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I LO S A N G E L E S J A N 2020

PIZZA, DARLING

Erin Darling Torralva of Hot Pizza Ass dishes out laughs ›››

OK, BOOMER The viral phrase that’s dividing generations


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LOS ANGELES SENSI MAGAZINE JANUARY 2020

sensimediagroup @sensimagazine @sensimag

F E AT U R E S

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Goals vs. Resolutions

20

The B-Word

Setting focused goals can be exactly what you need to reset. Is “OK, boomer” a slur, a sign of generational conflict, or just a meme-able mic drop?

D E PA R T M E N T S

9 EDITOR’S NOTE 10 THE BUZZ News, tips, and tidbits

34 THE SCENE Hot happenings and hip

hangouts around town SECOND TO NONE The nation’s first cannabis to keep you in the loop café proves that nothing beats an original. NEW COAT OF PAPER Erica Tanov’s botanical HIGH SOCIETY VIP wallpaper collection screening of Amazon Prime Video’s The POTTED PLANTS An Instant Aeronauts Pot cookbook for vegans HIGH PROFILE My Best Bud CALENDAR Eat, listen, helps sick and hurting pets. and breathe your way through LA. OLD TIMEY Vortic watches put history on your wrist.

26 THE LIFE Contributing to your

health and happiness LA’S PIZZA DARLING We check in with Erin Darling Torralva of Hot Pizza Ass. RECIPE Infused shakshuka HOROSCOPE What the numbers mean for 2020

50 THE END

Cannabis is getting taxed to high heaven, which keeps a lot of its key consumers underground.

ON THE COVER Erin Darling Torralva dishes out slices of life on the Hot Pizza Ass podcast. PHOTO BY MICHAEL VIEYRA

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I NSTAG RAM @sensimagazine is home to exclusive photos and content.


Magazine published monthly by Sensi Media Group LLC. © 2020 Sensi Media Group. All rights reserved.

EXECUTIVE Ron Kolb CEO ron@sensimag.com

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Tae Darnell Co-Founder, VP of Business Development tae@sensimag.com Alex Martinez Co-Chief Operations Officer alex@sensimag.com

Mike Mansbridge Co-Chief Operations Officer mike@sensimag.com EDITORIAL Stephanie Wilson Editor in Chief stephanie@sensimag.com Doug Schnitzspahn Executive Editor doug.schnitzspahn@sensimag.com Dawn Garcia Managing Editor dawn.garcia@sensimag.com Leland Rucker Senior Editor leland.rucker@sensimag.com

Robyn Griggs Lawrence Editor at Large robyn.lawrence@sensimag.com Helen Olsson Copy Chief Lindsey Bartlett, Eli Dupin Contributing Writers DESIGN Jamie Ezra Mark Creative Director jamie@emagency.com Rheya Tanner Art Director Wendy Mak Designer Kiara Lopez Designer Josh Clark Designer Jason Jones Designer em@sensimag.com PUBLISHING Mark Basser Publisher mark@sensimag.com B U S I N E S S /A D M I N

EDITOR’S NOTE

Can you believe we’re in a new year…

already? Last year flew by faster than the flapping wings of a hummingbird, and as I look ahead, I am curious to see how this new year will shape up. From impeachment proceedings and an uptick in mass shootings and hate crimes, we have to arm ourselves with the knowledge that this nation is in desperate need of reform and a call-to-action that brings us all together as one unified collective whole, ushering in an era of kindness and community. It will take all of us putting aside political “sides” and instead leaning on one another as a people. The new year is also our chance to evaluate the life we’ve been living, set new goals, chase loftier dreams, and enjoy the moments we’re in.  This month’s issue is about encouraging each of you to get out more, explore this amazing city, visit the first-ever cannabis café in the United States, check out some interesting talks, and laugh at yourself a little more. We confront the awesomeness of the “OK, Boomer” meme and movement, discover that a “hot pizza ass” isn’t derogatory but rather uplifting, and tackle the frustrating world of California taxes.  There is no shortage for some informative and entertaining reads this month. And in the words of George Carlin, “I like it when a flower or a little tuft of grass grows through a crack in the concrete. It’s so fuckin’ heroic.” Here’s to noticing the little bits of heroism happening all around us. Happy New Year!

The new year is also our chance to evaluate the life we’ve been living, set new goals, chase loftier dreams, and enjoy the moments we’re in.

Be bold, be passionate, and be open,

Kristan Toth Head of People kristan.toth@sensimag.com Amber Orvik Administrative Director amber.orvik@sensimag.com Andre Velez Marketing Director andre.velez@sensimag.com Neil Willis Production Manager neil.willis@sensimag.com Hector Irizarry Distribution distribution@sensimag.com

Dawn Garcia @dawngarcia

M E D I A PA R T N E R S Marijuana Business Daily Minority Cannabis Business Association National Cannabis Industry Association Students for Sensible Drug Policy

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Fresh Look Inspired by nature, San Francisco–born designer Erica Tanov brings texture and gorgeous tones of teals, metallics, and neutrals to your home with her latest line of wallpaper and matching linens and clothing. Tanov’s Botanicus line is an expression of her love of nature and our connection to it, with silk garments, bedding, fabrics, ceramics, furniture, and wallpaper, which can be found online and at her stores in LA and San Francisco. “Creating the collection has been a fascinating process,” says Tanov. “With Botanicus, I aimed to bring elegant, glamorous, and timeless touches to any interiors, qualities that marry the contemporary, with touches of tradition and 10 LOS A N G E LES

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nostalgia. The result is a collection that is extravagant and boasts truly beautiful color combinations with lavish depth.” For 25 years, Tanov has explored her creativity through clothing, but it’s her lifestyle brand that lends a timeless appeal to her line of home decor. Her opulent textiles and wallpaper have a dream-like feel with fine details that deliver a certain sensitivity and thoughtfulness. Each piece is constructed with precision, utilizing high-end materials and environmental themes. Lines such as Botanicus bring joy, warmth, and a sense of belonging whether you use it in a bedroom, living area, or even a bathroom. $210–$230 per roll / shop.ericatanov.com/collections/wallpaper

COURTESY OF ERICA TANOV

Designer Erica Tanov launches botanical wallpaper to kick off the decade lavishly.


CONTRIBUTORS

Dawn Garcia, Stephanie Wilson

BY THE NUMBERS

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT

Instant Potted Plants

This vegan cookbook proves that plants and pots go together. Nisha Vora may be one of the most brilliant and flavor-forward, down-to-earth vegan chefs youʼll come across. She has devoted her life to finding delicious, nonboring ways to make plant-based eating the greatest thing since vegan sliced bread. Though she started out as a lawyer, her story isnʼt unlike most. She worked hard, joined a legal team, but after two years realized that she wasnʼt happy. So, she threw caution to the wind, quit her job, and she and her partner backpacked around the world for six months. In that time, she gained a totally new perspective on life, which included transitioning to veganism. Not only did Vora adjust her own lifestyle, she started blogging about it, learning the art of food photography, and launched a highly successful platform sharing her thoughts, her poems, her musings, and her recipes for living an intentional life. The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook features 90 recipes meant to be made in an Instant Pot pressure cooker and includes cooking tips and cooking guides. Between the YouTube tutorials, brand partnerships, and overall awareness raised around the joy of cooking, Vora is doing more than making plant-based eating appealing. Sheʼs making it downright gorgeous and practical.

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THE BUZZ

HIGH PROFILE

MY BEST BUD

This pet wellness company is doing so much to ensure the wellness of animals.

My Best Bud co-founders, Irena medicine that maximizes the enRaskin and Irena Hauser (the two tourage effect to successfully treat Irenas), are serial entrepreneurs arthritis, neurologic disease and with backgrounds in aerospace endisorders, anxiety, spinal or brain gineering, biomedical science, and trauma, and other health conditions. biochemistry as well as law. My Best The products are also free of toxins Bud offers scientifically formulated, and additives. “Pet owners most pharmaceutical grade, cannabis-de- commonly tell us that our products rived health and wellness products offer significant relief and return made specifically for animals. their pets back to their former Working with leading veterinary selves. At My Best Bud, we want medicine specialists, its core misnothing less than to revolutionize sion is to advance cannabis-derived pet wellness,� says Raskin. Commit12 LOS A N G E LES

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ted to the wellness of animals, My Best Bud diverts a percentage of its proceeds to the wellness of other animals. The Irenas also care for and train two white Bengal tigers in hopes of saving the dwindling Bengal tiger population from extinction. My Best Bud offers three CBD-toTHC product ratios: 20:1, 4:1, and 1:1, available in 15 mL and 30 mL bottles. Available at dispensaries throughout California. mybestbudca.com


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Going Back in Time

Question: What excites you about 2020?

The promise of a new beginning and the possibility of rediscovering who I am.

TV Producer Los Angeles, CA

Journalist Los Angeles, CA

I’m looking forward to The capacity to open equality. #PayUpHollywood my heart even wider is making waves in the than ever before. entertainment industry.

Vortic is taking vintage timepieces to a new level. Vortic Watch Company is a small-batch, vintage timepiece restoration company headquartered in Southern Colorado. Vortic offers several wrist watch lines: American Artisan, Railroad Edition, Military Edition, and Red Rocks Edition. You can also have your own timepiece custom-made from your own familyʼs heirlooms with the “convert your watch” program. Each line is unique, from the American Artisan pieces made from upcycled parts to the Railroad Editionʼs removable bezel and other features. The newest line, Military Edition, features meticulously restored AN5740-1 pocket watches, which were commissioned by the United States government at the beginning of World War II. The originals were designed to withstand altitude as they were utilized by navigators on bomber aircrafts including B-17s and B-29s, equipped as stop watches, used as location devices, and made to meet very clear specifications to ensure the navigators would always have accurate time. Timepieces steeped in American culture combined with the Vortic promise to preserve history through truly refined and unique watches is what sets them apart. $1,295–$6,995 | vorticwatches.com

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SENSIBILITIES WHAT MATTERS THIS MONTH BY STEPHANIE WILSON

1 GOALS ARE THE NEW RESOLUTIONS. And since we’re in a new decade,

let’s set loftier targets, hit them, surpass them. Where do you want to be in 2025? 2030? Start manifesting the life you want. In the shorter term, however…

______ 2 MANIFEST THE OUTFITS YOU WANT by signing up for Nuuly clothing rental

from Free People’s parent co. For just $88/mo., you get six temporary additions to your wardrobe—perfect excuse to try out new trends.

______ 3 BE EXTRA EXTRA. I resolved to be just that at the start of last year. Met that

goal and have a photo of the statement jacket I borrowed from Nuuly as proof. See @stephwilll if you’re curious just how extra “extra extra” is.

______ 4 SEE ALSO: posts about my apartment/urban jungle. ______ 5 PUTTING IT OUT THERE NOW. I’m setting my first intention for 2020: I will

get my place featured on Apartment Therapy as a home tour this year. Boom.

______ 6 WANNA BE MY GOAL BUDDY? DM or post a comment—we’ll start a club.

One with books and discussions involved. Community and knowledge will result. We’ll call it…The Book Club. Let’s do this.


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refore, e h t , s i ing, tt e s f o act d ng, an i v e i h c a goals g n i s s a urp l iving s e k a hat m st l ife your be . possibl e

Setting focused goals can be exactly what you need to reset.

acy –Brian Tr

TEXT DAWN GARCIA

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N

ew Year’s resolutions are the thing everyone either anticipates or dreads. The promise of resetting after a month (or three) of overeating, letting the gym membership collect ample cobwebs due to its neglect, and indulging in sweets, cannabis, alcohol, or whatever else you’re into can be what leads to the urgency of a total body, mind, soul reset. So, does fasting for a week or promising to hit that boot camp you’ve been eyeing really translate into life-changing results? Not so much, but creating a goal and taking all the necessary steps to get there absolutely can be the difference between proclamation and action. According to motivational speaker Brian Tracy, setting goals is mandatory if you want to see results in your life. Author of more than 70 books on subjects ranging from productivity to public speaking, Tracy has become the resource for getting things in order—mentally, personally, and professionally. On his website (briantracy.com), Tracy lays out six steps of why setting goals is paramount to your life’s journey. “Goals help you measure success, stay motivated, keep you focused, help you beat procrastination, achieve more, and determine what you want in life. It is, therefore, the act of setting, achieving, and surpassing goals that makes living your best life possible.” During the days when her show ruled the airwaves, Oprah

introduced a concept of vision boards and manifesting the life you want. Her advice was to create a vision board with specific goals, wants, and successes. The thought process behind making a vision board is steeped in the law of attraction; that if you manifest it, you can attract it. While this is definitely not a practice that science will confirm as reliable and true, it caused a wave of people around the world setting specific goals and putting photos of things they wanted to attain on a board hoping to make those ideas a reality. Photos of supermodel bodies, a winning lotto ticket, your dream house, a new car, a happy family, whatever the ultimate “thing” you wanted to obtain in life, it was on that board. To this day people are firm believers in the power of vision boards. According to an article written by psychotherapist Amy Morin in Inc. magazine, vision boards hinder more than help. “While my anecdotal evidence shows that vision boards backfire, research also shows that focusing on attaining your goal—as opposed to the effort it will take to succeed—will increase your chances of failure. There are a multitude of studies that show athletes, students, and musicians perform worse when they visualize themselves succeeding, as opposed to visualizing themselves going through the steps it takes to succeed.” Morin cites a 2011 study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology that found fantasizing about an idealized future decreases the likelihood that JANUARY 2020

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someone will expend energy trying to turn their fantasy into a reality. “Positive thinking only works when it’s combined with positive action,” Morin writes in Inc. So why set goals versus making New Year’s resolutions? Let’s start with the reason we all make resolutions in the first place. Most of the time we make resolutions because we’re tired of a certain part of our lives. We’ve made promises to ourselves to diet consistently, work out five days a week (to look like we did when we were 18 and had no stress), eat more healthily (avoiding that trough of nachos), practice meditation (we swear we’ll do 10 to 20 minutes a day), stop falling in love with every person we meet (because, you know, Tinder), and not drink as much (because the year of drinking benders caught up to us), etcetera, etcetera. We make grand declarations, and we’re convinced this is the year we’ll stick with it and not quit—but sadly, studies show quitting usually happens before January ends. Yah, we’re not so great at resolutions. In an article written in Lifehack. org by Daniel Wallen, he informs readers that 12 percent of people making resolutions will actually see them through. In doing the math, by his estimation, roughly 156 million people will give up their resolutions long before January sees its midpoint. Wallen’s piece makes some valid points. “You’re treating a marathon like a sprint,” Wallen warns. “Start with something easy like committing to drinking more water that first week of the new year, and build from there.” In that same article he also reminds readers

We make grand declarations, and we’re convinced this is the year we’ll

stick with it

and not quit—but sadly, studies show quitting usually happens before January ends. Yah, we’re

not so great

at resolutions.

that the only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. In other words, take your time, have realistic expectations and don’t assume you can change every bad eating or workout habit instantaneously. Instead, try applying a Mister Miyagi–like mindset. Remember, the karate kid—Daniel-san—had to wax on and wax off a whole lot before he could successfully kick the Cobra Kai’s ass. Well, until the reboot anyway. “Habits seem to be more than behaviors—they seem to be part of who we are,” writes Julie Layton on science.howstuffworks. com. “Changing a habit is never that simple. If it were, overeaters would all be thin, alcoholics would never relapse, and everyone would be up early enough to eat a healthy breakfast before work.” So, this month while you faithfully commit to making changes, try setting goals instead. Once you know what you want, write down all the steps it’s going to take to make those goals a reality and start there. Lastly, don’t be in a hurry. The mindset of self-improvement is a day-by-day process and respecting that while making daily strides will lead you to being the best possible you imaginable. Now go. Set the hell out of those goals. JANUARY 2020

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Is “OK, BOOMER” a slur, a sign of increasing generational conflict, or just a meme-able mic drop? TEXT ROBYN GRIGGS LAWRENCE

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aitlin Fisher, an Ohio writer who describes herself as “queer as hell, autistic, prone to sudden outbursts of encouragement” and a lover of avocados, cats, plants, and soy chai lattes, released a new book this year, The Gaslighting of the Millennial Generation, based on a blog post by the same name that caught Twitter’s fancy and went viral in 2016. “The millennial generation has been tasked with fixing the broken system we inherited and chastised for not doing it right or daring to suggest improvements,” she wrote in the original post. “If you think we’re doing a bad job, ask yourself how it got this way in the first place.” For Fisher, “OK, boomer”—the catch phrase that has surfaced as a way to dismiss stubborn, intolerant older folks—is nothing new. “We live in a meme culture, and this is a viral punchline,” she says. “It’s the new ‘whatever,’ a mic drop of, ‘I’m not dealing with this anymore.’” Most boomers were blissfully unaware of the phrase “OK, boomer” until this fall, when a 25-year-old member of the New Zealand Parliament let it fly during a speech about climate change and the New York Times ran a “Style” section piece on it. Nearly every mainstream media outlet followed suit. Establishment boomers, publicly butt-hurt, declared intergenerational war, culminating in 60-year-old radio host Bob Lonsberry calling the phrase “the n-word of ageism” in a tweet he later deleted. Reaction was swift, fierce, JANUARY 2020

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TALKING ’BOUT MY GENERATION Pundits break US generations into generally accepted categories, though thereʼs hardly universal agreement about when one ends and the next begins. Age can be a powerful predictor of attitudes and behaviors because it denotes where someone was in their lifecycle during specific time periods and historical events. “Boomers” born after 1960 were toddlers during Woodstock and Vietnam and are more likely to identify with The Breakfast Club, not The Big Chill. And the lines between millennials and Gen Z are as fluid as its members. They share a lot of characteristics and have quite a bit in common with their great-grandparentsʼ generation as well.

GREATEST GENERATION: 1901–1925 Conservative, security-oriented, grew up in Depression and came of age during WWII SILENT GENERATION: 1925–1945 Thrifty, moral, conformist, patriotic, came of age as America became a superpower BABY BOOMERS: 1946–1964 Indulged, self-centered, iconoclastic, goal-centric, competitive, came of age during post-WWII boom

GENERATION X: 1965–1980 Freedom-loving, family-oriented, multicultural, jaded, grew up as latch key kids after Watergate and Vietnam MILLENNIALS (A.K.A. GEN Y): 1981–1996 Technological, independent, image-driven, open-minded, ethnically diverse, grew up during peaceful times but lost innocence to 9/11, Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, and the Great Recession GENERATION Z: 1997–2012 Traditional, family- and security-oriented, image-driven, open-minded, collaborative, most diverse (52% non-Hispanic whites), grew up with global terrorism, school shootings, smartphones, and social media

and often hilarious. “You can’t say that, #boomer is our word,” @JazzHendrix tweeted. “But you can say booma.” Though new to the mainstream media, #OKBoomer has been around awhile. Its first recorded use is in 2015 on 4chan, and it made its way to Reddit by 2017, according to Know Your Meme. In 2018, it erupted in a flurry of tweets responding to politicians criticizing millennials and their successors, Gen Zs, and it’s now a Twitter and Reddit standby. On the subReddit r/BoomerTears, 17,400 members post “any sour or garbage logic from boomers explaining why they’re special or complaining.” #BoomerAdvice, blasting out-oftouch words of wisdom from you know who, trends pretty regularly on Twitter. And of course, there’s a viral TikTok of a white-haired boomer ranting while a teenager scribbles “OK, Boomer” (flanked with hearts) on his notebook as well as an “OK, booomer” song that has spawned 4,000 TikToks. Hoodies, t-shirts, phone cases, and stickers emblazoned with the phrase are available on Redbubble and Spreadshirt. This is not your father’s generation gap; memes

like “OK, boomer” spread exponentially faster in 4G. “We can talk to people across the world, and we have the power to create whole new movements and share information really fast,” Fisher says. “Teenagers are no longer rolling their eyes at the dinner table. Now, teenagers are joining the revolution.”

WHAT IS THIS REVOLUTION? Millennials—along with their predecessors, Gen X, and successors, BEFORE IT WAS OK Gen Z—are angry. And The term baby boomer was first used in a 1963 whether they deserve it Salt Lake City Tribune or not, boomers are takarticle about the spike ing the blame for social of births that occurred and historical factors that during the decade following World War II. haven’t been kind to the generations that followed them. Boomers got college degrees “for the price of a McChicken,” according to one Redditor, while millennials are strapped with record student loan debt. The climate crisis and the rising tide of nationalism, inequality, and economic uncertainty all happened under the boomers’ watch. They elected Donald Trump. Even to boomers, it’s pretty clear this hippie-cum-capitalist generation kicked a lot of cans down the road while they were chasing profits and partying like it was 1999 (well into the 21st century). “How many world leaders for how many JANUARY 2020

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decades have seen and known what is coming but have decided that it is more politically expedient to keep it behind closed doors? My generation and the generations after me do not have that luxury,” Chlöe Swarbrick told the New Zealand Parliament in her climate speech just before she dropped the OK bomb. Even more maddening, boomers won’t acknowledge that younger generations are being forced to operate in a completely different economy, without the equity and safeguards boomers had and with huge fear about the future. “The world is just different,” says 30-yearold Lindsey Turnbull, who owns an empowerment company for teen and tween girls, MissHeard Media. “We need the adults to acknowledge that and not brush kids’ very real worries off as hormones.” These millennials are quick to point out that not every boomer is a “boomer” (thank God!). And furthermore, anyone who is intolerant to new ideas and unwilling to unlearn their biases can be “OK, boomered.” It’s more about attitude than ageism. “I know how exhausting it can be to debate with people, especially online, who are really adamant

about not seeing another point of view,” says Turnbull. “‘OK, boomer’ just says you’re not wasting all that time and emotional energy trying to come up with a well-thought-out response when the person on the other side doesn’t listen.”

hoarded all the wealth and polluted the planet in the process; they haven’t had to witness—or deal with the ramifications of—old age and precarity for millions of working people in that generational cohort,” he writes in the Guardian. “Instead they get to revel without self-reflection in oedipal TRENDING ON angst about their elders— WHITE TWITTER many of whom were kind One of the biggest issues many people see with this enough to pass them their ill-gotten privileges.” meme-inspired revoluFisher doesn’t distion is that its guerrillas agree. “It’s important to tend to be of a type—upacknowledge that ‘OK, per-middle-class white youth—and they’re com- boomer’ is about priviplaining about issues like leged older people, baby boomers in Congress who lack of economic opporkeep voting to give themtunity and silencing that people of color have been selves pay raises but don’t dealing with for centuries. want poor older people to have affordable health Black Twitter sees #Okcare,” she says. “While Boomer as nothing more than disrespect for elders. we’re fighting against the “White Brogressives never ‘royal boomer’ we can’t cared about income ineq- ignore the needs of older uity when it was just black people in our communities. Ageism is really serior brown folks on the ous. There’s elder abuse, wrong end of it,” @Wonderbitch82 posted. and medical debt is bankBhaskar Sunkara, found- rupting older Americans. er of Jacobin magazine and We can’t point to all older author of The Socialist Mani- people and say they are the problem the way they festo: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme point to our generation and say we are the probInequality, believes white lem. We have to open up upper middle-class youth the conversation.” who find themselves shut The conversation opens out of the housing market up for Turnbull, who lives and exploited by the gig economy should aim their angst at investment bankers, not boomers. “These young people are surrounded by baby boomers who’ve

in Washington, DC, when she mingles with people of all ages during political marches and protests. But in many places in the US, opportunities for cross-generational conversation are becoming rare as children are shunted into age-based sports and activities while the elderly are sent to care facilities, says Timiko Tanka, an associate professor of sociology at James Madison University. “As is said in an African proverb, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’” she says. “But today, many children are growing up without such a community.” Tanka says intergenerational care centers, which are starting to crop up across the country, have been proven to be useful in reducing age-based prejudice and stereotyping. In her Social Gerontology course, students spend at least 20 hours interacting and becoming comfortable with elderly people—so comfortable that by the end of the semester, they’re playing cards together. Schools, care facilities, and municipal governments need to create more opportunities for people to share different perspectives, she says. “‘OK, boomer’ is a warning that we need to find a bridge, not a wall, and have meaningful conversation,” says Tanka. JANUARY 2020

Generationalism: the systematic appeal to the concept of generation in narrating the social and political as a way of explaining political and social shifts. SOURCE: Baby Boomers and Generational Conflict by Jenny Bristow (2015)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robyn Griggs Lawrence is the author of the bestselling Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook and the recently released Pot in Pans: A History of Eating Cannabis.

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HOT PIZZA ASS

Podcast airs weekly on iTunes, Spotify, and online at hotpizzaass.libsyn.com

LA’s Pizza Darling Hot Pizza Ass’s Erin Darling Torralva delivers more than a good laugh. TEXT DAWN GARCIA

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Hot AF, funny AF, and unwilling to dumb herself down, Erin Darling Torralva, creator of the Hot Pizza Ass podcast, is the kind of take-me-as-Iam force of nature every woman can (and should) appreciate. Torralva is a Latina writer, comedian, actress, and no-bullshit artist who delves deep (unrelentingly so) into body image, self-love, sexual orientation, and how women are all too often marginalized in society. The Hot Pizza Ass podcast focuses on how inspirational people work through these challenges in their everyday lives to shine their light and become who they’re meant to be in this world. In other words, it’s not cotton-candy talk. It’s blow-the-goddamn-house-down kind of talk, and Torralva’s bubbly and snarky disposition is why it’s so entertaining. Before Hot Pizza Ass, writing was her first love. “Growing up, I identified more as a writer than a performer. My favorite toy was a typewriter,” says Torralva. “I was always writing plays and trying to get my brother and cousins to act them out in the backyard.” In middle school, she attended a performing arts school. She loved the spotlight,

but after she graduated from college, she was in an accident that gave her a concussion and left her face disfigured. She battled a range of fears, uncertain of how her face would heal. But once she did heal, she saw life through a more daring lens. “It took me a while to feel comfortable on stage again, but then I just went for it,” she says. “You never know what tomorrow is going to bring. You might as well try everything you want to try and explore all of your curiosities and passions, so I took the leap, committed, and in the process learned how to believe in myself. That was also a springboard to me doing stand-up.” Comedy comes naturally to Torralva. Through self-deprecating content, a waggish approach, and having the knack to turn the negative into a comical positive, she approaches every part of her life with alacrity. “My hope is that I can be a positive voice by making a conscious effort to do what it takes every day.” Torralva elaborates, “It’s so easy to be negative or pulled down by the situations around you—especially if they’re stressful. We’re only human after all, but when you focus on gratitude, empathy, and be-

“Crushing it makes me feel confident… whether it’s communicating with people, sticking it out through a really tough workout, or closing in on a goal I’ve been working toward.” —Erin Darling Torralva

ing kind to yourself, you have a shot at turning it around. It takes legitimate effort to be positive, but the effort is worth it.” In a time where women are embodying the strength they yield as empowered and equal, Torralva owns her inner feminist and supports other women in the industry. “We [women] have to stop being competitive and stop comparing ourselves to our peer group. Go to their shows, retweet their good news, tell them when you like something they did instead of acting like you didn’t see it. And most importantly, stop talking shit. We have enough hurdles to jump. Let’s have each other’s backs. I’m a big believer in that.” According to a KPMG Women’s Leadership study, 67 percent of women said they needed more support to build confidence and feel like they can be leaders. Torralva is also a firm believer in growing your confidence and recognizing what it is that makes you want to stand tall. “Crushing it makes me feel confident. Acquiring a new skill, committing to it, and getting really good at it,” she says. “Whether it’s communicating with other people, sticking it out through a really tough workout, or JANUARY 2020

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THE LIFE

closing in on a goal I’ve been working toward— these are the things that make me feel confident.” Born in San Jose in the Silicon Valley, Torralva was surrounded less with the entertainment industry and more with technology. The ever-increasing influx of evolving tech gave her a curiosity to learn. The Bay Area also happens to be home to several sports franchises she’s a big fan of. “I take pride in where I’m from. All of my favorite sports teams are still from my hometown. That will never change. I’ll always be loyal to my soil.” Being devoted to where she’s from also translates into being committed to working hard and not being afraid of taking on new challenges. “I have learned that hard work doesn’t always pay off, but consistent work does. You can work your ass off every day, put pressure on yourself, lose passion, and burn out. Or you can focus on working a certain amount every day, be dedicated with the time that you have set aside for your art, trust the process, and stay inspired. I love it when I see people really going for it, but talent takes time to develop no matter what you do or who you are,” Torralva says. “We often forget that because we’ve

all been sold on the idea of becoming an overnight success. It’s so easy to romanticize, but slow, steady, dogged perseverance through obstacles, frustration, and rejection wins the race.” One of the things that Torralva has done is take her own insecurities and flip them on their head by accepting her curves, her love of pizza, and telling everyone else to stop their inner mean-girl talk and be kinder to themselves. That’s how her podcast Hot Pizza Ass came to be. “I posted an Instagram photo with a piece of pizza on my butt. I wrote a caption about self-love and acceptance. It read, ‘This is my body, it changes every day, and I love it.’ This was a big leap for me. I’ve struggled with eating disorders and haven’t always had the healthiest relationship with my body, so posting a photo that showed my body and announced that I was actively choosing to love it was terrifying for me. I was fearful that I would be made fun of, and judged.” According to a study done by Dove for its Self-Esteem Project, by the time girls reach the tender age of 17, 78 percent will be unhappy with their bodies and 47 percent of girls aged 11 to 14 refuse to take part in activities that might

“show their bodies in any way.” In that same study, only 4 percent of women worldwide said they consider themselves beautiful. Women’s relationship to their bodies has been one of complication, and Torralva wants to be instrumental in changing that. Torralva admits, “I archived the photo three times after posting it. When I finally got the courage to read some of the comments, some-

thing amazing happened. I saw so much support. I realized I wasn’t alone. This feeling was relatable for so many others. I knew it was a platform I wanted to create for myself. If my moment of strength, talking about my insecurities, and my journey of self-love resonated with other people, I knew interviewing people about their selflove struggles could be inspiring and helpful to a greater audience.”

RAPID FIRE Q+A What havenʼt you done that you want to do? I want a TV and film career. I want to write and produce content that creates opportunities for women and minorities like me. If you could meet any three people who inspire you, who would you choose and what would you talk about? Jesus, George Carlin, and Audrey Hepburn. How great would that be? Iʼd love to talk to them about making an impact. If you could give everyone in existence one common behavior that they actively applied, what would it be? Love. Simply, love.

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THE LIFE RECIPE

MEET THE CHEF Andrea Drummer is a world-class Le Cordon Bleu–trained chef and a pioneering leader in the culinary and cannabis industries. She is the impetus behind the Original Cannabis Cafe. Chef Drummer has appeared in Netflix originals Chelsea Does! and Cooking on High. Sheʼs currently the editor of cannabismd.com. She was recently named a Top-Ten Cannabis Chef by digital magazine GreenState.

Shakshuka Fusion Serves: 6 / 11.6 mg cannabis per serving

Dishing with Drummer Taste this fresh take on a traditional Mediterranean dish. TEXT DAWN GARCIA RECIPE ANDREA DRUMMER

Shakshuka (SHOCK-shoo-kah) was born centuries ago and has flavors that speak of comfort, warmth, and robustness. Traditionally the dish is made with slow poached egg in a tomato bath, with chili peppers, garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg. Over time and through culinary interpretations, shakshuka has become a popular vegetarian option. Drummer has taken this Mediterranean staple one step further by infusing it with cannabis.

1 teaspoon rosemary minute. (chopped finely) • Add the rosemary and ¼ cup olive oil ½ tablespoon soy chorizo. Cook until 1 teaspoon cannabis oil tomato powder chorizo is firm. Stir 2 Thai chili peppers (or substitute frequently. 1 small yellow onion ½ tablespoon of • Add diced tomatoes, (chopped) tomato paste) along with ½ cup of 5 cloves of garlic Crusty bread for water and tomato (minced) serving powder. 1 teaspoon ground cumin • Reduce heat to INST RUCT IONS medium, simmer, and ½ tablespoon • In a large saucepot, paprika stir occasionally until heat the olive and ½ tablespoon slightly thickened. cannabis oils on smoked paprika • Crack eggs over the medium high heat. 1 tube soy chorizo sauce and cover. • Add chopped chili (Trader Joe’s brand) Cook until whites are peppers and onions; 1 can (28 ounces) cooked through and cook until soft and diced tomatoes, the yolks are set. slightly golden. un-drained • Serve with crusty • Add cumin, paprika, Kosher salt to taste. bread and enjoy! smoked paprika, ½ cup diced potatoes and garlic; cook for 1 (cooked al dente) IN GREDIENTS

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THE LIFE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mona Van Joseph has been predicting the potential of her clients since 2002. She is an author and columnist who hosts Psychic View Radio weekly. mona.vegas

HOROSCOPE

ANNUAL FOURCAST

The number 2020 vibes to the number four. How will that affect the coming year? TEXT MONA VAN JOSEPH

The sum of the numbers of the last year of the decade is four. Four is the number of foundation and structure. This is the year of establishing your legacy. Wills, trusts, inheritances, and the settling of old affairs will be a priority. The faster any pending legal issues are concluded, the better it will be for you moving forward. This is where you leave your home each day with the vibration that things are squared away. Do not worry about those people who haven’t taken care of their issues; just gently remind them that you are

taking care of yours. This is not a time of preaching what you know to be right for you. Wait until you are asked for your advice. Each of us knows what’s right for us (if we are still enough to relax into our spirit). Think of the things and people around you as treasures. They are your foundation for the upcoming years. This decade is ending on the vibration of setting things in order, so that means that you are establishing the energy for the next decade (beginning in 2021) with the structure of what you set in place in 2020.

Also, 2020 can be considered a “Master Year,” because of the number 22. It resonates with the master builder, so think of large projects where the attention to detail is respected, honored, and celebrated. The number 22 is also the only master number where its digits can be multiplied or added together to reach the sum of four. Because the energy revolves around setting things in order, you will find that your awareness of what’s most important will be what attracts your attention. Some cultures resist the number four

in the same way we avoid the number 13. In languages such as Mandarin and Japanese, the word “four” sounds identical to the word for “death.” In this case, however, that death is not an actual ending of life; it is the end of irresponsibility. It is the freedom that comes from being disciplined enough to plan, from here, your future. The year 2020 will be one for checking the details of everything before making any decision and not a year of shortcutting anything. Purge away any old, unused items and sage your home on New Year’s Day

(or as close to the beginning of the month as possible). It’s a lovely ritual to cleanse away any negativity from the previous year. Have flat surfaces in your home become a cluttered menagerie where dust bunnies lurk? Then it’s time to get rid of that clutter. Even those clothes that still have the tags on them could be returned or donated to an organization that helps people restart their lives.

THINK OF THE THINGS AND PEOPLE AROUND YOU AS TREASURES. THEY ARE YOUR FOUNDATION FOR THE UPCOMING DECADE.

See your individual astrology forecast for January 2020 at vegasastrology.com, and download the Dice Wisdom app to keep you focused on what’s most important to your spirit in 2020.

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LOREM IPSUM

Bus prempor dit quunto tem ipis alit aut exped quia cum eliciet audam renit, eaquat ute

No More Smoke Screen The nation’s first cannabis café is groundbreaking.

The term original cannabis café is unique because in the United States, there is only one location that can proudly claim that title in the last 100 years and it’s Lowell Cafe, newly renamed the Original Cannabis Cafe. Located in West Hollywood, this café has broken a century of social norms by ushering 34 LOS A N G E LES

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in a new era and taking the lead on a long overdue movement toward cannabis’ acceptance as a regular part of living, dining, and overall wellness. “Since we opened, our guests and employees have colloquially referred to the restaurant as the Cannabis Cafe, when talking about us to their friends

and on social media. We’re excited to make the name change official as we focus on the community,” says Ami Gan, VP of marketing and communications. Owned by Chef Andrea Drummer, social activist Renee Nahum, and 710 Labs and Famous Farms, the café broke barriers when the city of

West Hollywood greenlit its opening and allowed the first cannabis consumption restaurant license to be issued. West Hollywood is an advocate for creating unique experiences for locals and travelers alike and Cannabis Cafe falls in line with that vision. The city created eight cannabis consumption

licenses, working directly with county and state officials to ensure every license was above board and fully compliant. Out of 300 applicants, Cannabis Cafe is the first business in the United States that has been granted a fully legal cannabis consumption license. The Original Cannabis Cafe is

PHOTO BY WONHO FRANK LEE

TEXT DAWN GARCIA


PHOTO BY MARINA THOMPSON

incredibly special not only because it’s the first mainstream cannabis café coloring the LA landscape with a cutting-edge concept, it’s serving cuisine crafted by the very talented Chef Drummer, whose culinary renderings rival some of the best restaurants in town, including her impressive plantbased dishes. “This important social and historical establishment should belong to the cannabis community and industry, not any single cannabis corporation. By no longer being branded with a single company, our Cannabis Cafe will focus on its goal of presenting our diners with as diverse a range as possible of cannabis from small independent growers and entrepreneurs,” Drummer says. The experience begins the moment you pull into the parking lot, where a valet greets you, parks your car, and directs you toward the café entrance. The

exterior is warm and inviting with mixed mediums of wood, concrete, and foliage, and the cannabis plumes dancing through the air set the stage for an unforgettable experience. The interior design of the café is much like a well-imagined cinematic scene. The space itself tells a story from the exposed brick to the living wall to an extraordinary use of vintage pieces. There are old radios and telephones inserted amid shelves of living plants and streetlamps that once lit streets over a century ago. There are hand-painted tiles that have both a Spanish and Moroccan feel, spray-painted vintage rails that surround tufted rounds and ample seating, sustainably sourced wooden accents, and walls and walls of blackand-white photos inspired by Prohibition, including shots of Mick Jagger and David

Bowie. It is inspiring and cozy while creating a sense that you’ve entered into another world where cannabis menus and cool people were always the norm. The Original Cannabis Cafe offers a flower menu that a tableside flower host will thoroughly go over to help you choose from more than 100 strains of cannabis cultivated by more than 45 growers. The flower menu also includes infused drinks, including Kikoko teas, CBD honey shots, packs, and singles from brands like Good Brands, Centurion

EAT, SIP, REPEAT Chef Andrea Drummerʼs fare is a pleasant departure from a typical LA lunch. I sat down with Ami Gan to try Kikoko Tranquili-tea canna-tea (3 mg THC), Kikiko Chill CBD-infused honey (10 mg CBD), the baby kale salad (served with toasted walnuts, local figs, goat cheese, mango citrus vinaigrette, and hemp oil), and the Seriously Better Than Vegan, Vegan Nachos (cauliflower meat, black beans, follow-your-heart cheese sauce, red onion, guacamole, pico de gallo, and house chips (I substituted fries for the chips). If you want to feel bliss, order this secret menu item: the fries in place of traditional chips made this so indulgent we polished off every last bite.

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THE SCENE

INTERIOR PHOTO CREDIT: WONHO FRANK LEE

A BUSTLING LUNCH Guests come in droves to dine, smoke, and enjoy at the bar, in the dining room, and on the outdoor patio.

Extracts, The Cure Company, Pure Beauty, Lola Lola Cannabis, Candescent, LAKush, 710 Labs, and more. The flower menu is just as carefully and thoughtfully laid out as the dining menu, setting the standard of service in a brand-new field of hospitality. When it comes to hunger, Chef Drummer has your back—and your stomach, and your many food preferences. The menu is very much like a culinary dance from light

and airy to rich and hearty— from gorgeous salads sourced from local farms, paying tribute to the commitment to farm-to-table cuisine, to nachos, smash burgers, vegan Banh Mi, or the Fruity Pebbles bread pudding. The flavor profiles span the gamut but by no means take the sophisticated palate of Angelenos for granted. Every dish is beautifully put together, and Drummer has so effortlessly curated plates that not only

pair seamlessly with cannabis should you partake, but they all stand alone as exceptional in taste, texture, presentation, and a clear love of cooking. Her expertise in the kitchen is evident in every bite. While revolutionizing the cannabis and culinary industries, Original Cannabis Cafe is ushering in even more for the canna-curious to enjoy in the coming months, including brunch service as well as yoga, live music,

and comedy shows. Be sure to check the website for an updated calendar of events.

Original Cannabis Cafe | 1201 North La Brea, LA | HOURS: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily cannabis.cafe @ogcannabiscafe @canna_queen71

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THE SCENE HIGH SOCIETY

Up and Away Amazon Prime Video launched the original film The Aeronauts with a premier VIP screening in Los Angeles. The evening took guests back to 1862 with its old Victorian Fair. The evening included popcorn carts, a tarot card reader, the Sweet Shoppe, hot air balloon rides, an apothecary bar, and a science experiment tent. The movie was shown on three outdoor screens, including a state-of-the-art, first-of-its-kind 20-foot LED screen wrapped 360 degrees around a second hot air balloon. Starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, The Aeronauts is a beautiful film full of adventure and thrills. Its story shows the origins of meteorology, made possible by early scientists who dared to explore nature from new heights. Now streaming on Amazon Prime Video

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THE SCENE CA L E N DA R

On the Calendar

Yoga, feasting, and soaking up the sneaky pockets of sunshine— that’s January in Los Angeles. TEXT ELI DUPIN

This month, we prepare for awards season from the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and the Academy Awards all happening in the next two months. We revel in the world of movie stars and progressive culinary concepts, we hike to the Hollywood sign or stroll around Griffith Park because the weather here never gets too grim, and we can boast that in the span of a single winter day we can surf at Zuma and snowboard in Big Bear.

EAT Dine LA Jan. 17–31 Various restaurants, Los Angeles $15–$100 discoverlosangeles.com/dinela

Japanese Food Expo Jan. 25, 1–9 p.m. Lowes Hollywood Hotel, Hollywood $80, Ages 13+ japanfoodculture.org

Every year LA restaurants offer Donut Bash Jan. 26, 1–5 p.m. chef curated lunch and dinner menus to Indie Brewing Company, Los Angeles intrigue curious din- $10–$25 ers with adventurindiebrewco.com ous palates. This is the best way to get a Did someone say taste of LA at a price donuts and beer? you can handle. Yes, yes we did. 40 LOS A N G E LES

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THE SCENE CA L E N DA R

LEFT: DONUT BASH TOP RIGHT: FAHEY + OCKENFELS 3 BOTTOM: JAPANESE FOOD EXPO BOTTOM RIGHT: HOT FIXX YOGA

LISTEN Do the Damn Thing Jan. 8–Feb. 5, 3–6 p.m. Gather, Los Angeles $297 do-the-damn-thing.com

This five-week accountability session for feminist creatives offers a strong, supportive community of women working and identifying three goals: personal, political, and business—and getting honest feedback.

In Conversation: David Fahey + Ockenfels 3

photographers discuss the importance of your work and the art of commerce.

Live Talks LA: An Evening with Ezra Klein

Jan. 8, 7–10 p.m. Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles $5 Tickets at Eventbrite

Feb. 4, 8 p.m. Aratani Theatre in the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, DTLA $20–$53 livetalksla.org/events/ezra-klein

Presented by APA LA, these luminary

Vox editor-at-large and author of Why

We’re Polarized, Ezra Klein discusses America’s descent into division and dysfunction as a direct result of its flawed political system.

The Melrose Instagram Experience Jan. 30, 3:30–5 p.m. Meeting Place TBA $27, Appropriate for all ages lastoriestour.com

The Krishna Experience

GET OUT Zoot Suit Riots Bus Tour: Pachuco Style As Resistance Jan. 12, 12–4:30 p.m. LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, DTLA $55 Tickets at Eventbrite

Wale’s Wow: That’s Crazy Tour Jan. 29, 8 p.m. Fonda Theatre, Hollywood $27 fondatheatre.com

Jan. 11, The Diorama-Museum of Bhagavad-gita, Culver City $25 bgmuseum.com

BREATHE

unlimited classes in a one-of-a-kind yoga marketplace.

Hot Fixx Yoga Jan. 8, 5:30–6:15 p.m. Wanderlust, Hollywood $24 per class wanderlusthollywood.com

Get ready to have your ass kicked through asana, pranayama, and nada yoga vinyasa kramas in a warm 86 degree class. Sweat, get centered, and then enjoy the Wanderlust Cafe afterward.

5th Annual Yoga Expo Jan. 4, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Pasadena Convention Center, Pasadena $35–$60 theyogaexpo.org

Explore local and sustainable food and

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Flower One The largest greenhouse in Nevada has even bigger plans.

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team of visionaries is working to ensure the state’s residents and tourists have continuous supply now and in the future.Flower One, focused on being one of the largest greenhouse cannabis grow and processing facilities in the United States, is following the vision of a solid team of industry experts. They have created one of the most technologically advanced facilities to date, capable of producing 140,000 pounds of dry flower per year. Their straightforward business model is to provide the highest quality, seedto-retail-ready product that is custom packaged and delivered to retailers. This is combined with a commitment to consistent, reliable, high-volume delivery that is just part of what Flower One is working to achieve for its brand partners and consumers.

“The team that I am designing purposefully comes from various industries, not only from cannabis,” says Salpy Boyajian, COO of Nevada operations. “We are here to elevate how the world of cannabis is viewed by the way we operate our business.” Flower One’s operations are based out of its 455,000-square-foot cannabis facility in North Las Vegas, including a 400,000-square-foot stateof-the-art greenhouse paired with an adjoining 55,000-square-foot processing and custom packaging facility, making Flower One the largest facility of its kind in the state. Flower One’s product portfolio ranges from dry flower, pre-rolls, cannabis oils, distillates, concentrates, edibles, topicals, and infused products. “The vision of the company is to create a suite of products that run the

full gamut so that we have something for every customer,” Boyajian says. Flower One has nearly 400 employees and contractors, with plans to add “The vision at least 50 more people to its team. of the “One of the main things our sales company team will focus on is informing budtenders and dispensaries about is to create our best-in-class brands and product a suite of portfolio,” Boyajian says. products Last year, Flower One completed that run its inaugural cannabis harvest, and the full it is now operating on an ongoing cycle of harvesting one zone per gamut week, representing approximately so that 10,000 hydroponically grown cannabis we have plants per zone. But the company’s not finished yet, Boyajian says. “First something you got to get good, and then you get for every big. Right now, we are trying to get customer.” good here in Nevada. That is the first —Salpy Boyajian, step. We built this facility with the intention of what the future will bring, COO of Nevada operations not where we are today.”

Flower One High quality and seed-to-retail-ready greenhouse cannabis facility flowerone.com JANUARY 2020

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P R O M O T I O N A L F E AT U R E INDEPENDENCE RISK SOLUTIONS

carrier, and then walked them through the best strategies for choosing the right insurance products for them to fit within their budgets. “As a full-service insurance broker and risk management firm, we have access to the entire cannabis insurance marketplace,” Bartholomew says. “We extensively market each account and present all options to our clients. We specialize in all insurance products, including general and product liability, property insurance, employee benefits, bonds, commercial auto insurance, and much more.” As the cannabis industry evolves, it’s important to make sure everyone is compliant, protected, and working with companies you can trust. “At Independence Risk Solutions, we have dedicated ourselves to understanding the unique risks the cannabis industry faces. Our team is experienced in developing risk management and protection strategies that are customized n 2012, an employee at the na- performed so well, the consulting firm to each operation we work with.” tionwide risk management and that guided our former employee to The firm is dedicated to helping insurance firm, Independence receiving the license began refercannabis companies enter or transiRisk Solutions, applied for the ring their clients to us for their risk tion into the legal market effectively, first cannabis license in the state of management and insurance needs. efficiently, and profitably. Ultimately, Nevada, and it was granted. “As he Over the years, our cannabis client list working with Independence empowers pivoted from the insurance industry to grew, along with our experience in the clients to comply with regulation and the cannabis industry, he turned to our space, and we launched a cannabis fo- operate within the track-and-trace risk management team to ensure he cused division of our firm so we could system. “Our services help consumers was properly insured,” says Indepenshare our knowledge and experience avoid the black market by providing dence Risk Solutions practice leader, with the industry.” them with legal, regulated alternaJon Bartholomew. The company was By 2018, Independence launched its tives.” Independence Risk Solutions is founded by Tim Shank, Justin Manning specialty cannabis division. “As our there to keep clients on track and runand Mark Swarts, who started Swarts, client base in the cannabis industry ning successful businesses knowing Manning & Associates, a nationwide continued to grow, we saw the need they’re protected. risk management and insurance firm to establish a cannabis-focused founded in 1994. Once their client’s division.” Independence got to know cannabis license was issued in Nevada, its potential clients by doing in-depth they recognized the need for a subsidi- reviews of their cannabis businesses Independence Risk Solutions ary to focus on the cannabis industry. to help identify areas of exposed risk, Protecting cannabis client businesses Bartholomew continues, “Our team strengths, and weaknesses of each independencerisksolutions.com.

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THE END

Tax Surge The increased California cannabis tax may contribute to black market opportunism. TEXT DAWN GARCIA AND ELI DUPIN

This month California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) has opted to raise the cannabis tax once again. According to the government website (cdtfa.ca.gov), effective January 1, 2020, the mark-up rate will be set at an astounding 80 percent. “The role of the CDTFA is to administer the law, educate taxpayers, and ensure the proper amount of tax is collected. Proposition 64, as approved by voters, requires a 15 percent excise tax on the gross receipts of cannabis sales. That 15 percent excise tax rate remains unchanged. When implementing the proposition, the legislature moved the incidence of the tax from the retailer to the distributor, requiring 50 LOS A N G E LES

JA N UARY 2020

CDTFA to determine the average markup rate every six months,” says Casey Wells of the CDTFA Office of Public Affairs. While the state website cites that the explanation for the increase is based on inflation, the steady increase is what leads to more black market opportunism. State Assemblyman Tom Lackey agrees. In an open letter to CDTFA Director Nicolas Maduros, Lackey writes, “Legal cannabis businesses are in critical need of fewer taxes, not more. The past two years, members of the legislature focused intensely on protecting the vulnerable legal market.” The letter concludes with Lackey identifying that the mark-up rates, tax increases, and outrageous business costs encourage

business to avoid the legal market altogether. According to the CDTFA, “Since January 2018, total program revenue to date is $845.3 million, which includes $411.3 million in cannabis excise tax, $98.9 million in cultivation tax, and $335.1 million in sales tax.” While living in this gorgeous state is wonderful, the taxes we pay can give a sucker punch to your bank account. In fact, according to communitytax. com, California’s top marginal income tax rate of 13.3 percent is the highest in the country. (Cue jaw drop.) Now add an additional 11–15 percent on top of that for cannabis taxes and what once was a $10 purchase quickly costs double the price. What that means in layman terms is not only

will the cannabis retail tax be increased, the increase in the cultivation tax will result in steep costs passed on to consumers. The California Cannabis Industry Association is outraged. “As California’s regulated market spirals towards collapse from taxes on cannabis consumers, local bans, onerous regulations, slow growth, and a thriving illicit market, we believe that the CDTFA’s decision to increase tax burdens on compliant cannabis operators is counter to developing a safe industry. Widening the price disparity gap between illicit and regulated products will further drive consumers to the illicit market at a time when illicit products are demonstrably putting people’s lives at risk.”


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