Jenny Lewis has a pretty simple explanation why she’s getting into the weed business. “You know when you’re brainstorming ideas of something you can make that’s really cool — but you also get some of the thing?” she says. “I’ve done a couple of natural wine collaborations where basically I just get seven cases of wine. So it made sense to do some doobs.”
Lewis has teamed up with California cannabis company Glass House Farms to sell a strain called Rabbit Hole, a low-THC Sour Diesel strain that she claims is perfect for the casual smoker. The origin of the strain “can be traced back to a Grateful Dead concert in 1991 where the seeds were first distributed,” a release reads. It is now available in five-packs of pre-rolled joints at some dispensaries in Los Angeles. (Lewis is also on tour through the end of the year.) We talked to Lewis about her history with the plant, and why she’s getting in the weed game.
What’s your relationship to weed, and how does it help you?
Well, it’s a tool. And it’s an alternative to other things as well. I feel it has the least consequences. If you’re going to invite something into your life on a daily basis, I feel like weed is sort of lower on the totem pole of disaster.
When did you learn it actually helped you?
Well, the first time I got stoned, I must have been 14. It was an interesting experience. I got super-stoned and then we went to this fair in Westwood and rode those swings and “Pour Some Sugar on Me” was just blasting and I was so rip-stoned. We went back to my friends house and passed out, and I woke up the next morning with “I’m an asshole” written in sharpie on my forehead.
When did you start making it a regular part of your life?
I guess I haven’t thought about my career as an enthusiast. I’m not not a pothead. No, I’m a pothead, and I have been [since I was] 15.
My father was a marijuana advocate, and he was a harmonica player and he would play these gigs at the federal building for NORML. So he was a early part of that movement. He wrote part of the Emperor Wears No Clothes, which is sort of the handbook [on pot]. It’s by Jack Herer. I don’t know if you have had a Jack Herrer strain of marijuana, it’s like a kush strain in Amsterdam, if you’ve ever been in those cafes. That was my dad’s best friend and they used to drop me off at his head shop when I was a kid instead of getting a babysitter.
How does pot affect you?
I feel like it removes me just enough from reality, or the mundane, the details, where I think it just kind of makes things a little silly … unless you’re a grumpy stoner.
There’s such a thing as a grumpy stoner?
Abso-fucking-lutely. There are so many grumpy stoners.
Do you get better musical ideas when you’re stoned?
I get all of them. Better and worse. So I feel like I create. Should I not tell people this? Is this too much behind the curtain?
No, I think it’s great.
Yeah, seeing Seth Rogen talk about weed made me feel really comfortable. I was like “Yes, this guy’s awesome, and he’s being really open about it being a part of his life.” In our generation, there’s a little bit of secrecy and shame if you’re a true pothead, because there were consequences.
I read that typically you’ll start your day exercising, do a little work, then you’ll get stoned and play music.
Well, that’s the best version of what I do. That made me sound really with it, where I exercise every day. Not really. But, sure!
Where do you like to smoke?
Uh, where don’t I? It takes a lot of planning. There’s a lot of preparation to keep the lifestyle going. But it’s become easier. Now, in Canada, you can go to a dispensary and buy a joint. You don’t have to, lets just say, dig a hole on the American side of the border when you’re on tour with your band, and then bury your weed in a hole in the park, and then draw a map, and then go play in Canada and go back and follow the map and dig up the pot.
How long ago was that?
That was probably 15 years ago.
Did you find it?
Hell yeah, I found it.
I think the only time I ever got mad at Ben Gibbard was over some joint debacle on the Postal Service tour, where we were supposed to save a joint and then it got smoked and I was like, “Ben, where’s the fucking joint, man?”
“Now, in Canada you can go to a dispensary and buy a joint. You don’t have to, lets just say, dig a hole on the American side of the border when you’re on tour and then bury your weed in a hole in the park, and then draw a map and follow the map and dig up the pot.”
How did you approach what kind of strain you wanted to release?
Glass House grows outside, which is really awesome. I really wanted a low-THC sativa dominant. Because I think a lot of the weed that you can buy at the dispensaries is pretty high THC. And that stuff, lets say you roll a joint, and then your friends’ parent is backstage, it will just knock them on their asses. You want something that’s a little more old-school, like a low-THC sativa. Sour Diesel is perfect. And this is not my own strain, which I want to be clear about. This is a blend, and we’ve got these doobs right now, however I hope a strain is imminent.
Sour Diesel is an interesting strain, because apparently the origin is at a 1992 Grateful Dead show, which is amazing. That’s the great thing about being a Grateful Dead fan. This shit just follows you around, and you can’t even help it. I’ve experienced a lot of Sour Diesel … [it’s] very light but also very creative.
How did you learn the pot was associated with the Grateful Dead?
I learned about that after. And that’s the great thing about being a Grateful Dead fan. This shit just follows you around, and you can’t even help it. You’re like, “of course!”
The artwork is pretty cool.
[It’s by] my friend Sina Grace, who designs my merch and has been basically drawing me and my band since 2001. I just did Colbert and a week before, I was like, “Hey Sina, can you draw a bong with rainbow-animated smoke coming out of it?” And he was like, “I got you!” So he designed tarot cards for the songs on my album. So the cover of this little tin packaging of the Rabbit Hole joints is a tarot card that Sina designed that’s super cute. So when you finish your doobs, it can be for your other doobs later. It’s really cute.
So have you heard how it’s selling?
Yes. And it’s doing well. I think it will sell out. Personally, my share was: they gave me 40 of those tins, and I’ve probably smoked half of them with my friends, and everyone seems to enjoy them.
Is this something that you could see as a business?
Like for money?
Well, it’s not for money now. It’s for tins of weed, and art. But I don’t know. It feels like the weed industry on the west coast is like the wild west. It seems like there’s a lot of opportunity to start something now, because it feels like it’s just the beginning. It’s pretty exciting.
So you’re not benefiting from this financially? You’re just doing this to get weed yourself?
Yes. For now. I think I’ll make like $500. Which, that’s pretty good!