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The Sophisticate: The Surprising Luxury of Normalcy

In Los Angeles, where most evenings are warm enough to dine outside, the post-dinner vape has replaced after dinner drinks, or, at least, it now accompanies them. With legalization comes normalcy, and on rooftops from the Soho House to the celeb-infested outdoor patio of Nobu Malibu, the vape is having its moment. Especially since MedMen opened its doors.

I’ve been to every branch of MedMen, and the one on Abbot Kinney is my favorite. Not only is it smack-dab in the middle of the main shopping block, but it’s remarkable in its conception. It looks like an upscale clothing boutique and feels  like a corner wine shop with its knowledgeable, friendly "budtenders."  The space is totally minimalist, giving off a bit of an "Apple Store" kind of vibe. Everything, from their branding to their personal level of service is meant to convey a sense of naturalism and normalcy, as if they were waiting just waiting for history to catch up to their concept.

In the cannabis world, normalcy is new luxury. Which makes everything happening now so much more fun. Sure, having cocktails on a Nobu patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean is nice and all. But when you're consuming high-quality, legal cannabis on the same patio, it just feels so much more decadent. It's funny to think that years from now, vaping on this patio will be as de rigueur as sipping a mojito. But I want to make sure we all take a moment to enjoy the mischievously fun feeling we all get from toking off a vape out in the open. Don't take it for granted, friends.

That said, there will always be a market for high rollers. For example, Cheryl Shuman, who’s Beverly Hills Cannabis Club sells $150,000 vapes made of encrusted diamonds from the hollowed out caps of pens formerly owned by some of her customers. The rest of their products are for those who only want the best. They offer what they call pre-rolled Cannagars for $500 a pop, each one made from a top-tier maker and rolled with a half ounce of pure nug. They come with their own handmade humidor or cannador of you want to spring an extra $3,000. The place is absurdly awesome. Two hundred members, all A-Listers who still want privacy for their $16,000 Pave diamond vape. One special strain, for women, is wrapped in gold and costs $735 an ounce. You come here if you’re Two Chains and you need an $85,000 bong. That need will always exist in Hollywood. But is so ridiculous and over the top it’s not part of the mainstream.

Back on the outdoor deck at Nobu is getting a bit hazy from all the vapes. Everybody is leaning back after one of the best meals of their life. They’re not all huddled in some far off section of the parking lot. It seems everybody is having a single toke or two. That’s it, just to settle the stomach and soak up the night. Nobody is toasted, but everyone is content.

The funny thing is, there was very little sharing going on. Each person has a particular attachment to their pet strain. Which then leads to a detailed description of the benefits of said strain. One individual reaches in her purse and discreetly takes a few hits off of her Dosist, you know, the ones that vibrate when you’ve gotten a full hit and you just toss when its empty? That was her jam. Also, well-known TV Producer people want to give her free stuff. But Dosist had gotten there first, with her assistant picking up an emergency pack that hold 50, six-packs of pens in a wide variety of flavors.(Dosist Wellness Package $240), which she swears by.

There are strains to make you more social, others to go to sleep, there’s even one for sex. But here’s the thing, nobody is talking about the fact that they just smoked, but rather what they smoked. Each person’s strain was the perfect high. It’s ratio of CBD to THC, its taste being a perfect blend of this and that, hybrids of this and that. It dawned on me -- it was like they were talking about fine wine.

Anyway as we finally staggered out, designated Uber at the ready, we were full, stoned and content. It’s a luxury, even for a moment, to not worry about a thing. And to feel like every little thing will be all right.



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