Tiffany & Co.

When the world’s most famous hip-hop star and successful businessman, actor and cannabis activist personally taps you to launch his highly anticipated new brand, chances are it’s because you’re the best. And make no mistake, Tiffany Chin is precisely that. Ask Snoop about his head of cannabis ventures at his new Death Row Cannabis brand. 

Chin’s career took off in earnest more than a decade ago with an internship at Snoop’s entertainment management agency, Stampede, which was founded by fellow University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School grad Ted Chung. “People who graduate from my university usually go into banking or consulting; they don’t go to Los Angeles and pursue an entertainment career,” Chin says, who holds a B.S. in Economics from the same prestigious Ivy League institution. “My boss went to the same school, so for lack of a better term, you could call it ‘distant educational nepotism.’”

It was a bit of a gamble for both sides, but Chin quickly proved her business chops and moved up to the role of business development manager at Stampede. Her love of cannabis and its culture also played in her favor. “No one in the company had the business acumen and education I had while also smoking cannabis every day,” Chin says. “No one understood the culture and could keep up when it came to blunts, jays, vapes, edibles—all that stuff.” 

Chin is the first to admit her hesitancy in accepting the role, as she didn’t want to be pigeonholed at the start of her career. Plus, cannabis was only legal for adult use in two states. “I didn’t really understand what the trajectory of this industry would look like,” Chin says. “Luckily for me, I stayed.” 

Most recently, Chin, along with her team, including legendary west coast legacy cultivator AK and Snoop’s long-time producer, Shaggy, launched Death Row Cannabis. Chin says the move comes as a full-circle moment for Snoop, who in 2022 purchased the Death Row Records label—where he was first signed as a young artist. At the time, Chin was taking a hiatus from cannabis to become a mom and work with tech start-ups. Chin remembers Snoop telling her he’d purchased the Los Angeles-based record label, texting her to say, “It’s mine.”

While Chin has noticed more women stepping into influential roles since returning from her hiatus, she says she’s still not seeing enough women who are true decision makers, holding positions including legal counsel, marketing experts or operation consultants. Women, in general, are what I like to call ‘CPOs’ or the ‘chief purchasing officers’ of most households,” Chin says. According to multiple sources, women make 80 percent of household purchasing decisions on average. Chin says, in cannabis, it’s not quite as high—more like around 60 percent. Yet, when you look at the people who constitute the organizations, the retailers, the facilities and grows, the majority are men. 

To some extent, Chin believes that gender bias still exists within the industry and says that ideally, there would be more female CEOs and presidents running businesses and creating value, as women are proven to be more effective in running businesses. “There’s a Harvard Business Review article called “Research: Adding Women to the C-Suite Changes How Companies Think” that states women run more efficient businesses, just as much as men; they’re more risk-seeking in terms of wanting to take actions that may or may not be proven to help their bottom line; and they also end up resulting in more socially responsible business as well,” Chin says.

When it comes to the future of cannabis, Chin wants to see more women in those high-power, decision-making roles—“not just ‘You’re our CMO and here’s a budget,’ but rather, ‘What’s the budget and how can I affect that change and position it in places where I think it will be most effective?” she says, adding that it often starts with having the confidence to speak up and stand up for yourself. “I’d love to see more women, not just near the top, but at the top, to really affect meaningful changes—not just for women, but for everybody.”  

This story was originally published in issue 48 of the print edition of Cannabis Now. Read it now on the Cannabis Now iTunes app.

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U.S. Secret Service Investigating Cocaine Reportedly Found in White House

The White House is putting a new meaning to its name. A white substance found in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue reportedly tested positive for cocaine, according to a preliminary field test, The Guardian reports. From fast food chain bathrooms to childhood bedrooms over Christmas, the infamous “white powder” (and we’re not talking about snow) tends to show up where authorities, whether it’s the federal government or someone’s parents, are going to make a stink about it. This time it landed in the Executive Mansion.

The U.S. Secret Service is investigating how the drugs got into the President’s home. Mind you, although Biden may be open-minded to psychedelic research, before you start any rumors, the alleged cocaine was found in a reference library “in an area accessible to tour groups, not in any particular West Wing office,” The Associated Press reports. So, most likely, some tourist ballsy (or stupid) enough to snort a line in the White House is responsible rather than anyone in the federal branch of government. 

The discovery of the substance led to an elevated security alert and a brief evacuation of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue after authorities discovered it during a routine inspection. At the time of its discovery, President Joe Joe Biden was at Camp David, a country retreat for presidents hidden in the woods of Maryland. The president and first lady Jill Biden returned to the White House on Tuesday morning shortly after the discovery. 

A spokesman for the Secret Service, Anthony Guglielmi, told The Washington Post that there is “an investigation into the cause and manner” of how the substance entered the White House. Authorities note that it did not pose a threat. Another official familiar with the investigation said that the amount found was of small quality. So, anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of drug use can deduce that the alleged cocaine was for personal use, not distribution. This gives credibility to the explanation that a tourist probably thought it would be cool (but dangerous) to do some white lines in the White House.

If so, it’s certainly not the first time a civilian used a visit to the White House as an opportunity to get high. The British actor Erkan Mustafa said he did a line of cocaine and smoked some cannabis while visiting the presidential resident during first lady Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” anti-drugs campaign, The Guardian reports. Considering that The War on Drugs was a generally minor component of federal law-enforcement efforts until Ronald Reagan’s presidency, in part fueled by Nancy’s “Just Say No” campaign, which was a privately funded effort to educate children on the dangers of drug use, it’s hard to be too mad at Mustafa for seeking the thrill of doing drugs in the White House at the time (although please do not try it yourself, we don’t want you to go to prison). The feds have locked up enough people for drugs; after Reagan moved into the White House in 1981, his focus on drug penalties led to increased incarcerations for nonviolent drug offenses, from 50,000 in 1980 to 400,000 in 1997.

Iconic stoner Snoop Dogg said he’d smoked weed in a bathroom in 2013, and fellow famous cannabis enthusiast Willie Nelson smoked a joint on the White House roof during the presidency of Jimmy Carter. 

Late last year, Biden announced he will pardon people with federal convictions for simple possession of cannabis in addition to directing General Merrick B. Garland and Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra to begin the process of reviewing the classification of cannabis at the federal level. As a reminder, according to the Feds, the branch of government associated with the White House, cocaine is a Schedule II drug, while cannabis is still Schedule I. Meaning, despite all we know about the benefits of marijuana, under federal law, it’s more dangerous than white lines. 

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Buju Banton Wants To Share His Music (And His Weed) With You

Not many artists can continue to put out new music across multiple decades and remain relevant, but such is the case for Mark Anthony Mayrie—known professionally as esteemed reggae artist, Buju Banton. Grammy Award-winner Banton recently returned to the airwaves with a new hit single “High Life,” a collaboration with Snoop Dogg that’s part of a larger offering for which he plans to drop in July. For Banton, the July album will mark his first since 2020’s Upside Down 2020, and will aim to once again capitalize on his uplifting and entertaining point of view.

When we connect by phone, Banton is eager to communicate his joy surrounding his upcoming work with the masses and sheds some insights into his early days of music, moving from dancehall to the studio, how he taps into his inner creativity, and why cannabis is the plant of the people.

High Times: Growing up in Jamaica, did you always know you wanted to pursue music?

Buju Banton: There’s no way for me to always “know” that, I wanted to pursue music growing up, and your inclination at a certain point will steer you in a certain direction. No one grows up wanting to be a policeman all their life or a soldier all their life. There’s a certain point in your life where you make a decision.

High Times: Would you say then that your inclination for music was stronger than any other inclination?

Buju Banton: It was just too much to resist.

High Times: Was there a moment or experience when you realized that the inclination could translate into a career path?

Buju Banton: Growing up, I used to make sounds about the community in which I resided, and people in the community would eventually love it, which would encourage my interest. My friends in school knew I had a knack for it and just kept encouraging me, you know?

Back in the day, you had to prove yourself in the dancehall. You had to go out with the sound system, face the crowd and deliver a new lyric every night. All of these things improved to what we have now. Years of dedication.

High Times: Coming up with a new lyric every night and having to constantly win over a crowd—do you think it forced you to create in a certain way?

Buju Banton: It didn’t force you, because it was a labor of love. You enjoyed doing what you’re doing, it motivated you, and you looked forward to creating something special. To want to dance in the night. You looked forward to having the people stimulated to the heights of euphoria. It wasn’t something like you were pushed, rather encouraged. It’s a good thing.

High Times: So it helped to positively shape you.

Buju Banton: My home has been shaped by my environment, and my environment is one that’s extremely musical. I love Jamaica, it’s tremendously musical. Rocksteady, mento, ska, reggae, dancehall—we have a very rich musical history and if you’re inclined to want music, you’ll be inspired and encouraged from a myriad of connections.

High Times: As your career continued, was there a first experience or moment validating that following your inclination was the right step for you?

Buju Banton: I’ve got many many many of those scenarios, but primarily for me, going out there and facing the music, facing the people, and introducing myself to the various communes was pivotal. Everybody embraced what I felt deep within musically, and I pursued it relentlessly.

High Times: So you had the initial feedback from friends and family that you had something special, and then you—

Buju Banton: I took it to the dancehall. I started on stereo sound systems and then it took me a while to enter the recording studio because we had a limited number of recording studios. It wasn’t like now, where everyone is everywhere and there’s so much abundance. It wasn’t like that. You had to prove yourself in the dancehall first.

High Times: Which meant getting studio time back then was a hallmark in many ways.

Buju Banton: Yes. When you got to the studio, that was the tip of the iceberg because you then had to get around the microphone. That was your next challenge [laughs].

My first time entering a recording studio I had no idea I was going. It was a rainy day and I was with a very famous entertainer at the time by the name of Clement Irie. He had a major hit song in London with Robert French, “Bun n Cheese.”

I remember getting into a taxi which was driven by a man named Henry and I remember we went to [the studio]. And when we got to [the studio], I remember French said, “Let me hear him!”, and they explained to me the process that when I go around the microphone I’ll put headphones on, and when the red light comes on, that’s my cue.

Upon the execution of my first time going to a recording studio, when I finished recording the song, I was like instantly in the studio [from then on], and that was 1986. Summer of ‘86 I recorded my first song and it gave me the impetus to keep on keeping on. I never stopped. It’s a beautiful feeling and a lovely experience.

High Times: Was it the same energy that you were bringing to the dancehall that you were bringing to the studio each time?

Buju Banton: My first time going to the studio, that’s what I brought. But upon going into the studio more frequently and becoming a master at the microphone, you realize it takes a lot more than that.

High Times: In terms of being in the studio, you have a new single out—”High Life”—with Snoop Dogg. How did that come about?

Buju Banton: I was sitting in my yard in Kingston beneath a mango tree. I called Snoop and he said he was chilling in his spaceship, which is what he calls his studio. I told him I had a beat and played it for him. I said I had a verse, too—I had a hook—let’s check it out. I sat right under the mango tree and we wrote the lyrics and I taught him how to flow in a Jamaican dialect—how to speak it the right way. I sent the track to him in Los Angeles and was on the phone while he was in the studio and he did his part. It worked just like that and was superb.

High Times: Is the single tied to a larger album?

Buju Banton: It’s tied to a larger project which is coming out in July. I can’t give you the title yet because the title is still undecided, but it shall be a body of work that I’m sure the people of the music community are going to embrace and enjoy.

The album possesses something extremely rare, something extremely entertaining, something extremely uplifting and the masses are going to truly enjoy it.

High Times: In terms of creative influences, what role does cannabis play in your life and process?

Buju Banton: Cannabis means something different to everyone. We know from an earlier time that the plant can open the minds of men—not being controlled by any other force, whether visible or invisible. So much so, that they outlawed it. The wise men of the time knew of the potentiality of the plant to open the minds of men to the reality of his world.

When it comes to elders and treating marijuana as a holy sacrament, we choose not to deviate from that common practice of respecting the herbs. My dad used to be close with those guys and they’d beat the drum and chant Rastafarian. It was brotherly love, everyone was just irie mellow. When you’re making music when you’re irie and mellow, the masses are going to feel irie and mellow as well. It transcends.

High Times: Is there a particular strain you gravitate towards?

Buju Banton: Growing up in Jamaica, I was a fan of Indica and Lamb’s Bread. But herb is not the same anymore and I only smoke herb that I know has grown naturally and organic. It’s become too commercialized, and as a result, we’ve lost the spirituality. It’s not being shared, it’s not being partaken in. It’s being used. Anything you use, chances are, you might abuse it. And chances are, you run the risk of it abusing you.

High Times: Do you have times where you use the plant for music creation?

Buju Banton: We don’t use the plant. We partake of the plant, which is older than you, greater than you, wiser than you—you can only share it and partake in it.

I don’t believe in using anything to make music. I use my mind, my creative genius, my spirit. I use language, I use what I’ve seen, what I’ve heard. If I’m going to smoke, my herb’s only going to get me to think about these things more in depth, to peel back the layers. But it’s not to utilize herb to write music. If I need to have a spliff to be creative that would mean I’m an addict. I don’t live my life like that.

High Times: So weed just amplifies what’s already there.

Buju Banton: Of course. That’s what it’s supposed to do.

Follow @bujubanton and check out for tickets and tour dates.

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Flygod Steez

It’s easy to forget you’re talking to an accomplished artist who’s collaborated with Kanye West, The Roots’ Black Thought, Busta Rhymes, and a slew of other notable hip-hop heavyweights, but that’s just who Westside Gunn is. He’s the kid from Buffalo, New York who made it. Despite all odds being stacked against him, he’s the one who escaped the perils of the streets and, in the words of Outkast, got up, got out, and got something. Along with his brother Conway the Machine and cousin Benny the Butcher, the Flygod took Griselda Records from a tiny, homegrown label to a partnership with Eminem and manager Paul Rosenberg’s imprint, Shady Records. Even with all of his success, his respect for hip-hop’s architects and pioneers shines through, while his humble demeanor and relatability remain intact.

Case in point, Westside Gunn just returned to Buffalo after a whirlwind trip to New York City and Philadelphia where he was shooting a music video for his final installment of the Hitler Wears Hermes series, 10. His plans are to take his nieces and nephews to see Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, eat a lot of good food, and check in with his people. Clearly, Gunn isn’t like other rappers. He didn’t get his start at age 20 and have to go through the growing pains of becoming an adult in front of an audience nor did he struggle with any kind of identity crisis as he encountered fame—he already knew who he was. Having just turned 40 in July, he was able to look at the music business with a different lens.

High Times Magazine, February 2023

“I don’t have to go through the problems of being young Westside Gunn and being immature,” he said. “Not only just being mature, but you also gotta think, being at this age, I’ve been in every phase of hip-hop. So I was there in the Run-DMC days, the Slick Rick days, Ice-T, and N.W.A, all the way back as far as I can remember—LL COOL J, Salt-N-Pepa, Kool Moe Dee. I was there for MC Hammer, I was there for Kool G Rap, then Nas and Wu-Tang. I’ve been through every phrase. I’m really a student of the game. I’m born in 1982, so my whole life has been hip-hop.”

Westside Gunn has been on a creative high for years now, releasing several projects back-to-back, including Pray for Paris and Who Made the Sunshine, both released in 2020. But interestingly enough, Gunn never set out to rap.

“I still don’t want to rap,” he said with a laugh. “But the thing about it is, every year I give ‘em another classic. That’s me not wanting to rap.”

He’d tried before. In 2005, he released his first mixtape, but legal troubles kept him from seriously pursuing it. When Conway got shot in 2012, everything changed. That was the moment he decided to pick up the mic again.

“We was already living like rappers,” he explained. “I tried to rap in ’04. I tried once. It wasn’t like I tried all the time. I didn’t rap again from 2005 to 2012, but I knew how to rap. My style was the exact same. When I started back in 2012, I kept my same style and went big. I was trying to get Conway on and we was working. Once he got shot, I still knew people in offices and I was still getting my feet wet. If anybody’s going to bet on me, it’s going to be me. So I went extra hard and did something nobody else is doing. In 2012, Atlanta was heavy. There was a big Southern influence and I came out of nowhere with just the raw boom bap shit.”

Gunn wanted to make an immediate impact—and he did. As he admitted, he was looking for “shock value” and chose to put Adolf Hitler, one of history’s most controversial figures, on the cover of his mixtape.

“The title at first was Devil Wears Prada and I switched it because I was like, ‘I’m not going to keep the same name, so let me think of some crazy shit,’” he recalled. “Hitler Wears Hermes was what came to my mind first. It wasn’t like I thought of no other name. I didn’t want nobody to know who I was, so I put out this mix CD with Hitler on the cover to see what would happen. Mind you, I hadn’t rapped in seven years, and I made this project in like five days. I was on some fly shit though, and that was the first Hitler Loves Hermes. I wanted to see their reaction and what people were thinking. That’s how it all started.”

Ten years later, Westside Gunn has closed the door on the popular series but said he feels “good” about it.

“A lot of people in this game, they come and go,” he continued. “For me to be able to say I did it 10 times is legendary in itself. That’s just [to] let you know that I’ve been putting in work for a decade, and a lot people can’t say that. Even after a decade, I’m just now starting to get certain looks after 10 years of working. That just lets you know you just gotta work hard, stay consistent and don’t give up ‘cause there’s always another level. I carved my own lane, so I’m already happy. I don’t care if I don’t get no bigger than what I am now, for what I’ve done in these 10 years, I done carved my own lane, I did it my own way and I’m super happy.”

Courtesy Griselda Records

And it shows. Granted, it could be the weed. Gunn smokes an astonishing 28 blunts from sunrise to sunset, equating to about an ounce per day. In fact, he was rolling one up during the conversation. And like Snoop Dogg, he has a professional blunt roller on his payroll.

“I have some rolled up for me every day,” he said. “I got a professional blunt roller last month. I got ‘em on salary to do other things as well, so that’s not the only thing they do. They just get that part out of the way, but they’re definitely on salary. I might do two gram blunts or I might just do one gram blunts ‘cause I like chain-smoking. After a while, when you smoke blunts, you get used to it like smoking a cigarette. I smoke so much I like the one gram blunts but just back-to-back. But I’m trying to break out of smoking ‘cause I smoke so much, I wanna try to get cleaner. I smoke too much.”

Together with Chauncey Leopardi, who played Squints in the film The Sandlot in 1993 and is the owner of the cannabis and lifestyle brand Squintz, Westside Gunn took his love of weed and turned it into a business. The strain he was smoking is called “The Liz,” which was named after The Liz 2 album by Armani Caesar, one of Griselda’s artists, and inspired by Leopardi’s signature strain, “The Wendy.” (Wendy was the girl Squints had a crush on in the movie.)

“Squints is the mastermind,” he explained. “I’m just the good guy that markets the smoke well. Me and him grew a relationship and I said, ‘Hey, I wanna come with it, too. I just want something special.’ He had that one and he had four others just in case. I picked ‘The Liz’ and we got the bags together.”

If anything, the new business venture is yet another testament to Gunn’s unrelenting work ethic. Armed with a seemingly endless reservoir of self-motivation and determination, he’s created his own empire. Speaking to The Joe Budden Podcast in 2021, Gunn announced he’d severed ties with Shady Records, a bold move considering the weight Eminem’s name holds in the industry. But Gunn knew it was the right decision.

“I’m always going to be thankful for Paul [Rosenberg] and Marshall [Mathers],” he said. “I was with Shady Records and I dropped Who Made the Sunshine and What Would Chine Gun Do. It’s all love. We made our history together. It’s different chapters in life. It’s not one of those things to be upset or cry about or nothing. It’s chapters. It was just time for me to move on.”

For now, Gunn is focused on his pending projects, one of which is Michelle, named after his late Aunt Chelle who passed away in November 2021. As he explained in an Instagram post at the time, Chelle was like a mother to him and her death hit him hard, but he has a plan to continue honoring her.

“I’m doing a lot of things to keep her name alive,” he said. “Right now, I’m staying working, staying ahead. She was my biggest fan. She wanted me to turn up, so I’m going to keep turning up.”

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. It was published in the February 2023 issue of High Times Magazine.

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Cannabis, Celebrity & Culture

Arguably, the greatest lubricant for cannabis normalization hasn’t been enthusiasts, activists or lawmakers, but pop culture. Of course, culture alone hasn’t been enough to usher in legalization (if it had, it would’ve happened much sooner). But it’s fair to say that the soft (but undeniable) advocacy employed by screen actors, artists, musicians and others, as well as depictions in different kinds of media, have helped everyday people to see that the kind herb may not be so bad as Uncle Sam says it is, after all.

When superstar Kacey Musgraves’ Grammy-winning “Same Trailer, Different Park” dropped in 2013, many in the country music world were scandalized by the then-24-year-old’s multiple references to smoking weed. She’s hardly the first in the genre to toke, as Willie Nelson has of course been loud and proud his entire career. But, based on optics alone—she’s a young white woman from Texas performing in a space closely associated with politically conservative Americans—her immediate differences from other prominent musicians who famously loved to toke up set her apart. 

Millions of fans, some of whom felt that the culture surrounding country music was a bit too uptight, instantly loved her for it, while still, others found reason to cast blame. “You’re so less attractive to me now,” one commenter wrote on a photo Musgraves posted on Instagram in 2019, which showed her exhaling smoke blissfully with a joint in hand. The singer clapped back instantly: “Oh, nooo! I only exist purely for your pleasure. What am I gonna do?” with a thinking emoji in tandem. #savage 

But weed hasn’t hurt Musgraves, who has 2.4 million Instagram followers. If anything, it’s only helped. She’s since racked up awards and made best-selling albums. She’s even selling branded rolling papers—appropriately named “Slow Burn” after one of her most famous songs—as well as a lighter and grinder. 

Louis Armstrong

Before and alongside these country music luminaries, many other musicians and celebrities helped paved the way simply by using. Jazz icons Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and Duke Ellington all famously and openly lit up, despite being used as an example by Henry Anslinger, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, who was the principal architect of the US prohibition during the draconian Reefer Madness era in this country. 

“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind,” Anslinger said. “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music–jazz and swing–result from marijuana use.”

Jerry Garcia illustration by Robert Risko
Jerry Garcia

From there, Anslinger’s rhetoric and policies laid the groundwork for all-out criminalization and the eventual War on Drugs, the legacy of which still exists today, particularly in the fact that cannabis is still federally illegal in the US. In 1937, Congress passed his Marihuana Tax Act, effectively prohibiting cannabis on a federal level due to the heavy tax burden introduced.

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which was ratified in 1970, made cannabis illegal for good. In between, a counter-culture movement sprung up in the 1960s, in which weed was arguably a central component. From that wellspring came cannabis-friendly icons including The Grateful Dead (led by Jerry Garcia), which was the band that became the official anthem-holder of white stoners everywhere. Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Carlos Santana, The Velvet Underground, Simon and Garfunkel, Pink Floyd and The Beach Boys are other notable acts that also openly smoked and whose legacies endure today—with cannabis one of the drugs of choice of that bygone era, there are also hundreds more examples of popular figures partaking and otherwise endorsing the coveted plant.

Bob Marley illustration by Robert Risko
Bob Marley

Cannabis becoming flat-out federally illegal after the CSA’s passage didn’t stop the train of pop culture cannabis consumption. If anything, it only made it more subversive and, therefore, cool. Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong of Cheech & Chong fame were a slapstick weed-soaked silver screen duo who came to prominence in the 1970s and are still beloved as original pioneers of today’s cannabis culture. Though Bob Marley and The Wailers started producing hits in the ’60s, it was in the ’70s when the reggae sensations rose to international prominence. Their religious beliefs through Rastafari, as well as their cannabis consumption, also took center stage in their public image. Peter Tosh was also Rastafarian and a famously-pot smoking reggae contemporary of Marley’s, but with a harder political edge. To this day, his 1976 anthem “Legalize It” is still a rallying cry for tokers all over the globe, even while marijuana continues to remain largely illegal.

In more recent history, the public face of cannabis has become more widespread and representative of different cultures, though the legacy born in the ’60s and ’70s endures, particularly with longtime jam bands Phish, Widespread Panic and Dave Matthews Band. We also see its impact via the spread of reggae culture into other island communities, especially Hawaii, and more cannabis-friendly communities such as those of underground (and now legal) cannabis cultivators in northern California.

Carlos Santana illustration by Robert Risko
Carlos Santana

Weed’s next and arguably greatest push into mainstream popular culture came with the rise of hip-hop, which started as a music genre born out of lower-class Black communities and crossed over to mainstream appeal during the late 1980s and especially the 1990s, bringing the plant with it. Some rappers and groups, such as Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Method Man, Redman and Dr. Dre, dedicated entire albums with chart-topping hits specifically to the plant. Snoop has since become a bonafide cannabis icon, even starting his own media publication, Merry Jane, while Cypress Hill’s B-Real heads up his own cannabis brand and dispensary chain, Dr. Greenthumbs, named after one of his most famous songs. His signature strains sold are different phenotypes of OG Kush, which was introduced to him in the ‘90s by famous grower JoshD, who bred the Florida-born strain to prominence after its arrival in California.

Rappers today have carried that legacy forward, including Wiz Khalifa with his Kush and OJ album (and now his own legal weed brand) and Berner, who has his own veritable worldwide legal weed empire. Jay-Z owns nationwide cannabis brands and raps often about selling weed—both legal and illegal—but is also rumored to not be super into smoking it himself. Kid Cudi, Curren$y, Drake, OutKast, The Game and 2-Chainz are other notable names who’ve melded their art with their favorite plant. 

Snoop Dogg illustration by Robert Risko
Snoop Dogg

The rise of hip-hop also coincided with the birth of the internet and the advent of music television, fomenting its place not just in cannabis culture, but also in popular culture, in general, and giving it greater reach than possibly the music of the 1960s in numbers over time. It also grew alongside the golden era of stoner movies, frequently with cameos from one of the aforementioned stars: How High stars both Method Man and Red Man and is considered canon among both rap and weed fans; so is Friday, written by Ice Cube and DJ Pooh, which stars Ice Cube and comedian Chris Tucker.

Half Baked is another quintessential cannabis-fueled movie and what birthed Dave Chappelle’s career (though I’d argue that his giving up weed for his girlfriend at the end is a genuine betrayal to stoners everywhere). Harold and Kumar go to White Castle sometimes gets cast aside as dumb but is brilliant in its subtle knowledge of deep stoner culture—any movie that so prominently features the dregs of the fast-food world, much beloved by those with the munchies, is obviously clued into the quirky loves of stoners countrywide. Dazed and Confused harkens back to the more innocent times of 1970s weed, while Super Troopers gave us the iconic line, “Littering and…littering and…littering and smoking the reefer.”

Seth Rogen illustration by Robert Risko
Seth Rogen

There are some drawbacks to weed’s popularity in pop culture. While saturation can lead to normalization and a reduction of stigma, it has also made cannabis a bit of a punchline. Stoner depictions in various media have also perpetuated stereotypes, notably Afroman’s 2000 hit “Because I Got High,” which runs through a litany of forgetful and absentminded foibles that the rapper attributed to smoking weed. The Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott movie Dude, Where’s My Car? basically gives away the plot without having to watch it, funny though it is, and it’s definitely not a positive portrayal of healthy or functional cannabis consumption. 

 More recently, a new guard of smoke-filled movie stars has taken the old guard’s place. Seth Rogen, who today owns the lauded and legal Houseplant cannabis brand, is considered a bonafide social and political advocate for cannabis legalization. His movies have also legitimately crossed over into weed culture, including the 2008 hit Pineapple Express, which birthed an actual cultivar that remains popular to this day. His social media presence, especially during the pandemic, shows Rogen making pottery and curating tasteful cannabis accessories, a glimpse into the life of a rich and successful pothead who also happens to have good taste. Functional stoners see themselves in him—as a wealthy celebrity, Rogen may occupy a different stratosphere of life than most can ever imagine, but he’s aspirational in all the right ways by a group typically denigrated and assumed to be lazy, forgetful and generally unintelligent.

Miley Cyrus illustration by Robert Risko
Miley Cyrus

These depictions are also almost entirely male-oriented, save for Musgraves, which is also beginning to change as wider acceptance of cannabis use courses through the US and women not only are consuming more than they had in the past, but also feel more comfortable doing so in public. Pop superstar Miley Cyrus has been an avid cannabis user and publicly (sometimes controversially) so ever since she graduated into adulthood from her kid-friendly Hannah Montana days; Rihanna is a veritable weed queen, who has talked about it often in interviews and has allowed herself to be frequently photographed while smoking. Lady Gaga has come out as a fan of the plant, and so has Megan Fox, Anna Faris, Bella Thorne, Kathy Bates, Tove Lo, Cameron Diaz and Charlize Theron, among many others. The list is admittedly smaller, but likely, as in real life, there are plenty more notable women in pop culture who like to smoke weed.

Whereas in the past, using cannabis was a more counterculture act, regardless of who in pop culture was consuming, there were visibility limitations owing to the lack of access we had to cultural figures compared with how much exposure they have today. I believe the internet helped bridge the gap between culture and popular consciousness for the final leg of cannabis prohibition, which we appear to be living in today. At a certain point, being bombarded with certain images and symbols over and over has a sanitizing effect, and how much more media we consume compared with people 30-40 years ago and beyond means that we’re becoming exposed to the regularity of cannabis consumption more than at any point in history.

Rihanna illustration by Robert Risko

So, what to make of all of this cannabis consumed by the famous and influential for the better part of a century? While it’s activists and the lawmakers they lobby who are, in the end, mainly responsible for the ongoing tide of legalization in this country, it’s the plant’s ironclad presence in popular culture that has helped grease the wheels all the way along with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Drawn To Him

Robert Risko, America’s top magazine illustrator, debuts on our pages.

When my team at a previous magazine heard I was leaving my post as editor in chief, they asked my dear friend and easily the most celebrated magazine illustrator in the US, Robert Risko, to create a portrait of me as a goodbye gift. When the large, framed work on white canvas was given to me, a rush of emotions washed over me. “Wow, even I have a Risko now,” I thought, feeling sheer gratitude at such a beautiful and thoughtful gesture.

Robert Risko illustration

Risko, who’s been the chief artist at Vanity Fair for precisely four decades and whose colorful, whimsical, instantly recognizable portraits helped elevate that magazine to colossal cultural relevance (along with photographer Annie Leibovitz), is as interesting personally as the famous subjects he expertly captures. To see a Risko illustration accompany a story in VF—and later The New Yorker, Time, Rolling Stone—is to signal to the reader that not only is this story worthy of attention, it’s also worthy of the “Risko treatment.” Has there ever been a bigger compliment to a magazine artist? Others certainly agreed. In 2017, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC held an exhibition of Risko’s iconic portraits he had completed for the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor since 2002.

When I asked Risko about possibly illustrating this pivotal feature in our “culture issue,” my friend didn’t hesitate. “Ohh, that sounds really interesting…” And just like that, Robert Risko joins the cannabis community. How cool is that? —Richard Pérez-Feria

This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.

The post Cannabis, Celebrity & Culture appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Layzie Bone on New Mixtape, Legacy, and Expungement

Just in time for the holiday, Layzie Bone—a living legend as a founding member of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony—is dropping Smoke With Me Vol. 1 on April 20, a new mixtape composed entirely of weed-themed tracks, which is free to download. Smoke With Me is one of the highly anticipated projects Layzie will be producing this year, released under his private label Harmony Howse Entertainment

Layzie, born Steven Howse and also called L-Burna, recalls the early days when gangsta rap went fully mainstream: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s debut full-length album E. 1999 Eternal topped the Billboard Hot 100, going beyond the hip-hop and R&B charts. They topped the charts several more times in the following years. Perhaps more impressive than their often-duplicated rat-a-tat rapping style was their vocal range, creating a natural harmony.

How did this all start? About 30 years ago, N.W.A. had outgrown itself, and group members had moved on to discovering new talent instead. Eazy-E gave his last final parting gift to the world before dying of AIDS: the discovery of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Who could forget the heavy rotation “Tha Crossroads” video received, their way of mourning Eazy-E. MTV called them “the most melodic hip-hop group of all time.” Layzie’s older brother Flesh-n-Bone and cousin Wish Bone, a baritone, joined as well. Most of us know the rest of the story.

Now Layzie is the mentor, blazing the way for younger artists who are following on the same path. As a lifetime smoker and familiar with history, he reminds us that “America was built on marijuana.” He’s also trying to expunge his own record. In 1999, for instance, U.S. Marshals arrested Layzie in his home on warrants for federal cannabis-related charges.

“I got something called Birthday Cake right here, man,” Layzie says as he hits a vape pen and exhales a large cloud that fills the room during our interview. “My homeboy’s brand called Jumbo Joose, you know? I usually vape it up early in the day.”

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony were as closely associated with weed for a reason: They churned out many cannabis anthems like “Buddha Lovas,” “Weed Song,” “Budsmokers Only,” “Blaze It,” “Weedman,” etc. With multiple eras of weed songs, where does one even start?

Now there are more songs to add to the group’s already-large weed song repertoire. Layzie, along with Wish Bone, Krayzie Bone, Bizzy Bone, and Flesh-n-Bone, performed at the 2018 Amsterdam Cannabis Cup. Layzie begins by saying he “always got time for High Times.”

High Times: As you know 420 is coming up and word on the street is that you’re dropping a new mixtape Smoke With Me Vol. 1? Can you tell me a couple of the highlights that we can expect on this upcoming mixtape?

Layzie Bone: I mean, well, you know, it’s heavily featured with my brothers, you know what I’m saying? We got so many weed songs already out but more that the world haven’t heard yet. So I’m really excited about a few songs that I got with my bomb brothers that didn’t make projects in the past that we revised. So I’m happy, I’m happy to be able to give the world something new from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. But um, you know, it’s all this on the weed tip. So you know, man it’s just a stone cold groove. You know, I mean, I, it’s hard to put into words. It’s relaxing. It’s exciting. And it’s just, it’s just the way you feel off a great sativa. You know?

Photo courtesy of Harmony Howse Entertainment.

Are there any special guests on this mixtape? Do you want to mention any by name?

Like I said, it’s really just about those in Harmony. You know what I mean? I would like to leave a few guests that I have as a surprise, but it’s a few surprises on there, you know, vocally-wise. But really, I’m really excited about what I got coming from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, I think we got some, I think we got some harmonious songs that we’re really going to appreciate.

As I understand, you’re going to be performing live on April 20. Is it true that you’re going to be performing with Ice Cube?

Oh, yeah, absolutely. Man, our New Mexico show will be with Ice Cube. We gettin’ it in, man. Also we got a few shows coming up with Ice Cube specifically on 420 this year, we definitely hitting the stage with Cube, a host of other acts as well. It’s a really big show. So yeah, man, we’re gonna spend this year with you.

It’s been 30 years since Eazy-E signed you guys up—we have all heard the story. Back then he was a mentor, but now you’re the mentor. So tell me how it feels to be stepping into those shoes of being a mentor.

Wow. I mean, I’ve always had younger artists have been to me and, and sort of mentored them to, you know, through their careers and, you know, my, my younger generation, my brothers and most of my family. And, you know, now being with Sakoya [Wynter, daughter of K-Ci & JoJo’s JoJo Hailey] mentoring her, you know, it’s, I think it’s something that’s just natural for you to reach back and, and help those that need guidance, you know, that to help people not make the same mistakes that I’ve made, just to smoothen out the playing field and make it easier for the next generation. I think that’s a natural thing for me.

So Logic just recorded a cover of “Weed Song.” Can you tell me what’s one or two of your favorite cannabis anthems of all time?

Well, probably up there. Top three would probably include Bone Thug-N-Harmony’s “Buddha Lovas.” We saw the “Weed Song” one that Logic just did over and Smoke with Me, this new one that I’m about to put out is really gonna be revolutionary on weed songs you know that will take you there—like a weed-mushroom high. I will say Bone Thugs-N-Harmony by far for weed songs’ top three. You know Missy, […]. Scarface got a weed song that is called “Smoke with Me” as well. So you know, Scarface man I go back with the old school. Snoop’s got a lot. All of Snoop’s songs pertain to weed with numerous references. Just that whole album The Chronic—you could smoke too, you know I’m saying, like with him and Dr Dre. So that was the one that was the beginning of—not the beginning but when we really [started] making weed songs. So yeah man I just listen to anything Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Those are the songs I usually gravitate to.

And so are you going to be releasing Smoke With Me Vol. 1 on Harmony Howse Entertainment?

Yeah, Harmony Howse Entertainment. That’s my imprint. That’s my entertainment company. And yes, absolutely. It’d be released on Harmony Howse—probably distributed to TuneCore. And yeah, man, I’m looking forward to it. Smoke With Me Vol. 1 is off the hook. Like my whole theme of this album is you know, everybody has a favorite holiday, which mine is these days, 420. It used to be Christmas and I used to love to listen to all the Christmas music and enjoy the holidays with my family and you know and feel that nostalgia. Nowadays it’s 420 with the weed becoming you know, [mainstream]. I’m putting these weed songs out to become the foundation for that holiday for songs to be played for years to come.

Can you tell us a little bit about Harmony Howse for those of us who don’t know?

The Harmony House, first of all. My last name is Howse. You know anybody doing business with me knows me as Stephen Howse. And so Howse is my brand, my family brand. And Harmony Howse consists of Rocky Rock, [Big] Sloan, my children and […] Trinity, Dice. You know, I’ve got a few artists on there that I represent in Harmony Howse, really derived from when I had most of the records back in the ’90s. So I felt like most of the records, you know, when when the industry changed over, I felt like the records thing was gone—like it was really no more records. So I felt like reviving my company into an entertainment company, to where you know, I’m not just doing music, but you know, taking, doing all my content myself trying to get into my movies and things like that just becoming a full-fledged entertainment company. So yeah, that’s what Harmony Howse is. It is another branch off the Bone Thugs-N-Harmony legacy, you know.

Courtesy of Layzie Bone.

“… When I was coming up, you know, I caught cases for marijuana. It’s things that I’m trying to get expunged.” – Layzie Bone

Does cannabis enhance creativity in the studio? Because some people use it as a reward after work and some people work and get high at the same time.

Yeah, I will say for me it’s an enhancement of creativity. It really depends on you know, what cannabis you choose at the time. You know as for myself [I smoke] before I start my sessions I like to smoke a little bit and and I prefer a sativa when I’m being creative, you know what I mean? Like if I’m watching the movie or chilling at home and just relaxing or reading prefer like an indica but on the creative side, I definitely blaze before, during, and after but I prefer sativa when I’m recording and when I’m creating.

Those heavy strains can slow you down.

They slow you down, put you to sleep, you know, relaxation type of vibe, but the sativas for some reason, keep me up.

You guys have been sending the message about weed when it was still taboo. But that was over 30 years ago. How things changed for you since then

I mean, well, I’m just so free with it. These days, I forget, sometimes I go somewhere and weed is illegal. You know, but back in my days, when I was coming up, you know, I caught cases for marijuana. It’s things that I’m trying to get expunged, because of marijuana cases and things like that. So it’s totally different man. It’s like back then, you had to hide. You had to, you know, go to the moon to smoke a joint. But now you could be out anywhere in California, you can basically blaze up, bam, you’re anywhere. So do you know, that’s the big difference, the freedom of it, like, you don’t have to watch over your shoulder looking for the police like he used to.

And, you know, it’s interesting that you bring up expungement because, you know, so that’s something that has affected you personally. Because on one hand, you have people selling cannabis, but at the same time, there’s still people that are sitting in jail right now for it. So how does it feel to you since you’ve been personally affected by the War on Drugs?

I mean, I just feel like it’s America, you know what I mean? Like America is, how do I explain it, America. You know, it’s legal one minute then illegal, the next minute. Some might thrive off the situation. Some might be stereotyped and, you know, condemned because of [it]. It’s this melting pot that we live in, you know what I mean? Like, I think it’s totally unfair. You know, I think everybody should be able to get their records expunged when it comes to marijuana, you know, but it’s just totally unfair, you know, I mean, I’m fighting that fight myself, too. So there’s this place called America and you never know what’s wrong or right and how things may turn out. So, you know, it’s a tricky situation, man, and I just, I wish the best for I hope that we can get it right. You know, if we’re allowed to make money off of it now, though, people should be let out of jail and, you know, not not taboo to where they can’t work and things like that. So you know, it’s a tricky situation.

They’re starting to pave the way to clear some minor convictions at the federal level now. I mean, it doesn’t help everybody out. It’s only those minor convictions but you know, baby steps.

Right. Absolutely. Yeah. Over time it will happen, you know, this concept was still new. You know, America was built on marijuana too. So you know, it was common to grow marijuana farms you know, I read up on all that too. So no, I think it’s going back to where it started. Everything goes full circle, right?

We got 420 coming up. Do you have any other announcements? 

Like I said we got my 420 mixtape Smoke With Me, it’d be out this holiday. It’s a free mixtape you can download for free—something that I want to give away to my fans because I do have an album following that and another mixtape, the album is called Hypnotic Rhythms. Be on the lookout for that man, Hypnotic Rhythms is just really just good music, good vibes, and a lot more smoke going on. You know, and then I have another mixtape called Too Easy, which is songs with my younger peers. I’ve taken our music and remixed them in so many different ways. So I’m just jumping on what they did now. So I got a few projects that’s coming in over the next couple of months. Follow me at @TheRealLayzieBone on IG and @TheOfficialLayzieBone on Facebook. You know, you can get all my information from there, but I do have projects coming out. And, you know, I’m just asking my fans to look out for them and bump that mixtape, it’s free.

Thanks for having me. Always got time for High Times.

The post Layzie Bone on New Mixtape, Legacy, and Expungement appeared first on High Times.

From Intern to CEO, Tiffany Chin Takes Snoop Dogg’s Death Row Cannabis to the Next Level

Tiffany Chin is a name in cannabis to know and best not forget. She is the CEO of Death Row Cannabis. Chin, who studied business at the University of Pennsylvania and Wharton, led over $50 million in annual sales for Snoop Dogg’s previous cannabis company, Leafs by Snoop (LBS), and has closed major licensing deals throughout her career.

She’s worn many hats in the industry and her list of accomplishments is extensive, including managing Doggy Style Records. When Snoop Dogg wanted to move forward with more ventures in cannabis and take Death Row Cannabis to another level, he called Chin to help him do it.

The prestigious stoner started out in the gray market, thanks to an inspiring encounter with a pot dealer. It’s a long story she recently shared with High Times in an interview about Death Row Cannabis, her collaboration with Snoop Dogg, and how she went from intern to CEO in less than a decade.

High Times: You started in the gray market, right? How’d you get your start?

Tiffany Chin: I first started with Snoop as an intern. Like most interns do, they clean and make things presentable. Snoop would be in the office every week or so shooting his YouTube show called GGN. He would have cool guests on and smoke weed with them. This man didn’t really use rolling trays. When he did, there was enough there for me as a new California resident to put it in my pocket, take it home, and smoke it.

Snoop went on his summer tour a couple of months later after I started interning. I was naive or paranoid and didn’t want to get a [medical] card and be in the system. A coworker of mine told me, “I know a guy who grows in the gray market and sells by the pound to dispensaries.” As these drug deals normally go, he rolls up in his car and I get in the passenger seat. I’m thinking, “This guy’s really cute.” I have no makeup on, my teeth are not brushed, and my hair’s not brushed. Here’s your money and bye, right? Two months later, I asked him, “Hey, can we do this again? We’ll do the exchange and everything. Also, I don’t know if you remember what I look like, but would you like to go out for a drink sometime?” Eleven years later, we’re married.

Oh, congratulations. That’s a lovely story.

Thank you. He’s not growing weed anymore. He’s now a biologist and botanist at a nonprofit called TreePeople. Anyway, that’s how I originally got into cannabis and experienced a small grow. I got to understand nutrient ratios and levels, the PPMs, what temperature and what humidity levels are needed, all of that.

I am not a grower, but I know enough when I visit facilities. I’ve been to so many growers around the world to be like, “This is how it should look. This looks right.” I can see what technologies they’re using and how they’re able to automate certain things.

Photo courtesy of Tiffany Chin.

So, how’d you go from interning to the business side of Snoop’s cannabis business?

I was originally interning at a management company. Snoop hired the CEO of the management company, Ted Chung, to be his manager. Basically, we had a whole machine and team doing all these things for Snoop. At the time, it was when Colorado and Washington legalized, and we were like, “What’s our strategy? We have the biggest dude in cannabis, and we want to talk with him about his ideas.”

Ted was looking at his employee list and asked, “Who on our team could fit this role? There’s no one else in the building out of these 60 people who smoke weed every day and also have enough business sense.” I don’t even want to say business acumen, because my biggest thing is that you don’t know business until you are in it.

Anyway, Ted was like, “Tiffany, do you want this role? You should do this.” Initially, I was a little concerned I might get pigeonholed into an industry that, and I feel silly saying it now, maybe  doesn’t have a future. At the same time, this is a big opportunity, right? Also, you wouldn’t expect someone who looks like me to be representing Snoop on the cannabis side. I think that throws a lot of people off. People don’t realize that I know a lot more than maybe I let on.

How does that play out?

When I’m touring a facility with the CEO or the marketing director and I ask these more technical questions, they’re like, “Oh, I should get my grower over here.” And I’m like, “You should have had your grower with us the entire time. You’re not the right representative right now. When we talk about deal terms and business stuff, yes, but I need to see that your product is good.”

Once you started working on the cannabis side for Snoop, what were some early successes?

I found and identified Canopy. I literally cold-emailed them. Mark Zekulin, who was the president at the time, was like, “This can’t be real.” They looked up the management company, and he was like, “Oh, maybe it is real. We’re in Ottawa. Do you wanna come up and check us out?”

I went up there when they had a handful of plants, maybe five or 10 plants in the ground. By in the ground, I mean in a five-gallon pot behind these screens and everything. We recognized both of us were the real deal, which snowballed into the larger deal we had throughout all of Canada back in 2015 until 2017. The product was actually still in the market all the way up until 2020.

How else did you expand business from there?

LivWell, who we worked with in Colorado, is another great partner. We launched a huge line of products with flowers, concentrates, and edibles. This was for the old brand, Leafs by Snoop. The people at LivWell asked, “How do we create a line of edibles that’s true to Snoop? Everyone knows he doesn’t do edibles.” I asked, “What about his rider?”

I remember touring with him and sending his rider to promoters in different cities. There’s chocolate bars, Reese’s peanut butter cups, peach gummies, and Starburst. I said, “That’s what we should do. People feel as though they’re in the same room hanging out with Snoop Dogg before he hits the stage.” Snoop said, “Let’s do that. At least you can gimme samples without weed in them, and I can try them out. Put weed in them and then I can give them out to my friends.”

It worked out great, because of the production process, we expanded into around 500 stores with those products. Flower was more difficult because Snoop ended up picking a low yield, because he liked the terpenes, the flavors, and how it smoked. Since it was such a low yield, we weren’t able to produce enough to expand further than LivWell’s 14 stores at time.

I wanted to circle back. As you said, people often underestimate you. In business, can you ever use that to your advantage?

I’m often underestimated because people are like, “Oh, you’re Asian and you’re a woman. You must not smoke. You must not understand the culture.” With certain people, I will be forthcoming about what I do know, because I can immediately tell that this is a relationship that I want to advance and let’s do business together.

Other times, it’s funny… There was a group we didn’t go with in Canada and internationally. Out of all the days they could have emailed me and acted upset, he berated me on International Women’s Day. I was like, “There are other groups that have corroborated our selection. We went with the best group.” I even talked to Snoop about it, and he said, “It’s business, not personal. This one group doesn’t have enough flower for us. We gotta go with a group that has good flower and also does good business.”

I don’t want to always say that it’s men in these situations ‘cause that’s reductive, but it is a male-dominated industry. I don’t think they give the respect to women in this space to really demonstrate her abilities. I’ve seen it, and I’ve been a victim of it.

There are specific ways in which you can pepper in certain facts or things that can indicate to the opposite party, like, tread carefully because you’re about to get into a topic or conversation you might not want to broach. If you think the person’s smart enough to pick up on what you’re putting down, then you only need to do a little breadcrumb, right? Other people who might not be as aware of the vibes in the room, you might have to throw down a whole loaf of bread for them (Laughs).

(Laughs) You’ve closed some lucrative deals throughout your career. How does one stay cool in those situations with all that pressure?

There’s a lot of pressure. Anxiety is something that I work on, and I started going to therapy in June of last year.

That’s great. Good for you.

Thank you. I am very open about it. I think everyone should go to therapy, even if it’s only once a year. I started going to therapy because of some anxiety around another individual on Snoop’s team who was trying to close these deals for him. Snoop wanted to bring me back on to run the cannabis and hemp initiatives.

This other fellow, I think, felt threatened and tried to insert himself between Snoop and myself. At the time, I had a lot of anxiety about bringing deals to the table and making sure that Snoop saw I am working hard for him, right? It was the pandemic, so I was working from home. Anyway, there’s a lot of anxiety.

But clearly, a lot of trust between the two of you. How else do you protect his interests?

There are situations I have asked him about, like, “Hey, did you know this was happening?” At the end of the day, he is my client and I need to protect his interests. For example, somebody was trying to get his IP owned by another entity as opposed to by him. The entity was not 100% owned by him. If the entity was owned 100% by him, by proxy, he owns that IP. Whether it’s a statement of the procedure or the name Snoop Doggy Dog, right? Calvin Broadus, as an individual, should own those, or at the very least, a company of which he holds 100% and will never have any type of contestation.

When those things are occurring, I’m like, “Is this right? Is he aware of this?” When I’ve talked to him about it, he’s like, “I was not aware of this. Thank you for bringing this to me.” Even the amount of trust that he has in me, that’s also nerve-wracking, right? He’s like, “I’m not just paying you to do a job. I want you to advise me. I want you to tell me what is appropriate and what I can’t expect.”

Photo courtesy of Death Row Cannabis.

What are some changes in the cannabis industry you’d like to see in the future?

With any new industry, there’s always too much governmental regulation. As the years go on, it might take decades, but then deregulation occurs because the business or the industry is able to operate on its own. We have a lot of overregulation right now whether it comes from packaging or licensing or the ability to apply for certain things, given your background, right? I’m talking about felons. They can’t apply for these things, right? They are probably the people who have been most maligned by the policies in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. I’d like to see a lot more deregulation occur much faster than is normal for new industries.

In California, a lot of brands, operators, and retailers are having a tough time right now. No one in California is really making money. A lot of brands are doing what’s called “backdooring” by going under the table and selling to the homie in Ohio or New York and then having them resold at a bodega or wherever. That’s how a lot of brands are staying afloat. You gotta do what you gotta do, but I know that the crackdown came recently with UPS and FedEx.

What’s also happening is the tax structure. They’re adjusting it now, thank goodness, but the distributor used to have to pay the taxes upon delivery of the product, but then the retailer didn’t have to pay the taxes until after the product was sold. The incongruence of when the taxes were collected and then paid resulted in distributors and processors unable to continue operating on less than a 90-day float. And so, if you’re dependent on the money from an order to continue your operations for the next three months, you can’t continue operating without either an infusion of cash, debt financing, or knocking on doors to get money.

I’m glad they’re changing where the taxes are taken as well. They’re adjusting the percentage a bit. I understand the taxes need to be there, but I wish they would be a little lower because it’s become a little too much for people to purchase good cannabis. I’m seeing eighths now for 70 bucks. I’m not trying to plug our brand, but—

Please, feel free.

Our products retail for $35 to $45 for an eighth. Hopefully, you’re not walking out the door out for more than 50 bucks for a quality product. We want people to get good shit for good prices, because that’s who Snoop is. He’s not the guy that collaborates with Adidas and charges $350 for shoes. He works with Adidas and marks up the price by maybe $10.

Do you have any particularly favorite days on the job? What immediately comes to mind?

I will tell you this one. We were on set for Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner [Party]. Martha, who lives in Vermont, flew out to LA to do the show. One time she was like, “I want to bring some seeds back. I like to garden, and I want to grow this in my yard.” No one else on the management team, like, how is it that no one on Snoop’s management team knows how to grow weed?

Basically, someone said, “Call Tiffany. She’ll know what to do.” I buy feminized seeds, and I explain to Martha Stewart these are seeds that are confirmed to be flowering seeds. She’s like, “What does that mean?” I’m explaining all these things to her, like, “It’s September and you’re in Vermont, so you don’t wanna plant these until maybe like March or April.” I’m going through all that stuff about the one crop harvest versus the indoor model of eight, nine, 10 weeks.

She asks me, “What did you go to school for? Was it for farming? Do you have experience in growing plants?” And I say, “No, I went to school for business.” She’s like, “How did you fall into this?” I told her what I told you, which is like, “I smoke weed, but I also know how to do stuff.”

I later found out she was telling everyone about how this Asian woman was telling her how to grow weed, so now I am that person to her. It’s cool to educate people you think might know a lot about cannabis, but don’t know as much as you do. I don’t know everything, so I’m always interested to hear what other people have to say that know more and have deeper knowledge than I do.

You started as an intern just over 10 years ago. Thinking about the next 10 years, where do you want to go? What do you want to achieve for Death Row Cannabis as well as for yourself?

I love what I do and I love working with Snoop. I will say, I’m only getting started, but Snoop is only getting started, too. We tried something in the 2010s and it did really well. We are pivoting now to a more Snoop-centric and focused branding and line of products. All of these strains he smokes, and I cannot say the same about past products. Previously, as long as there’s one strain in there that he likes, that was good enough, right?

Internationally, we’ve only got four countries. How many member nations are there of the UN? 192? Obviously, they’re not all legal (Laughs). I would one day like to get into as many countries as possible, because Snoop is an international icon. It’s the same deal with the United States. We’re close to closing several states and working with some of the best growers and operators out there.

I do think that the Death Row brand is going to be much more than just Snoop. There are so many great artists, engineers, mixers, A&R people, management, all these great people under the Death Row Records umbrella. I’m thinking about obvious names, like Dre and Pac, right? Eventually, if we’re able to, we would love to figure out how we can work with the Tupac estate or Dr. Dre and his entire team.

There’s new music coming out soon. I’m not on the music side, but Frankie [Vasquez], who’s the most amazing A&R guy, is telling me, “We got two new artists coming out.” There are so many projects in the pipeline around Death Row Records. A lot of these branch-offs, like Death Row Cannabis and Death Row Vapes, we’re just capitalizing on an amazing machine already. I truly believe with the trajectory of hip hop and how it’s become so popular, I would credit a lot of that to Death Row Records.

I think a lot of people would agree.

When I say that out loud sometimes, it’s hard to realize I’m a part of this, and it’s awesome.

The post From Intern to CEO, Tiffany Chin Takes Snoop Dogg’s Death Row Cannabis to the Next Level appeared first on High Times.

Week in Review: Germany Likely to Legalization; Politics a Hot Topic at SXSW

Germany’s Health Minister Indicates That Legalization Will Proceed

The German health minister has indicated that adult-use legalization will move forward in the European country, reports Marijuana Moment. Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Tuesday that he has received “very good feedback” from the European Commission and expects his bill to be formally presented “in the next few weeks.” 

“We’ll soon present a proposal that works, that is, that conforms to European law,” Minister Lauterbach said. Throughout the lobbying process, the minister has indicated that his efforts aim to improve public health in Germany via regulating adult-use cannabis. In 2022, the Federal Cabinet of Germany adopted a preliminary outline for legalization legislation. Still, the government required EU approval to ensure that adopting the change wouldn’t violate their international duties.

Under the government’s soon-to-be-revised proposal, which is currently only a 12-page framework and not actual legislation, adults 18 and older would be permitted to purchase and possess up to 30 grams of cannabis from establishments with federal licenses, potentially including pharmacies. Moreover, they may raise up to three plants for their own use.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Andrew DeAngelo. Photo courtesy of SXSW

Legalization the Hot Topic at SXSW 2023

Global Cannabis Consultant and Strategic Advisor Andrew DeAngelo, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) gathered onstage to discuss federal cannabis legalization at this year’s SXSW conference in Austin. The panel, called “Which Political Party Will Legalize Weed?” gave the two representatives an opportunity for a lively discussion on the end of federal cannabis prohibition. Moderator DeAngelo pushed the politicians on the lack of progress in the Capitol, according to Green Market Report.

Blumenauer is said to be “more optimistic” than last year, referencing President Biden’s pardoning of cannabis prisoners and the fact that Biden is also keeping the possibility of descheduling on the table after initiating a review of cannabis classification. However, he was said to be more critical of Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) inability to get a voting measure passed by the House, quoted as saying their desire for perfect legislation is behind the continued stalling but believes the two had “learned their lesson” and are more open to compromise.

Mace was reportedly less optimistic, saying if any change is going to happen, it needs to be done before June, as after that, “it’ll be about the presidential election,” she said. The South Carolina Republican also noted that President Biden could use it to his advantage to boost his reelection hopes.

Photo couresy of Death Row Cannabis

Snoop Extends Death Row Cannabis Product Offering 

 Following the sold-out first product drop of its debut offerings LA Runtz, Trop Cherry, Strawberry Garry and SFV OG, Death Row Cannabis has launched two new additions, True OG and Strawberry Gelato (Apple Fritter x Lemon Cherry Gelato hybrid), on March 10. Plus, fans of LA Runtz can be reassured that the popular strain also be returning. Like the first fire drop, these new cultivars were carefully by Death Row Cannabis’ Head of Operations, AK, a longtime West Coast legacy cultivator. 

“We’re very excited to introduce California consumers to Death Row Cannabis’s newest heavy hitter, Strawberry Gelato,” Travis “Shaggy” Marshall, head of product, said. “It has a loud, unique strawberry nose that’s tart and sharp on the front but sweet and creamy on the back. To me, it’s what I’d imagine a strawberry shortcake-flavored milkshake would taste like. Not only is it uniquely delicious, but testing at over 35% it also packs a punch for heavier smokers like me.” 

Arkansas Police: Medical Marijuana Causes Other Crimes

No Increase in Traffic-Related Hospitalizations Following Cannabis Legalization

The introduction of adult-use marijuana sales in Canada isn’t linked to a rise in hospitalizations for traffic-related injuries, according to data published in the journal Addiction, reports NORML. Researchers compared the national rates of hospital admissions and emergency room visits in the years before and immediately after legalization. 

 “Overall, there’s no clear evidence that RCL [recreational cannabis laws] had any effect on rates of ED visits and hospitalizations for either motor vehicle or pedestrian/cyclist injury across Canada,” the authors concluded.

The results align with an earlier Canadian study from 2021, which “found no evidence that the implementation of the Cannabis Act was associated with significant changes in post-legalization patterns of all drivers’ traffic-injury ED visits or, more specifically, youth-driver traffic-injury ED presentations.”

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Week in Review: Snoop Goes Global; Colorado’s Cannabis Consumption Bus; A Big Chicago First

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it,” said Matthew Broderick as 1980s’ icon Ferris Bueller. The same can be said for the cannabis industry. There’s always something new happening.

PHOTO Sterling Munksgard

Snoop Inks Partnership With Atlas Global Brands

Snoop Dogg’s eye on global domination took another step forward following an announcement that the entrepreneur and hip-hop legend signed an “exclusive international licensing agreement” with Canada-based global cannabis company Atlas Global Brands Inc.

“Consumers love Snoop, and our collective goal is to deliver premium products in all cannabis categories that will consistently exceed consumer expectations,” Bernie Yeung, Atlas Global CEO, said in a statement.

The five-year agreement will allow Atlas Global to selectively “source, package and distribute directly in Canada and through approved distribution partners internationally,” including medical cannabis products in Germany, Israel and Australia.

This significant deal also gives Atlas Global exclusive rights to the artist’s name, likeness and other intellectual property “to produce, package, manufacture, distribute, sell, advertise, promote and market cannabis flowers, pre-rolls, concentrates, oils and edibles, and personal vaporizers” in legal markets.

“I chose Atlas to represent and launch my new brands because of their innovation and global reach. I am excited to work with their team to select my favorite strains for my brands and fans,” Snoop Dogg said. “You know they’ll be amazing because they’ll be personally approved by me.”

Sarah Woodson of The Cannabis Experience
The Cannabis Experience founder, Sarah Woodson. PHOTO Kush & Canvases

Roll Up and Roll Out on the Cannabis Experience

Toking tourists and weed-loving locals alike can now enjoy the sights of Denver on the country’s first licensed cannabis consumption bus. Founded by local entrepreneur Sarah Woodson, the Cannabis Experience is meant to provide safe, legal cannabis tours, airport transportation and private party buses that are cannabis friendly, as well as visits to cannabis farms and dispensaries. Private party bus rentals will also offer food and art themes such as “Toking and Tacos” and “RiNo Mural Tours.”

The Cannabis Experience is Woodson’s latest foray into cannabis tourism in the city. The former consultant for Marijuana Industry Group also founded the highly popular consumption-friendly cannabis art class, Kush & Canvases, and says she is “helping move the needle forward in the legalization fight.”

“The Cannabis industry is extremely regulated and not diverse. It took us almost a year to become operational, so we’re excited to be the country’s first safe, legal, licensed mobile hospitality business,” Woodson says. “We’re social equity and African American. We’ll have amazing tours, and grow our fleet over the next 24 months and work on expanding into other local cities such as Aurora. We’re proud to be in the cannabis industry.”

Although there have been previous cannabis buses operating in Colorado, they weren’t officially permitted and were all shut down by authorities. The Cannabis Experience, on the other hand, possesses both a local license and a state-issued cannabis hospitality permit. Here’s how to book your seat.

Grasshopper Club founders
Dianne Brewer and her two sons, Matthew and Chuck celebrate the opening of the Grasshopper Club.

The Grasshopper Club Opens in Chicago

A family-owned company just made history as Chicago’s first independent, Black-owned dispensary. Located in Logan Square, in the 2500 block of North Milwaukee Avenue, the Grasshopper Club is owned by Dianne Brewer and her two sons, Matthew and Chuck, along with some “minor silent investors.”

“We don’t have a relationship or get support or have an arrangement with one of the large, publicly-owned cannabis companies,” Matthew told ABC 7 Chicago.

“I’m working on the accounting aspects of this business,” Dianne said. “I’m totally excited. I retired 12 years ago and here I am working again.”

For Chuck, the opening is something of a full circle, as he was arrested for cannabis possession a few times in his youth. “For me to be doing this legally with my brother and my mother…it’s priceless,” he said.

When Illinois’ Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act went into effect in 2020, “social equity” provisions were included in legislation to help communities harmed by past drug policies access the economic benefits of cannabis legalization. But, according to Dianne, it’s been a struggle for some, and her family has pledged to support other African Americans to open more independent dispensaries. “They call it social equity, but you’ve got to have the money to be able to open, and many African Americans don’t have that money,” she says.

The Brewer family plans to open a second Chicago-based dispensary this summer.

California cannabis
PHOTO Konrad

Cannabis Sales Drop in California

According to the latest statistics released by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (DTFA), annual cannabis sales in the Golden State declined in 2022 for the first time since its adult-use market launched in 2018, reports MJBiz.

The fourth quarter’s taxable sales fell 8.2% to $5.3 billion from the $5.77 reported in the same period last year, marking the third consecutive quarterly decline. Additionally, tax revenue was close to $1.1 billion in 2022, a 21% decrease from around $1.4 billion in 2021. Despite the decline, California continues to account for about 20% of the $26 billion market.

The post Week in Review: Snoop Goes Global; Colorado’s Cannabis Consumption Bus; A Big Chicago First appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Five Takeaways from CHAMPS 2023

Handblown glass competitions, new product launches and an unparalleled counterculture legacy are what make CHAMPS one of the premiere B2B events. And the Las Vegas winter show is the proverbial jewel in the glittering crown of cannabis trade shows. CHAMPS 2023 ran from February 8-11, and while the temperature outside was cold, inside the glass-blowing competition was hot.

Snoop Dogg with his new brand, Death Row Cannabis. PHOTO Dabsel Adams / CHAMPS Trade Shows

Two thousand booths selling cannabis products, vapes, pipes and other consumption devices gave the 16,000 attendees plenty to look at. Celebrity guest appearances from Mike Tyson, Snoop Dog, Trailer Park Boys, several pro football players and pro wrestlers Rick Flair and Floyd May Weather Senior drew large crowds around their respective booths. One of the show’s enduring highlights, the Glass Games, attracted an impressive crowd, and over $100,000 in cash and prizes were awarded to the talented artists. Pipe Raider by California’s Adam Whobrey, otherwise known as Hoobs Glass, took home the coveted first place and $20,000 in prize money.

A genuine sense of community among the vendors and attendees is a testament to the show’s longevity and continued relevance in today’s ever-changing industry. The overall atmosphere inside the Las Vegas Convention Center was fun, friendly and informative.

“The love and comradery on the show floor was amazing,” said Jeff Hirschfeld, founder and owner of CHAMPS. “I had multiple retailer buyers tell me that CHAMPS Trade Shows have helped them keep their doors open and remain vibrant and profitable. It brought tears to my eyes!”

Masters Finals winner “Pipe Raider” by Hoobs Glass. PHOTO D MiLL / CHAMPS Trade Shows

Stand Out Brands from CHAMPS 2023

But the real MVPs of the 2023 Vegas CHAMPS were brands that are striving for true innovation and pushing legalization forward. As we walked the aisles, the creativity emanating from all the different booths fought for our attention. Here, five stand-out brands from the 2023 CHAMPS trade show share their thoughts on the trade show—and the future.


Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Grav has been creating high-quality borosilicate smokeware for nearly two decades. Founder David Daily is regarded as one of the true innovative pioneers of the glass industry. He began making pipes in 2004 and attended his first CHAMPS back in 2005 on the recommendation of one of his raw glass suppliers. Back then, Daily says, there were only 100 booths. It was very close to Operation Pipe Dream—the DEA sting that put Tommy Chong in jail—so people were nervous about being seen promoting the industry.

Daily decided to take the risk. He remembers looking around the tables of bongs and thinking, “Oh my god, this is where I’m supposed to be.” He sold into hundreds of smoke shops from that first trade show, putting Grav on the map.

“It’s not a stretch to say that CHAMPS made my company,” Daily says. “It would have taken me much longer to figure out how to get distribution in this in this network without the CHAMPS trade show.”

Daily’s favorite thing about CHAMPS is the people. “Smokeshop owners are literally the most amazing entrepreneurs on the planet,” he says. “They’re resilient and they’re smart.”


Stiizy team members
A few Stiiizy team members show off product. PHOTO Dabsel Adams / CHAMPS Trade Shows

Regarded by many as one of, if not the cannabis lifestyle brands in California, Stiiizy strives to influence, inspire and innovate. The company launched its new hemp line at CHAMPS because, as Stiiizy Hemp President Nathan Jo says, “Who does it better than CHAMPS?”

“CHAMPS has been an ongoing dominant show in the space where it brings buyers from every angle with corresponding businesses,” Jo says. “It’s such great timing for us to enter into the hemp space.”

Stiiizy’s new hemp products are available coast to coast and stay under the THC limit stipulated in the 2018 Farm Bill.


Octave is an LA-based high-tech hardware company that designs and manufactures some of the most cutting-edge cannabis gadgets in the world. The company also makes hardware for some of the largest brands in the space and has collaborated with Cookies, MotherShip Glass and Stiiizy.

“The energy was amazing,” says Davis Clayton Kiyo, Octave’s founder and CEO. “It was our best tradeshow yet.”

Kiyo demonstrated his futuristic cannabis gadgets, including the Battpak, a 10,000 mAh portable battery pack with a secret button that opens to reveal a magnetic rolling tray, wallet area and a strap for your joints, blunts, carts and more. 

When asked what’s next for Octave, Kiyo revealed that he’s “working on some flower tech that we believe will disrupt the industry.”


Packwoods is a premium pre-roll blunt company known as one of the first brands to use glass filters in their products to ensure customers enjoy a smooth draw from the first to the last. Founded in 2018, Packwoods has built a strong, loyal customer fanbase with unique hand-rolled blunts that deliver consistent, quality experiences.

“CHAMPS is always a good show,” says Anthony Capone, owner and CEO of Packwoods. “We’re venturing out of the cannabis THC space into other products including hemp wraps, cone filters, delta-8, delta-9 and delta-10, which gives us the ability to spread the brand worldwide. CHAMPS has been a big supporter of our journey.”

Capone says “global expansion” isn’t far off. Currently, Packwoods’ products are available in California, Washington, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, Michigan and Florida, with New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Illinois launches coming soon. Plus, Packwoods will soon be available in Israel. “We’re starting up in Israel, and Canada is on the horizon,” Capone says. “We’re also selling our HHC and delta products all over Europe.”


G-Rollz is an Amsterdam-based smoking accessories company that collabs with the most popular artists to create practical and stylish products. During CHAMPS 2022, G-Rollz approached Aziz Panjwani, founder of Toro Imports, one of the original smoke shops in Texas, to distribute its products. 

“G-Rollz is a family-owned company and we’re a family-owned company,” says Aziz’s son, Aaziel. “It just clicked.”

“I love CHAMPS; it’s the best,” Aziz says. “You get to make good connections; it’s good for networking. My dad has been here for years—probably since the beginning. I’ve only been here seven times.”

Next Up

If you didn’t make it to Las Vegas, there are more CHAMPS trade shows taking place across the country. Check out the list below and visit for details.

  • Atlantic City, New Jersey—May 9-11
  • Chicago, Illinois—June 6-8
  • Summer VLAs Vegas, Nevada—July 19-22
  • Denver, Colorado—September 27-28
  • Tampa, Florida—October 25-27

The post Five Takeaways from CHAMPS 2023 appeared first on Cannabis Now.