Orange County and Long Beach brought the party to the desert this year in terms of weed. Last weekend Irvine-based ganja-monolith, Weedmaps, held their private Marijuana-Oasis party where flower-crowns strewn with nugs and pre-packed joints were given away. This weekend Irvine-based Culinary & Cannabis threw CannaSpa, a cannabis infused dining and spa experience, in a mansion seven miles away from the festival. Around the corner from CannaSpa, Long Beach’s Susan Soares threw her third-annual private Green Oasis party where Coachella performers hung out, imbibed and soaked in the 420-friendly vibes.
If we’re being honest, though, CannaSpa and the Green Oasis threw substantially superior bashes to Weekend One’s hyped Marijuana Oasis— and no, there were no party intermissions. Last weekend’s events weren’t overdone, they didn’t feel staged and actual Coachella festivalgoers unrelated to the cannabis industry attended each party.
CannaSpa was held in a Bermuda Dunes desert compound. The perimeter of the backyard was lined with vendors, but not the ones you’d expect to see at the typical cannabis event. A sushi chef named Frank Beillo was the first person I spoke to. I couldn’t figure out why or how he was involved in all this—you know, aside from making sushi for people who have the munchies.
“Hi there,” he said with a friendly smile. “I’m making medicated sushi. These are the rolls we make,” as he handed me a menu.
The idea of medicated sushi was both strange, yet inviting. How could it be medicated? Where does the weed go?
Biello explained that the California Roll had a total of 10 mg of THC. The cannabis oil was in the crab meet. The other roll he made was called the Triple Threat. It had spicy tuna, crab mix, avocado and a layer of Hot Cheeto crumbs sprinkled on top of it. There were two sauces to dip the Triple Threat in, as well. Biello recommended the citrus habanero sauce, but spicy mayo was also an option.
“How many milligrams are in the Triple Threat and what parts of it are medicated?” I asked.
“All of it’s medicated and it has a total of 20 mgs.”
That meant each sushi roll slice had roughly 3-5 mg of THC per piece. The rolls looked red and crumbly atop the white rice from the outside, while the inside was white and pink. The Triple Threat was definitely the most colorful option.
He had a sample roll made for people to try. Biello handed me a pair of chop sticks and let me taste. I used the citrus habanero sauce he suggested and as soon as I began to chew, the flavors of the bite erupted. It wasn’t overly spicy, the crab and the spicy tuna balanced each other well and the hot Cheetos added the perfect crunch. And there was zero taste of cannabis, which is what initially weirded me out about medicated sushi. But it was delicious and tasted as if it came from a sushi restaurant.
All the medicated food at CannaSpa was low-dose. So, no: people weren’t getting obliterated. The vibe was mellow, and everyone lounged around, mingled and medicated. It was nearly 103 degrees that day, so although there was a pool, most people opted for the shade.
Walking around the party I saw a man making medicated pizza. What really caught my attention about him was his big purple and green nug necklace. He wore it the same way people wear Quartz-point necklaces, but instead of a crystal on the necklace it was a nug.
Mr. Nug Necklace man was incredibly friendly and his passion for making medicated pizza and marinara sauce was beautiful.
“The whole idea for this company started when my friend and I got super baked and were eating pizza,” he said. “As we were munching, I was like ‘wouldn’t it be awesome if we could make weed pizza?’ and he was like ‘We can!’ That was three years ago, and now we’re here.”
Clean Healing, the name of Mr. Nug Necklace’s company, won the High Times Cannabis Cup in 2016 for best edible. What’s great about the sauce is that it’s an alternative to sweet or sugary edibles, which make up at least 90 percent of the edible market.
“Although cannabis has cancer fighting properties, sugar actually feeds cancer cells,” he said. “This is a much healthier edible option.”
I took a bite of the pizza and it tasted like homemade heaven. My taste buds couldn’t detect the slightest hint of cannabis, which was astonishing to me considering there’s 500 mg of THC in one jar of sauce. The trick, according to awesome Nug-Necklace man, is eliminating the terpenes from the concentrate. Although you definitely want terpenes when you smoke, you don’t necessarily want them in your edibles because they’ll make your medicated food taste like cannabis.
Walking through the spacious house, I found the massage room. A massage therapist named Megan Blackwell had a table set up ready to give partygoers cannabis infused massages and facials. The environment in the massage room was next-level relaxed. Nothing’s better than a peaceful spa experience after a day of walking around and medicating.
Around the corner from CannaSpa was the Green Oasis—the cannabis party for those performing at Coachella. As soon as I walked through the front door, people were everywhere. This was definitely a party.
I walked past an impressive dining room with an ornate table filled with tall, beautiful cannabis plants. As I walked from the entrance to the backyard, the kitchen was buzzing with chefs creating delectable dishes for those who were hungry. The backyard, however, was where the party was at—and I don’t just mean that literally.
Canopies and comfortable hang out spots with lounge chairs and tables were set up on the grass. People mingled, smoked and basked-like true reptilians (albeit, beautiful reptilians) in the heat. It was around 5:45 pm and the temperature was no longer peaking at 103 degrees (thank god).
By the time I’d arrived, LA-based female rockers Haim had already come through; Thee Commons, who headlined Coachella’s Sonora Stage on Saturday night, went to the party; Tacocat, a group of punk rockers from Seattle who also played the Sonora Stage had been there; LA-based band Zipper Club who played the Mojave tent on Friday afternoon rolled through; as well as The Head and the Heart—and that was only by Saturday afternoon.
Rumor has it a couple of professional athletes stopped by the Green Oasis this weekend, too, however, their identities were asked to remain a secret. But apparently they had a stellar time,
Humboldt Brothers, a sun grown and organic cannabis-flower company, brought pre-rolled joints for everyone to enjoy. Lauren Unger, the Director of Community for Humboldt Brothers, is a master Reiki healer who’s implemented her healing strategies on cannabis plants. She performs Reiki on the blossoming plants on Humboldt Brothers’ acreage and puts activated crystals in the soil to give the growing buds extra healing, loving and nurturing energy. Whether you believe Reiki works or not, Humboldt Brothers’ organic cannabis is some of the best flower I’ve sampled to date. What ever they’re doing is working, and I suggest you try some for yourself.
The Emerald Exchange and the Jelly Shamans also set up areas for people and bands to chill out. The Jelly Shamans Glamping Adventure was up-and-running with a canopy hanging over a cozy-looking bed. People floated in the pool, shared joints with one another and sipped on both alcoholic beverages and THC drinks. The cannabis drinks at the party were provided by award-winning brand, Habit Premium Sparkling Beverage. They definitely make getting stoned a whole new experience—especially if you use it as a cocktail mixer. Yeeoow!
What’s interesting is both parties were thrown by women—the Green Oasis was thrown by Susan Soares and CannaSpa by Tamara Anderson—and you could definitely tell. The parties were elaborate, every detail was accounted for and the ambiance at both events were comfortable and home-y. Both parties had people from Women Grow (an organization focused on helping people network, learn and find their niche in the cannabis industry) involved. As a result there was an element of education present at both events, giving them a little more substance than your average weed party.
The vibe at the Green Oasis was warm, chíc and cozy. It was anything but uptight and the Coachella-vibes radiated hard. It was definitely one of the best places to be last weekend—and the same goes for CannaSpa. I was a little nervous to attend this weekend’s herbal gatherings after the Weedmaps party last weekend (I’m still confused about the party intermission). But the Weekend 2 parties definitely redeemed all the hype around the desert cannabis soirees. If these two parties are an indication of what the future of cannabis fiestas are about, I’m calling it now: Coachella’s unofficial 2018 weed parties are going to be the best festival-adjacent bashes in the history of desert parties.