The first weed party I went to was tucked up the winding Hollywood Hills, in a mansion full of peacocks that once belonged to Helen Mirren. It was the fall of 2017, a few months before California #LegalizedIt, and the vibe was total Scarface opulence—joints passed out like hors d’oeuvres, mountains of nugs on every table, everything for free. At midnight, Snoop Dogg rambled into the living room in a cloud of camera flashes, DJing his own tracks on a laptop while hired models rolled blunts for me by the pool. After all these years of smuggling weed down my panties so I could smoke at festivals and raves, what a mind fuck to be freed of the anxiety of cannabis as contraband—to suddenly see it as a luxurious cocktail party treat. Maybe it was the acid, but I almost dropped to my knees and weeped.
Cannabis legalization is one of the biggest cultural revolutions of our lifetime. It’s changing everything—from the way we socialize to seduce, even season our food. Weed (like rave culture) is often not taken seriously, but it is a window into the most salient socio-political issues of our era: the threat of corporate monopolies hoovering up small businesses; rising interest in plant-based medicines over Big Pharma; the disproportionate targeting of minorities in the War on Drugs.
Then I got a book deal to write an illustrated guide to the wild new frontier of cannabis, and weed events became field research. There was a Beverly Hills brunch where each course was paired with a different vape. A CBD sound bath soundtracked by Sigur Ros. A black light yoga class where the instructor handed out joints and yelled “smoke break!” while we were in triangle pose. The book became a compendium of interviews with the most interesting stoners in these rooms, along with a heavy dose of my own tips and experiences.
Parties are the best way to witness a paradigm shift, because if you peer through the wispy clouds of bullshit, they can be like a crystal ball into the future. Peering into the dark, you can see the most resonant trends floating in the ether suddenly manifest into a physical space and time. That’s why raves are so valuable for anyone trying to decipher culture amidst the constant churn of digital data: the dancefloor is a singular point in meatspace where subcultural cross-streams converge before they diffuse into the mainstream.
But even though all these weed parties were fascinating, they weren’t giving me the catharsis I needed. I go to raves because ringing it out on the dancefloor exorcises my demons, and too many weed events felt overly corporate and industry-focused, with music as an afterthought. I wanted to pull my community of ravers into the fascinating world of legal cannabis that is burgeoning across America. There are so many cool companies out there run by women, people of color, and queers, and now is a crucial time to build coalition and community before corporate interests take over, because in five or ten years, it might be too late. So I decided—fuck it, I’ll throw a weed rave.
When I threw the first Weed Rave in LA back in January, I was nervous that people would get too fucked up, have a freak out from too many edibles, or just get awkward and not know how to handle their shit. But as soon as the party kicked off, it was like everyone was wrapped in a fuzzy blanket of not giving a fuck. No matter what, everything would be OK, because we were all so goddamn stoned. I also realized is that weed is the most social drug—there is something ancient and tribalistic about passing it around a circle, as it gently pushes you to drop your pretenses and get goofy with strangers. As Weed Rave DJ Russell EL Butler put it, stoners have a different rave energy—“It’s a dance to conserve, it’s a sway, it’s real deep and personal.”
So now I’m bringing Weed Rave to New York on 4/20, with a day-to-night stoner fantasia in a cozy 200-person Brooklyn loft from 4:20pm-2:40am. Right now, New York feels like it’s flooded with a lot of booming nightclubs, and that’s cool, but I wanted to do something intimate and underground—a mini-festival for 200 people, or the most lit house party of your life, basically.
We’ll have a heady discussion panel on the roadmap to legal weed in NYC moderated by Merry Jane editor Zach Sokol, with joints from LGBTQ delivery service Rosebud. A cannabis cooking demo with LEVO founder Olivia Harris. A stoned yoga class with Sigrid from FlucT and Eartheater, with topicals and tinctures from Goodwitch. I’ll do a little reading from my book—and then host a competition DJ’ed by Joey LaBeija where I give contestants a bunch of random crap and ask them to make bongs.
At night, the sativa room will rip your head off with sets from Jasmine Infiniti, Quest?onmarc, and Gooddroid, exploring the sounds coming out of New York I’m most interested in: techno and ballroom. The indica room, on the other hand, will be a kushy sanctuary with ambient sets from Unter residents Pure Immanence and Olga. Throughout, we’ll have a weed bar with drinks from Spleef and a bunch of sponsored booths (I’ll announce the full lineup next week). It’s going to be a fucking sick rave—and more than anything, I hope to recreate that feeling when I stood on the marble staircase of that Snoop Dogg mansion party, silently mouthing WHAT THE FUCK!, wide-eyed and giddy at this infinite sense of bounty.
So I hope you can come and invite your stoner-raver homies to join us. You can cop tickets on Restless Nites—the passcode is BONG, and you’ll also get a free copy of my book. See you at the rave ;)
Welcome To Rave New World
Thanks for letting me slide into your inbox. This is a newsletter about sex, drugs, and raving. I’ll pop in whenever I feel like it, if that’s cool. Here’s how it works:
The idea is to tell you the REAL stories behind my scoops—behind-the-scenes draaama, hot takes or sexcapades too spicy to publish, that kind of thing. I write about the holy trinity of music, weed, and sex… but tbh a lot of the craziest shit doesn’t make it to print.
A themed list of stories, videos, podcasts, etc that I’ve been doing. It’s a cute way to keep up with my work.
A Q&A with one of my homies, with links to content from around the web that they’re currently hyped on. I have a pretty crazy network of friends—from weed journalists to avant-garde drag queens to hackers throwing crypto-raves in Berlin. Let’s take a look into their brains via their bookmarks.
This newsletter is just starting out so do me a solid: forward this newsletter along to whoever might be into it! I really appreciate the support :) As always, you can follow my exploits in real-time on Instagram and Twitter.
Weed Rave Reviews
I spoke to PAPER magazine and i-D about Weed Rave in LA, and uniting cannabis with rave culture and social justice. NME popped by and asked if weed raves are the future of clubbing (duh). For Weed Rave New York, headliner Quest?onmarc made a 420-themed mix of head high-stimulating hard techno infused with the full body feels of indica that I HIGHLY encourage you listen to.
Lhooq Book: What My Friends Are Reading
Meet my stoner sis Bianca Monica, who runs a cannabis creative agency called Limone —and has been invaluable in helping me pop off my Weed Rave. She works with weed brands on their social media strategy and events, while organizing a dope conference called Women in Cannabis (among many other hustles).
Hey Bianca! I find the sense of sisterhood in the cannabis industry so powerful compared to other industries. Why do you think that’s the case?
We share the same love for a plant, and bonding over that is so much different than bonding over anything else—it’s something that spiritually connects all of us. CBD is such a huge thing for women because many of us have been suffering from pain our whole lives, and every time there’s a doctor saying “just take this,” it never works. There’s also the community aspect. It’s so hard to have a conversation with someone and not be your complete self when you’re smoking. Most of my business meetings with women start with smoking a joint and getting to know each other.
As women, it’s important to watch each other’s backs. I was in SF recently and there were these two women who are packaging different products but helping each other out by sharing a production facility. The cannabis industry is so difficult, it changes every day, and there’s a sense of women lifting each other up a lot.
What are your go-to cannabis reading materials?
Miss Grass newsletter—They just have an amazing way of sharing content and were one of the first to navigate the bridge between wellness and cannabis. Everything they send is never a waste of time. For example, Anna the founder recently wrote about her vagina and how she found this amazing serum to make her clam happy.
Gossamer magazine—they come from Lucky, so they know a lot about the editorial space. It’s amazing looking at the visuals they have. They’re putting cannabis in a new light—it’s not this stoner-y look, it’s very design-oriented and they feature real people.
Broccoli magazine—a women-founded magazine that features amazing people. One of their upcoming issues that I’m really looking forward to is all about social equity.