Words Dabby Bongaduce and Francis Bakin
We rolled up to the venue a few bowls deep. Weed heads get high before everything – even before getting high. The line outside of The Roxy stretched down the block, with people huddled together shivering in coats and Broncos jerseys. We merged onto the end, making small talk with folks to keep warm and noticed that the rapper Layzie Bone is coming to the venue later this week. We wondered if the other Bones would show up in support (Bashful Bone, Sleepy Bone, Doc).
In order to have an event like this legally, it needs to be a private club renting the venue, this way they can give away weed AND serve alcohol. All this means is that as soon as you enter, everyone becomes a card carrying member (with actual laminated card.) No one is scared that the cops will actually show up, but the scene is set like most weed parties: A ton of vendors in a smoke filled venue, hocking their wares to the members of a private club. Only this party has rows of weeded out Broncos fans lined up in front of a huge screen, Peyton’s hopeful blue eyes staring at them through the haze. A heady mix.
There was a distinct air of trade show around the room. Merch tables filled with the gadgetry of weed, flashes from cameras, matching girls in tight shirts selling . . . actually, what were they selling? Reps from companies slanging different types of hash pens, free packed one hitters for anyone who gave an email address, samples of ganja honey butter on toast, some kinda weed-based cough syrup, and even a 3D printing company printing their own bongs out of spaceplastic. Understandably, there are few ways to advertise directly to your target market if you’re in the marijuana industry, so companies gravitate toward these events as a way to give out samples and entice smokers. We chatted about the newest paraphernalia, strains, and overheard rumors about the Phillip Morris company buying up airtime for next year’s Super Bowl, in order to fill it with weed ads in Coloardo and Washington. Rumors that aren’t true just to clarify.
In the beginning, the mood was hopeful and excited despite it being standing room only. Think of a mildly sports-centered house party where everyone who came has some bud they are willing to share. Strangers became friends through joints, dabs, pipes, edibles and a general love for the Broncos. Then that first play happened. What was interesting to see, is that weed heads didn’t get angry. We think it would have taken too much energy. There was a general “Fuck it dude, let’s go bowling” attitude. Maybe it’s the short term memory loss.
So, like almost everyone, at halftime we tried to munch our sorrows away. Unfortunately (but not surprising, considering the size of the kitchen and the cook’s bloodshot eyes, blearing at us from a small window in the wall) the food was horrible. 20 minutes we waited, high as mountains, for frozen-in-the-middle potato skins and half cold chicken-sickles. Weed is the only reason anyone bought any food through that tiny-ass window, and also the reason it didn’t even seem a good use of energy to complain. We were smoking and eating weed thinking the real food was around the corner, that this would be a catered event – eating that frozen food was survival, bro.
Wiping the frozen bacon bits off of our shirts, we caught one guy, pulled him to the side and ran him through our hazy-eyed journalist routine – Francis Bakin giving full frontal questions, and Dabby taking notes like David Foster Wallace. The 34-year-old helped to organize the party, worked hand-in-hand with the vendors, and believes that marijuana’s role in the world is to show that a thriving, inter-connected, local economy is possible through hemp and marijuana cultivation and distribution. He’s talked to his kid about weed, whom he’ll smoke in front of, and said knowledge is power. He didn’t say what knowledge, but we got it. He is a self-avowed soldier for weed, but asks to remain nameless. The power, the passion, the shadows.
This event was mainly the 4th anniversary party for Cannapages, a local dispensary, cannabis magazine, and event supporter, so fittingly, during halftime they served a birthday cake infused with an entire pound of trim (leaves, stems, and other by-products that come from separating the buds that are sold separately). The potency was clear from the first fluffy bite – a tighter angel cake with a green weed-buttercream frosting, a slightly tannic tang from the THC. Maybe it was the cake’s knockout punch or the Seattle Seahawks pecking out the Bronco’s eyes’, but the 3rd quarter marked the beginning of the end. When you eat weed, sometimes, your legs and elbows can turn into a non-dependable substance, similar to Jell-O. There was still hope in pockets, but the crowd started to thin, and since it was obvious we weren’t going to win or find chairs, we left.
The event, the people whose dreams’ have been realized supporting such events, the delicate advocacy – it all has potential. People already expect weed parties to be different, but the execution is still in it’s early stages. Colorado will figure it out, but it will take time and serious discussion about what happens when party-goers get high. How do we make events and situations comfortable and exciting for folks that enjoy sitting and eating not frozen food? It’s a start. Once the novelty of what it is wears off and these parties start happening more often, the companies and sponsors will develop a sense of what makes these parties good or bad. One thing we do know: none of these party-goers went out and burned down cars or shot up the block. Even security (a Seahawks fan) remarked about the calmness and the considerably less amount of craziness he has to deal with at weed events versus normal just-alcohol crowds. We may be disappointed in the season, but we aren’t about to use the small amount of energy we had left to get angry. Fuck it dude, let’s go bowling.