In California, deciding what to do on 4/20 can be as difficult as making plans for New Years Eve. If you're an LA local, what better way to spend 4/20 than by the beach with some good weed and good food? That's the mission of Higgs, a lifestyle brand aiming to integrate cannabis as a regular part of life. Join Higgs this 4/20 in Venice for "Buds on Rose," bringing together the community to support local businesses by the beach for a day of relaxing fun under the sun. For the 411 on this 4/20, we caught up with Oliver Higgins, founder of Higgs.
How did you get started in cannabis?
Well, I started growing cannabis as a hobby in my mom’s garage my first summer home from college. That kept going for about 10 years. I got into it professionally after deciding to leave a production job in Hollywood when my friend opened up a dispensary on Pico, in what was known as the "green mile" because there was a [cannabis] store every block. He asked if I wanted to oversee the cultivation side of their business and run marketing and branding for the store. I said yes, but it was short lived...It wasn’t opened prior to 2007, so [LA City Attorney] Mike Feuer and the city shut it down. Like I said, it didn’t help that there was one, maybe two stores per block back then.
So when did you start Higgs, and who's your target demographic?
That experience helped me realize that I was passionate about creating a consumer product for the burgeoning legal cannabis market here in California. I’ve been a loyal joint smoker for 20 years, and to me, it was about creating a product that was (1) enjoyable to smoke, and (2) something that you always want to have close by like your favorite pair of sunglasses, and similarly, something that you were proud to show off. That’s how you normalize cannabis. I don’t really like talking about target demographics because I’ve enjoyed smoking Higgs joints with 21 to 81 year olds, and to me, that’s what unique about cannabis. Our goal is to push past the boundaries of this conversation and integrate cannabis, as it should be, with all walks of art, music, fashion and culture. Whoever responds, great.
What is Higgs' mission or raison d'être?
Higgs encourages people to laugh, create, share, and fall in love, while enjoying cannabis. That's what our event "Buds on Rose" is all about — to make connections and build a community. To me, weed has always been a universal ambassador: It doesn't matter what country, background, ethnicity, gender, race or any labels that society puts us in, that stuff is broken down when you share a joint. Higgs is all about sparking a connection with someone.
You've mentioned "Buds on Rose" a few times. Can you tell me a little bit more about the event?
It's a cross between a block party, pub crawl, and treasure hunt happening on 4/20 in Venice. We have a bunch of local businesses on board including: The Waterfront, Chulita, Service and Supply, Rose Collective, Makani, and some incredible sponsors participating. You’ll check-in at the Civilized offices and receive a map, gift bag and list of partnering locations, programming and deals for the day. Each location will be offering a special in a select time window (free beard trim at Service and Supply, tacos at Chulita, Higgs deal at Rose Collective, CBD Cocktail at Makani). This will get people moving from place to place, but each location will be open throughout the day, so people are free to come and go as they please. The main hub will be at a house off Rose, which will feature vendors and activations from other brands.
To you, what is the significance of a community event like "Buds on Rose"?
It means building a community as not just a word we say. People always talk about community but don’t understand what that word really means. People these days want to be part of groups, but a group isn’t a community. A community is inclusive. A neighborhood like Venice means being able to walk down Rose and wave at an owner like Shireen of Chulita who is there everyday and cares about the community. Venice has had a lot of turnover throughout the years and to have meaningful places it means having businesses and patrons who are invested in one another. There was a time where if you had a Venice zip code on your license you could cut any line.
How has the meaning of 4/20 changed since legalization?
I don't necessarily think it has changed, but it should change. We’re trying to bridge the gap between losing the counterculture of cannabis, and progressing it into the mainstream. If we keep using messaging that's only about cannabis then we’re actually doing it a disservice.
People talk about the wellness of cannabis, but you seem to be focusing on the recreational, or adult use, side?
Smoking weed isn’t the act alone, it’s about pairing it with all of life’s other activities. I mean there are times when I smoke for the medicinal benefits, but I smoke mostly because I want to have fun and laugh with my friends. That to me is the greatest wellness factor.
Can you run through Higgs' product offerings?
We offer pre-roll joint packs: black and white. The white is if you want to feel a little bit of energy, focus, and euphoria, and the black is if you want to feel calm, relaxed, and blissful. Each pack comes with six joints, weighing .58 grams each for an eighth of shareable cannabis in every pack.
Why did you decide to keep it so simple?
For us, simple is better. I want to give people a consistent feeling over and over again. When they pick up a white pack or a black pack, it's the same feeling. Like wine, the harvest might change slightly from year to year, but you know what you’re expecting.
Where is Higgs' cannabis grown?
Our cannabis is sun grown by Honeydew Farms in Humboldt.
Is there anything else you want to add?
Hi mom. Sorry mom.