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Tokyo Smoke's $13,000 Bong Sparks Controversy in Glass Community

Just in case you missed it- Vice Canada released a new video highlighting Tokyo Smoke and their new project partnered with Partisan. Tokyo Smoke according to their website is a “a leading Canadian lifestyle brand, the first to elevate a new, burgeoning industry. Driven by design, Tokyo Smoke is ushering in a new era with high end coffee, an elevated retail experience and the best curated smoking goods alongside Tokyo Smoke’s own renowned line of products.” [1] Recently co-founder Alan Gertner spoke with said, “Tokyo Smoke wasn’t to be a Bob Marley-inspired head shop, or one of the many illegal dispensaries, but instead a home to the creative class. It’s not about the prototypical stoner, we want to build a brand for the contemporary urban citizen—it’s clean and elegant, which signals quality and transformation.”[2] So what is Tokyo Smoke? It is not a dispensary- but clearly intends to sell non-LP Tokyo Smoke branded cannabis on their website.

Company head of operations Geoff DeGrasse stated in reference to the shops’ selling paraphernalia but not cannabis: “We’re totally aboveboard. We’re waiting for legislation till we actually sell recreational pot in Canada.”[2] Tokyo Smoke is a coffee-shop. A literal coffee shop, not an Amsterdam Coffee Shop. You can pick up a cup of coffee alongside a shop of branded merchandise such as sweaters and shirts or actual cannabis paraphernalia. So you have a coffee shop that appeals to the top tier toker. We have similar styled stores in Los Angeles such as the Hitman Coffee Shop, personal glass gallery of Hitman Doug selling memberships that allow for safe consumption access while enjoying a good brew where you cannot purchase cannabis (but there is a rosin press on site). Tokyo Smoke partnered with Partisan is an architecture firm that was set to create inspired smoking paraphernalia just in time for the major holiday. This is where the poop soup hit the fan. A short segment covering the new launch of the collaboration was titled appropriately by Vice Canada “This Bong Costs $13,000” with the caption “This $13,000 bong could probably survive space travel”. Right up front. A very editorialized title.

Alan Gertner Co-Founder is on screen with Alex Josephson, designer at Partisan. The first statement is the acknowledgement that this bong isn’t for everyone. Not everyone will be buying a 13,000 CAD bong. He begins with justifying the purchase of a bong- something that even on a recreational level doesn’t compare to a basic non-luxury class vehicle. Comparing two completely different things. Why would I buy a Toyota? Probably because I need it to work and live. If I am buying a 13,000 CAD bong, there are other elements involved in my decisions for what I go with. I’m not looking for a daily driver at that point.