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Cannabis Comes to Life at the Nug Nation

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Nug Nation
CEO Mikey Peterson peaks from behind the Nugs. PHOTOS | The Nug Nation
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In the culturally diverse RiNo Arts District of Denver, Colorado, amongst the murals, sculptors and street art exists The Nug Nation, a remarkably creative production company that has dedicated itself to bringing cannabis to life — literally. 

The Nug Nation is utilizing high-quality stop-motion animation to transform cannabis into walking, talking characters, or “Nugs” as they refer to them. Each character is named after a popular strain of cannabis like Sour Diesel, aka “Diesel,” Grand Daddy Purple, aka “Daddy” and Girl Scout Cookie, aka “Cookie.”  

What started as a humorous and creative way to allow cannabis businesses to showcase brands and sponsor content without violating strict marketing bans in the industry, the good folks at The Nug Nation have carved out a unique niche in an ever-expanding and growing market.

Behind the scenes during the Billy Ray Cyrus music video.

Mikey Peterson, a seasoned filmmaker and Denver native, came up with the idea shortly after cannabis was legalized in Colorado in 2014. And although Peterson is the CEO and founder, he is quick to give credit to his entire team for their dedication and work ethic.

“I recognized the opportunity to bring comedy and cannabis together while creating something completely distinctive that didn’t focus on stoner humor,” said Peterson. “Because the landscape of consumers has changed significantly, we sought a way to reach a broader audience while providing a marketing tool to cannabis brands.” 

The initial episodes of The Nug Nation show were created as short-format programs easily consumed on social media platforms and which often reflected current events. In The Nug Nation Episode 2: The Debate, which aired in August of 2016, the team expertly parodied the presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton with hilarious results. This got the attention of BurnTV CEO Jason Santos, who quickly worked to bring The Nug Nation brand to their line up of programming.

 Nug Nation

American rapper Jared Benton shows off his weapon on “Potty Talk with Bong Burgandy.”

“At BurnTV, we specialize in bringing a broad scope of cannabis and lifestyle entertainment to the masses and The Nug Nation show is the perfect fit for our brand,” said Santos. “Their uniqueness, quality and ability to bring the funny, without the obvious stoner humor, was a welcome addition to our line up. We look forward to partnering with them on future shows and building our brands together.” 

As the show began to gain some traction, The Nug Nation expanded its offerings by creating “Potty Talk With Bong Burgundy,” a spin-off, interview-style show. One of the only non-cannabis strain inspired characters, Bong Burgundy became a fan favorite and since the team had access to some musical artists, the show was created. The first guest was the director, producer and MC legend Redman

The interviews take place in a public restroom and can be, as the title suggests, somewhat offensive or incredibly funny, depending on your perspective. Since launching the initial episode in 2016, Bong Burgundy (voiced by Aaron Howell, a musician and vocalist in his own right as the frontman of MF Ruckus) has interviewed musical artists Nappy Roots, Scotty ATL, Jarren Benton and legendary Afroman for the series. Rittz was recently interviewed and his candid and amusing episode is scheduled to be released in 2020 on YouTube, social media and the company’s flagship site, thenugnation.com.  

After enduring some funding obstacles in 2017, the team started pursuing sponsors and outside work with more enthusiasm, landing contracts with cannabis companies like General Cannabis, Dixie Brands, Chiefton and Salt Creek Hemp

Billy Ray Cyrus smokes a joint on the set of his music video.

Startups are never easy, as the good folks at The Nug Nation certainly understand. But their luck would change in early 2019 when commissioned to create a music video for chart-topping artist Billy Ray Cyrus’ new song “Angel in my Pocket,” fittingly about smoking weed. With the assistance of mainstream producer Potsy Poncinelli, they were able to complete the project in spite of an almost impossible 10-day deadline. A job that should have taken two months was accomplished in just ten days by working around the clock shifts and securing additional staff. 

In the first of its kind music video, BRC is literally turned into a character made of weed in the stop-motion animated video. In it, Billy Ray gets fired from his dead-end job at the local gas/convenience store before going on a Dukes of Hazzard inspired car jump into a hemp farm. Along with his trusty sidekick, a giant joint, the two battle in an old-west style brawl before they blast into space in a rocket before finding a peaceful place to land and smoke a joint. 

With the momentum of the “Angel in my Pocket” music video, The Nug Nation has worked with several new brands to launch some new and exciting shows. Including Hempire, a smokers’ lifestyle brand who was one of the sponsors of the music video and eventually partnered with The Nug Nation to create the upcoming series Hemp 101.

 Nug Nation

Influencer Izzy Blazee schools her students in Hemp 101.

“Hemp 101” is a stop-motion animated short-form social media series focusing on basic hemp education, with a comical twist. Topics range from the differences between hemp and cannabis to more traditional hemp applications. The host of the show will be an anamorphic “joint teacher” giving educational lessons in a classroom setting. Social media influencer and cannabis aficionado Izzy Blazee lends her voice as the teacher. The concept for the joint teacher was inspired by the Billy Ray music video in which his sidekick was a life-sized joint branded with the Hempire logo.

For their part, Hempire is optimistic about the shows’ potential. “Hempire is a sustainable smoke connoisseur lifestyle brand with the ambition of becoming the preferred hemp alternative in the dispensary and smoke shop channels,” said Nicolas Pettersson, Hempire Brand Manager at Swisher International. “The Nug Nation has been identified as a strategic partner to develop unique and engaging online content that speaks to our adult consumers. We are very excited to have The Nug Nation team on our side as we continue to grow our business nationwide.” 

As The Nug Nation looks ahead, the future shines as brightly as terpenes on a nug. With several other shows in various stages of development, you can expect more collaborations with emerging and existing brands in the cannabis space and beyond.

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Culture

Stuff & Puff Berner’s New Cali Pre-Roll

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Cali
PHOTO | VIBES

Cannabis mogul Berber is about to drop the latest must-have pre-roll paper from his premium rolling paper brand, Vibes. A new alternative to the traditional cone, The Cali is a cylindrical pre-roll tube that’s been designed for optimum airflow for the optimal smoking experience.

In a press release, the Bay Area rapper says that he’s been rolling for over 20 years, and that over that time, he was constantly told by friends that they would smoke joints over blunts if they could roll them. So he and Vibes co-founders Greenlane developed this innovative alternative.

PHOTO: Vibes

“As passionate smokers, and connoisseurs, we are gonna continue to focus on quality papers and products that consumers are missing, such as The Cali,” said Berner in a press release.

“All you have to do is stuff and puff with The Cali.”

The Cali is dedicated to those of us who like a big-smoke experience. We found the papers to burn very evenly and smoothly. They are also easy to extinguish and relight,  and even burn evenly in areas where I packed too tightly or too loose (deliberately, before y’all start commenting). 

Plus, The Cali pre-rolls are massive, so make sure you have plenty of herb on hand for your next session to fully enjoy the experience either with your homies or when you’re chilling alone.

The Cali Collection | PHOTO: Vibes

The Cali is offered in three sizes — one, two, and three gram — across all four signature Vibes paper collections: Ultra Thin, Rice, Hemp, and Organic Hemp

Look for Vibes papers at your local retailer nationwide.

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Culture

Psychonauts Celebrate Magic Mushroom Day

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Magic Mushrooms Day

September 20 is Magic Mushroom Day. Similarly to stoners celebrating 4/20 and 7/10, and LSD enthusiasts celebrating 4/19, entheogenic communities around the world celebrate the psychedelic renaissance on 9/20.

The concept was coined in 2015 when Nicholas Reville, a mushroom advocate from Providence, Rhode Island, declared September 20 as an “educational day of action,” apparently citing the spirit of 4/20 as an opportunity to talk about psilocybin reform, regulations and, of course, rejoice in the magic of psychedelics.

“9/20 was chosen because it is at the beginning of autumn, when mushrooms are most plentiful; because it is close to the equinox, representing a change in direction; and because it echoes 4/20 and the successful movement for marijuana decriminalization and legalization,” said Reville in an interview with Rolling Stone.

Magic Mushrooms: The Next “Green” Wave?

Interest around the benefits and effects of psilocybin, the main active ingredient in magic mushrooms, has been steadily growing over the last number of years, with legalization closely following.

In May 2019, Denver became the first city to decriminalize psilocybin. Oakland soon followed with its own law in June that same year, decriminalizing plant and fungi psychedelics.

At the last election in 2020, Oregon became the first state to legalize psilocybin with Measure 109 for mental health treatment in supervised settings.

At the same time, the District of Columbia decriminalize the use of magic mushrooms and other psychedelic substances with the passage of Initiative 81.

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Culture

Peep the Pepsi x Dapper Dan Football Watching Capsule Collection

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Pepsi x Dapper Dan
Photos | Courtesy of Pepsi

Pepsi has partnered with Harlem-based designer and streetwear legend, Dapper Dan, to create The Pepsi x Dapper Dan Football Watching Capsule Collection.

As part of the Pepsi “Made for Football Watching” NFL campaign, the iconic collaboration brings the football fan apparel game to the next level with this limited-edition capsule collection created for fans to show up in style, no matter where they’re watching.

The Pepsi x Dapper Dan Football Watching Capsule Collection features fashion-forward football-watching pieces including a lounger, hoodie, bucket hat, and custom-patterned Pepsi can to ensure fans are fitted and geared up for every touchdown, sack and fumble.

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