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How the 1 Percent Gets High

Illustration by Cathryn Virginia

Wealthy stoners are skipping $750 bongs in favor of cannabis consultants and heirloom weed.

Cannabis consultant Amy Robertson likens the world of luxury pot to buying a bespoke suit. “It’s not only about the end product, which is amazing,” she said. “It’s also about the experience of having this suit made for you.”

Robertson doesn’t sell weed herself, but instead offers guidance to both curious newcomers and people who have been smoking for years. The self-described botany geek, who’s studied the plant on her own for years and contributed to the book Cannabis Pharmacy, will inquire about their lifestyle and what they want to get out of the drug. “Are you trying to enhance something? Or are you trying to relieve something?” she’ll ask. She’ll educate them about dosages and strains, and address any safety concerns, all for a price. She declined to discuss her rates, but she’s clearly aiming for a particular well-to-do clientele.

“The high-end market wants consistency; they’re health-conscious,” she said. “It’s about reaching the experience they want to have.” Robertson has worked with cancer patients hoping to treat chemo-induced nausea, high-functioning entertainment industry types looking to relieve anxiety, and a host of privileged users in between. She emphasized that she is not a doctor and doesn’t give medical advice, and not all of her clients are using cannabis for medical reasons. “The high-end market—they can have anything,” she said. If they’re not looking to solve a particular ailment, “it’s about what kind of mind-shifting experience can they have.”

The legalization of recreational weed in states like California, where Robertson is based, has brought with it a wave of excess for stoners who can afford the finer things, even as smoking remains a crime in large swaths of the U.S. In Georgia, having more than an ounce of bud on you carries a mandatory minimum of a year in prison, but in other states you can purchase diamond-studded vapes and hire private cannabis chefs. You can even go on pricey bud-centric tours of Canada, where the drug was recently legalized. At the Barneys in Beverly Hills, you can’t buy actual weed—though a “concierge” is on hand to arrange for off-site sales and deliveries. But you can splurge on art-piece ashtrays, rolling papers made by centuries-old Parisian stationer Devambez, as well as insanely expensive drug-inspired jewelry, like $7,000 leaf-shaped diamond-drop earrings, and beauty products like a $12 hemp-infused period patch and cannabis-scented body wash.

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Published: May 31, 2019

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