(Tricia Hipps)
(Tricia Hipps)

How's the smut business?

Dominic Grech wouldn't know—he deals in publishing, entertainment, political advocacy.

As the head of sales at SuicideGirls Cannabis, Grech is the man working to align a "lifestyle brand" most famous for posting pictures of naked women with purple hair, plugs and knuckle tattoos with the burgeoning cannabis business.

To get you caught up: "Alt-pinup website" SuicideGirls started in a small apartment in Northwest Portland in the post-Pamela, pre-Paris glory days of semi-amateur erotica (see "Suicide Is Pantyless," WW, Dec. 2, 2014, and "The Calculated Assault of Suicidegirls.com," WW, March 18, 2003). In 2003, SuicideGirls went Hollywood, moving to Los Angeles, where it launched the super-successful Blackheart Burlesque tour and cut deals with everyone from Playboy to Epitaph Records.

Now, SuicideGirls is selling vapes. Specifically, a lineup of three cartridges called Chill Hustle Zero. And if you ask me, they're onto something. It's a pivot that makes sense, and enriches everyone involved: It could be the Playboy's Host & Bar Book of Trump's America.

The first thing to notice about the CHO cartridges is the build quality. Even if you're dropping $75 for a cartridge in Portland, you're probably getting a plastic tube with a plastic mouthpiece. SuicideGirls partnered with a manufacturer to make a metal-and-glass cartridge that screws onto a normal 510 battery.

"The industry has mostly used plastic, which we felt was a cheap and inferior product," Grech says. "There are health concerns about vaping with plastic, so we chose to go with a more expensive, higher-end solution, which included using glass."

The goop inside also shows some innovation. The company noticed that a lot of cannabis strains popular with its models included THCV. Most often found in African sativas, THCV is a cannabinoid that intensifies euphoria, may help regulate blood sugar and is known to suppress appetite. Suppressing appetite is important when you're showing your naughty bits to strangers—and thus the Zero cartridge. It's like Coke Zero, but for weed. As far as I can tell, it's the first of its kind.

"We noticed a significant number of SuicideGirls smoking strains that were high in THCV," Grech says, "and that is where we came up with the idea for Zero, a THCV-infused hybrid. Chill was specifically formulated to give the user a sense of calm. Hustle was created to boost energy and creativity."

I've been impressed with all three SG cartridges, which provide a good, clean buzz with light citrus flavor. I was especially taken with the Chill, which provided a valuable assist in my first-ever perfect 100 night on my Beddit Sleep Tracker.

Now, the bad news: SuicideGirls is big-timin' its old friends, and not sending the good stuff home quite yet.

"Right now we are located in Los Angeles, and currently focused on the largest cannabis market in the world, the state of California," Grech says. "We have some good relationships in Oregon, and when it's time, we will be excited to include that market in our West Coast expansion."

Ah, the West Coast expansion—a time-honored rite of passage for any brand. After all, things have to be tough in the porn industry, right? Now that SuicideGirls is competing with those tattooed cam-girl amateurs, it can't afford to invest in those little extras. A pivot is perfect. Diversify your revenue streams and monetize your brand loyalty without diminishing your core product. Surely, SuicideGirls would like to discuss the business savvy required of the modern porntrepreneur?

"SuicideGirls is a community of outsiders that has grown to become the premier alternative online community," Grech says. "SuicideGirls Cannabis is a lifestyle brand and not involved in the porn industry, so we are unable to comment on the state of affairs for the industry."