A bit back I was relaxing at a Cannabis gathering, produced by Quad Deuce Nil and the JohnO Show, when I met a lively and exciting character, the one and only Mr. Spleef. His energy came out of nowhere, but it was immediately contagious; and his passion for the industry was undeniable. I came to learn about his company Spleef and his vision for the future. If you look at Spleef’s Instagram you’ll see the dedication he has for creating incredible quality products and experiences. His signature product, the Bake, is a decadent creation that combines the lightness of a cake atop the dense, rich texture of a brownie. The Bake is a testament to what sets Spleef apart from competitors- his creativity, knowledge and business mindset sets a tone for entrepreneurs looking to create in this Cannabis space.
Being a stoner since he was a teenager, Mr. Spleef collaborated early on with incredibly passionate and creative people that helped him become the ganjapreneur he is today. In college he collaborated with his best friend and learned about infused food. They had medicated dinner parties, as well as started selling brownies on campus, which led to branding his own products using his nickname at the time, Spleef. It’s then when he learned about business and started treating his side-hustle like an actual company- from personnel to accounting to marketing, and beyond. It was always collaborations that helped him create the Spleef brand, among groups of talented people that were excited to help the process. This hard work continues as he strives to deliver his vision to create an open and inclusive Cannabis culture in NYC.
While the industry elsewhere in the country is thriving with legalization, the NYC area is in a bit of a limbo harboring an underground scene in the largest metropolitan area in the country. While this keeps Cannabis culture underground, the influence of legal states is certainly being felt. Mr. Spleef has shined in this environment and feels that the pressure is creating higher standards that will only move the culture forward. He explains his logic, “There is so much diversity within the clientele- there are out-of-towners and locals who have that legal market experience and have certain expectations. When those expectations are met, then you have these people’s respect; because this is a city that doesn’t have as many resources, yet you are delivering that same quality and customer service. That comes with all the underground companies in this space. There are (delivery) services that outsource their inventory, now even easier than before, which has allowed the underground market to reach high levels of quality. On the other side, there are local homegrown companies that must also meet this heightened demand in order to keep up. Some people are stuck in their ways and won’t adapt; and at this point they won’t be successful.”
As the culture grows in this underground marketplace, new waves of what is known as the norm are evolving. We discussed some trends that have emerged. From the vaporizer cartridges becoming the new way to inhale (due to their obvious ease and convenience) to the expansion of the edible range making it now possible to get high from eating shrimp scampi. While the market isn’t big enough for the total expanse or to recognize product trends you may see in a legal state, the quality and creativity is on the rise. Spleef is expanding on the experience, particularly with drinkable cannabis. Cannabis cocktails create a different atmosphere and can replace the socially embedded habit of alcohol. This is a topic Spleef lights up about. One of the cocktails he described to me was, “Sunshine Blaze- a mix of watermelon sherbet and lemonade together. A bit unorthodox, but it made a really wonderful balance of flavors. It’s very simple, only like one or two flavors. We shake it up in the martini shaker, pour it over ice and top it off with lemon-lime seltzer water, garnished with lemon zest.” The more he described, the more my mouth watered. The drinks are light, refreshing, and are medicated with around 15mg-25mg of Spleef’s own THC tincture. You can experience crafted cocktails like the Sunshine Blaze at his curated events, next of which will be the Spleef Speakeasy on January 12th. His menu is constantly changing and the concessions are beautifully creative and delicious.
These pop-ups are becoming a full experience. Cannabis, with it’s notorious history, has traditionally been consumed in close-knit circles. The opportunity to experience it in an open and social way, like at a bar for example, has been far and few between. These pop-ups and sessions are changing that. Spleef describes, “Cannabis is giving another option for a night out with friends. And another option to connect with people where it generally hasn’t been possible. Energies are real and can change under (cannabis) influence. There are opportunities for dinner parties with infused menus or pop up sessions that bring all the arts and the art of cannabis together. This is creating a lot of vibes that weren’t openly available in the past.”
As we move forward and the underground community slowly creeps to the surface, especially with the impending Recreational Cannabis legislation in New Jersey, there are a lot of exciting things in the future. I asked Mr. Spleef what he’s excited for to which he responded, “What I’m excited for is for Cannabis to be, for a lot of people, just a normalized part of life and not it having to be a lifestyle. It should just be an option in life to use and enjoy. You walk down the streets and it’s a clothing store, a bar, a law office… normal life stuff. And you’re smoking a J walking down the street to meet your friends at that new infused restaurant down the block. I want that to be a normal category, just a part of life, out in the world like anything else. Imagine being at an airport- you can grab a pre-flight beer or get an infused treat. This should be a part of society, like alcohol; actually more. It should be in pet’s lives, children’s health, all of that. I want to eventually walk into my bodega and be able to get something Cannabis related in every damn aisle, that’s what I want to see.”
The story continues for Mr. Spleef, as he comes up with new ways to make the Cannabis world exciting. Whether that is reinventing the edible or bringing people together in one room under the love and influence of Cannabis. To get involved and be a part of the Spleef story, follow their Instagram and join their mailing list for information on upcoming events and news.