing. Seth [Rogen] has really created something special and popular; it is amazing how their stuff sells out so quickly. I also really like 1906. I love a 2.5mg THC product, so I really like the THC pills they make.

I would say you’re one of the pioneers or trailblazers when it comes to combining fashion and cannabis in a high-level way. I’m curious if you think that type of synergy between fashion and cannabis will continue to either evolve or feel more omnipresent in the future.

Totally. But it’s a layered answer because a thousand percent I think it’ll happen more. First off, one of the reasons fashion is important is because it’s very much reflective of what’s happening at a specific time. Maybe we don’t always see it, but we do when we look back in the rearview mirror. So I think fashion is important in that way. And I think that what is happening now culturally, with social justice and criminal justice reform and all that… cannabis is what’s happening. So I think there will be more synergies with fashion because of that. 

I also think that New York will be transformative. I think there are so many fashion creatives working in New York. I think there are so many creatives, many whom I know personally, and they smoke a ton of cannabis. And now that New York has legalization, soon there will be a lot of people in fashion who dip a toe in the cannabis space, whether through collaborations or otherwise. I think that will absolutely happen. Culturally, these things will be synergistic and really important.

I’m noticing it myself. Like Laquan Smith had a fashion week party, and a delivery service I know was there giving out pre-rolls. That felt like something that would not have happened five years ago.

Totally, Laquan Smith, Brandon Blackwood, and others. These are people who are very public about their cannabis use. They’re giving out cannabis at events. They will definitely do cannabis collabs. They’ll partner with somebody and have a cannabis launch. So I think, yes, absolutely. I don’t think big brands like any LVMH brands will touch it for years, but I think it will absolutely continue to happen with the independent creators in New York.

Is there any activity that you like to do when you’re really high? Whether a particular hike, digging on Etsy, or going to a particular restaurant with your husband?

I don’t like to go to restaurants when I’m stoned. I like to watch TV in bed. I like to take walks in our backyard. We have lots of trees and pretty flowers in Connecticut, so I like to do that. As I said, I like to have sex while high. And then shopping while high is a real problem for me. It happens a lot, especially when I smoke to go to bed and then I sort of delay going to bed and instead buy a fuck ton of stuff online. I end up having to return so much. My penchant for shopping online while high can be problematic.

What about something you like to watch when you’re stoned? You mentioned The Real Housewives before, but what city?

Okay, great, thank you for asking that specific question. I need to watch that show if I’m too high because it calms me down like nothing else. I find Housewives very comforting. I don’t like the weird, Jesus-y Republican cities. So I don’t like OC. I don’t like Dallas. But I love Beverly Hills, New York, Atlanta, Potomac, and New Jersey.

I love The Real Housewives because the show makes me laugh. I make this joke that there are no roles for women in Hollywood over 40 other than the Housewives. This is where all these women go to work and die at a certain age. And they’re just so unaware of the joke. They take themselves so seriously, and I find that to be a trainwreck that I cannot stop watching. I think feeling compelled to watch it all the time is a real waste and I will never get those hours back, but I love it.

What do you like to listen to when stoned?

Definitely music, not so much podcasts. I have a problem where I feel like music stopped being good after the mid-90s. I’m having a big Mr. Mister resurgence, which is very weird. It’s a little bit like my high shopping where I’ll hear a song, it will remind me of a whole genre that I haven’t listened to in a while, and then I’ll do a deep download and have a whole ’80s or ‘90s-era dance party by myself. I am a real secret singer by myself, too. So anything that I can sing at the top of my lungs. So I’m listening to Annie Lennox again, as well as music that I can dance and sing to alone. That makes me very happy.

What do you like to read when high? Any books, magazines, or particular writers?

I read articles in The New Yorker and The Atlantic, but it takes me days. I’m a slow reader. I just bought the new David Sedaris essay book and I’m obsessed with him. So anything humorous like that. If I’m high at night and I’m not shopping, I’ll read something like that to go to bed. I like to read the news. It’s a tug of war with myself because I get sad reading the news and it makes it hard to get out of bed after, but I feel that I have to be informed and confront what’s happening. So I read a lot of news.

My last question is if you could have a dream blunt sesh with anyone alive or dead, who would be at your pot party?

Who do I like? I like a humorist. So I feel like someone like David Sedaris would be fun, although I don’t know how fun he would be when high. Who do I admire? Maybe someone like John Lennon, who I’d just like to meet. Also, John Waters, Jesus, and Chris Hemsworth (but only as Thor).

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Cash Only’s 420 Recs: Zach Harris, Weed and Skate Writer

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I am proud to share my name with Zach Harris, even if weed industry people sometimes get us confused. After all, I regularly worked with the Philly-based writer for years while I was editor at Merry Jane. Harris was one of our main contributors, and we’d often be CC’ed on the same emails, so marijuana media mix-ups were par for the course. 

But ZH is his own man — a unique Zach with strong convictions, a well-oiled cortex, and the lungs of an ultra-marathon runner. For real, this guy can smoke some fucking weed. It always blew my mind that the dude would chief at least a dozen or two joints a day, yet still be awake before me and always hit his deadlines. 

Me and Harris collaborated a lot, including on several features I’m proud of to this day: His screed against “moon rocks,” caviar, and tarantula joints; a deep dive into the secondary market for rare and discontinued Backwoods flavors; and the very first investigation of the “mysterious vaping illness” (later dubbed EVALI) which was spurred by fake and bootleg THC cartridges. This last scoop went viral and led to coverage on Rolling Stone, NYPost, and countless other publications before the topic became a national news item. 

These days, Harris still writes about weed and skating for publications like Complex, but mostly does consulting and copywriting for cannabis brands like Cookies, Viola, Elyon, and more. Not too long ago, he conceived and executed an exclusive partnership between Cookies and Spitfire Wheels, celebrating pro skater Kader Sylla. Zach is also very good at Twitter and is a must-follow for anyone who’s into authentic cannabis culture.

We’re grateful to consider Harris a pal and co-conspirator, and the weed lord made some time to talk about his pot preferences with Cash Only. In a fun interview, Zach discusses his morning joint rolling rigamarole, shouts out some heady growers, and also gives the nod to his brother Malcolm’s upcoming book. The Harris family is full of heads, what can I say! Big ups to Zach H. — you’re a real-deal stoner with a beautiful brain.

Photo by Zach Sokol

Do you have a current favorite weed strain? How do you like to consume it?

Zach Harris: Lately, I’ve been smoking a lot of sun-grown First Class Funk and Horchata my family grew in NorCal and then some indoor London Pound Cake. I try to switch up flavors pretty frequently, but I’m typically into the more funky, gassy, savory strains. 

Consumption-wise, I’m usually smoking a bong or dab rig at home and then personal-sized joints whenever I’m outside. We’re still in a pandemic, so I’m not passing my joints to anyone, but I’ll usually have enough on hand to give you your own persy joint if I like you. Sometimes, I smoke joints at home instead of the bong. I’ve also been rolling a lot of hash holes lately, which is just a joint with a rope of rosin in the middle — very heady and popular these days. They’re great for when I’m really trying to smack myself in the face. In general, I like to roll joints.

Zach Harris’ joint case is always this full.

What’s your day-to-day consumption like? Bring us through a day in the life of your lungs.

I’m definitely an all-day smoker; I like the label “stoner.” In the morning, I try to match my French press with a bowl or joint for each cup of coffee from like 8 am to noon, so that gets the day going. Then I’ll roll about 8 or 10 joints before I leave the house. I have this cool joint case that I got at a flea market a while back, and I feel a little naked if I’m out and I don’t have that with me at least half-way full. I also think the process of rolling joints is really meditative — you get in a good zone. 

If I’m at home most of the day working, I’ll keep packing bong bowls or doing dabs pretty steadily. And then if I’m out and about, I’m smoking those 10ish joints I rolled earlier at the regular pace of a cigarette smoker — like half a pack a day haha. I used to smoke a bunch of cigarettes when it was less acceptable to smoke weed in public, but like five or six years ago I quit cold turkey and just replaced that habit with more weed. Plus, these days no one gives you shit for smoking weed in public, so I just keep smoking my joints. If I’m outside and I run out of rolled ones, I usually have enough supplies in my tote bag to roll more, so I’ll do that.


Do you have any favorite weed products — any particular papers, grinders, or whatever? What makes them special? 

I’m a big fan of simplicity and simple stuff that works. I like a two chamber grinder. I don’t need a keef catcher; I want the keef to stay with the weed, where it belongs. I usually roll with 1 ¼ size Vibes or Element papers with the Raw perforated wide tips. Those perforated wide tips are key. I want the crutch on my joints to be the size of a cigarette filter, not a tiny nub that you can’t actually hold between your fingers. 

At home I use a bong from Heir. They sent me one in 2019 when I was writing a lot of product reviews and I’ve sworn by it since. It’s incredibly easy to clean, super sturdy, and works every time. The other product I use a lot from my time on PR seeding lists is the PuffCo Peak Pro. Don’t need to say much about that one; it’s a spaceship dab rig and it is perfect.

Last but not least, my parents live out in California and they have a friend who’s a sick woodworker, and she recently carved me a custom rolling tray, so I use that every day. Thanks mom and dad!

The custom rolling tray Harris uses.

Which cannabis brands impress you these days — whether due to their products, their aesthetics, or something else.

Honestly, most of the flower I smoke comes from a super small unbranded family farm, but when it comes to branded weed, the two California companies I’ve worked closest with — Cookies and Viola — have impressed me with their product, but also the people and approach. As a freelancer, I would also like to say that they both pay on time, which is way cooler than any packaging. 

As far as other branded flower, I really dig the Mom’s Weed from Huckleberry Hill Farms in Humboldt, Gummiez and The Menthol from Compound Genetics, and I’m really stoked to check out the new menu of strains from my friends at The Rare — their Olive Wagyu is one of my favorite Gelato profiles and their packaging is always some of my favorite.

I also recently tried a couple strains from Green Bodhi that were both really great — shoutout to those guys, they’re doing things right.

Zach Harris at Washington Square Park on 4/20/22

What activity do you like to do after you’ve gotten stoned? 

I’ve been really into bowling lately, and taking joint breaks every few games is a really good way to get your head right. Same with the beer league softball I’ve been playing lately. Smoking a joint between innings in the dugout is great. I also like skateboarding, biking, and going on walks while I’m smoking weed. The best stuff to do while you’re stoned is the stuff you can do while you’re actively smoking, because I’m always gonna want to smoke another one. I’m the guy who is always gonna ask “Can we smoke here?” no matter what we’re doing, so whenever the answer is yes, that’s what I wanna be doing. 

Can you recommend something to watch while stoned?

Can’t go wrong with TV procedurals. Whether it’s Monk, Burn Notice, Law & Order (any flavor), or Hawaii 5-0, the best shows to watch while you’re stoned are things that you can watch without much context. So many of the premium cable or streaming site shows are just overly dramatic roads to nowhere, man. They’re all so dark — like not even in content, but in how they’re shot; I can barely see what’s going on half the time. Much better off with a few episodes from season 3 of the early 2000s network dramedy Las Vegas starring Jimmy Caan — he’ll spend 45 minutes sussing out a gang of motocross-riding card counters or something like that. Much chiller.

What do you like to listen to after smoking? Any albums, radio shows, or podcasts?

I think we’re in a pretty incredible golden era of rap music in every corner of the country. I’ve been listening to a lot of the Detroit wave like Veeze, Icewear Vezzo, GT, Babyface Ray, 42, and those dudes. Then the Flint guys, like Rio, Sleazy World Go from Kansas City, and Memphis heads like Glorilla, Key Glock, and of course Young Dolph. Ummmm, Fivio, DThang, and the scene in New York is cool. I’m also still listening to a lot of Drakeo the Ruler and Ralphy — that LA sound. Then finally, I like the scene of guys killing it out here in Philly — OT7Quanny, Poundside Pop, RB Cat, and a bunch more. There’s so much good music out right now.

Can you recommend something to read after smoking? 

Can I ever! My brother, Malcolm Harris, is getting set to release his third book, Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World, in 2023, so you should pre-order that now. And while you’re at it, grab his first two books, Kids These Days: The Making of Millennials and Shit Is Fucked Up and Bullshit: History Since the End of History. Yes, he’s my brother, but he’s also an incredible thinker, writer, and stoner, who has an uncanny ability to break down super complex subjects in a way that is fun, funny, and radicalizing. If you’re bummed at how things are going in the world and you want to know how they got this way, Malcolm’s books will make some things click. Seriously, go buy all his books right now. 

I’ve also recently read a couple books by some skate friends that are really awesome. The Most Fun Thing from professor Kyle Beachy is a great compilation of short essays about life, love, and skateboarding. And Top of Mason is a novel by pro skater Walker Ryan that reads super fun and fast. I read it on the beach in Miami and it was perfect.

Who’s in your dream blunt rotation? Dead or alive. 

Gotta give an obligatory shoutout to my family, because they all smoke just about as much weed as I do, but we don’t all live in the same city. So when we all get together, those are my dream sessions. 

But that’s not a very fun answer, so let’s go with John Cardiel, Klay Thompson, Kylie Minogue, Young Dolph, and Megan Thee Stallion. That would be a sick crew.

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Cash Only’s 420 Recs: Melissa A. Vitale, the OG Weed and Sex Publicist

This article was originally published on Cash Only. Sign up for the newsletter here and follow Cash Only on Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter.

Melissa A. Vitale is one of the rare publicists whose emails I will read start-to-finish, regardless of the topic. The brains and namesake behind the firm MAVPR and Pressboxx has a gift for making press outreach feel intimate, fun, and collaborative. There are no guilt-trips, passive aggressive follow-ups, or desperate “spray and pray” approaches from the cannabis and sexual wellness expert. Part of the reason she’s so good at her job is that Melissa makes an active effort to get familiar with writers and their personal interests, so when she does reach out, it’s usually about something up my alley.

And damn does MAV get results! I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen glowing, authentic coverage of her clients in top-tier outlets— from Rolling Stone and New York Mag, to the New York Post and Fox fucking News — and smiled to myself, knowing Melissa was the low-key finesser behind the scenes. And, as her site notes, the coverage usually focuses on “education over sensation,” which is essential for normalizing plant medicine and sex positivity in mainstream media. 

Melissa has overseen campaigns for admirable cannabis companies like Her Highness, Binske, Elixinol, and TOCA, as well as sextech and luxury intimacy brands like Pure for Men, ZALO, and Upko. She also rolls one of the best spliffs in New York and will treat you like royalty if you’re lucky enough to have a meeting at her home office (which has not one, but two epic balconies). 

The Italian stallion also has great taste, and she generously made some time to chat with Cash Only about her weed preferences. Below, MAV breaks down her perfect spliff recipe, recommends a crystal ball pipe, and flexes her pot picnic chops — an activity she can get ready for in a matter of minutes. Thanks Melissa, you are a ganja goddess and an amazing human <3

Photo by Chad Johnson, courtesy of Melissa A. Vitale

Do you have a current favorite weed strain? How do you like to consume it?

Melissa A. Vitale: For the past three years my go-to strain has been Space Queen. I’m a spliff enthusiast — 95% Space Queen with roughly 5% Danish Export Tobacco, hand-rolled in Bob Marley classic rolling paper with a RAW Classic tip. I’ll be cutting out tobacco by my next birthday and I’m looking forward to switching up my consumption methods. 

Do you have any favorite weed products — any particular papers, grinders, or whatever?

Neither of these recs are clients of mine, but I was recently given a Grounded Crystal Ball Pipe from Sackville & Co, and after figuring out how to smoke it, it quickly became my favorite piece in my house. Like tons of other folks in cannabis media, the Flower Mill has also captivated my heart; if you identify as a regular consumer or stoner, I recommend the Premium Flower Mill

Photo by Maria Wurtz

Which cannabis brands excite you from a marketing/PR perspective? What companies or public figures are killing it in terms of their online presence? 

I love brands like Her Highness, DomPen, and KIVA who are finding ways to incorporate their brand ethos into compliant packaging. Cannaclusive is an incredible organization with an awesome online footprint and engaging community — plus, their co-founder Mary Pryor is a boss babe who I’m perpetually in awe of.

Does weed help you professionally? How do you utilize the plant during office hours — what tasks does it help with?

I smoke throughout my work day; cannabis helps me stay focused, creative, and drowns out the distractions.

Photo by Zach Sokol

What activity do you like to do after you’ve gotten stoned? 

I’m an avid picnic’er. I can be ready with a blanket, cooler bag, speaker, snacks, a bottle of wine, and spliffs in a matter of minutes. Let me know where to meet you! I’ll smoke while in transit and then settle in to smoke, eat, drink, and enjoy the outdoors all day. 

Can you recommend something to watch after smoking?

I’ve been having a bit of a Matthew McConaughey moment, so stuff like Fool’s Gold, We Are Marshall, and Lincoln Lawyer have been my recent go-tos.

Photo by Zach Sokol

What do you like to listen to after smoking? Any albums, radio shows, or podcasts?

My music taste is all over the place. I’ll listen to anything from rap to country, with an embarrassing amount of Taylor Swift in between. 

Can you recommend something to read when high?

If you’re into romance and fantasy, check out Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe, a gorgeous graphic novel series about Hades and Persephone.  

Who’s in your dream blunt rotation? Dead or alive. 

It’s on my bucket list to have Snoop Dog smoke one of my spliffs. For a dead sesh, I’d have to pick Jesus.

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Cash Only’s 420 Recs: Ondine Viñao, Artist and Filmmaker

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Photos by Rebekah Campbell, courtesy of Ondine Viñao.

Ondine Viñao is an artist and filmmaker born and raised in NYC. We went to college together, and I always thought she was one of the most intelligent and self-realized people around — one of those students who you just knew would go on to do something cool. 

We’ve stayed in touch over the years, and I became a big fan of her multidisciplinary art practice, particularly her 2019 solo show Holy Fools. The exhibition reimagined Bruce Nauman’s infamous Clown Torture (1987) by employing female clowns to explore trauma, gender tropes, and the very well-chosen term “juvenescence.” The nine-channel video installation blew my mind all over my face — despite paying homage to a well-known artist and work, Holy Fools felt like anything but pastiche (an admirable feat if you ask me!).

Viñao has continued her art practice and exhibited work around the U.S. and abroad. She can also take a mean photo. Currently, Ondine’s working on a fresh video art piece, as well as doing pre-production for her first narrative feature. She’s keeping the plot specs vague, but I’m certain it will be a home run like the rest of her oeuvre. 

Ondine also has an interesting relationship with weed, as her use of the plant only started to blossom in the past couple years. She wasn’t much of a smoker until the pandemic, when partying was obviously not on the menu, and her boyfriend began growing bud in their backyard. Slowly but surely, she began using the plant to help unwind in the evening, as well as aid her writing, brainstorming, and mood-boarding for her various art projects. 

In a long and fun interview with Cash Only, the artist and filmmaker discusses the homegrown grass she was rolling up throughout quarantine, details the very specific (and hilarious) Pinterest boards she makes when deep in the haze, and then GOES IN on her recommendations for movies to watch while stoned. Finally, Ondine outlines her very amazing dream blunt rotation involving the feminist scholar Catherine MacKinnon and iconoclastic actress Hedy Lamarr, which may be the best response to the question I’ve received to date.

Big ups and big thanks to Ondine! And an additional thanks to Rebekah Campbell, who took killer new photos of Ondine just for this interview!

What was your first time smoking weed like?

Ondine Viñao: My first time smoking weed? Um, probably horrifying. I smoked salvia before I ever smoked weed. I was in high school, maybe age 14. St. Mark’s Place sold salvia and my friends and I would do whatever we had access to. So we would either get salvia or we would go to this one hookah bar in the East Village that didn’t card. But salvia was the first thing I smoked. There was a couple month period beginning in freshman year when that was popular — once again because of the accessibility. I can’t remember the first time I smoked weed, but I was never really a weed smoker — at least up until the pandemic.

So quarantine sparked your relationship with weed?

Mm-hmm. Pre-pandemic, my weed smoking was mostly limited to myself, or sometimes with a best friend or my dad. And I’d only smoke if I was in for the night and it was right before bed. I couldn’t even take out the garbage afterwards cuz I would get too anxious or paranoid about potentially running into a stranger [laughs]. But during the pandemic I got into it. My boyfriend had a garden in the backyard at our old apartment; he’s not a weed smoker at all, but he does like to garden and he likes challenges, and growing weed is kind of a fickle business. So he decided to grow weed in our backyard for the fun of it. And then he’d give the weed to me and friends or whoever. So, that kind of accelerated my weed usage.

It always scared me to smoke and then socialize, so the pandemic removed that fear and led to me smoking more. I felt more comfortable getting stoned, knowing that I had nowhere to go. And then weed started meshing better with me than it had before. I started using it like how I would recreationally use alcohol, like as a nightcap or whatever. I still occasionally drink, on weekends or at parties and stuff like that, but now I’m never really having alcohol at home. I’m using weed instead.

How was the weed that your boyfriend grew? Did you like his homegrown?

Totally. I hope I’m gonna recount this correctly. He grew two types. One was an autoflower. The other wasn’t an autoflower, and I think it was an Afghan strain. They were very beautiful plants, too. They grew very tall because our backyard got wonderful light, so he was able to harvest a ton from it. We had a bunch of our friends over when the plants were ready to do all of the clipping. 

The weed was great because it felt a lot lighter than other weed that I’ve tried. I like to smoke joints or spliffs kind of like a cigarette. Maybe I’m putting it out like two times throughout the joint. I’m not into taking one big hit and then putting it out. I enjoy the act of smoking, so his weed was nice. You wouldn’t get too obliterated. But we’re out of his weed now sadly.

I feel like I should know more about the differences among strains and whatnot, but I kind of have difficulty really sensing the differences… with the exception of weed which is really indica heavy. I try to steer clear of that. I like to smoke and do things, even though I only smoke at night. I don’t wanna stare at the wall. I wanna watch a movie and pay attention. I wanna be able to read, I wanna clean, you know? I don’t want to be bedridden from smoking [laughs].

Does weed enhance your creativity? Does it help inspire you with ideas that benefit your art practice?

100%. There are drawbacks, too, but that’s one of the benefits of weed for me. The majority of my art process or my filmmaking process is writing, and I can sometimes struggle with “pre-judging” whatever I’m about to write. And that can kind of paralyze me creatively, and prevent me from actually writing anything at all. I overthink things, and weed can kind of relax that for me and allow me to brainstorm and write without too much of my own perfectionist (or control obsessed) tendencies getting in the way. Because then, at least, I can always tell myself, “Oh, I was stoned when I wrote this.” So if it’s trash, I can just throw it away and blame it on the weed, but then if it’s good (or if it could be good), then great, look what I did! And I was stoned [laughs].

So outside of relaxing or the creative brainstorm, do you have any particular activities you like doing once you’re really high?

This is tough to answer because a lot of the stuff that is an activity, I would consider part of my creative practice. Like, watching movies, for example, is something which I like to do when I’m stoned. I like walking and listening to music. It sounds pretty obvious and maybe kind of corny, but music truly is the one thing that I think sounds 100% better when you’re stoned. Weed makes cooking a little bit more fun for me. I love to bake but I don’t really love to cook. But smoking before or during cooking can help and makes the process more enjoyable.

I also go on internet holes in all the directions. I love using Pinterest when I’m high. And I have two reasons I’ve been into that recently, and they’re very different reasons [laughs]. So, I’m in pre-production for a short film slash proof of concept for a feature. I have been so focused on everything film-related that I thought I should have a platform devoted entirely to “fine art” inspiration. I have two boards on Pinterest and one of them is of visual art inspiration for the short I’m working on. And it includes paintings, video art, photographs I like, anything that I think could come in handy when deciding how to compose a shot, or something that might make a good kind of insert for the project. I’m trying to get out of just looking at “film stuff” and make sure I’m also pulling inspiration from less traditional sources. My board helps me focus more exclusively on visual art.

And the other thing I use Pinterest for is… haircuts [laughs]. It’s funny because I only get very minimalist, normal haircuts, and it’s always a version of the same thing — at least for the past five years. But I still believe that my perfect haircut — the one that’s gonna make me the best version of myself — is out there. I probably have at least 300 pins in the haircut folder. It’s particularly insane and neurotic of me. They are all variations of a bob. Every pin is a variation of a collarbone-to-chin length brunette haircut. If you looked at all of them, you’d think they’re probably all the same haircut. But they’re not! [laughs]

What type of music resonates with you when you’re baked?

I listen to the same stuff when I’m stoned as when I’m not stoned. I pretty much listen to the same music I listened to in high school. Recently, I’ve been listening to The Magic Flute chronologically. This sounds pretentious, but it’s my honest answer. My dad is a classical music composer, so this is the kind of music that I have been exposed to on a very consistent basis since I was a baby. It’s comfortable to me, though I realize that maybe intense classical music might be overwhelming to your average stoner. It’s not overwhelming for me because of how long it’s been a part of my life.

What is something you like to watch while you’re really high? 

I have a couple suggestions. The first one I think is perfect for someone who is stoned because weed puts you in the right headspace to accept the information you’re being given — and it’s a short film, so it’s great for those with weed-induced ADHD. It’s a David Lynch short from 2002 called Darkened Room. You can find it on YouTube, though the quality is bad. It’s great and it’s very bizarre. It kind of has a rhythm to it if that makes sense. You don’t really need to take a magnifying glass to the plot. You know how David Lynch movies function; they’re already kind of existing in an alternate reality. So I think it will resonate with someone who’s slightly incapacitated.

I also cannot miss out on an opportunity to sing the praises of one of my favorite films ever, Showgirls. It’s great to watch when you’re stoned or sober.  I could, and have in a sense, written dissertations on this film. It is amazing, and not in a “so bad it’s good” way. It’s a wonderfully-made, smart movie about topics that I care a lot about — like the pain of being a woman, and the entertainment industry. It’s a highly intentional feminist masterpiece. I don’t think it’s camp or ironic or anything like that. I think that it gets misinterpreted or at least did in the past because it flopped at the box offices when it came out, and it ruined the career of the lead actress Elizabeth Berkeley — who was an A-lister prior to 1996 (the year Showgirls was released). After this movie, her agents wouldn’t even return her calls because of how much everyone hated the film.

So then I have one more movie suggestion, which could either be perfect or terrifying, depending on the person. It depends on how they interact with weed. Mirror by Tarkovsky, which is kind of like an extended video art piece to me. It’s a collection of memories. Some seem to exist in the real world. Other ones seem more like dreams. It’s real artsy like that, plus the visuals are gorgeous. I tend to think that things that are aesthetically pretty are good things to watch when you are stoned. And this applies to Showgirls, too, which is an aesthetically beautiful film.

One last question — who is in your dream blunt rotation? Alive or dead.

How many people do I get?

As many as you’d like, it’s your party.

Okay. Let’s start with alive. I’m gonna say Catherine MacKinnon. The lawyer and feminist scholar. She was part of my entry point into becoming a trans-inclusive radical feminist, and thinking about society in terms of how it treats women and what it means to be a woman myself.

Kanye West would also be there. Nicholas Cage. Paul Verhoeven. Chomsky before he’s dead. And then I’m going to throw Pope Francis in there because I have to rep Argentina. Also, Cornel West, so we have two Wests. Then, let’s add Lars Von Trier. I think this crew would be really fun. I like that they all have strong personalities, but I wonder if anyone could get a word in?

Amazing. Who would be in your dead sesh?

I know for certain I want Hedy Lamarr in my dead blunt rotation. She is the coolest person ever and had the wildest life I’ve ever heard of. She was a very famous movie star back in the day. When she first debuted in an American film in American cinemas, there were reports of people literally fainting over how beautiful she was. She also was an Albert Einstein-level genius. She helped develop what would eventually become Bluetooth and WiFi. For fun, she would fix Herbert Hoover’s planes (they dated briefly). She was married like seven times. And she was jewish, but her first marriage was to a Nazi who was best friends with Mussolini, and she escaped him by drugging their maid and putting on the maid’s clothing and taking the maid’s bicycle and running away.

In her middle age, she got addicted to plastic surgery and they didn’t have all of the procedures that she wanted, so she invented them herself and then the surgeons would perform them on her. And they’re still plastic surgery techniques that are used today. At the end of her life, she was a full hermit and would only communicate with people over the phone, including her children. She lived the wildest life out of anyone, and therefore Hedy Lamarr’s at the top of my list for my dead blunt rotation. Then I want to add Stanley Kubrick and my dearly departed grandparents (both paternal and maternal), for good measure.

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Brian Blomerth’s Last Rip: Why The Illustrator Quit Weed After a Dave Matthews Concert

This article was originally published on Cash Only. Sign up for the newsletter here and follow Cash Only on Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter.

Brian Blomerth is a brilliant artist and arguably the premier psychedelics illustrator this side of the Mississippi. A torch carrier of R. Crumb and other heavy hitters from the underground comix scene, Blomerth has become the go-to Micron maestro for anything pertaining to plant medicine and related subcultures, including recent commissions by The Grateful Dead, Phish, and Tame Impala

More importantly, Blomerth is the author/illustrator behind the two greatest visual histories on mind-altering substances: Bicycle Day, his faithful retelling of how LSD was invented, and Mycelium Wassonii, which tracks how magic mushrooms were introduced to Western culture. As I wrote in an earlier article about these tripped-out tomes, these are perfect children’s books (at least in format) that are made for adults who are curious about psychedelics and their evolution throughout the U.S. zeitgeist. Both are essential reads, and you should buy a copy here!!!

These intros can sometimes be a bit long-winded, and I could write a whole book on the ingenious nature of Blomerth’s craft, so I’ll try and keep things brief. I have worked as Brian’s editor and co-conspirator on and off since 2014 — he used to pen a weekly comic for me when I was working at VICE, as well as different one when I was editing Merry Jane — and I’ve written about him and his work numerous times. He’s also a close friend and one of the best storytellers I’ve ever met. 

Due to his reputation as the “trippy illustrator guy,” you’d maybe expect Brian to be a regular consumer of the substances he renders in pupil-dilating ink. But alas! Despite making art for pot brands and cranking out dozens of comics about a weed-smoking firedog, Blomerth himself avoids the devil’s lettuce. (He does, however, make it a tradition to consume acid or mushrooms at least once per calendar year.)

I’ve always known that Brian does not enjoy smoking weed, but I was never quite sure why. I had a feeling there was a good story behind his breakup with the plant, and decided to call him up to learn the backstory for this edition of Cash Only. As expected, the tale behind his last hurrah with marijuana was stranger than fiction and undoubtedly “Blomerthian.” Turns out that a fateful, nightmarish experience at a Dave Matthews concert was what scared him straight. 

I don’t want to spoil any more details, so you’ll just have to read on. Big shouts to Blomerth. I’ll never ask you to hit the spliff, but I still prefer to be in your company while I’m really baked.

Blomerth photographed on Halloween a while back by Zach Sokol
A Brian Blomerth weed illustration commissioned for Merry Jane way back

What’s up, Mr. Blomerth? Let’s talk about your relationship with weed.

Brian Blomerth: When I first started working for you at Merry Jane, I remember you asked me, “Are you pro weed or anti weed? As long as it’s one of the two, we’re good. Doesn’t matter which” [laughs].

That is correct. Let’s jump back a second, though. What was your first time smoking weed like?

Shit, man. I remember people in high school doing the “honey blunt-in-the-microwave” type of garbage. 

What’s a honey blunt?

You’ve never heard of a honey blunt? Are you kidding me? Am I insane? You roll a blunt, then break open the Dutch Master and put a little honey on it, and then it briefly goes in the microwave. You microwave it for like two seconds and then smoke the thing. I remember some kid in my high school being like [*nasally voice*] “And thaaaat’s a honey blunt!”

My friend’s mom was gone so we smoked a honey blunt at her place. Then I watched my friends skateboard terribly in front of the house. I was maybe 15. I think I got high, but I don’t remember it being anything special or whatever.

RIP Slippy Syrup. Photo by Zach Sokol
Brian Blomerth and Kate Levitt (GOATs), photo by Zach Sokol

What about the first time you were actually stoned, like memorably stoned?

It had to be in college. Those are the weed experiences that really stick out to me and have good tales related to them. Are you ready for this? One of the first times I remember getting very, very high was in college and I was looking at all my own drawings. I was like, “What the fuck is this shit?” It was a real confrontation with my ego. I was staring at my work and thought, “It’s unfair to make anyone look at this garbage.”

There was another time, or more like a week, when I was into hash. We were smoking hash and went to a river, and my friend put his two fingers in his mouth to make himself gag — like, as a bit — but him doing that made me actually throw up. And I was pissed because I had just eaten a nice sandwich for lunch. “Goddamn it! I’ll be starving in an hour.” 

Did you enjoy being high, despite the vomiting situation?

I think so, yeah. There was another time that week where I smoked a bunch of weed, ate a whole bag of Doritos, and then also threw up. It was fine, but looking at my drawings while high made me way too paranoid. It was too confusing for me. It didn’t change my art practice or anything, but it just freaked me out [laughs]. 

One of Brian’s panels from a “Frisbee F.D.” comic we did, back when I was editing Merry Jane

At what point were you like, “This shit is not for me. I don’t like weed”?

I can tell you the exact moment, and this story’s wild. I was working at the dorms at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. This woman comes up to me and is like, “Hey, I’m giving staff members free tickets to see Dave Matthews in this basketball stadium, do you want them?”

I said, “Yes, give me 8 tickets,” and she said, “OK, cool.” 

So she gives me 8 tickets to see a Dave Matthews acoustic set. Me and my whole cadre of friends were like, “Hell yes. It’s time to smoke some fucking WEED before we go to this thing.” 

Apparently, we smoked so much weed that one of my friends was convinced we’d also done Robitussin. That’s how high we were; he thought we were Robo-Tripping. I know for a fact that we had just smoked weed, though. No, sir, it was just weed. 

So we go to the basketball stadium, and Dave comes out and he’s going nuts. It’s just Dave and this other acoustic guy, but the other guy has all these filters and shit so he can make his guitar sound like a violin or whatever. But the show starts, and all these frat guys are grinding on their girlfriends super intensely. Immediately, I was thinking, “This is too fucking heavy for me. This is insane.” This was before Obama got elected, right? And here’s where things get a little offensive and crazy…

Brian Blomerth, photographed by Zach Sokol

Please, continue…

Dave was wasted out of his brain, and I don’t know if you know anything about him, but he’s an on-and-off alcoholic. He cut his teeth in Charlottesville, and it’s maybe 45 minutes away from Richmond. So you’d always meet people, like professors or whoever, who had tales about Dave Matthews being wasted and doing something crazy. 

For example, I had one friend who delivered him a canoe at 8am one morning, and Dave was holding two Budweisers, one in each hand. My friend was like, “Sick, he’s going to give me one of these beers.” But Dave did NOT give him a beer. My friend even reached his hand out to take the second beer. He thought it was for him and he’d get to enjoy a morning beer with Dave Matthews — but no dice! Dave pulled the beer away from him, gave him a look like, “What the fuck?” and just pointed to where he wanted the canoe on his property, despite having both hands full. 

One more local story about Dave and then I’ll return to my own tale. OK, so my friend is at this bar in Charlottesville, and she thinks there are a bunch of jackets under this table. She’s got her feet like resting on these jackets. And at the end of the night, she looks down there and it’s not a bunch of jackets… it’s Dave Matthews passed out [laughs]. I swear to god! Completely blacked out, under the table. 

So what happened at that Dave Matthews concert you got really high for? 

So we’re at the show, and it’s before Obama was elected. Dave’s like, “The whole worlddddd’s rooting for Obama! We got Irish people being like, [*bad Irish accent*] Lickety-di-Obama! We’ve got African people being like, Click-clack-click-clack-Obama!” He keeps going, and I’m just sitting there like, “What the flying fuck is this? What the fuck is he talking about?” And then Dave goes, “The Chinese are saying Ching-Chong-Ching-Chong-Obama!” The audience is cheering after each line, and I’m increasingly weirded out by all this and how racist it is.

He then goes: “OK, I wrote this song about Obama. It’s called ‘Crash.’” And then he plays the infamous song, “Crash.” Everybody cheers, and I’m just like, “What the fuck does this mean? This is the END of me and weed. I am so fucking confused and freaked out right now.”

I look around and people are still cheering, but it meant nothing. It was like, “What does this statement even mean? What does Obama have to do with ‘Crash’? What is going on here?”

From then on, I decided I’ll never smoke weed again [laughs]. 

That’s wild. Isn’t “Crash” about coming inside of someone? Like, that’s in the lyrics. 

Yeah, I think so. I’m pretty certain. And that makes it all the more twisted. Also, it’s called “Crash” and he got all these anti-Obama people to be hype, all these pro-Obama people to be hype. It wasn’t even English! What language is this man speaking, and what is he trying to say? And everyone was so into it, despite the overt racism.

So Dave Matthews scared me straight. You’d think he might have scared me away from alcohol and all the other shit, but for whatever reason, I thought, “This is the weed’s fault. Not Dave Matthews’ fault.” And yes, I realize this is a problem with Dave Matthews and not a problem with marijuana, but I just couldn’t handle Dave and marijuana together. It was just too much.There you go: Cash Only…. [laughs].

Another panel from defunct Brian’s comic series, “Frisbee F.D.” RIP…

Did you ever smoke weed again, or was this really your last hurrah?

I did smoke one or two other times after a friend was like, “Come on, Brian! Please.” That kind of shit — alright, alright, I’ll take a little sippy-sip. And it was fine. It was OK. It mostly makes me very paranoid and stressed out. I confront my life way too much when I’m high. I don’t think that’s good for me. I’m one of those people.

I bet a lot of people imagine you smoke based on your art, but I think it’s way tighter that you’re the trippy psychedelics-focused illustrator who doesn’t smoke weed. 

That’s what I love to hear. Yeah, weed’s cool. It’s just too confusing and it makes it hard for me to focus. I really respect your style and people who smoke weed and can just blaze through monotonous tasks. I think that’s fucking awesome, but it doesn’t work for me.

What’s your favorite weed-related image to illustrate? You’ve done a thousand at this point.

I can’t remember if I drew this for you or another publication, but drawing the actual plant and the leaves is obviously super fun. I did a full 18” by 24” illustration of the plant for someone once, and it was tight, but they told me they couldn’t use it. So I like drawing the plant. It’s a very pretty plant. 

Another image I commissioned Brian to draw for Merry Jane

What drugs do you enjoy doing these days? I remember you telling me that you usually do psychedelics just once per year. 

Yeah, it’s still a once a year thing. But I enjoy that annual trip quite tremendously [laughs]. Part of my once a year rule is that I can’t try very hard to seek them out. So it’s typically when someone just randomly presents the opportunity, like someone saying, “Hey, I’ve got these tabs for $20 a pop, want to buy one right now?” I don’t actively plan a trip; it usually comes to me. 

In the middle of COVID shit, I found a huge bag of mushrooms on the ground. But I was like, “You know what? This ain’t me right now” [laughs]. I left them there for someone else to find. I thought it’d be way cooler for someone else to come across because I wasn’t in that space. I was in a weird spot, housing-wise, and I knew I couldn’t be that high at the time. It would have been nightmarish — and don’t get me wrong, nightmarish can be good sometimes — but I was just not ready for something like that right then.  

What would it take to get you to smoke again today? 

Not very much, I’d just have to want to do it [laughs]. Not that much. If the right opportunity presented itself. Like if someone cooked an elaborate-ass meal and was like, “The only thing that would enhance this meal and truly make it the greatest thing ever is this weed I grew,” then I’d smoke the weed. If it was a scenario like that, I’d be like, “Yes, this is beyond acceptable.” 

A Ram Dass-inspired panel of “Frisbee F.D.” by Brian Blomerth

What are your general thoughts on weed culture in 2022? Anything about the current weed zeitgeist that you have an opinion on, one way or the other?

I wish you could go into a weed store and buy really crappy weed. Like 1960s weed. I know I’m not original in this thought, but I wish there was access to dirt weed. Shit that makes you want to wear a different colored outfit, you know? There should be more shake around. I want the type of nug you find hidden in a record sleeve that’s like decades old. If I was to smoke weed again, that’d be what I look for. 

What about the aesthetics of weed? Do you have any opinions about the imagery used in weed branding today?

If I’m being honest, I haven’t looked that hard. The only thing that’s annoying for me is that I’m kind of over working with weed brands on illustrations. It’s confusing, and the brands never know what they want. They never work with me a little bit to figure out something that will work for them. They always move the goal post. I’ll work for them on a single project for a long time, and they can’t bring it through the finish line. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want it to be one-and-done for those types of gigs. It’s too much and too confusing. 

Brian Blomerth x Kate Levitt, photo by Zach Sokol

If you were to return to weed, who would be in your dream blunt rotation?

It’d be funny to smoke with three Dave Matthews. Literally three clones. That’d be such a nightmare, three Daves. I don’t think I could handle that, though. That’s a triple threat. I think my casual “I don’t smoke weed” stance would be converted to a strong anti-weed stance if I smoked with three Daves. Yeah, every time I wanna get scared straight again, I’ll smoke with three Dave Matthews. 

If I’m being more serious, I like listening to gurus talk, so maybe the Maharishi and all his transcendental meditation vibes. He’d be way too intense, but it’d be fun to be like, “Nah just chill man.” He’s got a good voice, too.

You know what? I wanna go with people who have amazing voices. So let’s add Orson Welles. It’s all about listening to beautiful tones while you’re smoking. We need a lady, maybe someone with a gravelly voice. How about Delilah Rene, from “Delilah After Dark.” If you listen to mom radio, like adult contemporary, she comes on at night and has this really soft voice and she’s crying a lot. She’s cool. She plays love songs and takes dedications from callers. And people call in and talk about the pain in their life and then ask for Matchbox 20 to be played [laughs]. Let’s also add Diane Rehm from NPR and “On My Mind.” She also has a great voice. 

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