How Tokyo Smoke Burned Their Cannabis Credibility

If there’s one way to describe the Cannabis culture and community at large, it’s creative.  How else can you describe an industry that has not only survived underground, despite prohibition, demonization and persecution, for the better part of a century, and has in fact grown to become a multi-billion dollar thriving movement worldwide?  And no, we’re not talking about the white-collar capitalists banking off the recent gentrified-racketeering of this stigmatized (beloved) plant.  We mean the real pioneers, the activists and patients and grassroots hobbyists who have spent decades peacefully advocating to draw Mary Jane out of the shadows.

Enter Tokyo Smoke, a Toronto coffee shop and lifestyle cannabis brand, who recently announced a partnership with Licensed Producer Aphria Inc., to launch their own branded strains of medical marijuana.  Well if you haven’t seen it, this week they released a video with Vice Media (embedded below), which was nothing short of a PR disaster.  The video shows off their new, space-grade, $13,000 steel bong (no, that’s not a typo), which they designed with prestigious architecture firm, Partisans, and produce using their $1-million 3D printer.  Absurd?  Definitely, but that’s not what’s burning their cannabis credibility to the ground.  The duo featured in the video, Tokyo Smoke owner Alan Gertner and designer Alexander Josephson, suggest that the inspiration for their lofty project, was to address the problem of an “unthoughtful” culture that “claims to be so based in creativity and liberal thought”.  They went on to suggest that there is (and has only ever been) one type of bong and one type of pipe, apparently, “a dragon… or our larger format dragon”.

We know what you’re thinking right about now… what are they actually smoking?  We would certainly love to know, and undoubtedly, so would all the highly skilled and talented glass artisans they’ve offended, who’ve been producing one-of-a-kind, celebrated works of functional art, for oh, just a couple hundred years, maybe?  Not to mention, 99% of their target market, aka. cannabis smokers.

Needless to say, Tokyo Smoke has received crucifixion-worthy backlash across social media, telling the “pretentious” and “out of touch” elitists to pack their bags, and Vice has since removed the original video.

Well despite this small dose of ignorance, if there’s one thing the cannabis community isn’t, it’s unthoughtful, and it only takes a quick hashtag search to see for yourself.  Some of the memes and comments we’ve seen are comedy chronic, and we’ve taken the liberty of compiling a few of our faves (including some note-worthy glass beauties, of course).  So get your dragons fired up…

Betty Pie

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