Diego Pellicer – Colorado is an upscale dispensary and brand licensee of Diego Pellicer Worldwide, Inc., a global cannabis company. The company is known for refining the marijuana experience by exclusively selling high-quality products. Last week, Diego Pellicer – Colorado hosted an art and glass show with a mural unveiling, live glass blowing, paintings and more. If it sounds like this was more of an art exhibition and not a place where you buy your cannabis essentials, you are right. This was done on purpose. “This is going to be a unique event that no one in the cannabis industry is really doing,” said Amy Phare, President of the Art District on Sante Fe before the evening kicked off.
There seems to be a trend with bringing the cannabis community into the art world. Diego Pellicer – Colorado’s CEO, Neil Demers, commented, “This event will serve as a milestone for the cannabis and art community, in which they’re able to come together to serve the public in a fun, community-oriented setting.”
We caught with Diego Pellicer to discuss his background, glass as a fine art medium, and of course cannabis.
AZ: Can you tell us about your background and you came to found your company?
DP: Before starting Diego Pellicer – Colorado, I spent six years in the cannabis industry. After receiving my master’s in finance from the University of Denver, I managed a couple of dispensaries and an edibles company and started CannaStaff, the first staff-training company in the industry. I had difficulty finding talent back then, as many people thought you just needed to consume cannabis to get a job in the space. I’ve always loved being an entrepreneur and decided to plot out my dream of opening a high-end dispensary with competitive prices.
AZ: Morning routine?
DP: My morning routine usually consists of reading the news, taking care of my dog Wilson and reviewing my task lists for the day.
AZ: Coffee or tea?
DP: Tazo Chai Tea, without question.
AZ: Drink of choice?
DP: Strawberry banana smoothies. I love smoothies.
AZ: Tell us about the art and glass exhibiton and how it came to fruition.
DP: My goal in putting together the art and glass show was to host an event that would serve both the cannabis and art communities, allowing the two to come together in a fun, community-oriented way. This started off as a mural unveiling by Forrest J. Morrison and ultimately has turned into an art show of paintings, glass blowing, music, and a range of other art forms. I’m thrilled at the progress we’ve made in putting it together.
AZ: What are your thoughts on glass as a fine art medium?
DP: There’s no question that glass serves as a spectacular medium for fine art. Given the ability of a glass artist to form a piece with unlimited possibilities for shape, color, and functionality, it’s no surprise that glass blowing continues to be looked at as a premier component of the art space. The cannabis industry traditionally focuses on functional, cannabis glass. There’s a huge subculture for consumers who want high-end glass. We’re grateful to be able to help promote the craft and offer a solution to our customers.
AZ: The number of flame workers is estimated to have tripled in the U.S. from 2010 to 2015. Is that an indicator of the legalization or glass art finally getting its moment in the sun?
DP: I suspect it’s a combination of both factors. The proliferation of legalization measures (as well as their passage) has had a dramatic effect on the public’s perception of cannabis, as well as total sales of cannabis-related products, and we’re seeing that manifest in a larger number of flame workers. If numerous states hadn’t passed legalization measures in the past few years, however, I find it likely that we’d still see the art form grow in popularity.
AZ: What are your thoughts on marijuana’s role in American art? Specifically glass art?
DP: I’ve spoken to many artists on this topic. Cannabis entrepreneurs are actually one of the biggest purchasers of art in Denver and have had a huge impact on helping the art community grow. I’d like to see it take a larger role, and I believe it will as the stigma that many Americans continue to attach to cannabis fades away.
AZ: Talk to us about the artists who contributed to the event?
DP: We’re lucky to have a wealth of talented, dedicated artists. Forrest J. Morrison, the Vice President of Art District on Sante Fe, is our lead artists who was commissioned to paint a mural on the east side of our building. Amy Phare, the President of the Art District on Sante Fe, as well as her organization are a sponsor of the event.
We’ve also have some of Colorado’s leading leading glass artists including Sol Fire Glass, Nick Russo, Burtoni, Lunchbox Glass Mechanic, Hand of Man, Jacs, and more. We also have Mark Penner-Howell (courtesy of Walker Fine Art), Peter Yumi, Michael Dowling and Forrest J. Morrison, all of whom are leading artists in Denver.
AZ: Thoughts on the future of legalization in the United States?
DP: Over a long enough timeline, there’s no question in my mind that we’ll see cannabis achieve full legalization in every state. Some states will take longer than others to pass meaningful legislation, and it won’t be an easy process, but I can speak from my personal experiences in Colorado in noting that a tremendous amount of good comes about as a result of legalization. In the absence of stigma, there’s no reason not to take the leap.
AZ: If you could share a joint with someone, living or dead, who would it be?
DP: Richard Branson of Virgin. He’s such an inspiration for me. I’d love to hang out with him, smoke a joint and talk business. It’s a bucket list item of mine.
photos // courtesy of Diego Pellicer