Zig-Zag Goes Beyond Rolling Papers with the Introduction of their Media Hub, Zig-Zag Studio

The iconic rolling paper brand Zig-Zag announced the launch of Zig-Zag Studio, a new media platform fueling the company’s evolution into content, collaborations and entertainment supporting the Zig-Zag brand.

For decades, Zig-Zag has been widely recognized as a pop culture staple and a cornerstone of music and smoking. With the launch of Zig-Zag Studio, the brand aims to further its legacy as a media platform hosting exclusive content created to inspire creativity through storytelling and digital media.

Featuring artists from a diverse range of industries and genres, Zig-Zag Studio will focus on art and lifestyle content, and serve as a launchpad for emerging talent, exclusive merchandise drops and collaborations.

”At Zig-Zag, we are focused on building unique and memorable experiences for our customers,” said Eric Anwar, Senior Director of Zig-Zag Marketing. “Through the launch of Zig-Zag Studio, we have created a platform aimed to illuminate talent through storytelling and foster new ideas to shape our culture and inspire others to enact positive change in our world.”

Zig-Zag will introduce “Studio” in several layers that promote its native content including photography, video and live performances from music artists. The flagship live music performance series, titled “Studio Sessions,” will debut with a full line-up of performances from musical elites Sleepy Hallow, Marc E Bassy, Mariah The Scientist and NGHTMRE.

Filmed live in Southern California, fans will be able to watch the series on YouTube and ZigZag.com. Moving forward, Zig-Zag will also showcase a variety of established and emerging artists from hip-hop to EDM.

Courtesy of Zig Zag. Photo of Sleepy Hallow for Zig-Zag’s Studio Sessions. Shot by Adam Zvanovec.

You can view Zig-Zag’s Studio Sessions here: zigzag.com/studio

The Studio’s storytelling video series, “Through My Lens,” gives viewers an inside look at the unique backgrounds and creative processes of artists—from photographers to producers—with a goal of inspiring the next generation of creators. The series will premiere with Sam Dameshek (Photographer), Jeff Cole (Digital Artist), Matt Gondek (Fine Artist) and Dot (Music Producer).

Zig-Zag
Courtesy of Zig-Zag. Photo of Matt Gondek for Zig-Zag’s Through My Lens Series. Shot by Adam Zvanovec.

You can view Zig-Zag’s Through My Lens series here: zigzag.com/studio

In celebration of Studio’s launch, the Zig-Zag brand will also launch its first limited edition apparel and accessories line dubbed, The 1879 Collection. Named after the year Zig-Zag was founded, the modern collection reflects the trailblazing story of Zig-Zag’s French heritage with an array of styles, including embroidered vintage tees, hoodies and sweatpants, as well as elevated products like varsity jackets and leather goods.

Zig-Zag
Courtesy of Zig-Zag. Photo of Madison Masaitis for Zig-Zag’s Studio’s 1879 Collection. Shot by Sam Dameshek.

Harlan Raine, Zig-Zag’s senior marketing manager was responsible for the design of the collection and described the inspiration behind it: “The 1879 Collection is a tribute to Zig-Zag’s rich history and the mythical story around the company’s French origins, all told through the lens of modern apparel and accessories. You’ll find references to the past in every piece; some obvious and some more subtle. Having a 140-plus year history gives us a nearly endless supply of material to translate into new forms, whether it’s clothing, entertainment or experiences.”

Zig-Zag
Courtesy of Zig-Zag. Photo of Madison Masaitis for Zig-Zag’s Studio’s 1879 Collection. Shot by Sam Dameshek

The 1879 collection was shot in Los Angeles by photography phenom Sam Dameshek featuring models Madison Masaitis and Tanner Zagarino.

You can purchase the 1879 Collection items here: zigzag.com/collections/1879-collection

What to Expect From Zig-Zag Studio in the Future

Zig-Zag has expressed this is only the beginning of their new marketing endeavors embracing creativity and consumer experience. The company plans to expand on its existing video series with both established and emerging talent as well as launch additional original content revolving around art, culture and entertainment. 

At its core, the Studio platform aims to serve as an interactive entertainment-based e-commerce platform that enhances the experience for customers from pre-purchase to post purchase. 

The company has stated, “There are millions of creative voices in the world and we want to showcase their great ideas, stories, and work.”

The rolling paper company plans to bring the same level of creativity and energy into its core product lines with the addition of new smokable products and accessories to service its 220,000-plus retail customer base in the United States. 

You can find all of Zig-Zag Studio’s projects on the Zig-Zag website: zigzag.com/studio 

About Zig-Zag

Born in Paris in 1879, Zig-Zag Rolling Papers have grown for more than a century to become the most iconic premium rolling paper brand in the world. What began as two French brothers, Maurice and Jacques Braunstein, producing papers in their manufacturing facility in west Paris, has evolved into a global brand filled with culture, creativity and unparalleled craftsmanship.

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Cannabis Documentary Lady Buds Explores Female Business Owners in New Release

A new cannabis film documentary entitled Lady Buds, releasing this weekend, explores the lives and challenges of female business owners.

The cannabis industry has heavily benefitted from niche documentaries, which present a professional way to educate viewers about the stigma of cannabis, its history on the War on Drugs or its effectiveness as a medicine. Films such as WEED (2013), featuring CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta, who opened up the conversation about medical cannabis to the nation. Weed the People (2018) explores the effectiveness of medical cannabis for children. Grass is Greener (2019) examines the history of music and its depiction of the War on Drugs.

Now it’s time to enjoy a new cinematic adventure in the form of Lady Buds—a unique perspective about female cannabis business owners from all walks of life.

Lady Buds recounts the lives and businesses of a diverse cast of individuals in Northern California, varying in race, age and sexual orientation. Seven women, who represent six cannabis businesses, are featured in Lady Buds: Sue Taylor, Chiah Rodriques, Felicia Carbajal, Karyn Wagner and The Bud Sisters (Pearl Moon and Dr. Joyce Centofanti). From cultivation to dispensary ownership and topical creation, these women all faced numerous challenges during the 2017-2019 window when the documentary was filmed. Lady Buds presents an intimate look at the lives of each subject, but also challenges the stereotypes both of “stoners” in general, as well as those of women in the industry.

Check out this exclusive clip from the film, featuring Karyn Wagner who shares an experience that her business ran into shortly after legalization in California went live. Enjoy this sneak peek!

High Times conducted an exclusive interview with Director, Producer and Writer Chris J. Russo in the High Times’ November Issue, aka the Women’s Issue, where she offered an inside look at her film and what kind of experience it presents to audiences. According to Russo, Lady Buds is the first of its kind—and it all began with a statistic about women in the industry that stuck with her. A few key studies have produced some shocking data about women in the industry, or lack thereof.

Back in 2015, according to a study conducted by Marijuana Business Daily (MBD), 36 percent of women held executive roles in the industry. By 2017, that percentage dropped by 26.9 percent, and then increased back up to 36.8 percent by 2019. MBD’s 2021 report entitled “Women & Minorities in the Cannabis Industry” shows a continued decline both in women, as well as people of color.

Lady Buds illuminates the issues that women face in this industry, but also highlights the challenges of all small cannabis businesses fighting to compete with larger cannabis corporations. “This film is kind of nothing like you’ve ever seen before because there hasn’t ever really been a film that’s showed such a wide range of areas that’s just like seeing it through a female lens,” Russo told High Times. “In my film, you explore the challenges of the entire supply chain with the women who are directly engaged in it. I like to make films that I want to see, so I want see more women in the positions of power in roles that are very positive.”

If you live near Los Angeles or San Francisco, check out the following live theatrical events:

November 26-27: Glendale Laemmle Theatre, 207 N. Maryland Ave., Glendale, CA 91206

November 29: Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St. San Francisco, CA 94103

The film will be releasing in select theaters on November 26, and will also be available on video on demand services such as iTunes.

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CNN’s Sixth WEED Documentary Features the Benefits of Medical Cannabis for Autism

CNN announced on November 22 that it would be airing the sixth installment of its cannabis series, WEED 6: Cannabis and Autism, which explores the benefits between medical cannabis and symptoms of patients with autism in its debut this weekend. 

Featuring CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta, this segment follows the traditional format of the previous WEED series to introduce viewers to firsthand experiences with medical cannabis benefits. “Autism, ASD for Autism Spectrum Disorder, is by definition a wide array of behaviors. Whether mild or severe, two core symptoms are social communication challenges and restrictive or repetitive behaviors,” CNN states in a press release. “In WEED 6: Cannabis and Autism, viewers will meet researchers, doctors, and families, some of whom are coming out publicly for the first time, and will see in real-time how life-changing the plant can be for them.”

The first WEED documentary released in 2013, and opened up an entirely new discussion on the stigma of weed. The honest headline of Gupta’s 2013 CNN article “Why I changed my mind on weed” directly opposed his 2009 TIME article “Why I would vote No on Pot.” 

In his 2013 article, Gupta apologizes for letting the cannabis stigma prevent him from seeing the plant’s true potential. “Well, I am here to apologize,” he wrote. “I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.”

In WEED, he brought the spotlight to Charlotte Figi, a young Colorado girl suffering from Dravet syndrome, who found relief with medical cannabis. She sadly passed away in 2020, but her example has inspired many other parents to seek out medical cannabis for their children.

It’s been eight years since that original documentary released, and Gupta has produced a total of six documentaries with a unique perspective on cannabis. In WEED 2: Cannabis Madness (2014) he dove into the complexities of politics when it comes to medical cannabis. WEED 3: The Marijuana Revolution (2015) continued to review the benefits of medical cannabis. WEED 4: Pot vs. Pills (2018) tackled the devastating effects of the opioid crisis, and how medical cannabis can help. Finally WEED 5: The CBD Craze (2019) explored the boom of CBD and the dangers of an unregulated market.

Since 2013, Gupta has been a strong proponent of medical cannabis, but his involvement isn’t limited to the WEED series. Most recently on October 13, 2021, he appeared on an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience where he discussed his stance change on cannabis, and how he publicly came out stating that he was wrong about medical cannabis.

Gupta also provided insight about the problem with many medical studies now being conducted on cannabis. “If you’re just looking at papers—well, this one potential long harm, this one possible addiction, this one gateway—you know, you’re seeing all those individual studies, but at a broader level, one step upstream, you realize that most of the studies that are getting funded are designed to look for harm,” Gupta told Rogan. “When I saw that, that was the first time I thought, ‘well, why are the studies that are getting out there, why are they all designed to look for harm?” he said. “Then I started looking at other countries, and some really good research out of places like Israel in particular.”

WEED 6: Cannabis and Autism will debut on November 28 at 9 p.m. ET on CNN live, and can also be watched on the channel’s live streaming service, CNNgo.

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All in on Far Out: Stoned at DesignerCon

I’ve gone to a lot of conventions in my day, but few are as exciting as DesignerCon. Originally founded in 2006, and known as the Vinyl Toy Network back then, DesignerCon is a three-day art and toy convention held annually at the Anaheim Convention Center. Although this was the first event since 2019 due to that moment in time we’d all like to forget, it was clear that the spirit of DesignerCon is thriving, with over 800 vendors displaying 550 artists across this year’s showroom floor.

Featuring everything from vinyl toys to hand-made customs, and fine art prints to originals, Dcon is honestly a creative’s Valhalla. The entire hall is covered with art, and almost everyone notable in today’s landscape is represented, if not there themselves. For example, I’m not sure Kaws showed up, but that doesn’t mean there was any shortage of his work. 

I’ve known of this event for a few years, and while I’ve always been interested, given my typically hectic schedule, this was the first one I was actually able to attend. Now that I know exactly what goes on here, I’m pretty sure I won’t miss another. I know my wallet won’t be happy about it, but my soul will be smiling. Here’s how it went for me.

Courtesy of Birdman Photos

Getting In

In case you’ve never been to the area, the Anaheim Convention Center is, like, across the street from Disneyland, so I was expecting security to be TIGHT. After a rough experience at ComplexCon the week before, I was frankly pretty on edge. I had joints hidden EVERYWHERE. 

However, I’m very pleased to report that besides making sure you were properly vaccinated or proved COVID-negative, security was not concerned whatsoever about whatever consumables you may have had on you. Although I was asked not to smoke “hard tobacco” so close to the convention center on my initial approach, there were plenty of smoking areas adjacent to the hall to pop out and puff in, and there were far more joints being roasted there than cigarettes, from what I saw.

Once inside, it was actually a much smoother operation than I was expecting. Having experienced the madness from CES to Comic-Con, the seemingly tranquil ingest process was a breeze, and though it was clear that there were a LOT of people there, everyone was moving in the same direction. Even better, although traffic flowed, there was plenty of space to pop off to the side and see whatever art you wanted without causing a massive jam.

Designercon
Courtesy of Birdman Photos

On the Floor

I know I called it Valhalla earlier, but there really is something so magic about the floor of this show that it feels entirely accurate. While my personal arrested development still has my obsession with toys at an all time high, there truly was something for everyone here, and every booth was worth stopping and checking out—even if just to get out of your own aesthetic preferences for a moment to see something new.

I do this at weed shows, but there are very, very few other events I make sure to check out absolutely everything at, and this was one of those. I was fortunate to be rolling with a few gents who appreciate the arts as much as I do (shout out to Ted from Alien Labs and Curtis from the Yellow Brick Group), so the mission was clear from the jump—we WERE going to see everything dope there. Let me just say, this is a MUCH more difficult task than I imagined—the dope list is never-ending, and it’s easy to get sucked down a rabbit hole. 

Courtesy of Birdman Photos

Finding the Heat

From the first steps you take into the space, it’s clear that the titans of industry were all present at this event, and that this wasn’t some throwaway experience for them—they were showing out. Booths like Medicom, the makers of the ever-popular Be@rbricks, sported a line around their entire, massive set-up for basically the whole event, while others created much more personal and approachable experiences. 

My personal favorites, the Mighty Jaxx gang, made an excellent display around their footprint that looked as if their entire collection was tucked away inside a vault. Although much of it is still waiting to enter the country due to the global shipping issues right now, I was able to secure one of Jason Freeny’s new Melting Bomb piece, which I’ve had my eye on forever. Another booth of note, which should come as no surprise to our frequent readers, was, of course, Talking Terps’ Cottage, which was making its second public debut. 

Designercon
Courtesy of @_shawnsolo_

Some brands stood out with just their stores, while others utilized massive installation pieces to draw a crowd. Newcomers like RRAR developed a giant version of “Always Somewhere Else,” which is now accepting preorders for it’s 12-inch release in Q1 ‘22, to make their debut on the scene. Artists like Robert Burden, for example, used their space to show off the expanse of their work, with larger-than-life canvases that featured a seemingly never-ending collection of pop-culture references. 

Robert Burden at Work

Exclusives to Bootlegs

One of the best parts of DesignerCon is all the exclusive releases that happen special for the event. From unique colorways of already popular pieces, to brand-new creations released there for the first time, there were far too many items I simply couldn’t say ‘no’ to. Tristan Eaton’s “Let’s Bang” sculpt in Black, which was released in partnership with 3D Retro, was a prime example of this. 

Another was Fett Up Toys Boba Fett / Skeletor mash, which I’ve become obsessed with. The hand-made, bootleg game was especially popular this year, with every possible play of Mickey Mouse imaginable on display at one booth or another. While some certainly lacked creativity, others absolutely took things to the next level, whether it was through combining traits, mashing colorways or just straight up destroying cultural icons, and I was there for it.

DesignerCon Exclusive Bearbricks

One of the more interesting developments at this event was the way NFTs have begun to invade this space. Obviously given the rarity and collectible aspect of many projects, NFTs seem prime for adoption by this audience, but what Veve is doing is really interesting. Leveraging artists with real-world fame (and cult-like followings) like Luke Chueh, Sket One and Camille Rose Garcia, and the IP of powerhouses like Marvel and James Bond

They’ve managed to make carbon-neutral NFTs that allow these fandoms to tap into this burgeoning, new technology without any of the negative ecological costs. I’m not sure if they’ll take off, but they sold out many of their projects in seconds, so it’ll be worth keeping an eye on.

Courtesy of @3dretro

Hit or Quit

Overall I’ve got to say this was one of the most fun events I’ve been to in a LONG time. Sure it was like, exactly in the pocket of things I love, and I spent far, far more than anticipated, but I was on cloud 9 the entire event—I floated through the convention hall snatching up unique figures and prints, both beautifying my apartment (by some standards) and satisfying my obsession with the weird. I said it above so it should come as no surprise, but this is now a must attend on my yearly calendar, and while I may go broke in the process, at least I’ll die with the most cool shit to pass on.

Designercon
Talking Terps Cottage – Courtesy of Birdman Photos

Finally, shout out to Dole whip, man. I knew they had it at Disney, but thankfully, the Convention Center also has the plug, and few things hit like a nice frosty pineapple jawn after walking around smashed all day. I don’t know why more places don’t have it—seems like the kind of thing McDonald’s or someone should capitalize on, but if you’ve never tried it, and you ever see a stand offering some in the future, TRUST… you’re going to enjoy yourself. 

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Strain Check: We See You Rolling, But is it Loud?

What on earth am I doing at this millennial rap music festival? To be fair, I am a music industry lifer. I’ve done just about everything there is to do in this game, and I still do have a love for the music. So, I did my plantar fasciitis stretches, took extra-strength ibuprofen, bought a new insole for my sneakers that boast extra arch support, followed by several hours of procrastinating with my bong and then headed to Queens. 

My mission was simple: I am not here to watch performances–I am way more interested in what artists are smoking at Rolling Loud New York. So, I came up with a little thing called “Strain Check: We See You Rolling, But is it Loud?”

Within a brief walk through the Rolling Loud grounds, I ended up passing through the epic thrillride that was 300 Entertainment’s “Ride Or Die” public transit themed haunted house activation. I definitely needed to smoke after that, so I paid a quick visit to the Vibes Papers larger-than-life shipping container to stock up on supplies. It was at that moment that I realized something: a music festival that provides rolling papers to its attendees is a very self-aware festival. 

After a much-needed sesh, it was time for the Strain Check to officially commence.

Courtesy of Seth Zaplin
Strain Check
Courtesy of Seth Zaplin

The first person I spotted was Shiest Bubz, and we go back for decades. Years ago, I booked Shiest and prominent Dipset members at an intimate club in Connecticut. “Purple City Byrd Gang” was the song of the night right before the place got pepper sprayed. For those who don’t know Bubz, this notorious Harlem MC and entrepreneur smokes like no other and isn’t afraid to let you know it.

Shiest Bubz: Seth, you started with me, and you’re ending with me, ‘cause if you ain’t smoking the Iyyyeeeee Kiki Shiest Bubzy, you don’t know what you’re doing. I just smoked my Cherry Critters, but check this out:

Strain Check
Courtesy of Seth Zaplin

The next person whom I spot is a familiar (tattooed) face who goes by the name Slayter. I’ve been rocking with him since his 2016 Dirty Game debut, and seeing him rock big festival crowds and concert venues nationwide on tour with OhGeesy makes me proud. With a reputation for smoking loud, we had to Strain Check what he was rolling, and the response he gave was quite honest.

Strain Check
Courtesy of Seth Zaplin

Slayter: Cheetah Piss! I can’t front; this is not really my favorite, but it was quick block finesse on my way over here—and it gets me right.

Strain Check
Courtesy of Seth Zaplin

What is some crazy shit you remember happening while smoking?
Slayter:
I remember the first time I ever smoked weed. I was in a Target parking lot, and I swear I saw […] a zebra lady. I always think about that…

Strain Check
Courtesy fo Seth Zaplin

Shortly after, I found the newest member of Griselda: Rome Streetz. Rome is killing the underground with gritty bars filled with substance. I’ve been bumping his collaboration with the legendary DJ Muggs, Death And The Machine. Can’t wait to see what happens on his first Griselda project, but in the meantime, we must know what in the world is Rome smoking. 

Rome Streetz: I’m smoking this Big Apple Greens Blue Guava. 

Ever smoked something that really knocked you out? 

Rome Streetz: Yes! One time I smoked this stuff called Halo OG. It was so strong, I almost stopped smoking weed. This was, like, 2013, and I was like, “This is just the best ever; I might need to quit!” But nah, I smoke a lot! 

Strain CheckLater on, I ran into Florida’s own Danny Towers. Danny is a super talented and versatile artist, and I always respected him as such. But after this encounter, he now has my ultimate respect as a pothead. Most people would ask, “Danny, how you feel?” but in this case, we ask Danny, “What are you smoking?”Danny Towers: This is my strain: Turbo Towers. It’s really, really good, and we’re coming out with more flavors very soon, G shit.
Courtesy of Seth Zaplin

Later on, I ran into Florida’s own Danny Towers. Danny is a super talented and versatile artist, and I always respected him as such. But after this encounter, he now has my ultimate respect as a pothead. Most people would ask, “Danny, how you feel?” but in this case, we ask Danny, “What are you smoking?”

Danny Towers: This is my strain: Turbo Towers. It’s really, really good, and we’re coming out with more flavors very soon, G shit.

Strain Check
Courtesy of Seth Zaplin

Woods or papers?

Danny Towers: Aw man, I was abusing Backwoods! I was smoking 15 to 20 per day. It was getting too crazy, so I’m on papers and mixing in a little Grabba now. 

Next, I stumbled upon OMB Peezy, and I just had a gut feeling that Peezy smoked big gas. The Mobile, Alabama sensation who is signed to E-40’s Sick Wit It label did not disappoint. 

Strain Check
Courtesy of Seth Zaplin

OMB Peezy: I’ve got this Gelato 41 right now for whenever I run out of my Peezy Purple or that Overkill Purplato. This is my go-to when I run out of my own strain. 

Strain Check
Courtesy of Seth Zaplin

Do you have a super memorable blunt or joint you can recall smoking? 

OMB Peezy: I remember when my homeboy put me onto Backwoods. I was still smoking Swishers and shit. That motherfucker rolled a Backwoods, bent it, and still smoked it! I was like, oh yeah, I ain’t never smoking a Swisher again!

Strain Check
Courtesy of Seth Zaplin

Through a crowd of average-height folks, I easily spot the tallest artist I know, Dave East, who has been impacting the scene for the past several years with a Nas co-sign and a slew of notable projects. I remember being super impressed when hearing his early stuff with Scram Jones. Fast forward to 2021, and Dave is a superstar actor hybrid playing Method Man on Hulu’s Wu-Tang: An American Saga. Oh, and of course by now he has his own strain. 

Dave East: The only thing I smoke these days is the East OG. Here, let me show you: 

Strain Check
Courtesy of Seth Zaplin

What was it like being a heavy smoker before all the money and fame? 

Dave East: I used to take all of the roach clips out of my ashtray. Before I had a lot of weed, I would break ‘em all down, take the clips out, and roll new blunts. I’ll never forget my roach blunts. 

Strain Check
Courtesy of Seth Zaplin

It was starting to rain, and I was ready to give up and leave, but before doing so, I passed by CJ, who is from my borough of Staten Island. CJ broke through last year in a huge way with his hit record, “Whoopty,” so I had to see for myself what “zaza” of his was going “straight to the māthā.” 

Strain Check
Courtesy of Seth Zaplin

CJ: One the homies just handed me some of this Gumbo, which is going crazy in NYC right now. But usually, you can catch me smoking my own strains of “Whoopty,” “Zaza,” and “Blue Cheese.” Got the hybrid, sativa and indica.

Strain Check
Courtesy of Seth Zaplin

Before finally making my departure from Rolling Loud, I had to pay a visit to an old friend named Ski Mask The Slump God: a man I’ve personally helped fog out a tour bus with an absurd amount of spliff smoke. After a high-energy performance full of mosh pits and front-flip stage dives, we must know what this man is smoking!

Strain Check
Courtesy of Seth Zaplin

Ski Mask: Ayeeeeeee! Your Highness always be blessin’ me with the fire-ass weed that gets me fried as fuck, haha! G shit! Right now I’ve got the Half Evil collab, this shit is getting me extra right. I’m ‘bout to roll me a hot one now, haha!

What in the hell is a hot one?

Ski Mask: You don’t wanna know, haha! A spicy ass spliff… with extra Grabba! G shit!

Courtesy of Seth Zaplin

Throughout this gathering of stoners and hip-hop fans alike, I managed to get what I needed out of it. I acquainted myself with artists who were rolling some seriously loud bud and had some compelling conversations. Shoutout to Statik Selektah for the artist meal ticket. I was able to successfully slam down a pretty tasty falafel burger and ultimately take my very stoned self home. 

A word to all cannabis-smoking recording artists: When you see me at your show, please act accordingly… this is a Strain Check!

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Exclusive Trailer: The Freak Brothers to Debut on Tubi

Tubi recently announced its first-ever star-studded original animated series, The Freak Brothers, based on the cult classic underground comic series that documented counterculture lifestyle since the ’60s. The first two episodes are set to debut on Tubi this weekend on Sunday, November 14. Tubi shared an uncensored version of the trailer, exclusively with High Times.

On Sunday, viewers will get a sneak peek at The Freak Brothers during a special 90-second trailer airing on FOX’s Animation Domination block during Family Guy (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT). Additional episodes from Season One will drop on Sundays—once every week—ending with the finale on Sunday, December 26.

The Freak Brothers features an impressive roster of voice actors including Academy Award-nominated Woody Harrelson, Emmy Award and Golden Globe winner John Goodman, Emmy Award and Grammy Award winner Tiffany Haddish, Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson, as well as Adam Devine, Blake Anderson, Andrea Savage, La La Anthony and Rapper ScHoolboyQ.

The Freak Brothers is the story of three fictional characters who constantly embark on pot-fueled adventures. It follows laid-back Freewheelin’ Franklin Freek (Harrelson), child-like Fat Freddy Freekowtski (Goodman), the usually paranoid Phineas T. Phreakers (Davidson) and their snarky cat Kitty (Haddish). 

Uncensored The Freak Brothers Trailer

After smoking a magical strain of weed in 1969, the trio are transported 50 years into the future to 2020, bringing their counterculture lifestyle to the modern world. 

“We can’t wait for Tubi viewers to freak out to The Freak Brothers, with its unforgettably irreverent comedy infused with heart, alongside an iconic ensemble voice cast and a stellar team of elite producers and writers,” said Tubi Chief Content Officer Adam Lewinson. “This comedy is 50 years in the making and we are thrilled to have it debut on Tubi as our first original animated comedy, marking a new step for Tubi as we expand our adult humor offerings.”

If the animation style looks familiar—it probably is: Starburns Industries and Pure Imagination Studios, the teams behind Rick & Morty and The Simpsons: Brick Like Me, handled the animation. The animated series is produced by WTG Enterprises and distributed by global content leader Lionsgate.

The Freak Brothers’ theme song was created and performed by TDE recording artist Ray Vaughn. Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, the Grammy Award-winning producer and founder of TDE, one of the most notable music labels, produced the music for The Freak Brothers and is an executive producer on the series, along with Mike Concepcion.

The Freak Brothers History Lesson

The brothers have evolved quite a bit since their first appearance in the late ‘60s. The animated series is based on the classic underground comic The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers created by comic book legend Gilbert Shelton.

After leaving projects like the underground newspaper East Village Other, Shelton self-published Feds ‘n’ Heads in 1968, followed by his most famous comic, The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. He also contributed greatly to Zap Comix with fellow artist R. Crumb. That was followed by spinoff comic books like Fat Freddy’s Cat and the creation of Rip Off Press.

In the comic, Fat Freddy will usually get burned over some bunk grass, or somehow lose his money, while Phineas is the intellectual. Meanwhile, Freewheelin’ Franklin ended up with the most iconic quote of all three: “Dope will get you through times of no money, better than money will get you through times of no dope.”

Underground comics paved the way for publications like High Times, when most other publications refused to publish pot and psychedelic drug references. Comic book publishers pushed the boundaries of how cannabis and other adult themes could be executed.

The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comic eventually sold over 45 million copies in 16 languages and was hailed by The Comics Journal as “One of the 100 Greatest Comics of the Century.” 

The Freak Brothers revival is a testament to the comics’ lasting power in pop culture.

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Lil’ Kim Enters Cannabis Space with superbad, CampNova Partnership

Hip-hop legend and fashion icon Lil’ Kim is the latest celebrity to enter the cannabis fray. Partnering with California pot brand superbad inc. and tech platform CampNova, the Brooklyn native joins the marketplace and a growing list of celebrity brands aiming to stake their claim in the booming cannabis game.

In addition to personal market success, Lil’ Kim and her business partners hope to inspire more Black and female entrepreneurs to join the industry as business leaders.

She spoke with High Times at the 2021 MJBizCon in Las Vegas, where all involved parties made the media rounds on its final day. Joined by superbad CEO Carlos Dew, Lil’ Kim said that the partnership comes after a lengthy but necessary process that involved market watching and a good deal of R&D from the Queen Bee. 

“We’d go back and forth throughout the years,” reported Dew, adding that they decided now was the time to move forward, with legislation and market developments trending upward.

Lil’ Kim, a 2017 headliner at the High Times Canada Cannabis Cup, agreed with Dew. The self-described hustler added that pot had always been a market she wanted to enter. She stated that other brands had approached her over the years, but she never felt ready to make a move on any opportunity. 

“I’ve been doing my homework and research on it,” said the artist and enthusiast.

She elaborated on why now was the time to get involved. “It’s the way of the world right now,” asking rhetorically, “Why not?” 

Product quality was just as important. Wanting to live up to the quality cannabis she’s been exposed to in Brooklyn and beyond, Kim said that the product had to be of the highest quality.

“I’m surrounded by cannabis smokers—everyone around me,” she stated. “I have expensive taste.” After sampling what superbad had to offer, Kim said she came across the gas she was looking to align with. 

Courtesy of Lil’ Kim

What to Expect from Lil’ Kim in Cannabis

The trio focused on grander goals while saving product specifics for a later date.

Dew said that plans are in motion, but that they’d prefer to hold off on releasing any more information for now. “We’re going to do everything in phases; then it’s going to hit,” he stated. The trio did not announce when the next phase of news would roll out.

CampNova Co-founder Emery Morrison stated that Kim’s partnership would include promoting products through various video and audio efforts. CampNova is a tech e-commerce platform that he says is “socializing the process of ordering.”

In essence, Morrison stated that the platform functions like a combination of UberEats, Fashion Nova and Weedmaps, offering customers access to in-demand products through tiered membership. Customers can use the service for free or subscribe to monthly paid tiers for discounts and bonuses. 

Lil’ Kim joins a roster of notable partner brands in and out of cannabis, currently offering between 30 and 40 brands on the platform. The star joins a CampNova roster that includes 2 Chainz, Cann, Mickey Hart, Carlos Santana, Lamar Odom, Jay-Z, Ricky Williams, Mike Tyson, Jerry Garcia and several others.

The company is also involved in the branding and product selection side, depending on the brand’s preferred sales and marketing plan. CampNova’s recent efforts include online social media promotion as well as physical activations.

In August 2021, the company linked up with Lil Wayne’s GKUA brand, giving free VIP livestream access to his show at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with every purchase of GKUA’s Ultra Premium product made through CampNova. 

The group did not expand on what activations Lil’ Kim would be involved in. Offering a top-level overview, Dew stated that customers could expect an offering that equals Lil’ Kim’s status as a fashion and music icon. 

With hope, Lil’ Kim will continue to push the California-based brand into iconic status as well. The premium millennial-focused indoor line is currently sold in four Southern California counties, offering flower, pre-roll joints and badder. Officially launched in October 2020, the L.A.-based superbad touts itself as “the brand of the culture,” asking consumers, “How bad are you?”

The cannabis brand’s desire to be “the perfect accent” to a modern lifestyle fits right in with Lil’ Kim’s brand. Dew discussed how his company’s vision aligned with Lil’ Kim and CampNova. 

“Our whole thing is quality. So, Kim is going to bring a super quality,” he stated. 

Kim elaborated, stating that she opted to partner with superbad after determining the brand was “sophisticated, classy and well-thought-out.” She added that she didn’t intend to slap her name on a brand, a move that often seems to be the case with specific celebrity endorsers. 

Carlos Dew, Founder & CEO of superbad inc. – Courtesy of superbad inc.

Influencing Other Women and Girls to Become Business Leaders

The partnership between Lil’ Kim, superbad and CampNova carries additional significance, with all principles involved being Black entrepreneurs. 

Morrison, whose background is in marketing and branding, working with top names like T Mobile and Monster Audio, highlighted the collaborative partnership between the three. 

He said all parties are committed to ensuring each brand sees continued success, a strategy CampNova applies to each partnership. Doubling down, Morrison said it’s essential to support a project highlighted by a high-profile Black female hip-hop artist. 

“There’s no other brand out there like that,” he stated. 

If the venture does succeed, Morrison sees it creating an influence on other young Black girls, including his three daughters.

“I want them to see someone that’s a Black woman handling her thing so that they can dream,” he explained. 

Dew offered a similarly optimistic view on Lil’ Kim’s potential impact. He stated, “I think she should be able to show the path forward for how women can start getting into the cannabis community and build their own businesses.” 

Lil’ Kim delved into a similar ideal outcome. “I want to empower women to get more involved.” More specifically, she emphasized that she wants to let women know that they can do anything. 

The Queen Bee Enters Cannabis 

Small in stature and enormous in presence, Lil’ Kim has been a fixture in the entertainment and fashion worlds for decades. With explicit lyrics and a persona dripping in sex appeal, Lil’ Kim was one of the early female rap artists to help push and normalize female written sexually charged lyrics to a level where men often went with much less criticism. 

Her debut album Hard Core went double platinum in the U.S., helping propel a career that includes a collaboration with Missy Elliot, Pink, Christina Aguilera, and Mýa on “Lady Marmalade,” and five studio albums. She has sold over 15 million albums and 30 million in singles throughout her career. 

The Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn native was also part of the famed Junior M.A.F.I.A trio consisting of her, Lil Cease and the legendary Notorious B.I.G., who discovered Lil’ Kim in 1994. Lil’ Kim joins a cannabis market that includes B.I.G.’s son, C.J. Wallace, who launched his cannabis brand Think BIG in 2019. 

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REVIEW: Puffco’s Inaugural Puffcon

Disclosure: I’m Terp fam and I’m going to throw them some real love here. Call it bias, but they’re dope and I love it.

It’s hard to throw a consumption event in California, but building a site within the city limits of Los Angeles since Prop. 64 events has been mostly impossible. With the exception of private residences and consumption lounges, no one has been able to pull off a full fledged open-air festival quite like what we remember from the Prop 215 days. That is, until this past weekend’s inaugural Puffcon event.

Taking over approximately four blocks of Downtown Los Angeles right off the 110 this past Saturday, Puffcon was the first-ever block party thrown by its namesake organization, Puffco. Sporting performances from Flatbush Zombies, Action Bronson, and Buddy, the event also featured an all-star line up of vendors ranging from Talking Terps (who released the first-ever special edition Budsy at the event) to Trove SF. Puffcon was free to any vaccinated consumer over 21 who owned a Puffco Peak Pro (or Peak OG)— or who bought one before the registration closed.

@kcb_la

Friends of Puffco

While this was clearly a friends and family event for Puffco, the experience was evolved not only by the performances, but by the well-curated line-up of product and food vendors. From All My Hats Are Dead to Elbo, the event’s ‘shakedown street’ was ALIVE with unique merch and creative wares. I’ve been following many of these guys on IG for ages, so the chance to get to chat in person was a special treat. You don’t always get to meet the brains behind the gear! And as a founder’s character can make all the difference about where I put my support, I’m happy to report all these creatives were just as excellent as people as they are as artists.

While both the above mentioned had plenty of fire on display, cannabis brands like Alien Labs and Fidel’s were also on site serving merchandise to their hungry fans, despite not being able to actually sell weed at the event. Lot Comedy held down the community in a big way, and as someone who always appreciated the lot more than the show, the energy was real.

Puffcon
Photo: John Troxell (IG: @Troxphotos)

I will say that I didn’t miss the surge pricing from food vendors as the day got busier (word to Burger She Wrote, who jacked up prices for water and soda once other vendors started running low, and was happy to own taking advantage of the thirsty, captive audience), but there was a great selection of unique and delicious treats available. From massive cotton candy javelins to some of the hottest hot chicken many of these wooks have ever tried, it wasn’t hard to keep things delicious at Puffcon. I was hoping we’d see a surprise pop up from Bronsolino like he’s been doing as of late, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed that’ll pop at the next one.

The Brand of the Day

Puffco of course had plenty of spots where you could service or buy new parts for your device as well. On sale was some of their more exclusive accessories, merch, as well as a limited number of their new 3D Peak chambers pre-launch—which I have to say is an exciting development for the device, which was already a massive improvement from its predecessor. The new chamber heats all sides of the bucket, instead of just the bottom, allowing for a much more consistent heating across the entire surface area of your concentrates. The 3D chamber, plus their ball cap attachment, will really take your device to new heights.

Although this event was free, the bigger ask made in exchange for entry was that all the owners register their device, and bring it to the event with them. While this was (in my opinion) the single greatest serial registration campaign of all time, I couldn’t help but worry there’d be more than a few smashed units before the day’s end. I’m happy to report I didn’t see a single device fatality the entire day, and I even saw several attendees walking around with more than one in their hands.

@kcb_la

The Terp Love System at Puffcon

If I had to choose a favorite detail, I wouldn’t even need a second to think about it. Without question, the thing that gave me the warmest, happiest feeling of the event was the absolute takeover of the space by Talking Terps. While they for sure had the coolest set up of the event, with a cottage-type clubhouse showing off their various creative projects, perhaps the most surprising to me was the sheer volume of their gear that people wore to the event.

Before even entering the premises it was clear just how deep their market penetration goes—I was stopped by three people (also wearing Terps gear) commenting on my shirt before getting to the line. Once inside the TT@Puffcon laminates were everywhere, including on the types of people who would normally never wear those things—they didn’t grant you any special access, after all. But from the line, to the amount of people taking pictures of their space, to the conversations I heard about them while leaving the event, it was clear they won the weekend.

Puffcon
Photo: John Troxell (IG: @Troxphotos)

Hashing out the Details

Overall, as far as first shots go, I’m not sure Puffcon could have gone any better. The performances were excellent, their vendors made money, and the fans had a fun day that is worth remembering. While I’m sure they have lessons for next time—like more water stations—it was clear that just like at Hall of Flowers, the community is eager to get back out there and reconnect, and they’ll jump at the opportunity to do so—even if it means walking around with their expensive pieces out in DTLA. 

It’s worth noting that while there’s a clear space in the market for extracts and dabbing, I haven’t seen a real hash appreciation event on a scale such as this yet, and it’s clear the market responded well to it. While of course plenty of people were still smoking (and smoking GOOD—word to Khash TreeMason!), the massive amount of support from extractors was clear. I saw some of the best Rosin I’ve seen in my life on Saturday, bar none, and everyone wanted to share (safely, as we all had our own devices). Despite not being vendors, I also didn’t see the same level of ‘dealing’ I normally do at these types of events—it was a much more communal, ‘Here’s some of what I’ve got’ gifting than anything else, which I’m sure we can all appreciate given how expensive high end rosins have become.

I’m hearing rumors they may announce another event in the coming months, maybe even in a different part of the country, so keep an eye out for more on that soon. You’ll definitely want to be at the next one.

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The Cannabis Question Looks at Weed and the Body and Brain

The more cannabis becomes accepted in the U.S., the more frustrating it becomes that cannabis researchers are barred by Schedule I status and cannot freely research, as well as that communities of color remain more at-risk for incarceration. The new PBS and NOVA documentary The Cannabis Question tackles both problems in one, succinct film. 

The film looks at what scientists have discovered so far about the body and brain, as well as the potential medical benefits and risks of using cannabis and how people of color have been harmed by its criminalization. Released on September 29 of this year, the film takes an unbiased and fair look at the way cannabis has been treated. 

“A majority of Americans now live in states where cannabis is legal. As more people make their own choices about cannabis use, this film explores what scientists have learned so far about the potential benefits and risks,” said NOVA Co-Executive Producer Julia Cort in a press release.

“We hope The Cannabis Question will inspire people to join the national conversation about cannabis—informed by the science, and also by the story of how the plant has been weaponized against marginalized communities, causing irreparable harm.”

Yasmin Hurd of Mount Sinai Hospital – Courtesy WGBH

The film looks at scientists Yasmin Hurd at Mount Sinai Hospital and Daniele Piomelli at University of California, Irvine. Both researchers are heading up studies on the endocannabinoid system. By sharing the personal stories of patients and users, the documentary uses a mix of science and emotional appeal to shake the stigma against weed. 

“Such research is critical on a number of levels,” Hurd told High Times. “First, the endocannabinoid system, through which cannabis mediates its actions, is a critical biological system in the brain. It has a broad role in numerous brain functions relevant to cognition, memory, emotion, hormonal regulation and motor behavior and thus is highly implicated in various neuropsychiatric disorders. 

“Moreover, the endocannabinoid system is critical for hardwiring of the developing brain. As such it is important to understand the impact of cannabis exposure especially as THC concentrations have dramatically increased over the years thus leading to far greater perturbation of the endocannabinoid system over its normal physiological bandwidth. In addition, given the neuromodulatory role of endocannabinoids in the brain, it is important to study whether cannabis/cannabinoids can be leveraged to modulate neuropsychiatric disorders.

According to the Director of The Cannabis Question, Sarah Holt, the film is the first of its kind to closely examine the scientific research on how cannabis interacts with humans’ endocannabinoid systems. 

I hope viewers will come away with an understanding of why [the endocannabinoid system] is one of the most important regulatory systems in our body—and anytime you use cannabis, you are interfering with it,” Holt stated in a press release. This isn’t Holt’s first dive into filmmaking to uncover and share scientific data about how drugs interact with the brain. 

“In 2018, I produced a NOVA film called Addiction,” Holt told High Times. “The film investigated how opioid drugs alter the brain, and why addiction should be viewed as a brain disorder that can be successfully managed with evidence-based treatments. As more Americans favor legalizing cannabis, NOVA and I agreed it was time to investigate the latest science studying the vast array of chemicals in this plant. 

“Scores of clinical trials were underway exploring the potential medical benefits or risks of cannabis. Instead of anecdotal stories, the hope was that our film could report on real data to help viewers make informed decisions about cannabis.”

Courtesy WGBH

The film focuses on how cannabis benefits patients with conditions like PTSD, anxiety and pain. It also traces the history of cannabis criminalization throughout the U.S., including the racist history of the word “marijuana” and the demonization of undocumented people throughout the War on Drugs. It specifically focuses on the stories of those who have done or are still doing hard time for cannabis possession. 

“I hope the film helps people understand the larger context and impacts of our drug policies,” Holt said about the movie. “A public health crisis has been unfolding for decades—caused by the war on drugs. The film highlights the influence of racism in forming US policy and its implementation around cannabis over the last century. Cannabis arrests are fueling mass incarceration in this country, and disproportionately targeting communities of color. Incarceration dramatically affects people’s health, and conviction records make it difficult for people to get jobs. 

“At the same time that we have an estimated 40,000 Americans behind bars for cannabis charges, the cannabis wellness industry is thriving, creating a stark divide. I’m hoping that this film widens people’s perspective on cannabis and helps them see how science could inform policy in ways that are both more equitable and beneficial to public health.”  

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Comedian Jon Gabrus is “High And Mighty”

The fact that comedian Jon Gabrus is thriving should not come as a surprise to anyone. The host and creator of the wildly popular Headgum podcast, High and Mighty, moved the show to his home studio during quarantine, and it’s where he’s been recording for over the past year. In fact, his first podcast has been so successful, it spawned a second: The Action Boyz, which he hosts along with Ben Rodgers and Ryan Stanger, “breaking down, discussing and ruining all of your favorite action movies.”

When we connect by phone, Jon is enjoying a weed-and-chocolate cold brew, purposely consuming cannabis earlier in the day so that his high will coincide with his High Times interview. Our conversation touches on Jon’s foray into comedy, his relationship with weed and how he quit toking in high school to focus on becoming an FBI agent.

Comedian Tells All

You started pursuing comedy after hosting your high school talent show. Was comedy something you were always drawn to?

I’m sure I have a traditional X-Men origin story in that I was always the class clown and always enjoyed making my classmates and teachers laugh. Anyone who seemed like a hard laugh was my favorite person to try to crack.

I really wanted to go to school to be an FBI agent, and my plan was to major in science, get into the FBI and become a special agent. I’d actually smoked weed in ninth and tenth grade and then quit because I’d heard somewhere that the FBI wants to make sure you’ve never done drugs before. 

When the opportunity to host the talent show arose, the teacher producing the show was like, “Nah, you want to be an actor or a comedian or something. You should host the talent show.” I was like, “Oh, I don’t know.” This was my AP Psych teacher whose class I was taking because, again, I wanted to be a profiler or some shit—and she was like, “No, you want to work in entertainment. Trust me.” I was already set to perform a segment at the show with some friends, lip-syncing to Michael Jackson songs in stupid costumes, so I was like, “Okay, whatever.”

Performing on and hosting the talent show made me feel so fucking alive. My portion of the lip-sync was “Smooth Criminal.” It was 1998 or 1999, so I now understand the problematic issue around Michael Jackson, but, at the time, we had no idea. Screaming, “Annie, are you okay?” while the entire crowd sang along was such a fucking experience. It was like, “Oh, I get it now. I didn’t understand it before, but now I get why theater kids go crazy.” 

So, that was sort of the catalyst for me, and while I thought I’d still pursue biology and join the FBI, I knew I now liked comedy. I didn’t realize all those times I was making my teacher laugh or making my brother laugh when I wasn’t supposed to, how much juice I was getting off that. With the talent show, it solidified how much I enjoyed performing.

Flash forward, day two of college, there’s an activities fair, and I was being a wise-ass, goofing off with everybody, and someone from the theater company asked me to sign up for the comedy group. That was it for me. I switched my major to Communication and focused on figuring out a way to work in comedy. I didn’t even know what it meant at the time to work in comedy, I just knew that’s what I wanted to do.

What was the experience that occurred along that path which made you realize a career in comedy would actually be possible?

If I’m being honest, it’s probably like a death of a thousand cuts or whatever the opposite of that is: A life of a thousand loads. It was born out of a lot of small events.

After college, I was a PA at VH1 for a little while, working on the show Best Week Ever. I would also transcribe comedy tapes and take comedy classes at UCB. I was surrounded by a lot of comedy, but was trying to get more into writing, producing and being in comedy. My friend Kevin [from VH1] was like, “Everyone here is going to think of you as a PA forever, because that’s how they met you. You’ll have to leave to become a comedian.” Whereas, I thought, “Maybe they’ll just let me be on camera on Best Week Ever.” 

Kevin was like, “No, that’s not how it works, you 24-year-old idiot.” Which was completely fair. At the time I was like, “Paul Scheer, Doug Benson—these guys are pretty funny. I’m also pretty funny,” not realizing they had put in the 10 years of working in comedy. Kevin sat me down and told me I could leave, collect unemployment, find myself and start performing on shows and helped send me on my way. That was the last time I ever had a real “full-time” job in 2006 or 2007.

I went off, started coaching and teaching improv and took weird freelance jobs at everything from temping, to dressing up as a main character from Balls of Fury, to taking photos of people at bars. I took on the kind of weird jobs you see in these tv shows where they’re handing out fliers on the street—I just did the dumbest shit. I took psychological tests at Long Island College, anything I could do to make money living in Brooklyn. At the time, I was performing comedy, watching comedy, writing comedy, studying comedy – that was my real grad school, the couple of years I lived in Brooklyn, broke as fuck, eating rice and beans four nights per week.

When I’d go out with friends, I’d put all the drinks on my credit card and then collect cash from everyone so that I could have cash for the week. I’d then put that credit card bill onto a different Discover card and pay the transfer fee until I eventually moved in with my wife. Both of us had racked up like $30,000 in credit card debt trying to live in the city on full-shift, entry level jobs. I look back at that period of my life and see how from 22 to 27 is when I was learning how to be an adult while simultaneously learning how to be a comedian.

I’m even hesitant to use the word “comedian.” I’ve been performing comedy for 15 years, and I am still afraid to say I’m a comedian because it feels it’s a title owed, earned and applies to stand-up comics, not so much what I do. Even though I have performed stand-up, I don’t consider myself a stand-up comic because I’m such a fan of art, and I’m embarrassed to say that what I do is the same thing that Chris Rock does. 

That’s why I always say that I “do comedy” and not that “I’m a comedian” because I feel like stand-up people own that. I “do” comedy in a bunch of ways, so maybe I am technically a comedian? I don’t know. These are all my issues that I’m unpacking.

So your “win” was really you going through the grind and betting on yourself.

There’s been so many other victories along the way, and a lot of them are weirdly tied to financial freedom. For example, me no longer needing to be an improv teacher felt like a victory because I was just performing without worrying about other survivor jobs. Podcasts are my “day job” now, as of a few years ago, and every step of the way has felt like a tiny victory.

What was the inspiration behind your podcast, and what do you think has helped propel its growth?

I was having a lot of fun guesting on my friends’ podcasts when people started Tweeting at me that I should have my own podcast. I started to think, while I’m doing all of this work on other people’s podcasts—and having a blast—I’m not making any money. I didn’t know what show I’d even want to do.

Luckily, my friends Jake and Amir—who I’d known in New York from doing bits for College Humor—said they were launching a podcast network and thought of me as one of their funny friends who didn’t have a podcast at the time. I told them I’d love to, but there was a catch: I didn’t want to do anything beholden to a premise and would want it to be as self-serving as possible without knowing at the time that pretty much every podcast is self-serving.

I ended up launching my first podcast, High and Mighty, as a less agro, less masculine Joe Rogan show—five years ago, and it’s now over 250 episodes and is as self-serving as possible. I haven’t stuck with anything for five years except podcasting and smoking weed.

Speaking of weed, how is it part of your life now as an adult?

As I said earlier, I quit smoking in high school. In college, I was a big-time party animal, but my roommates were potheads and were sort of annoying when they smoked weed, so I never really wanted to get high with them. Somehow, I also made it through college without getting into weed.

When I was 25 or 26, I smoked at my buddy’s bachelor party for the first time in a long time. I was a pretty heavy drinker then and was like, “Man, this is so much better than drinking.” At the time, I was only looking [at smoking] as an excuse to get a little lit, but over the past 13 years, weed has become part of my life. I named my podcast “High and Mighty” because it’s a quadruple entendre of how I’m a big boy; I’m a strong boy; I’m frequently stoned, and I’m high and mighty about my beliefs.

Cannabis is part of my creative process, and it’s part of my bonding experience. I often get lit with my guests on the podcast—though it’s entirely up to them if they want to get stoned or not—but for me, weed is something I use as a carrot. I don’t need it to get through the day, but it does help me get through the day. I’ll use it as a carrot in that I’ll get some work done, get in some exercise and not blaze until three o’clock. Part of me is like, “Just wait,” so I can have something to look forward to each day.

So cannabis for you is a means to relax, but also a prize for doing what you set out to do.

I also use it for pain and stress management. Weed is anti-anxietal for me, and one of the ways my anxiety manifests itself is in GI distress. The way my GI anxiety manifests itself it’s in poop anxiety, in that I have to poop before I leave the house because I’m afraid I’ll have to poop elsewhere. I’m afraid to go to the gym and have to poop there. Smoking or ingesting cannabis settles my stomach, and it’s such a freeing thing.

Also, the things I enjoy in life are video games, movies, conversations, eating, cooking—all the shit for which cannabis is a performance enhancer. I know it’s hack and that a lot of stoners don’t want to get caught saying this, but when they say that most cool stuff to do in life is better when you’re high, there’s a reason.

People aren’t just making it up.

That’s the only thing that bothers me. Whenever a non-stoner is like, “Oh, let me guess. You think we should get high because you think it will make the movie or the restaurant better?” I’m like, “Why are you judging me? Most people believe it makes food taste better. Why are you looking at that as a negative?”

Regardless if you’re getting high or not, if you’re both enjoying the experience in your own ways, that’s what matters.

That’s exactly my point of view. I’m also in my late 30s now. I can’t really be hungover anymore; I don’t have kids, and I don’t have that much responsibility. But I do like the ability to get up and exercise every day. Turns out, some of my previous GI distress was probably from alcohol and gluten, so getting rid of that has made me way healthier. Now, I just get stoned and drink soda water, and I feel so much better about myself.

When I’m creating, I like to write some of the day sober, and then get high and revisit and jam out “weirder,” more free-flowing ideas. Part of the reason why I think I have a good relationship with pot is because I didn’t smoke it in college when I had no responsibility and could have easily been the guy who was having trouble at school because it’s way more fun to smoke weed than it is to go to class. 

Now, with no class to blow off, it makes it a little easier to get baked on a random Monday morning. Like today, we’re talking on a Monday morning, and I had to start the day with a little weed chocolate cold brew. As I said, I normally start at three, but some days, you just have to start earlier.

Follow @gabrus and check out his podcasts High and Mighty and The Action Boyz available everywhere

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