After being in Los Angeles for a year, cannabis events became a routine part of my life; however, it soon became clear that most of these parties were lacking something: they were too dark, too noisy, and with little to no food or entertainment. I realized the cannabis community had not figured out how to throw a “mainstream event.” They were stuck in the mindset that cannabis was still an underground thing and the parties reflected that. If the cannabis industry is ever going to lose its stigma then it must present itself in a more welcoming fashion to attract people who aren’t already active in the community. Thinking about what was missing from the cannabis party scene led me create WeedBar LA, an events company specializing in premier cannabis experiences.
For our first event, I wanted to do something personal, so I decided to incorporate all my favorite things: food, music, Judaism and weed. My faith is an important part of my identity and I knew that I would be doing a mitzvah (a good deed for you goyim) if I could introduce the benefits of cannabis to other Jews. A party to commemorate Havdalah, the end of the Jewish Sabbath, would be the perfect blend of everything that I hold dear. Thus Chai (pronounced high) Havdalah was born! After all, what could be better for a stereotypically neurotic community than a 200 mg infused cannabis challah?
Planning the party was one thing, but taking it from inception to reality proved more difficult. A simple enough idea, turned into a logistical nightmare, as we were struck by one crisis after another, culminating in a temporary blackout 20 minutes into the party. Yet somehow we managed to overcome every obstacle along the way. In fact, every crisis that we overcame made the party that much better. With a live band, communal art, infused and non-infused food from top Chef Holden, the former pastry chef at Soho House along with dab and vape bars, Chai Havdalah was a huge success.
Chai Havdalah is open to everyone, not just Jewish cannabis enthusiasts. It is a safe, fun, alcohol-free space where smart people can talk and share ideas. Everyone from Orthodox Jews to adult actors, young men to octogenarian grandmas and people from within and without the cannabis industry were in attendance. What was going to be a one-off inaugural event for WeedBar LA, then turned into something far larger than I could have imagined.
I knew that I had to bring Chai Havdalah to every city with Jews, weed and a legal cannabis community. Our next event will be in Denver on Aug. 19, and is shaping up to be even better than the first Chai Havdalah. Not to give away everything that we have planned, but we have lined up a make your own infused bagel bar sponsored by Rosenberg’s Bagels, a DIY seed bomb station, jazz band, LED hula by Elemental Enchanters, organic gourmet single origin edibles from Binske, a full weed bar in cooperation with Top Shelf Budtending and Willie’s Reserve and guest of honor Jane West will be in attendance. To show our commitment to fostering a better community, we are donating 10 percent of the profits directly to the Jewish Family Service of Colorado.
After Denver we’re going to Oakland, but my ultimate goal is to throw a huge Chai Havdalah event in Tel Aviv, Israel, as well as throwing smaller, more intimate Chai Shabbats the first of which will be held on Sept.1. We are also hard at work planning more secular events, like weddings, corporate events and birthday parties.
TELL US, have you ever attended a cannabis-themed party?