You either think Weedmaps is the Great Green God or the digital Jeff Sessions of the cannabis industry. Regardless of your thoughts, one thing’s certain: they have a lot of money. So much money that their bashes could easily make Playboy Mansion soirees seem like a 10-year-old’s birthday party, shitty balloon maker and all.
Weedmaps threw one of Coachella’s pioneering cannabis parties at a Bermuda Dunes mansion last weekend. On one hand, the private event was amazing. There was a DJ, places to comfortably lounge around in case you got too stoned to move and there was free weed—a lot of free weed. People passed around what felt like ever-burning joints and vendors handed out samples galore.
But on the other hand the party was, um, a lot like the other Coachella parties—kind of lame and full of industry folk. Don’t get me wrong: weed parties are a dream come true, and I think Weedmaps has the capacity (and money) to become the Hugh Hefner of weed and throw the best cannabis extravaganzas. But parties are less-cool when the attendees are all vendors, members of the press or people who work for the party-thrower.
People huddled around a camera crew filming for Weedmaps TV, while others scattered to not be in the way. Photographers walked around with all their gear and attendees posed for photos. The free weed, though, made it kind of easy to overlook the fact that there weren’t too many genuine, non-industry partygoers.
“What makes weed good to you?” asked a man named Bert, who runs a grow for his company named Urbols.
“It has to have a certain look and smell,” I said to him.
“Nope! The first thing should be that it’s clean,” he interrupted. “You should try our pesticide-free herb. It’ll show you how weed is supposed to taste and feel.”
Okay! Bert handed me a Cuban-leaf wrapped blunt with ultra-clean cannabis inside. It smoked smoothly and tasted like earth. It was easily the best blunt I’ve ever smoked.
But as soon as the sun started to set, the party came to a halt.
“The party actually stops at 6 p.m. and then restarts again at 9pm,” explained a dark-haired beauty who works for FlavRx, a cannabis product vendor handing out vapes and other canna-goodies at the party. It was 5:54 pm and the sky was fading from blue to purple. The clouds reflected a coral hue outlined in gold. It was 75 degrees and the party was apparently taking an intermission…?
I didn’t understand why or how a party took a break at peak sunset hour—a magical time frame greatly adored by Coachellagoers. I sat under an empty dome and sparked the end of a joint. Earlier in the day, a girl from Lowell Farms sat in the exact same spot handing out flower crowns with hefty nugs strewn among white petal blossoms. I puffed on the end of my joint, as everyone began to leave the grounds.
Where the fuck is everyone going? I thought.
“Hi, miss. I’m sorry but you’re going to have to leave,” a stern-faced security guard said to me. “You can come back tonight at 11 p.m.”
“Wait,” I said to him, “does the party start again at 9 or 11p.m.?” I asked, as he ushered me away from the partygrounds to a pool house next door. “I was just told by a vendor that the party re-started again at 9.”
“Like I said, it starts back up at 11.”
It was 6:18 pm. I had somewhere between 3.5 and five hours to kill before the party picked up again. Sitting around a pool house with industry strangers didn’t seem like the best option. I wandered to the side parking lot, where I saw a long-haired fellow wearing a sailor’s hat laying in a yellow hammock. Next to him was a handle of Sailor Jerry’s from which he’d periodically take swigs. He looked like a pirate, minus the eye-patch.
“Hey,” he said, his bright blue eyes piercing and big. “How’s it going?” He was a member of the Weedmaps BMX team, all of whom were at the party. He was friendly and stoned. So were his teammates. It felt like they were the only ones there to have fun—not to be seen. They weren’t dressed to impress or going for Coachella-stoner posh. They looked like members of the traveling circus; the Weedmaps Deadheads; the groupies, if you will.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a clear-quartz. “Do you like crystals?” I found my people!
Who knew Weedmaps had a BMX team? Although they were easily the coolest people at the party, Weedmaps having a BMX team is kind of like Nike having a cooking team. It’s a little weird. But life is weird and weed is cool, so why not?
After hanging with them for a bit, I wandered back into the partygrounds. No one was in there except security. I was ushered back to that weird pool house area where no one knew what time the party reconvened– or if it’d be fun or not.
“Last night the party was dead,” a vendor said right before he lit up the dab rig.
I saw a group sitting in a circle. I said hi to them and within fifteen minutes they asked me if I wanted some ‘shrooms. Although I treasure psilocybin, the Weedmaps party was perhaps the last place I’d ever choose to shroom. But they looked like they were having the best time out of everyone there, including the BMX team. They were on a different level and definitely brought the authentic Coachella vibes to the party.
The clock struck 9 pm. The party still hadn’t started (and I wondered if I should’ve eaten the shrooms.). After mingling for two hours, the marijuana oasis finally started again. Nothing changed. There weren’t many people, the music was the same and the vendors assumed their positions. The shroomers rolled around on the lounge furniture and the BMX team acted like pirate drunkards, while everyone else lounged around and smoked into the night.
The weed party picked up exactly where it left off– it didn’t pick up at all.