For as long as dispensaries have existed in California, they’ve served one purpose: selling cannabis. Rigid laws created an environment that forced cannabis storefronts to fly under the radar, and essentially, blend in with their surroundings. But with commercial and adult-use cannabis, and a brand new regulatory framework in place, California’s cannabis culture is finally allowed to blossom– with much fewer restrictions. ShowGrow, one of Orange County’s few licensed dispensaries, is taking advantage of this new found freedom. Starting tonight– and recurring the first Thursday of every month going forward– ShowGrow will host Cozy Sesh, an intimate extravaganza at Proof Bar in Santa Ana. While most “seshes” are primarily geared towards getting attendees lit out of their minds, Cozy Sesh is the opposite. Well, sort of. They’ll still be canna-centric events, but the focus is on bridging the gap between cannabis and the mainstream by hosting well-known musical acts, an array of cannabis and non-cannabis vendors and curating an overall lifestyle experience at their events.
“A lot of people are still shy about partaking in cannabis whether smoking or eating edibles,” says Michael Anthony, the head of marketing and design at ShowGrow. “The goal of these events is to get tons of people together from different demographics to show that there isn’t just one stereotypical cannabis-user—all kinds of people medicate. The Cozy Seshes are an authentic expression of all who use cannabis.”
Tonight, Grammy-nominated producer and soulful singer/songwriter Mayer Hawthorne is playing a Dj set for the event-series kick off. Yet, somehow, that isn’t the best part of tonight’s gathering– or the ones to come. The cost to attend Cozy Sesh is free. Yes, you read that correctly. These events are FREE if you RSVP before the list closes. If you don’t RSVP, you’ll have to pay $15 at the door. Tonight’s event, according to Anthony, is at max capacity. So, there’s no guarantee you’ll get in. But, honestly, what more could you ask for than having monthly opportunities to attend badass concerts for free in the name of normalizing the herb?
“These events are going to be cozy,” says Anthony, explaining how the name “Cozy Sesh” came to be. “The venue holds 150-200 people, and these artists are pretty well known, so it’ll definitely be cozy in there. But I think that makes the vibe better. Knowing that everyone going [tonight] listens to Mayer [Hawthorne] and is a fan is the best. That’s what makes the experience.”
He’s right. There’s nothing better than being surrounded (or squished) by adoring fans of the performer you came to see. It’s part of the reason live music is so magical. And getting to have that experience for free, while sipping on CBD mocktails, puffing on Lowell Herb Co. flower and enjoying CBD vapes? The cannabis deities must be showering us with elevated blessings because events like this don’t happen often– let alone monthly.
Although Anthony wouldn’t reveal who’s booked for April’s Cozy Sesh, he did tell us the performers coming through for this series will be as big, if not bigger than Mayer Hawthorne. ” ‘Big’ is so relative,” says Anthony, who disclosed he put bids in to book members of the Dirty Bird crew, Sweater Beats, and Mark Farina. “But I can say this: the next performer has half a million plays on Spotify monthly and they just did a sold-out tour nationwide.”
ShowGrow’s Cozy Sesh event series is shaping the way dispensaries interact with the community. These events are also a demonstration of advocacy in the sense that they create a mature environment for people to not feel ashamed about partaking in cannabis, which is how you break the stigma. It’s also a safe place for canna-curious people to jump into the scene without fear of judgment. “ShowGrow is more than just a dispensary that sells flower and cannabis products,” says Anthony. “Cannabis is a lifestyle, and we’re trying to show that by taking the dispensary concept to the next level.”