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This Cali Company Wants to Light Your Bowl with Space Lasers

The B-LAZE laser bong by SiliconCali is a highdea so incredibly inventive that only true stoner ingenuity could bring it to life.

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B-LAZE
PHOTO | SiliconCali
Eaze

You know those ideas you get when you are really high? The ideas you think could actually be something. You stay up all night smoking more weed, planning every little detail only to wake up the next morning and realize you can’t remember half of what you planned. The great highdeas.

This isn’t one of those highdeas. This vision burns much brighter. So bright in fact that you need safety glasses to properly utilize the technology SilconCali is producing. The Bay Area startup is building a more exciting future and they’re doing it by combining the mechanics of a conventional glass bong with app-enabled, laser technology and other exciting approaches to firing up a bowl.

B-LAZE Laser Bong: Never Smoke a Boring Bowl Again

The flagship technology from SiliconCali is the B-LAZE Laser Bong; a hand-blown, glass bong lit by LEDs that uses a laser to ignite the bowl while leveraging other automation to optimize the experience. The battery-powered laser bong uses wireless induction charging to recharge the device using an electromagnetic field from a charging dock. The B-LAZE is a highdea so incredibly inventive that only true stoner ingenuity could bring it to life.

So why would you ever need a laser bong? To find out why you would ever need a laser bong and what inspired its creation I sat down for a chat with SiliconCali founder and B-LAZE creator, Justin Zelaya.

“It’s simple!” Zelaya explains. “I was tired of boring products.” He wanted to create a fun, unique way to enjoy cannabis but more than anything this project is about creating an exciting future. It’s less about getting high or jumping into the booming cannabis industry.


Not long ago, Zelaya was operating a headshop-technology shop hybrid in San Francisco’s renowned Haight Ashbury. In a city known for disruptive technology, in a neighborhood rooted as the epicenter of the counterculture. What better place could cannabis and technology collide so fantastically?

Zelaya’s passion for the project and company comes from his enthusiasm for all things tech. He’s a self-taught electrical engineer who wanted to learn how to build drones. So he studied ways to engineer everything from microcontrollers to batteries and more. He explains that “learning how to make drones taught me how to build pretty much every electrical component I could imagine.”

To secure funding and build a proper foundation for the company Zelaya got his idea backed by bitcoin billionaires. Which is necessary because combining modern laser technology with traditional functional art glass is no small feat. Innovation like this takes heavy investment in time, energy, and resources. The different glass designs alone cost thousands of dollars and countless hours devoted to building functional versions of different concepts.

Zelaya has spent the last year and a half iterating on different design prototypes. He shared his vision with fifty or sixty different glassblowers before finding one willing to give it a shot. All of them saying similar things. ‘It’s too complicated.’ ‘It can’t be done.’ It wasn’t until he met N3rd Glass that he found someone to work with. “N3rd was the first to say, ‘It won’t work, but what if we redesign?”

Since finalizing the initial the design with N3rd, SilconCali has turned to Santa Cruz Glass to efficiently scale production and help them bring the B-LAZE to market. Zelaya does some of the glasswork, too. Adding abrasion, sandblasting, and other final coldworking details during the final stages of production.

How Does the Laser Bong Work?

Just like any other bong… sort of. You load the bowl with your flower of choice like you normally would but then instead of sparking a lighter, you use the mobile app to fire the specially-tuned laser. But not before you put on the safety glasses that the B-LAZE comes with. Once the laser is engaged the bowl slowly spins thanks to a small set of gears; spinning and combusting the material as it turns. Using a wider optical setting you can diffuse the pinpoint heat of the laser to effectively vaporize flower.

How hot the laser actually gets is somewhat impossible to answer because it only gets as hot as the material it interacts with. The heat from the 2w laser is designed for flower and programmed to target cannabinoids specifically. The color and consistency of your flower can affect the way the laser works. Zelaya gave the example that red lasers don’t burn red material well. Luckily for us, good weed is mostly green and purple.

It’s not a lightsaber either, so it won’t slice your limbs off but you still should be careful with it. The laser can sting if it hits your skin and the bright spectrum of light is not good for your eyesight. Hence the need to use safety glasses.

Using the mobile app, you can fire the laser and control its color, choosing from over six million color combinations. You can adjust the speed the bowl spins and with constant updates to the firmware more features are on the way.

When asked how to clean it, Zelaya claims it’s the first thing people want to know and that keeping the piece clean is simple. It is essentially the same as any other bong except you don’t ever want to put it under running water to flush it out. Instead, drain the water chamber from the small cap on the bottom of the bong and give it a  simple rinse with isopropyl alcohol or whatever cleaner you prefer for your glassware.

To Infiniti and Beyond

With a bong so technically advanced, the only thing left to do is tackle the final frontier, space. Zelaya was excited to share that in a way they are already working towards that future.

Currently, you can only fire the laser on the B-LAZE using Bluetooth technology. But soon you’ll be able to engage the laser using WiFi. To take it one step further, SiliconCali is building a satellite internet hub for their new facility that will allow them to centralize all signals being sent to and from laser bongs from around the globe.

So, anytime a B-LAZE is fired the activation signal will be sent to satellites in space and beamed back down to the precise location of the laser bong. That means even if you’re a world apart you’ll be able to fire a friend’s laser bong with the tap of your phone screen by beaming the signal off satellites as they orbit the planet. Which basically gives you the most futuristic way to enjoy cannabis. What a time to be alive!

Innovative Additions

Beside bong tokes from space, SiliconCali is making ongoing updates to the B-LAZE as well as designing other new, exciting laser-powered products. Some of the new features they are working on include full gimbaling of the bowl which will you more control over where you want to fire the laser as well as play with shapes and messages as you burn your herb

Other application and firmware updates like voice command are on the horizon, too. Zelaya’s excitement peaks as he imagines coming home to a pre-packed bowl and saying the command, “SIRI, light my bowl.” His laughter trailing off as he describes some additional games and data capabilities he’s building so that you can compete with friends for the longest rip and other data measuring competitions.

Right now, the required safety glasses block out the intense laser beam altogether, but soon the mobile app will give you the ability to view the laser in full color directly on your phone’s screen.

Currently, the laser bong is not designed for concentrates. That would require a different and more powerful laser but SiliconCali is already working on a version that will make laser dabs a reality.

Development is also underway to essentially turn any bong into a fantasy future bong with the use of their plasma bowl — a plasma-powered bowl piece that functions like the B-LAZE and fits most standard size glass fittings.

Want Your Own Laser Bong?

You can preorder your own B-LAZE on the SiliconCali’s website and for $2,400 you can get one of the 45 originals from the first production run. After they’re gone new models will be released but this is your chance to get the laser bong as it was originally designed. You can also find them in a few headshops sprinkled throughout the states.

If you want to check out some of the features for the B-LAZE you can download the app for free in the Google Play and Apple App stores. Download it now to control the laser bong and new devices as they get released.

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Culture

Social Cannabis Use Reform Receives Big Endorsement

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Social Cannabis Use Reform
PHOTO | The Colonel

The first cannabis reform victory in the United States occurred in 1973 when Oregon decriminalized cannabis possession. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize cannabis for medical use. Colorado and Washington State became the first states to legalize cannabis for adult use in 2012.

Another historic victory was achieved in 2016 when Denver voters approved an initiative to legalize social-use establishments in city limits.

Social cannabis use reform is a relatively new political concept, however, social use establishments have operated in the United States for a number of years, albeit illegally.

What is Social Cannabis Use Reform?

Social cannabis use refers to venues that allow on-site cannabis consumption. Lounges, cafes, concerts, and yoga studios are examples of social cannabis use venues.

Unregulated, unlicensed cannabis clubs have existed in the United States for decades, many of which have allowed on-site cannabis consumption.

Some establishments were designed to distribute medical cannabis and others required people to bring their own cannabis and pay a fee to enter the venue.

Many concerts served as de facto social cannabis use sites over the years, with concert-goers openly consuming cannabis. On-site cannabis consumption was very common at cannabis competitions where musicians performed.

During the second half of this decade, a big push has been underway to license and regulate social use venues, including events. 

Fortunately, licensed social use venues are becoming more common in legal states, although many legal cannabis states still prohibit them.

The Social Cannabis Use Reform Movement Receives a Big Endorsement

Earlier this week, presidential candidate Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard endorsed social cannabis use reform in an interview with the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC).

Congresswoman Gabbard will be appearing live from the campaign trail via Skype at the upcoming ICBC in San Francisco in February.

“If someone can legally purchase cannabis from a state-regulated dispensary, legally possess it, and legally consume it, they should also have a legal setting in which to conduct that activity if someone wants to provide that setting for them in a safe manner that keeps cannabis away from children and properly helps mitigate driving under the influence,” Gabbard said in the interview.

The endorsement appears to mark the first time that a presidential candidate has specifically endorsed social cannabis use reform.

“Cannabis opponents act as if social cannabis use venues do not exist anywhere in the United States, which is not actually the case,” Gabbard went on to say. “The city of Denver passed an initiative to allow regulated social cannabis use venues, and they exist in parts of California as well.

“Venues would need to be implemented and regulated properly to ensure safety and that age restriction policy is enforced. A strong, ongoing public awareness effort would need to occur as well, which could be funded by social-use license fees. As President, I’d support giving our states and local jurisdictions the flexibility to adopt sound public policy that includes social cannabis use reform.”

Social Cannabis Use Is an Important Component of Comprehensive Cannabis Reform

In 2012, social cannabis use reform was not on most cannabis advocates’ radar. It is a fairly granular cannabis policy that has taken time for advocates to become familiar with.

Social cannabis use reform is very important and is something that cannabis advocates should always push for as part of the greater effort to legalize cannabis for medical and adult-use.

Cannabis may be legal to purchase in Washington State, however, racial disparities in cannabis enforcement is still a problem.

In Seattle, a study found that “about 36% of those arrested for public pot use were African American, who are 8% of the city’s population.”

That’s unacceptable.

If a medical cannabis patient lives in housing that is subsidized by the federal government, they are not permitted to consume cannabis in their homes.

College students that live in student housing and tourists in legal markets have nowhere to legally consume state-legal cannabis, despite the fact that they can legally purchase it.

Social cannabis use reform is the answer. It provides for a legal setting for patients and consumers and it’s a smart public policy, as Congresswoman Gabbard points out. 

Hopefully, her endorsement will boost social use reform efforts.

Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard will be appearing at the ICBC in San Francisco via Skype from the campaign trail live from New Hampshire.

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Culture

Sherbinskis Has a New Home in Hollywood

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Sherbinskis
PHOTO | Mike Le (Brand Wolves)

Sherbinskis has cemented its place as one of the legal cannabis titans with the opening of the new flagship store on the iconic Fairfax Avenue in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

Famed grower Mario Guzman a.k.a. Mr Sherbinski has created something of a cultural phenomenon with his premium Sherbinskis genetics including the Gelato family, Pink Panties and Sunset Sherbert.

Sherbinskis

L-R: G. Singh, Ben Baller, Ty Dolla $ign, Mario ‘Mr Sherbinski’ Guzman

Sherbinskis strains have a cult-like status, lauded among musicians, entertainers and cannaseurs alike, including some of the A-list guests in attendance of the launch party, including Ty Dolla $ign, NBA star Al Harrington and Ben Baller.

A ‘designer’ cannabis-and-lifestyle brand, the Sherbinskis product line has expanded beyond just premium flower to include cartridges of cannabis oil for the Double Barrel vape, the first patented dual cartridge on the market, which was also on display at the launch party.

Mario ‘Mr Sherbinski’ Guzman & partner G. Singh with their Double Barrel vapes

In addition, Sherbinskis has launched prerolls, collaborated with Post Malone for his Shaboink prerolls, released a limited edition pair of Nike and launched a clothing line. They also recently announced a partnership with No Vet Alone to providing relief to military veterans, a reflection of Guzman’s appreciation and admiration for the cannabis plant as medicine.

NBA star Al Harrington & Mario ‘Mr Sherbinski’ Guzman

Originating from the Bay Area with close ties to the Cookies Fam, Guzman’s ethos of old-school hippie values and weed culture has evolved into a company very much focused on high-end cannabis and iconic branding.

Next time you’re in Hollywood, stop by Sherbinskis at 345 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles.

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Culture

PlantEd Collective: 5 Women Changing Europe’s Cannabis Conversation

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PlantEd Collective
Abby Hughes, Carly Barton, Victora Logan, Liz Dyer and Jade Proudman. PHOTO | PlantEd Collective

Misinformation is one of the greatest issues faced when talking about medical cannabis and cannabinoids. There is a lot of wrong information out there that can be confusing and misleading to patients, some of who can be society’s most vulnerable. PlantEd Collective wants to change that.

Jade Proudman, Carly Barton, Liz Dyer, Abby Hughes and Victoria Logan share a passion for helping people understand holistic wellness practises, led by cannabis and it’s efficacies, using the very latest research from around the world.

Their goal with PlantEd Collective is to create engaging dialogue and provide accurate information to help educate people — starting with their December launch that includes Rikki Lake and Abby Epstein.

We spoke to them about breaking stigma, the re-education process and the power of the female.

Why do U.K. cannabis consumers need PlantEd Collective?

Liz Dyer: Each member of the PlantEd team brings very a different experience, from activism and education to yoga practitioners and boundary breakers. As cannabis consumers, we understand this space and most importantly, we understand the consumer needs and barriers to accessing cannabis information. Cannabinoid consumers in the U.K. are awash with information that is often misleading and fraught with challenges.

Jade Proudman: We see the real-world implications of this daily. There are barriers to CBD suppliers sharing information about medicinal benefits due to regulation. There are also legal barriers to discussing medicines containing THC. The information that makes it to U.K. consumers is often outdated and not practical. There is currently no safe, reliable place for consumers to digest the latest science, or educate themselves from a place of independence.

How will PlantEd Collective help break the information barrier between plant and people in the U.K.?

Carly Barton: Our not-for-profit scheme hopes to tackle this head-on. Many organizations are focused on educating policymakers and medical professionals in a top-down approach. We want to fill the gap in a ground-up approach, building knowledge within the consumer community so that choices are made from a place that is informed.

We aim to tackle this by providing access to digestible summaries of scientific developments, enlisting the engagement of high-profile researchers and developers to bring conversational content via accessible podcasts

We will design short courses to enable consumers to teach themselves and increase the knowledge base from the ground up and provide resources for families and children to instil high-quality education and dispel the tension that so often exists in a family when dealing with stigma.

How does PlantEd’s information differ from, say other sources like scientific journals?

LD: Much of the information out there is wrapped up in weighty, medicalized documents. We would like to think that you won’t need a medical degree or a library full of cannabis books to digest the information that we will be providing. We will be engaging with the community on what they would like to know more about and provide that service.

CB: That’s a big issue and efficacy and safety information is so often presented in very inefficient ways. Either the research is too complex to understand, or it comes from the recreational arena which is full of jargon and cultural terminology, for which you often need a translator to get your head around.

Let’s take consumption methods as an example. There are hundreds of studies done on vaporized cannabinoids, but there is nowhere that will break this down for patients. What are the risks and benefits of vaporizing over different consumption methods? Where do I go to get a vaporizer? How do I dose using one? What are the benefits of dry herb vaporizers? Do they cause lung issues? And what on earth is ‘dabbing’, RSO, FECO, AVB? Vera from three doors down would not know where to start!

JP: We feel that the combination of our collective education, experience and advocacy work means that we can disseminate, signpost and summarize these burning questions into practical steps meaning barriers to accessing the information are more easily broken.

Victoria Logan: We also recognize that our further specialisms in health and wellbeing — yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices — enhance our holistic approach.

What are some of the topics you plan to cover?

LD: We are currently developing a PlantEd curriculum with wide-ranging topics. We want to address the basics and give consumers a route to engaging with more advanced topics.

For example, a consumer may come to us for education on the endocannabinoid system and then perhaps take a short course in terpene therapeutics. For supporting consumers with anxiety issues, with Victoria’s expertise, we can offer support with breathwork and yoga sequences combined with information on plant-based approaches.

What are the most common misconceptions you hear about cannabis?

CB: All stigma comes from a place of conditioning following years of mass media hype that has systematically pushed down the benefits of cannabis and blown the risks out of all proportion. A lot of the stigma comes from a place of ‘all drugs are bad’ and there is seemingly no academic basis for this argument. It exists because that’s what people have been told to think.

Cannabis consumption in the U.K. is often associated with either anti-social behaviour or connections to the mental health risks, which when compared with readily available drugs like alcohol, caffeine and sugar, are extremely low.

LD: Funnily enough, the stigmas that exist around cannabis do vary from country to country; in Thailand, their argument has nothing to do with mental health, they are concerned that they would have lazy workers.

VL: We often hear that cannabis consumers are unproductive, yet we feel more productive now than we have ever been and that comes down to cannabis education.

CB: The most common question I am asked when speaking about the benefits of cannabis and my health is, ‘Aren’t you high all the time?’ which I find interesting, because I felt MUCH more inebriated when consuming opiates. The alternative for chronic pain patients is heroin-type drugs.

LD: And no one ever visits a hospital patient with some grapes and demands to know if they are high on their prescribed medication.

Why is it important that PlantEd Collective is the only entirely female-led collective in the U.K.?

VL: In Hatha yoga, we are taught to practice with balance in everything that we do, the breath, postures, the balancing of the Lunar energy: the female, with the Solar energy: the male. Everything in life needs balance.

The PlantEd Collective are the balance which is really needed currently in the cannabis world because cannabis culture has been a male-dominated space for many years. We have only just started to see real change in the U.K. following the emergence of female advocates. The law was only changed, after all, because mothers desperately petitioned to get access for their children.

CB: There is a change in the image here from cannabis being associated with ‘teenage boys on BMX bikes’ to ‘women advocating for wellness’ that brings about a different energy with which to step forward. Women are nurturers, mothers, friends, sisters. There are no aggression tactics, instead there is knowledge, support and unwavering determination to get stuff done.

When we talk about cannabis, we are talking about a female plant.

LD: Yes! So who better to advocate for its powerful qualities?

Abby Epstein and Ricki Lake will be at the PlantEd Collective launch in December. PHOTO | PlantEd Collective

Why join forces to create PlantEd?

Jade: Whilst we have been extremely fortunate in our respective fields to be given the opportunities to learn and grow, something really dynamic happens when we work together. Where one is lacking in knowledge or experience, another team member jumps in and fulfils that need. We have all been very aware of each other’s work for some time, however, it took us all accidentally coming together as a panel at Trewfields (a cancer festival) to really understand that our combined specialisms make up such a massive knowledge base.

VL: It was a particularly emotional and challenging panel that day where we found that we were able to not only answer every question that came up, but that we could utilize each other to create a conversation that brought about much more than off-the-cuff responses. Without any preparation or discussion, we provided real ‘spade-a-spade’ insight and were able to reference case studies and highlight specific research for patients who were in dire need of education and support.

LD: We are delighted to have already been booked for next year’s Trewfields Festival.

Liz, you’ve written two children’s books which the collective plans to release. Are you developing any other services aimed at families?

LD: Yes, there are more in the pipeline! This is something which is very close to our hearts and we have experienced, first-hand, many of the issues raised in the books. We know how difficult it can be to open a conversation about this with those we love, those with whom we work and sometimes even with ourselves. These books aim to bridge that gap. There will be supporting materials available alongside the books and we will open an online forum to aid discussion of these subjects. We will host family days and events to provide support for families and normalise the use of plant-based medicines.

The first book, ‘Only a Plant’, is an accessible text for all ages which explains how useful a cannabis plant is in general — from the perspective of the plant itself. The second book, ‘Mum’s Medicine,’ is narrated by a child whose mother has chosen to replace a plethora of prescribed medications with a plant-based approach. The books provide a starting point for engaging in dialogue and supporting education and understanding. These books are important because they mirror real-life situations currently affecting children and families who choose cannabis as medicine.

CB: These books are so desperately needed. Kids don’t have the same negative associations with the plant and when it’s explained appropriately, they instantly understand why it is so important. My nine-year-old nephew reviewed Liz’s two books and got a lot out of them. He then asked for a plant medicine book for his birthday, so he can find out more about other plants that help people. That is truly very special. It is important that as we enter a new paradigm in embracing natural treatment methods, that we build resources in to educate people from a young age.

How will the digital platform integrate health and wellness?

VL: We each utilize cannabinoids and other plant medicine alongside other wellness practices. We hope to do a series on companion herbs and their uses, including documenting our own supplementary regime for patients interested in exploring alternatives to pharmaceuticals. As a Hatha Yoga practitioner, I teach a range of techniques and am in the process of developing resources for companion practices that work synergistically with cannabinoids to realign the body’s energy and boost pathways to wellness and mindfulness.

You will soon release a podcast, can you reveal some of the guests you have lined up?

CB: We can’t say too much about our Podcast plans yet, as it is rather top secret! But we think it’s safe to say that we have some incredible people lined up for our series. We will be having a cup of tea and a chat to some of the world’s most high-profile researchers, scientists, authors, doctors, master growers and innovators.

Tell us about the PlantEd Collective launch event in London featuring Abby Epstein and Ricki Lake, makers of ‘Weed the People’.

JP: We are ecstatic to be welcoming Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein to the team for the night of our launch. These amazing women have witnessed the power of cannabis as medicine and produced a film that the world needed to see. We will be playing some clips of ‘Weed the People’ on the evening and having a fireside chat, all together, about the content and how it relates to the situation for consumers in the U.K. We will host an audience of patients, carers, doctors and industry leads to join us in a conversation about the route to access, education and the reduction of stigma, for the benefit of generations to come.

For more information, visit the PlantEd Collective website. For details on their launch party with Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, visit eventbrite.co.uk.

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