When Colorado passed Amendment 64, the idea of holding a product launch party for a line of celebrity-branded weed products at a mansion on the western edge of Denver must have seemed like a far-off dream. Yet here we are, almost exactly three years later, and that dream has become reality. Earlier this week, Snoop Dogg announced his personal line of flower, concentrates and edibles, dubbed Leafs by Snoop, at a carefully assembled event for the press, corporate partners and Snoop's PR team. It was an odd snapshot of a fast-growing industry more than happy to strain against any division between itself and existing industries.
Snoop's team built the suspense well — all members of the press were invited on short notice, with instructions to meet at a downtown hotel for shuttling to an undisclosed private residence via laser-lit party bus. Security confiscated all phones and cameras to control both the vibe and the outgoing visual images. The bar was plush — solid liquor, good wine, a range of beer by the can — and saw heavy service. Also smart: stoner-friendly additions to the usual hors d'oeuvres like pulled pork over spicy Fritos, Cap'n Crunch bark and fried Kool-Aid dough balls.
When Snoop finally made his entrance to cheers and applause, he kept the speaking to a minimum before his team ran a promo video and pulled aside curtains to present a shelf of packaged products. The visual style on the packaging embodies what the press release called the "California Cool lifestyle" — over-saturated images of sea turtles, palm trees and mountainous skylines with gold and white points of emphasis.
He led all present into a bud room, where four interns rolled blunts from jars and jars of LBS flower. Snoop himself, though, packed the inaugural bowl into a glass pipe and passed it into the crowd, grooving to the music as he did. First Cali kush, then bananas, then blueberry dream and another and another, all fresh-tasting and potent ground from penny-sized buds, until most of the dozen pipes were traveling around the packed room. Opposite Snoop, there was a gold Ikea cabinet presenting his edibles under glass domes — good thinking, keeping those away from public hands. Any mention of Maureen Dowd might have torpedoed the business venture from the get-go.
With the curtained-off bud room rapidly turning hotbox, Snoop stepped away for photos with guests before deejaying an hour-and-a-half of music, effortlessly tuning into the crowd, always with a blunt between his teeth. For all the easygoing vibes that night, though, it's clear this was a tightly orchestrated PR event. Nothing felt spontaneous or unrehearsed — this was pure Hollywood, all traces of sweaty-faced compliance officers swept behind the curtains.
Consider this: Tommy Chong co-owns Marisol Theraputics, but he's kept his name off of it. Marley Natural and Willie's Reserve, the other two major celebrity brands currently percolating, have yet to hit the market. Snoop Dogg comes along with a fashion-line name for his personal brand and releases a complete product line, from flower to shatter to fair-trade chocolates and branded grinders. Consider also that, while rumors of a Snoop-branded line of weed have been around for months, the news was kept quiet until the product was ready to hit shelves. Snoop's business operation is tighter and more professional than anything the industry has seen before.
Today, LBS weed is available at LivWell locations around Denver and in Colorado Springs, as well as The Beacon stores in Cortez and Mancos, near Mesa Verde.