The Kind Got Lit for Charity at a Weed Party In West L.A.
...until the venue shut off the power and kicked everyone out.
"What kind of party is going on here?" Lamont, the Uber driver, asks as we pull up outside of a venue space in West Los Angeles.
"It's a..." I stumble over my words, and can't seem to find the right ones.
"It's a gathering of the local weed community," a friend chimes in from the backseat.
All photos by Ben Karris for The KIND.
A line that began forming earlier in the afternoon, now appears close to 200 people deep, and stretches around the block. A diverse mix of attendees—mostly men with a sprinkling of women, all appearing to be in their early 20s—eagerly await entrance to the venue. We're at Compas Sesh 2016: a gathering of L.A.'s legal weed scene.
At Compas Sesh, attendees socialize and sample products from local vendors who have set up pop-up shops to promote their different cannabis creations. Beyond most major weed events—such as the High Times Cannabis Cup or the Chalice Cup, where general admission wrist bands start at more than $50—Compas Sesh puts an emphasis on the guest experience. Attendees are encouraged to make charitable donations to a designated cause.
"Compas Sesh was started to set a different tone to the way cannabis events were put on, by NOT charging the cannabis community at the door; and requiring them to donate tangible items to charitable organizations," writes Dan Rocha, event producer, in an email.
Many of the people in line are holding cases carrying thousands of dollars worth of functional glass; or wearing backpacks likely filled with hundreds of dollars ready to-be-spent on flower, concentrates, edibles and other weed faves.
And everyone is holding a pair of children's shoes.
Tower of shatter slabs from Tin Man Extracts.
At every level of the legal weed industry, women are driving it forward. According to Women Grow, a self-described "for-profit entity that serves as a catalyst for women to influence and succeed in the cannabis industry," an estimated 20 percent of all cannabis businesses are owned by women. Angela Mazzanti, the host of Compas Sesh and one of the producers of the event, is part of that positive movement.
Mazzanti and the event organizers collected the shoes as an entry fee. They planned to donate each pair to Soles4Souls, a charity that distributes clothing and shoes to people around the world.
Donate a pair of sneaks to a worthy cause and take hella free dabs with some chill people? That sounded like a great Saturday night to The KIND, so to West L.A. we went.
Edibles from Lallipop Extracts
Vendors kept the cannabis in high supply, in myriad forms. My friends and I sampled a wide range of wax, weed, crumble, and even medicated Cap N' Crunch Berry bars.
Cannabis concentrates from Vegan Buddha Organic Plant Extracts.
"I found out about Compas Sesh a month ago and made sure I registered early," Angel, an attendee at the event, tells The KIND. "I've never been to a Secret Sesh—or anything like it—and I've always wanted to. This is kind of like a mini cannabis cup. It was cool how they did the donations, though," he says.
Live glass-blowing demo from functional glass artist Tim Fisk
"I really enjoy events like this," says Zam, a functional glass artist from Arcata, California. "It's a great opportunity to interact with the community," she tells The KIND.
Glass pendants blown by Zam.
Around an hour or so into the event, just as everything is fully swinging, the power cuts out. Well, it gets shut off. I'm taking a bite of an edible, and everything goes black. According to witnesses and the event organizers, the venue pulled the plug on Compas Sesh. And then gave everyone the boot.
Security began ushering everyone out the door. Confusion and disappointment washed over the crowd. Some people were still in line, having yet to even make it inside the sesh.
"The decision to close down was not ours; it was made by the regretfully foul new management at the venue," writes the Compas Sesh team in an email sent to attendees the day after the event.
"Please know that we never intended, nor would we have worked so hard on the planning and organizing of this last sesh if we knew last night would end up the way it did."
Sesh attendees wait outside the venue after the power was shut off.
And for the most part, everyone was fairly understanding. Some took to Instagram to voice their discontent. That ire was mostly directed toward the venue.
"This is fucked up!" A woman named Sarah tells The KIND. She smokes a joint outside the venue with her friend.
"We drove all the way here from Sacramento, and we never even made it in," Sarah's friend remarks.
"I got there at 6, walked up to the line, and when I arrived, security told me it was closed. They didn't offer any explanation," Angel tells me over Instagram, later Saturday night.
Despite being kicked out, these Compas Seshers were still pretty stoked on life and really chill.
So it goes. The team at Compas Sesh promised to hook up those that didn't get into the event in time, at their next sesh. They let everyone know that all of the donated shoes would still find their way to Soles4Soulz. And for a brief two hours on a Saturday night in L.A.: The Compas Sesh brought together an incredibly diverse group of people for a good cause...And then dabbed them all out. Until next time.