Cannabis News

What Really Happens When Legal Weed Goes to the Country Club


OJ Simpson’s former golf haunt, La Riveria, is across Los Angeles from my downtown hometown. That Westside Country Club was the setting for the one golf tournament I remember watching with intent. The scene dates back to 1995, and The Juice was no longer free – he was locked up about a mile from the cradle, awaiting trial.

That year, La Riviera hosted the Pro Golfers Association Championship. If my Heavy D man hadn’t spotted me a ticket, I might never have testified. As much as I was struck by the power and skill of the best players on the tour, it was the customs of golf that shook my world: the booze culture in full bloom of peacocks, the continued consumption of alcohol which Jim Nance hadn’t bothered to rave about, and the caddy culture that makes it a game for men who have sons or, at the very least, assistants.

golf was fucking fascinating. And I didn’t particularly care about it. What could happen if someone introduces weed? Could that tip the scales favorably?

Looking for weeds in Lemonhaze

Around 7:00 a.m. on March 21, I took the Southbound 7th Street train to Long Beach. My eldest son picked me up and dropped me off 25 miles on Hwy 5 at the Irvine Spectrum Mall in Orange County. A Lyft driver picked me up at Spectrum and ferried me 20 miles roundabouts along the southeast edge of the Angeles National Forest – a raw California beauty that I’m not never laid eyes forward.

Past the obscure Route 241 lies Coto de Cazawhich hosted the first season of The Real Housewives of Orange County and, that day, the Lemongaze Executive Golf Classic. Tragically, the first round of drinks had already taken place by the time I arrived. The 122 cannabis executives invited to the classic were on carts. Departures were happening. I ordered a Greyhound, but weed was on my mind.

Tournament organizer Brian Yauger asked me to join him on his cart and we started heading from the Coto de Caza Golf and Racquet Club to the course lined with well-designed multi-million dollar homes. I would never see the pool or court, but Coto de Caza also offers swimming and tennis inside its 44,000 square foot craftsman-style clubhouse.

We delivered cans of beer to each hole. About one in three greens had a sponsor tent set up next to their foursome.

Yauger, 49, is from Austin, Texas. In his white Cascata cap, Yauger looked like the defensive college ball coach he was not too long ago. He started Lemonhaze in Seattle shortly before the COVID quarantine and moved the operation to Las Vegas last year. An avid golfer himself, Yauger said he only uses cannabis at night.

There have been 24 such events. Yauger covers golfers’ costs and money is earned by charging sponsors for venues adjacent to the hole. The tournaments have a yin-yang relationship with the company’s Budtenders First parties, a series of events designed to “recognize Budtenders as the de facto sales force behind every cannabis brand and celebrate their contributions to growing your brands. favourites”.

The coin itself was a mixed bag. I saw long straight drives and some impressive putts. I also saw shots that etiquette said I should barely recognize and never mention on the 19th hole in a desperate search for chatter.

I also feel like I saw packages of edibles. And may be I shared a pre-roll with an executive in an obscure corner of the course. But probably not, because I read somewhere that it was a non-consumptive event.

Playing slow is bad for business

“I had a great time,” Shiitake Happens owner Matt Parker said when invited by another executive. “Some of the people I’ve played golf with are the best people ever. I don’t think you’ll find better people than cannabis users.”

He hit a lot of bad shots that day. The exec who brought Parker to Lemonhaze said, “Look, you’re really good at these events. But you must get better at golf.” Playing slowly is bad for business.

My reason for going all the way to the CO for this bullshit of trains, planes and automobiles? I had ended the vast collection of fleeting bullshit that some call a career in print media. My new bet would be cannabiz PR. Of course, I was legitimately curious about how cannabis culture and golf culture would interact, but I had mostly gone behind the orange curtain to make the contacts necessary for successful freelance PR.

And sometimes it’s enough to smoke a joint with a frame, in theory.

A white lady from the country club flinched when I unexpectedly entered her line of sight. This would never have happened at La Riviera, I thought. Generally, non-black Angelenos are beyond that basic bullshit and have been proudly so for 8-10 months.

Once I realized that Lemonhaze was more of an Orange County event than a cannabis-related event, golf exclusivity became my primary concern. Golf has become a metaphor for clubs where deals are made.

“We’re going to add golf lessons to our tournaments,” Yauger later explained. “So if you don’t play golf and want to hang out, join the mix ahead of time. And when everyone’s out we’ll have a golf pro there. You can actually take golf lessons and you can hopefully get back to the sport next year.”

“I had to hit that spot,” I started to say, “and—”

“And you should,” Yauger said, “because it’s something that, honestly Donnell, never occurred to me that was going to be a problem, but it turned out very quickly that it was. was the case. We are working hard to try to resolve this as quickly as we can.”

Cannabiz as usual

This is the part where I tell you that I never completely took off my figurative publicist hat in the making of this article. Because I want relationships with well-funded people in cannabis, this joint is maybe 85% pure.

To like legal weed property class, the Lemonhaze Executive Golf Classic is white. I could only spot a few brown faces in the sea of ​​whiteness. The only black people not on Lemonhaze’s payroll that I noticed were Hazey from Black Cannabis Magazine and soccer legend Ricky Williams. For some, this news will only enhance the attractiveness of the tournament.

I can’t hate golf, even though the game isn’t for people. My politics lean towards socialism, but not to the point of believing that everything should be open to everyone. Exclusivity in trade agreements makes sense to me. Lemonhaze succeeds because people running businesses are no longer caught off guard at weed conferences by people with no real bargaining power. The comfort of a foursome on the green is a trading environment impossible to replicate.

When I think of inclusivity and golf, this day at the OJ Country Club comes to mind. Not because La Riviera in 1995 was perhaps more diverse than Coto de Caza today, but because a few hours before departure I had gone to the legendary hip-hop club Unity to celebrate Xzibit’s birthday. . And I traveled from the PGA Championship to San Francisco to commemorate Jerry Garcia, whose death shook the entire West Coast.

I wish all these parties my cannabis cultivation. The Orange County mix wasn’t fair that day in March, and maybe it never can be. Some say exclusivity and fairness are inherently incompatible. I’m not sure I believe it. Probably because I do public relations.

Alexandre Donnell is an avid storyteller and co-founder of The Z&D agency.





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