From the cosmic aspirations of ancient pyramids to the light-bending power of a simple prism, the triangle has served as both a sacred symbol and a source of engineering sturdiness throughout human history.
For Jason Pinsky, the man who currently serves as chief cannabis evangelist at Eaze and cannabis producer for Viceland’s “Bong Appétit,” the triangle he has constructed is both structural and symbolic, representing his personal and professional ethos.
I had the opportunity to speak at length with Pinsky about his unique path to the top of the emerging cannabis industry — and it all started with a delayed flight.
After three days of MJBizCon, where I networked furiously, partied excessively and slept only briefly, I found myself in the bustling lobby bar of the Cosmopolitan, nursing a neat double scotch and puffing voraciously on some promo vape pen.
It was already nearing midnight, but my flight wouldn’t leave for another couple hours due to delays from high desert winds howling just outside the hermetically sealed walls of the Cosmo. That’s when I got a surprise text informing me Pinsky was available for an interview upstairs.
Pinsky opened his hotel suite door and welcomed me in with a grand sweeping gesture of his hand. He cut a bohemian figure in a black sweater, a flowing white scarf adorned with colorful plaid strips and his signature “Pinsky shades” — thick, black, rectangular frames with lazy rounded corners and over-sized, tinted lenses that sprawl almost to the bottom of his nose; if you’ve seen the final shot of Martin Scorsese’s “Casino,” you’ve seen Robert De Niro wearing the prescription version, a fact Pinksy points out.
“Same frames as De Niro, but my custom tints and prescription,” he says. “They were also worn by Darryl Mac from Run DMC and also Lou Wasserman, who started a small company called Universal.”
Pinsky’s suite bar is decorated with various vape pens and cartridges, as well as a few jars of top-shelf cannabis, which we roll and smoke during our interview. He’s squeezing the conversation in right before he ascends into the night sky on a helicopter. This seems absolutely suicidal given the aggressive winds, but if he’s nervous it doesn’t show.
As we talk about his career and his future projects, Pinsky radiates self-assured chill through near-ceaseless technical complexity. Emerging from nearly everything we discuss is the unifying concept of the Pinsky Triangle.
“You’ll hear me use the term ‘The Pinsky Triangle,’ which started as the culmination of three points in my life. One point was my career, it was technology and was how I made my living — that was at the apex of the triangle, with music and weed forming the other points,” Pinsky says. “The music culture for me was the Grateful Dead, man. And through that I started meeting people that grew weed; there were legendary strains that came from that whole scene.”
His tech career started early, as he and his brother wrote software for their father’s leather belt manufacturing business. By 1994, they were running a company that handled tech solutions for the fashion industry.
“So by day, I crushed it in the software business and by night and I went and saw a few friends — you had to be a friend to get my weed because I wasn’t trying to sell weed. I was trying to just get enough weed to pay for my weed and hook up my friends,” says Pinsky. “My crew brought Chem Dawg into existence in ’91, Sour Diesel in ’95.”
For years, cannabis remained a lesser priority for Pinsky, with music and technology driving most of his professional momentum during this part of his career, as he served as chief technology officer for multiple tech and music firms. But Pinsky says he grew disillusioned and bored with the tech industry by the early ’00s.
“In 2010, the tech industry was not what it was years earlier and I kind of lost the passion for it,” he says. “When weed became legal in Colorado and Washington in 2012, that was when I decided I needed to rotate the Pinsky Triangle and put weed on top.”
Part of this decision stemmed from an serious spine injury in late 2000, when Pinsky was prescribed Oxycontin. For the next 13 years, he says he was trapped in what he called a “prison” of opioid dependency. Cannabis would prove to be a crucial tool in his escape.
His early interest and aptitude with concentrates led to judging them in every High Times Cannabis Cup held in 2014 — he says he earned a reputation as the “Simon Cowell” of concentrates — but the opportunity also served his recovery.
“Judging every cup while I was tapering off the pain meds gave me access to medication, which was important,” he says.
Pinsky also took an active role in bringing medical cannabis laws to New York, and spent 2014 heavily involved in ultimately successful lobbying efforts.
At this point in Pinsky’s journey, cannabis cuisine became a new aspect to his career.
“In 2016, I was hosting some underground dinner parties in NYC — these infused, invite-only dinners,” he says. “The Vice guys came and one of their producers was trying to do a story on the industry in NY. And I was like, ‘Let me help you out.’”
Pinsky ended up becoming the cannabis producer for Viceland’s “Bong Appétit,” where he sees it as his role to push cannabis further into the mainstream. “We’re the only show on TV that actually uses real weed,” he says.
Pinsky pulled this same trick — carving out his own lane — at Eaze, where he created the position of cannabis advisor.
“Eaze called me up asking to help them [curate their menu] and my response was, ‘I’d love to help you… but really you guys need a chief cannabis evangelist who’s leading the vision, strategy and relationships,’” he says. “So I came in for my first meeting at three in the afternoon and I left at three in the morning. I basically came and never left.”
For now, it appears that Pinsky is content with his current career path. But if another evolution lies in his near future, his triangle’s logic will mostly likely remain the overarching philosophy: balance, strength and a large dose of versatility.
Originally published in Issue 31 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE
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