Doja Drops Bring Weed to the People

When the Hollywood Strain Premiere Party initially launched in the summer of last year, it was the place to be when it came to weed in Los Angeles. For an event that had no public advertising and for which the address and method for entering were a secret, attendance was regularly packed. Smokers looking for the best top-shelf weed mingled with industry insiders, all talking about the latest hot strain drops.

Doja Exclusive founder Ryan Bartholomew is no stranger to creating events and buzz. His brand has been at the bleeding edge of strain trends in California for years now. As far as hype in the industry goes, Doja is one of the biggest names out there. Originating from Sacramento, the brand is now based in Hollywood, California, aka the center of the weed world.

In a sense, both the pop-up model and selling directly to consumers harken back to an earlier time when excitement around legalization made the Prop 215 medical marijuana era in California a constantly buzzing scene of seshes and pop-up events. For Bartholomew, this approach to sales and marketing is just one part of a larger plan for Doja Exclusive to circumvent traditional retail as much as possible.

High Times Magazine, August 2023

For the most part, Bartholomew said, the dispensary is a fading concept that is becoming increasingly impractical for marketing weed. He says that few people these days are excited to go shop at a dispensary. Most importantly, getting fresh product on the shelves has become a huge challenge. The supply chain to the dispensary shelves can be slow and, after testing and distribution, the product often arrives less than fresh. If it doesn’t sell out immediately it languishes for months. For Doja the situation was unacceptable.

“The shit was old inventory and I’m thinking this isn’t good for what I do. I’d rather just let people know where I have the latest drops and then let them come out and get it directly from fresh batches that I’ve recently QC-ed and feel comfortable about,” he said.

It led Bartholomew to conceive the idea of a direct-to-consumer sales event, which manifested as the Hollywood Strain Premiere Party. The idea was simple: “Let’s do something where consumers can come grab new flavors and meet me in person. The weed will be good every time. We make sure of that,” Bartholomew said.

The event also allows Bartholomew to build hype around the new strains that Doja is bringing to market.

“I wanted to do something a little different since we had constant new phenos that we were rolling out with JBeezy [of Seed Junky Genetics] at the time. We also had the project in motion with Duke of Erb and some new strains dropping with Fiya Farmer,” he said.

Ryan Bartholomew of Dojo Exclusive and Juan Quesada of Backpack Boyz. Photo by Dan Wilson, @visithollyweed

Part of the early buzz of the event was that you could try new genetics that weren’t yet widely available, hence the “Strain Premiere.” It became the only place in the world to get the freshest and latest in Cali genetics.

“We had new genetics that no one else had,” Bartholomew said. “We were one of the few brands to put out new staples last year, so it was dope to be able to have a curated menu of flavors that were new and unique.”

Doja premiered strains such as Permanent Marker and Push Pop, and has released multiple phenotypes of Giraffe Puzzy so that fans can see the process of isolating a new strain. Doja has also dropped exclusive clones and seeds at the event, as well as street inspired merch that quickly sells out.

In 2021 Bartholomew held several industry-only mixers in cities such as Las Vegas and Miami, which were well attended by his many industry acquaintances. Last year he wanted to expand on the concept, but this time to create a space that was partly for the industry and partly for the consumer.

“I felt like I needed to focus more on connecting with the people that actually buy the product, not just other people in the industry. One of the ways that I knew I could get people out was to have these Hollywood events where I invite my industry friends like Wizard Trees, Sourwavez, Don Merfos and Gerb, Fiya Farmer. But at the same time, everyone else can come too,” he said.

 “So now smokers can talk to Wizard Trees and be like, ‘Yo, I really fuck with what you’re doing.’ That was always the idea behind it. That’s why from the very first one, I invited all those people.”

Sourwavez of King Sourwavez Genetics and Chico Shyne of John Doe Supply Co. Photo by Dan Wilson, @visithollyweed

The spot has always been a place to sight weed industry insiders and celebs. Big players like Sherbinskis, Terphogz, Mr. Gelatti, Super Dope/Fear of Boof, TenCo, Fiya Farmer, Wizard Trees, Fidel’s, Freddie Biggs, Ray Bama, and culture makers like Desto Dubb, Lil Meech, Lupe Fuentes, and Jewice have all been spotted there.

For Bartholomew, the success of the event shows that it’s time to start thinking about what comes next.

“We can always keep a consistent amount of people in there but we’re not looking to keep a consistent amount of people. We’re just looking to touch and go. We want something hot, new, fresh all the time,” he said.

Doja Exclusive has done direct-to-consumer pop-ups all over the U.S. and Europe, and he says that Hollywood is one of his smallest, crowd-wise. But it has gotten the most buzz, including regular press coverage.

“Does it help sales? Yes, it does boost sales all over the board. There are people in New York that are buying the product because they’re like, ‘Damn, those guys are having the Thursdays in Hollywood,’” Bartholomew said.

As for why his Hollywood event gets so much buzz, Bartholomew said that it’s all about the legacy and reputation of California weed.

“I think there’s just a fascination with Cali weed,” Bartholomew said. “We’re from the most influential place for cannabis. It’s like if you’re a fashion designer and you’re from Milan or a sommelier from Bordeaux.”

This article was originally published in the August 2023 issue of High Times Magazine.

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Announcing The High Times Cannabis Cup Massachusetts: People’s Choice Edition 2023

2023 marks the third year that our High Times Cannabis Cup: People’s Choice Edition has been held in Massachusetts. Soon, starting between Oct. 9-11, we’ll be conducting our behind-the-scenes preparations by collecting product submissions from across the state through our official intake partner for this year, Nova Farms. Stay tuned for a full article on the history of Nova Farms and how they are truly a Beast of the East. Those products will be organized and packed into kits by a dedicated team between Oct. 12-15, and by the following week those bags of goodies will be on their way to participating dispensaries (including Nova Farms and others still to be announced).

But one of the most important dates for our fellow fans and judges in Massachusetts is October 21, aka when kits officially go on sale! Starting on that same day until Dec. 24, participants will begin to try products and record their opinions and ratings for each one, including rankings from 1-10 on Aesthetics, Aroma, Taste, Effects and more, plus a comments section where Judges are responsible for providing 2-3 sentences about their thoughts and experience. Not only does each judge’s dedication determine our winners for 2023, but it also provides essential feedback to help all of the brands continue to improve their products as well.

With best wishes for both judges and participating brands celebrating various holiday traditions, High Times will calculate the results and announce the winners on Jan. 8, 2024! Not a bad way to ring in the new year.

For 2023 we are offering two new categories to our lineup, including infused pre-rolls. Our concentrates category has been split into two, featuring solvent-based concentrates and also non-solvent/rosin concentrates.

Entry Categories:

  1. Indica Flower (28 slots available, 2 entries max per company)
  2. Sativa Flower (28 slots available, 2 entries max per company)
  3. Hybrid Flower (28 slots available, 2 entries max per company)
  4. Pre-Rolls (28 slots available, 2 entries max per company)
  5. Infused Pre-Rolls (10 slots available, 1 entries max per company)
  6. Solvent Concentrates (10 slots available, 1 entries max per company)
  7. Non-Solvent/Rosin Concentrates (10 slots available, 1 entries max per company)
  8. Rosin Vape Pens & Cartridges (10 slots available, 1 entries max per company)
  9. NON-Rosin Vape Pens & Cartridges (10 slots available, 1 entries Max per company)
  10. Edibles: Sativa Gummies (10 slots available, 1 entries max per company)
  11. Edibles: Indica Gummies (10 slots available, 1 entries max per company)
  12. Edibles: Chocolate Non-Gummies (10 slots available, 1 entries max per Company)
  13. Edibles: Fruity Non-Gummies (10 slots available, 1 entries max per company)
  14. Edibles: Beverages (10 slots available, 1 entries max per company)
  15. Topicals + Tinctures + Capsules (10 slots available, 1 entries max per company)

For brands interested in participating this year, please review the following guidelines for submissions depending on the category, as well as pricing based on the number of submissions.

Entry Requirements:

  • Flower: (228) 1-gram, individually packaged and labeled Units. We will not accept any 3.5-gram units. 
  • Pre-Rolls: (228) individually packaged and labeled Units capped at a 2g flower each.
  • Infused Pre-Rolls: (228) individually packaged and labeled Units capped at a 2g flower & .5g Concentrate each.
  • Solvent Concentrates & Vape Pens: (228) .5-gram individually packaged and labeled Units. We will not accept any 1-gram units. Batteries required for Carts.
  • Non-Solvent Concentrates: (100) .5g units individually packaged and labeled units. We will not accept any 1-gram entries.
  • Edibles: (100) individually packaged and labeled Units with 50mg THC max per package. We will not accept anything above 50mg THC packages.
  • Topicals+Tinctures+Capsules: (100) samples. individually packaged for retail.
  • Capsules: 100mg THC max per sample / Tinctures: 500mg THC max per sample

Entry Pricing:

One entry: $250, Non-refundable

Two entries : $100 each entry, Non-refundable

Three Entries: $100 refundable deposit per entry. All Deposits returned after 100% of reserved entries are submitted

Entry fees waived for top-tier sponsorships

Our primary retail partner this time around is Nova Farms, which has dispensary locations in Attleboro, Framingham, and Dracut, Massachusetts, as well as Greenville, Maine, and Woodbury, New Jersey. Nova cultivates its own cannabis on a 90-acres farm in Sheffield, Massachusetts, making it one of the largest outdoor cannabis farms in New England. They don’t use any pesticides and use only the power of the sun to grow their plants. With sustainable farming practices and the goal of keeping a low carbon footprint, Nova Farms is dedicated to producing amazing cannabis without compromising quality.

We revealed a variety of winners for the High Times Cannabis Cup Massachusetts: People’s Choice Edition in 2022. In our multiple strains categories, Happy Valley and Rythm took home two trophies, in addition to wins from other cultivators such as NETA (our intake partner from last year), Bailey’s Buds, and Nature’s Heritage.

Last year  our edibles-related category winners also put the spotlight on a variety of delectable treats, from Munchèas’ chocolate macarons and honey sticks, chocolate bars from Insa and Meltdown, and a selection of infused beverages from Happy Valley, Vibations, and Wynk. Not to mention an extensive collection of gummy offerings from brands like Incredibles, Cannatini, Kanha, Hashables, and Treeworks.

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The 70,000 People Trapped at Burning Man by Weather Can Finally Leave

The tens of thousands of people stranded at Burning Man began their mass exodus on Monday after a massive storm and flooding kept Burners stranded. Burning Man is an annual event in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, typically unfolding during the final days of August and the commencement of September. Burning Man is all about fun self-expression, self-reliance, communal effort, and art and costumes, although this year, such ethos came with water rationing and mud. Usually it’s sandstorms that Burners have to deal with; this year came the floods. 

The roughly 70,000 people on-site at the counterculture festival (actually, you’re not supposed to call it a festival) that became a household name were ordered by officials to stay put for days. No vehicles could leave; attendees were asked to remain indoors (or in tents) and ration food supplies and water due to persistent heavy rainfall on Friday night, which led officials to shut down the road that leads in and out of the makeshift town, Black Rock City, the Nevada desert site on federal lands where the annual celebration occurs. 

While they didn’t say why, organizers also asked attendees not to walk out of the Black Rock Desert, roughly 110 miles north of Reno, as others did this weekend to escape, such as Diplo and Chris Rock, whose departure went viral. “I legit walked the side of the road for hours with my thumb out,” Diplo wrote.

Others stayed. “Everyone has just adapted, sharing RVs for sleeping, offering food and coffee,” Rebecca Barger, a photographer from Philadelphia, at her first Burning Man, told AP News. “I danced in foot-deep clay for hours to incredible DJs.”  

Organizers stopped allowing vehicles in after Friday saw more than a half-inch of rainfall. The “burn,” the ceremonial torching of the giant wooden effigy known as “the Man,” a wooden temple, is lit up to burn down during the final two nights. This symbolic zenith of the event is meant to help attendees let go of what no longer serves them and mark the impermanence and simultaneous permanence of community and love. Many Burners integrate into related communities in their home town, celebrating Burning Man all year round through parties, smaller events such as Love Burn, and other camaraderie. 

However, the ritual burn of The Man was postponed to Monday night as authorities worked to reopen exit routes by the end of the Labor Day weekend.

So far, at least one fatality has been reported of a man in his 40s. However, organizers say that the death was unrelated to the weather. Nearby Pershing County sheriff said he was investigating but has not identified the man or a cause of death. AP News reports that President Joe Biden is aware of the situation at Burning Man, including the death, and the White House was in communication with local authorities.

By Monday, the lake bed where Burning Man is held began to dry out and harden. However, the roads are far from ideal; drivers say they must dodge foot-deep puddles and epic mud along the five-mile trek from Black Rock City to the paved road, The New York Times reports. Even on a year sans torrential rain, leaving the Playa can take 12 hours. 

As a result, organizers encourage folks to consider waiting until Tuesday to avoid a traffic jam of epic proportions. 

And some Burners, eager to enjoy the whole experience, even if it does come with mud and heavy rain, are more than ready to stay a bit longer. There may even be more rain due to a low-pressure system predicted to bring showers to the Playa by Monday night into Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service said.

“We are a little bit dirty and muddy but spirits are high. The party still going,” Scott London, a Southern California photographer, told AP News, noting that the disruption and departure offered “a view of Burning Man that a lot of us don’t get to see.” 

Burning Man adheres to a “gift economy” model that frowns upon using money. The Burn is all about gift-giving and communal sharing. Attendees are encouraged to arrive self-sufficient with essential provisions like food, water, and shelter (life support that, this year, they had to ration), in addition to the adventurous and often unusual gifts of art or experiences.

Burning Man began as a small gathering of friends who ignited a wooden figure on a San Francisco beach in 1986 and has graduated into a celebrity-riddled and Instagram-able global phenomenon. However, for many attendees, the core messages of art and community remain and provide a welcome thread that laces through their entire lives (no matter how much non-Burners like to give their Burner friends a hard time).

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Announcing the High Times Cannabis Cup Arizona: People’s Choice Edition 2023

The High Times Cannabis Cup Arizona: People’s Choice Edition is back in the Grand Canyon state and it’s been refined to be bigger and better than ever before, presenting Arizona’s finest cannabis. People’s Choice means that anyone can participate in the judging process regardless of expertise and background. Arizona will be the last stop of the 2023 year for Cannabis Cup: People’s Choice Edition competitions, with crowd-sourced judging beginning in November.

Who will win the titles for the best cannabis products in Arizona? You be the judge. The event will be the second Cannabis Cup that is open to the Arizona public after going virtual in 2021, and the event will host the largest pool of judges in the state’s history, providing an ideal way for brands to get their products into the hands of consumers in the state.

Past winners include Alien Labs, Connected, Shango x True Harvest, Item 9 Labs, Baked Bros, and Ediquette Edibles.

This year’s event is recreational only, and all products must be licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS). Judge Kits go on sale on Saturday, Nov. 18, and Judges can login to the Judging Portal and critique products based on flavor, bouquet, potency, burnability, and so forth. Judging deadline is Sunday, Jan. 21. Winners will be announced via a digital Awards Show on Monday, February 5.

This year will feature more categories than ever before, expanding the palate of taste and smell to exemplify the best and most potent cannabis Arizona has to offer.

High Times Cannabis Cup Arizona: People’s Choice Edition Categories

The High Times Cannabis Cup Arizona: People’s Choice Edition will feature products from 12 different categories including Indica, Sativa, Hybrid, and Sungrown Flower, Non-infused Pre-Rolls, Infused Pre-rolls, Non-Solvent Concentrates, Distillate Vape Pens & Cartridges, Live Resin & Rosin Vape Pens, Edibles: Gummies & Fruit Chews, and finally Edibles & Non-Gummies. 

The quantity limits are set: Entry quantity requirements are 228 one-gram units of flower, 228 2-gram pre-rolls, 228 vape pens or cartridges. Infused Pre-Rolls will be capped at a max of one-half gram concentrate and 2.8 grams of flower. There will also be 228 half-gram units of Solvent Concentrates & Vape Pens. (We will not accept any one-gram entries of Solvent Concentrates & Vape Pens, and batteries required for carts.) 

Entry quantity requirements in other categories include 100 half-gram samples of Non-Solvent Concentrates, and 100 samples of Edibles with 50 mg of THC max. Entry fees are $250 for one entry, non-refundable, $100 per entry for two entries, and $100 per entry for three entries. High Times will waive all entry fees for top-tier sponsorships.

The good people of Arizona voted to legalize adult-use cannabis in 2020 via the statutory provision Prop. 207, found in Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) Title 36, Chapter 28.2. This voter initiative allows adults over the age of 21 to possess, purchase, transport, or process up to one ounce or less of cannabis, or five grams or less of cannabis concentrate. This is what makes events like the Cannabis Cup: People’s Choice Edition possible.

In the face of COVID-19 with events being forced to shutter across the globe during 2020-2021, High Times once again proved its resilience despite statewide lockdowns across the country. We’ve reinvented our renowned competition to let all those at home get in on the fun and crown the region’s best.

High Times Cannabis Cup: A Background

High Times Cannabis Cup was originally created by former High Times editor Steven Hager over 35 years ago. Back then, the Cannabis Cup was originally held each November in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. 

In 2014, after 27 years in operation, Amsterdam held what was likely the final High Times Cannabis Cup in that country, due to increasing pressure on cannabis businesses and a 2010 raid by Dutch police that took place at the Cannabis Cup. The Netherlands, once known as a safe haven for cannabis smokers, is not what it used to be. Eventually it moved to the states, and the first U.S. Cannabis Cup was held in 2010. Around 2018, Cannabis Cup shifted its winter schedule in November to mostly summer and spring events.

High Times has become a multistate operation and now holds People’s Choice Edition Cannabis Cups in Illinois, Colorado, Oregon, Oklahoma, Southern California, Northern California, Michigan, Massachusetts, Nevada, and New Mexico. The High Times Cannabis Cup events frequently feature live music, educational seminars, and showcase cannabis-related products from cannabis-oriented businesses. The High Times Cannabis Cup New Mexico: People’s Choice Edition this year, for instance, will feature Method Man and Redman as headliners and will be hosted at the Rio Rancho Events Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Each Cannabis Cup event is different based on local restrictions.

To learn more, visit the website.

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Unlicensed Cannabis Events Prompt Crackdown by City of Denver

The Denver Department of Excise & Licenses is continuing to serve warnings to event organizers who are hosting unlicensed cannabis-related activities. This past weekend on Aug. 19, the Stoner Cinema Pop-Up held an event featuring a cannabis-friendly movie experience featuring Grandma’s Boy (2006). The screening was held at Dreams Aren’t This Good, an event venue (which is also a salsa-making facility). These ticketed events offer free cannabis and novelty joints for attendees, which is paired with popular film screenings such as Half Baked or The Sandlot.

Stoner Cinema Pop-Up has been operating since 2022, and the events are ticketed and private, which organizers told Westword allows them to bypass city laws on social cannabis consumption, which requires a cannabis hospitality license.

The Denver Department of Excise & Licenses manages cannabis licensing, in addition to other licensing for residential rental properties, liquor, security services, alarm permits, and short-term rentals. According to the department, Stoner Cinema Pop-Up and other businesses like it are not allowed to operate events without a license.

Department Eric Escudero told Westword that neither Stoner Cinema Pop-Up or the Dreams Aren’t This Good venue have hospitality licenses, and that they’ve received a letter that’s “the equivalent of a warning letter” for holding unlicensed cannabis-related events. “It is a last resort for the city to take enforcement action,” Escuadero said.

While Denver’s cannabis hospitality rules were implemented in 2017, the city’s Department of Excise & Licenses has only approved one venue and three “mobile lounges” to be licensed and legal hospitality operators.

The licensed venue includes an upscale dining and consumption business, Cirrus Social Club, which is being built where a taekwondo studio once operated. “We’re going after a demographic of people who are not heavy cannabis consumers, but rather the out-and-about social person who’s older than 27,” said Cirrus co-owner, Arend Richard, told Westword. “If a date night for you is dinner and a movie, then it now becomes Cirrus and dinner. You come in, have a lovely sesh with us, and hear the jazz music in the background.”

Cirrus received approval from the Department of Excise & Licenses in March, but the business has not yet opened its doors. In order to open it must pass all inspections included in its operating plan, such as safety and ventilation, but it could take more than a year for those inspections to be conducted and approved. According to Westword, three more cannabis venues (Tetra Lounge, Patterson Inn Hotel, the headquarters of Colorado Cannabis Tours) are awaiting approval for a hospitality license, but are experiencing a pause in progress trying to meet city ventilation requirements.

The Coffee Joint is one exception. While it is the only operating cannabis lounge in Denver, it can only allow consumption of vaporizing and edibles on-site. Because temporary permits do not exist under the hospitality license regulations, this means that legally, Stoner Cinema Pop-Ups can only operate at The Coffee Joint, or one of the three mobile cannabis hospitality license holders. “There are three active licensed mobile hospitality establishment businesses that could potentially provide service to events if they provide the city the required route log and follow the rules as far as the 30-minute limit for parking and allowing consumption at one parking spot,” said Escudero.

In March 2022, Tetra Lounge was approved for a hospitality license, but won’t actually receive the license until all the criteria is met. The business originally opened in 2018 as a “private” cannabis venue, but the term has been the topic of discussion for years. The International Church of Cannabis took the city of Denver to court in 2019 in an attempt to redefine the term “private,” but no significant ruling was made.

In July, nine venues and event owners were targeted by both the Colorado Department of Excise & Licenses and Denver Police Department, who issued citations for permitting unlicensed cannabis consumption or organizing cannabis-friendly events. This included Ant Life, Marijuana Mansion, Rooted Heart Yoga Studio, Vape Loft, Clubhouse Collective, Meta Talent Group, Colorado NORML, and Psychedelic Club of Denver.

“Citations, fines and enforcement activity by the city and county of Denver are always a last resort after every effort has been made to educate businesses about licensing rules and regulations,” Escuadero said last month. “As part of that effort, the city has issued licensing bulletins detailing the rules for marijuana hospitality. This included information about if a marijuana business is conducting commerce, there is a requirement for licensing. We hope businesses that are operating marijuana hospitality without the city and/or state required license will take steps to get licensed.”

The Department of Excise & Licenses first sent out memos to cannabis business owners in January 2022 in regards to unlicensed consumption, however it didn’t begin to enforce this until this summer.

Meanwhile in Nevada, the state’s first conditional cannabis consumption licenses were awarded to Planet 13, Thrive Cannabis Marketplace, and The Venue at SoL Cannabis in June, followed by LA Loung LLC at the end of July.

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First Annual Cultivate Festival, a Celebration of Cannabis Culture, Comes to Chicago’s West Loop

Chicago, a city known for its rich musical heritage and progressive spirit, is about to witness an extraordinary event that will redefine the intersection of music, cannabis, and community. Organizers are thrilled to unveil Cultivate, the first-ever three-day cannabis music festival produced by Turnstyle Productions and Riot Fest. This groundbreaking collaboration, in partnership with the Last Prisoner Project, promises an unparalleled experience that has never been seen before. Cultivate will take place from August 25th to 27th at The Nursery, a cutting-edge venue adjacent to the Green Line stop at 1800 W Lake Street.

Chicago rapper and cannabis brand leader Vic Mensa will be joining the Cultivate lineup, where he will do a short intro set before GZA’s performance of Liquid Swords, as well as a full after party show at the nearby Cobra Lounge. Last summer, Mensa launched 93 Boyz, the first Chicago-based, Black-owned brand in the recreational cannabis industry. 

Cultivate stands as a testament to the power of music and the transformative potential of the cannabis movement. This trailblazing festival aims to celebrate both the cultural significance of cannabis and the vibrancy of Chicago’s music scene. By teaming up with the Last Prisoner Project, an esteemed non-profit organization fighting for the release of individuals incarcerated for non-violent cannabis offenses, Cultivate seeks to create awareness, drive advocacy, and foster positive change within the community.

The artist lineup for Cultivate boasts an impressive array of musical talent that spans genres and captivates audiences. Headlining the festival will be the legendary GZA, founding member of the iconic Wu-Tang Clan. GZA’s lyrical genius and powerful stage presence will undoubtedly elevate the festival to new heights, delivering an unforgettable performance.

Joining GZA will be a diverse roster of acclaimed artists, including the psychedelic sounds of Crumb, the infectious energy of Lucky Boys Confusion, and the reggae-infused melodies of Julian Marley. These incredible acts, along with a carefully curated selection of emerging and established artists, promise to create an immersive sonic journey that resonates with attendees.

In addition to the musical offerings, Cultivate will provide a range of engaging experiences and educational opportunities. The festival will also feature workshops, panel discussions, and art installations, offering a holistic experience that celebrates the intersection of music, cannabis, and community. Plus! All 3 days: Catch a shuttle from the festival to Dispensary 33 to pick up.

For more information, visit

Courtesy Cultivate Festival

Cultivate Festival Full Line-up

Andy Frasco & the U.N.
Murphy’s Law
Lucky BC
Mac Sabbath

The Record Company
Graveyard (Exclusive U.S. performance)
Black Lips
The Pharcyde
Brant Bjork
Dry Reef

GZA w/ The Funky Nomads (Performing Liquid Swords), intro’d by Vic Mensa
Julian Marley and the Uprising
The Crombies
Holiday Highball


We have a special offer for all High Times readers, a buy one get one free ticket offer. The buy one get one free ticket code is: WEEDISTIGHT

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Organizers Hope To Raise Funds for Flooded Vermont Cannabis Pot Shops

“Historic” flooding in Vermont is causing an unprecedented number of landslides in the state, impacting businesses including those in the cannabis industry. After Vermont cannabis businesses were denied federal assistance, local trade organization, Cannabis Retailers Association of Vermont, and local festival Higher Calling plan to raise funds.

Summer flooding wreaked havoc upon the state of Vermont over the summer months. It’s probably not the last of flooding the state is in for: “I don’t want to be alarmist, but I also want to be realistic,” Ben DeJong, the state geologist told VTDigger. “This could be something we deal with again.”

Even with provisions that work in other industries, such as federal crop insurance, cannabis businesses often are left out of those programs. Although Vermont Gov. Phil Scott asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture disaster declaration, it still would not allow affected cannabis farmers to receive federal crop insurance, according to a USDA Farm Service Agency executive director. 

“Because we are a federal agency, we have to follow federal law,” said Small Business administration public information officer, Carl Dombek. “Cannabis is not legal under federal law, and therefore we are not able to lend to cannabis dispensaries.”

Forbins Finest in Barre was among the cannabis stores that were impacted. “The water came in pretty hard, pretty fast,” said Angela Payette, co-owner of Forbin’s Reserve, Inc. 

“To get right back into action, get back open so that people can have just a little bit of relief in some tough times,” said Brandon Marshall, the other co-owner of Forbin’s Reserve, Inc. However, Forbins Finest was able to reopen, while others were not, such as Capital Cannabis.

“The North Branch River was cresting over and immediately flooded the back parking lot as we were pulling out and we haven’t been able to move back in since,” said Lauren Andrews, who owns Capital Cannabis in Montpelier. Capital Cannabis was relocated to the Central Vermont Marketplace in Berlin.

Higher Calling

To lend a helping hand, the Cannabis Retailers Association of Vermont is selling tickets to Higher Calling, a two-day music festival in Cabot, and providing a portion of proceeds to flood victims. Organizers hope to sell 1,500 tickets for Higher Calling. The festival takes place on Sept. 15 and 16 in Cabot, Vermont, at Pransky Farm.

Organizers say that all the proceeds going beyond the festival expenses will go towards flood victims in the industry. “Any money that we make from sponsorships that exceeds the expense of the festival, 100% of those funds will go into the fund to support cannabis businesses,” said Todd Bailey, the executive director of the Cannabis Retailers Association of Vermont.

Planning for the festival began months ago, The Cannabis Retailers Association of Vermont said. But they quickly shifted focus to transform the festival into a fundraising effort once the severity of flooding became more apparent. 

Barre, Vermont was one of the cities most impacted by flooding. Landslides took out houses, powerlines, and infrastructure. Debris litters the streets. It was bad enough that they renamed the state’s annual Green Up Day, Flood Recovery Clean Up Day, which will take place on Saturday, August 26. The idea is to clean up roadsides, rivers, parks, and other areas hit hardest by the recent wave of widespread flooding.

The day is meant to “keep Vermont the clean and beautiful place we know and love, as we welcome visitors to support our economy and communities,” Gov. Phil Scott said during a press conference on Tuesday.

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Awakening Psychedelic Conference – Event Recap

I had a great time this past weekend at Awakening, a business/casual event focused on the psychedelic industry, hosted by the Psychedelic Institute at Hazy Studios in the heart of Los Angeles, California. After visiting Psychedelic Science in Denver last month, which was much more commercialized and centered on research and regulations, it was a nice change of pace to visit a smaller event that focused more on culture and connection. 

About Awakening  

Awakening was hosted by The Psychedelic Institute, a non-profit organization that provides educational forums, conferences, and meetings that are paving the way for all sectors of the industry to grow, from research and development, to business opportunities, therapeutic applications, and more. Their goal is to provide the most accurate and current information available to both the general public and industry stakeholders alike.  

The event was small and tight-knit, which made it easy to talk to people, get to know everyone, and really learn about the products and services they were offering. They had informative panels, every hour on the hour, on topics like microdosing, spirituality, women in psychedelics, integration, retreats, and more. They also had taco truck-style dining with vegan Mexican food offerings, and a snack spread in the employee/volunteer area that included hummus and pita bread, chips with guacamole and salsa, and fruit.  

The event included 34 speakers, numerous exhibits, artists, musicians, and other industry professionals. Attendees were able to learn about a variety of topics from speakers of many different backgrounds, live psychedelic music performances, a VIP reception and after-party at Santa Monica pier, healing workshops and more. 

Hazy Los Angeles – “Hazy not lazy, don’t get it twisted” 

Based out of Los Angeles, Calif., Hazy is an independent, full-service production studio that specializes in creating both live and digital experiences that focus on fringe industries, alternative culture, and art. Once a 1950s smog-check center, Hazy Studios is now an 8000 square foot private event and production studio with indoor and outdoor areas to accommodate live performances, private events, galleries, receptions, and exhibitions.  

The venue’s floor plan can accommodate up to 200-person live events or 100-person formal sit-down dinners. Hazy Studios is conveniently located just outside of Chinatown near downtown Los Angeles, immediately off the 5 and 110 freeways, situated close to Hollywood, Elysian Park, Highland Park, and Silver Lake. 

According to the owners, “Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to delivering high-quality results for our clients, offering a range of services from concept development to execution. We are committed to bringing our clients’ visions to life and strive to create innovative and memorable experiences. As a 100% self-owned small business, we are committed to giving back to the community and fostering a vibrant arts scene.” 

One thing I think the event space could benefit from is some more cooling amenities like some canopies, misters, and fans. With it being over 90 degrees outside, and us being contained in a somewhat small, concrete space, it definitely got hot out there But otherwise, the venue was great and the event was a lot of fun.  

Final thoughts 

If you’re interested in not only learning more about the psychedelics industry and all the products coming out, but you want to connect with people and experience the culture behind the business, then Awakening is an event you should definitely check out. I personally enjoy the smaller conferences. Sometimes, the huge events can be overwhelming and it’s difficult to see everything you need to see and talk to people in just a few days. You can really get to know people, their products, and their stories when the crowd is smaller. Sometimes, it really is quality over quantity that matters.  

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The Winners of the High Times Cannabis Cup SoCal: People’s Choice Edition 2023

We’re happy to announce that we’ve just concluded our third High Times Cannabis Cup SoCal: People’s Choice Edition, and the competition was hot! This year featured 12 categories for a total of 36 products narrowed down as first, second, or third place winners for 2023. Among these top winners you’ll find famous brands like Fig Farms, Team Elite Genetics, Papa’s Select, Top Shelf Cultivation, Maven Genetics, but also a few you may not be as familiar with. But whether it’s a famous or up-and-coming brand, the people of Southern California judged a wide variety of products that led to these winners today.

Each of these winners will receive an exclusive High Times trophy, which is made from 24K gold plated zinc, and designed by Alex and Allyson Grey. It’s decorated with molecular symbols of cannabinoids at the base, double twin serpents spiraling around the neck of the chalice, a cannabis leaf design, and an inscription that reads: “Hail cannabis, ancient sacramental healing ally of humanity.” It’s a fitting phrase to honor all of the products that have come before judges in past People’s Choice and live High Times Cannabis Cup events.

As the sun sets on People’s Choice Edition for Southern California, it certainly isn’t the end for the competition, because great cannabis products can be found across the country. Check out the upcoming winners for our People’s Choice Edition competitions coming up in New Mexico in September (with a live awards show and concert by Method Man and Redman), Illinois awards in November, and Oregon awards in December too!

Indica Flower

First Place: Fig Farms – Blue Face

Courtesy Fig Farms

Second Place: TopShelf Cultivation – Whoa Si Whoa

Courtesy TopShelf Cultivation

Third Place: Team Elite Genetics – Styrofoam Cup

Courtesy Team Elite Genetics

Sativa Flower

First Place: Maven Genetics – Orange Bellini

Courtesy Maven Genetics

Second Place: A Golden State – Lava Flower

Courtesy A Golden State

Third Place: Seed Junky – Gello Shotz

Courtesy Seed Junky

Hybrid Flower

First Place: Fig Farms – Animal Face

Courtesy Fig Farms

Second Place: Maven Genetics – French Laundry

Courtesy Maven Genetics

Third Place: TopShelf Cultivation – Peanut Butter Breath

Non-Infused Pre-Rolls

First Place: Waferz – Rainbow Sherbet Pre-Roll

Courtesy Waferz

Second Place: Lumpy’s Flowers – Capital Haze Pre-Roll

Courtesy Lumpy’s Flowers

Third Place: Green Dragon – Becky Pre-Roll

Courtesy Green Dragon

Infused Pre-Rolls

First Place: Waferz – Neapolitan x Runtz Infused Pre-Roll

Courtesy Waferz

Second Place: Packwoods – Take Off Yoda OG x Skywalker Hash Rosin Infused Pre-Roll

Courtesy Packwoods

Third Place: Stoney – Watermelon Infused Pre-Roll

Courtesy Stoney

Solvent Concentrates

First Place: URSA – Ice Cream Cake Live Resin

Courtesy URSA

Second Place: Bear Labs – Jelly Rancher Diamonds

Courtesy Bear Labs

Third Place: Jetty – Tropicana Cherry Live Sugar & Sauce

Courtesy Jetty

Non-Solvent Concentrates

First Place: Papa’s Select – Satsuma Sherb Premium Live Rosin

Courtesy Papa’s Select

Second Place: Team Elite Genetics – Styrofoam Cup Cold Cure Live Rosin Badder

Courtesy Team Elite Genetics

Third Place: Bear Labs – Donny Burger Live Rosin

Courtesy Bear Labs

Vape Pens & Cartridges

First Place: Stoney – Watermelon Live Resin Disposable Vape Pen

Courtesy Stoney

Second Place: Jetty – Orange Sherbert Live Rosin Vape

Courtesy Jetty

Third Place: Rove – Watermelon Zkittlez Live Resin Diamond Vape

Courtesy Rove

Edibles: Gummies & Fruit Chews

First Place: Paradise Club – Strawberry Sunshine Gummies

Courtesy Paradise Club

Second Place: Happy Fruit – Moon Berry Rosin Gummies

Courtesy Happy Fruit

Third Place: Marmas – Georgia Peach Indica Fruit Bites

Courtesy Marmas

Edibles: Chocolates & Non-Gummies

First Place: P&B Kitchen – Caramel Filled Milk Chocolates

Courtesy P&B Kitchen

Second Place: Bhang – Milk Chocolate Bar

Courtesy Bhang

Third Place: Infused Edibles – Mac & Cheese Take & Make Kit

Courtesy Infused Edibles

Edibles: Beverages

First Place: Mari y Juana Beverages Co. – iGuava! 50mg THC Soft Drink

Courtesy Mari y Juana Beverages Co.

Second Place: Bodega – Pineapple Cooler Beverage

Courtesy Bodega

Third Place: Uncle Arnie’s – Iced tea Lemonade Beverage

Courtesy Uncle Arnie’s

Topicals, Tinctures, Capsules & Sublinguals

First Place: Mary’s Medicinals – 1:1 CBD:THC Transdermal Patch

Courtesy Mary’s Medicinals

Second Place: Tripp Therapeutics – Groovy Greens Calming Body Butter

Courtesy Tripp Therapeutics

Third Place: Papa & Barkley – CBD:THC:CBN Sleep Releaf Capsules

Courtesy Papa & Barkley

A very special thank you to our partners and sponsors!

Traditional – Presenting Sponsor

HONEY – Gold Sponsor

Top Shelf Cultivation – Silver Sponsor

HEIGHTS – General Sponsor

Moxie – Official Intake Partner

Have a Heart – Official Retailer Partner

High Times Dispensaries – Official Retailer Partner

Kush Alley – Official Retailer Partner

The post The Winners of the High Times Cannabis Cup SoCal: People’s Choice Edition 2023 appeared first on High Times.

Announcing the Winners of the High Times Cannabis Cup Michigan: People’s Choice Edition 2023

Welcome one and all, to the return of our beloved High Times Cannabis Cup Michigan: People’s Choice Edition 2023! This year marks the fourth year we’ve set up a People’s Choice Edition competition in Michigan, and this most recent winner’s list shows off the thrilling reveal that you’ve all been waiting for. With a massive 21-category breakdown this year, we’re proud to display the winners as determined by our Michigan judges.

Medical Edibles

First Place: Dream Edibles – Dark Chocolate Covered Sea Salt Caramel 2x100mg

Courtesy Dream Edibles

Second Place: Covert Cups – Peanut Butter Cups

Courtesy Covert Cups

Third Place: True North Collective – Sweet Summer Peach THC Gummies

Courtesy True North Collective

Medical Concentrates

First Place: Element x Kai Cannabis – Black Cherry Punch Live Rosin

Courtesy Element

Second Place: Motor City Melts – Minties Rosin

Courtesy Motor City Melts

Third Place: Petro – Ice Cream Cake Live Rosin

Courtesy of @xposedextracts

Medical Infused Pre-Rolls

First Place: Holey Cannoli – Jealousy x Garlic Cookies Infused Pre-Roll

Courtesy Holey Cannoli

Second Place: Element x Pro Gro – Sherb Cream Pie Live Resin Joint

Courtesy Element

Third Place: Ghostbudsters – Crypto Bites Mini Infused Pre-Roll Pack

Courtesy Ghostbudsters

Medical Non-Infused Pre-Rolls

First Place: LocalGrove – Runtz Pre-Roll

Courtesy LocalGrove

Second Place: Uplyfted – Greazy Runtz Pre-Roll

Courtesy Uplyfted

Third Place: High Minded – Sour Sunset Sherbet Pre-Roll

Courtesy High Minded

Medical Hybrid Flower

First Place: New Lyfe – Gogurtz

Courtesy New Lyfe

Second Place: Heavyweight Heads – Wet P

Courtesy Heavyweight Heads

Third Place: Happy Little Tree – Dog Walker OG

Courtesy Happy Little Tree

Medical Sativa Flower

First Place: Dutch Touch Genetics – Mr. Clean

Courtesy Dutch Touch Genetics

Second Place: Leilani Bee – Lemon Mai Tai

Courtesy Leilani Bee

Third Place: Heavyweight Heads – Lion Order King Clementine

Courtesy Heavyweight Heads

Medical Indica Flower

First Place: MI Loud Farms – Kush Mints

Courtesy MI Loud Farms

Second Place: Heavyweight Heads – Giraffe Head

Courtesy Heavyweight Heads

Third Place: Doghouse – Garlato

Courtesy Doghouse

AU Topicals + Tinctures + Capsules + Sublinguals

First Place: Mary’s Medicinals – 1:1 CBD:THC Transdermal Patch

Courtesy Mary’s Medicinals

Second Place: Heavyweight Heads – Lion Order by Rohan Marley Lion Balm

Courtesy Heavyweight Heads

Third Place: Northern Connections – Extra Strength 1:1 Topical Relief Cream

Courtesy Northern Connections

AU Edibles: Non-Gummies

First Place: Kiva – Churro Milk Chocolate Bar 200mg

Courtesy Kiva

Second Place: Dope Cakes – Peanut Butter Dope Dough

Courtesy Dope Cakes

Third Place: Potdots – Sugar Shelled THC-Infused Milk Chocolates

Courtesy Potdots

AU Edibles: Non-Solvent Gummies

First Place: FloraCal – Pink Lemonade Live Rosin Gummies

Courtesy FloraCal

Second Place: Afternoon Delite – Blue Lemonade Hash Rosin Gummies

Courtesy Afternoon Delite

Third Place: MKX x North Coast x Pressure Pack – Strawberry Lemon Live Hash Rosin Gummies

Courtesy MKX

AU Edibles: Solvent Gummies

First Place: Afternoon Delite – Blue Lemonade Crunch Gummies

Courtesy Afternoon Delite

Second Place: Dixie – Fast-Acting Juicy Punch Gummies

Courtesy Dixie

Third Place: True North Collective – Strawberry Lemonade THC Gummies

Courtesy True North Collective

AU Non-Distillate Vapes

First Place: Element Pure Live x Pro Gro – Lunar Lemon Live Resin Cart

Courtesy Element Pure Live

Second Place: North Coast – Gelonade Hash Rosin Vape Pod

Courtesy North Coast

Third Place: Five Star Extracts – Black Cherry Trop Nug Run Sugar Sauce Vape

Courtesy Five Star Extracts

AU Distillate Vapes

First Place: Workers Cannabis – Unicorn Piss Vape

Courtesy Workers Cannabis

Second Place: North Cannabis Co – Traverse City Cherry Punch Cart

Courtesy North Cannabis Co

Third Place: Church x Local Grove – Nitroux Vape

Courtesy Church

AU Non-Solvent Concentrates

First Place: Pressure Pack x North Coast – Blue Zorbet Hash Rosin

Courtesy Pressure Pack

Second Place: LightSky Farms – Grape Breath Live Rosin

Courtesy LightSky Farms

Third Place: Society C – Pastries Live Rosin

Courtesy Society C

AU Solvent Concentrates

First Place: HumbleBee x Exotic Matter – Papaya Live Resin

Courtesy HumbleBee

Second Place: Cannabee Extracts – Tahitian Sunset Terp Diamonds

Courtesy Cannabee Extracts

Third Place: Element x Pro Gro – Sherb Cream Pie Live Resin

Courtesy Element

AU Infused Pre-Rolls

First Place: North Coast x Pressure Pack – Lemon Rain Infused Donut Pre-Roll

Courtesy North Coast

Second Place: Uplyfted – Grape Gas Bubble Hash Infused Pre-Roll

Courtesy Uplyfted

Third Place: Crude Boys – King Kong Black Widow Infused Pre-Roll

Courtesy Crude Boys

AU Non-Infused Pre-Rolls

First Place: North Coast x Pressure Pack – Permanent Marker 2g Cannon

Courtesy North Coast

Second Place: Uplyfted – Super Runtz Pre-Roll

Courtesy Uplyfted

Third Place: LocalGrove – Ice Cream Cake Pre-Roll

Courtesy LocalGrove

AU Infused Flower + Moonrocks

First Place: Crude Boys – Hans Solo Funk Frosted Buds

Courtesy Crude Boys

Second Place: Cannabee Extracts – Laughing Gas Moonrocks

Courtesy Cannabee Extracts

Third Place: Freshy Fine – Motorbreath Moonrocks

Courtesy Freshy Fine

AU Hybrid Flower

First Place: MI Loud Farms – Garlic Cocktail

Courtesy MI Loud Farms

Second Place: Stone Depot – Cap Junky

Courtesy Stone Depot

Third Place: Pro Gro – Moonbow #12

Courtesy Pro Gro

AU Sativa Flower

First Place: High Level Health – Blue Skunk

Courtesy High Level Health

Second Place: Pressure Pack – Orange Bomb

Courtesy Pressure Pack

Third Place: LocalGrove – Black Marshmallow

Courtesy LocalGrove

AU Indica Flower

First Place: Society C – Spritzer

Courtesy Society C

Second Place: Higher Love – Tokyo Drip

Courtesy Higher Love

Third Place: LocalGrove – Count Chunkula

Courtesy LocalGrove

If you want to compare results to previous competition winners, check out our winning results from 2022 and 2021 as well! You can look forward to even more People’s Choice Edition news and announcements at

The post Announcing the Winners of the High Times Cannabis Cup Michigan: People’s Choice Edition 2023 appeared first on High Times.