The snow is coming down hard in Flint, Michigan. But at Vehicle City Social, a members' club for medical marijuana patients and the home of Secret Sesh Michigan, you would hardly know that a major winter storm is happening outside.
Unlike Michigan's provisioning centers, the model at Vehicle City Social allows patients to connect directly with caregivers, effectively cutting out an extra profit margin for patients. All evening, people liken the caregiver-exchange model to a farmer's market. But with lively music coming from the stage area, and a diverse crowd, the atmosphere feels more like a battle of the bands.
Josh Keasler, an Army veteran, is a co-founder of Vehicle City Social and has previously hosted performances by Snoop Dogg at the venue. As he surveyed the event, he carried his small dog, a toy fox terrier named Georgie, everywhere he went. “Georgie runs the show,” Keasler joked.
The must-try item for any first-time guest at Vehicle City Social? The food, said Keasler, leaving to procure an order of Cajun shrimp for Weedmaps News. Elsewhere, the food offerings included the Herb & Legend chefs, who trained in Michelin Star-honored restaurants, serving up doses of baklava from large aluminum trays. Ms. Moneypenny slung THC syrups and medicated RSO Kool-Aid.
Secret Sesh organizer Christina Welsh saw snow for the first time two weeks ago, in Seattle. Along with Janna Savatgy and DJ Salam Wreck, Welsh and the team organize Secret Sesh parties in Michigan, Colorado, and California from their home base in Los Angeles. After starting the event six years ago, people across the country have responded to what they're doing.
When it comes to Michigan's weed versus California's, Welsh and Savatgy say they prefer the less-dense flowers over here. But surely these less-dense Michigan flowers are less than desirable, right?
“No, I like it,” Savatgy said. “I like not having to carry a grinder on me.”
“It's like a white Christmas in Flint! More like a green Christmas though,” said Wreck, a Flint native who got his start as a DJ with Eminem and D-12, but has since relocated to Los Angeles and currently works with Snoop Dogg and the Dogg Pound. He has cultivated a network of local artists that work with him on Secret Sesh events, including Bunz & Cakes, who previously performed at Secret Sesh Los Angeles. He has been coming to the building that now houses Vehicle City Social for many years, back when it was called J.J. Shakers.
Clio-based growers Special Blend Gardens brought its prize flower, the Melonade — sourced exclusively from Mendocino, California, breeders Dying Breed Seeds. It's a big hit with industry workers including Hunter Novak, an edibles chef at Terp Management. Novak is legally blind, and can't make it out to provisioning centers. He attends events like this each month at Vehicle City Social, such as the monthly Sapo Sesh. “We literally roll up a half-pound,” Novak boasted. “We go around giving handfuls to people.”
Novak's employers at Terp Management have brought their best concentrate to the event, and the crowd in attendance is probably the most discerning in all of the state. An eager concentrate enthusiast wandered from booth to booth with his own e-nail — the stem a miniature Colt 45 bottle. Many vendors are offering patients the option to try before they buy, as is the nature of these kinds of seshes.
The air is thick with smoke, and outside you can smell it down the block. But Keasler has a good relationship with his neighbors — a mix of residential and light industrial. For visitors to nearby downtown Flint, he recommends grabbing a craft beer from his old friends at Tenacity Brewing. His club is bringing a much-needed injection of people and money into the area — finally, some good news for Flint.