When you think of warehouse parties and electronic dance music culture, cannabis may not be the first drug that comes to mind. Nicole Paige Kohen would like to change that. She’s attempting to merge the worlds of dance music and cannabis with her website, THC N Techno.
Kohen is part of a new generation of young, ambitious women in Southern California that have come of age in the cannabis industry. Laid back, stoner girls who give off chill and friendly vibes, with a stealthy acumen and seemingly endless amounts of hustle. “I’m all about the hustle. I’m always either promoting my blog, promoting The Farmacy, or promoting any local DJs or parties that my friends are throwing.”
Kohen, 25, was born in Santa Monica, and she currently lives in Manhattan Beach. She credits the relaxed culture of Southern California and her parents for helping her find cannabis culture so young.
“When I was sixteen, it was 4/20 and I told my dad ‘I want to smoke weed’ and he told me, ‘Okay, I’ll let you smoke with me, if you’ll still respect me.’ I agreed, so he did. He videotaped me doing it, but then the next day he dropped his phone in the pool,” Kohen recalled, laughing at the memory.
Kohen found that cannabis was not just a fun past time, but also therapeutic for her. “I mostly use it medicinally because it helps me relax. It helps me sleep that’s for sure, and sometimes when I have some stomach issues I notice it helps with that, too. But I was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2013, and I know that weed is good for that, too. I also take epilepsy medication, but I haven’t had any problems since then, and I think that’s in part due to cannabis.”
“I’ve been smoking since I was eighteen. When I turned eighteen, I started going to the clubs. I was going to Santa Monica College right around Venice and I started going to every single club that I could find and check it out, and see what it’s about.” When asked if she meant dance clubs or cannabis dispensaries, she laughed. “Sorry, dispensaries. Back then, that’s what they were called.”
Even though she’s still young, Kohen talks like an old pro having grown up in the industry. She began working at one of the only dispensaries in South Bay when she was 24, until they lost their license in 2017. Shortly after she landed a job as a budtender at The Farmacy in Westwood, and says she loves the environment there.
In between, she worked briefly for an extract company, where she says she felt the most uncomfortable working as a woman in the industry. “I like communicating, and no one talked. It was all men, I was the only woman, and there was a misogynistic culture unfortunately. I felt like they expected less of me. I would ask questions and they would be like, half-answered. They would talk about things without thinking about how it affects us. One day this guy was talking about a girl in high school that got raped and I told him I felt uncomfortable, and he was like ‘well, you can cover your ears.’”
However, her love of the culture – and cannabis – draws her to the industry, despite its challenges. “I love weed, so I like seeing all the new products all the time, and how it’s evolving. And knowing where it came from, too. You know, the roots.”
Kohen recently started THC n techno, a website and Instagram devoted to merging the cannabis community with dance music culture. She collaborates with local DJs and events, bringing her unique brand of cannabis culture to their world. “A lot of people in the dance community like to smoke weed, so we’re just putting that together.”
“I’ve been going to parties since I was like, sixteen. I was going to festivals. Then I just started going to events and clubs. No matter what, people are always going to have their oil cartridges on them, their pens. I started going to festivals where they don’t even check, and people were dabbing on the dance floor. This one festival I went to, this guy had a ten foot bong. I don’t recommend it because I might have gotten mono from that. That might be a funny part to add.” She laughs. “People might be on other drugs too, but weed is number one all the time, no matter what.”
While other street drugs, such as molly and cocaine, may be popular in the club scene, they are also much more dangerous. While you can technically overdose on THC, no one ever has because it is almost physically impossible to do. According to greencamp.com, “Someone would have to take 1,500 pounds of cannabis within 15 minutes in order to overdose. In other words, you’ll have to smoke between 20,000 and 40,000 above average size joints (with at least 0.9 grams of weed) in a quarter of an hour to die.” Even if someone could actually consume that much cannabis, there’s no way they could sneak it into a music festival.
“It’s the safest. And now with all the legalization going on, they’re going to be merging it (cannabis and dance cultures). We’re going to a lot of clubs or bars now that have CBD in their drinks or in their coffee. Or parties that do massages with CBD. There’s one festival up north, the Northern Nights Festival, they actually endorse cannabis and have a whole set up there.” The summer camping festival on the border of Humboldt and Mendocino countries is part of a growing faction of events that boasts a variety of cannabis companies on their sponsor lists.
Kohen, known as the “sativa diva”, always comes ready to share her knowledge, and also sells clothing to dress both worlds. “I sell sunglasses, coats, fans, because it gets hot in there. I’m also selling this iHit case for the iPhone that hold your joints.”
She used to blog, and often uses the Internet to broaden her reach. “I’m also part of this thing called NAP girls, which is a women in the music industry group. That has helped me a lot to gain an audience and find a passion and have others by my side that have the same kind of outlook on life.”
Recently, she wrote a few articles about cannabis etiquette as THC n techno for the quarterly music+culture+art zine, Space Cadet. “I met these DJs at my shop and they were starting a magazine dedicated to dance music and art. I got cannabis involved, and did some reviews of my shop (The Farmacy) and The Pottery. There are more cool things in the works, I’m very excited to be working with them.”
Her vision for the future includes more articles. “I’d like to extend to festivals and clubs, I want to do more press and cover shows as THC N Techno. I also want to cover more cannabis events. I want to make it a brand, and eventually expand into a larger site.”
Kohen has been soaking in the industry since her teens, slyly learning the tricks of the trade with a smile on her face and a broader vision deep in her pockets. Unlike most young adults, who at some point need to stop partying and get a job, Kohen hopes to turn her partying into one. Using her knowledge of cannabis and dance music, she may just be able to pull off a perfect remix.