Hey, ‘Budtender’: Los Angeles’s Power Brokers of Pot Crank Up the Kook

Via: The New York Times

"LOS ANGELES — Carli Jo Bidlingmaier was talking to a group of 20-somethings in a living room in the Bel-Air neighborhood here, weeks before the wildfires. She was explaining that consuming marijuana allows a woman to awaken her “yoni,” a Sanskrit term for vagina favored by Hollywood bohemians.

“Everybody stand up!” she shouted. The crowd, all women seated on pillows on the floor, leapt to their feet.

Ms. Bidlingmaier, a former casting producer for “The Bachelor,” vigorously shook her hips. She was leading the women in a so-called cannabis sensuality circle that seemed like something out of 1960s Esalen: joints, frank talk about sexuality, meditation and — at the end of the night — a headlong plunge into a big bowl of strawberries and dark chocolate.

“It is our divine right to enjoy our pleasure,” Ms. Bidlingmaier said. No one disagreed.

In January, California will join the list of states where recreational marijuana is legal, among them Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Alaska. With researchers tallying California’s marijuana sales at $7.7 billion last year, the so-called green rush has already turned gold. Next year, the Standard hotel in Hollywood plans to open a dispensary for edibles. “It’s exploding in a good way,” said Emerald Castro, a brand ambassador for cannabis start-ups. “There are a lot of professionals on board.”

Cannabis sales, currently for medicinal purposes, are primarily a cash business. (Federal laws prohibit the use of banks for illegal drugs.) And with restrictions on advertising, the industry retains something of a quaint dorm-room vibe.

That means parties. Lots of them. Parties to educate and inform new users. Parties to connect to friends who partake. And parties to sell, sell, sell cannabis to an unfamiliar public, most of whom still think “Girl Scout Cookies” are for eating, “Moby Dick” is a novel, and “Skywalker” is Luke’s last name, rather than chic new strains."...

Read the rest of the article at: The New York Times