With closely cropped, military-style dark hair, a mustache and the gait of a soldier, Franco of Franco’s Finest doesn’t look much like a stereotypical cannabis grower. But after a stint in the Marine Corps and then a motorcycle accident, he turned to cannabis, and in 2009 began growing his own. Knowing he needed more than just product to make a name for himself in the emerging cannabis industry, he looked to throw parties starting July 10—710 is the new 420, as it spells “OIL” upside down, and is a day for dabbers.
Enter Franco's Finest Fun Bus. Billed as a mobile party venue with unlimited snacks, drinks and dabs, we joined Franco and his crew on his last two rides.
If you've been on a good drunk bus, you know what the fun bus is like. Well, this is better. Plush leather seats. Three flat-screen TVs. A full-width restroom in the back. Satellite stereo. Compartments up front lined with garbage bags for puking. Oh, and the dab rig. Oh, that dab rig.
Over a foot tall with a 700-degree nail attached, the dab rig is perched on Franco's lap in the middle of the bus. Each of the 20-ish attendees takes turn after turn inhaling hits of Hot Mess, Pineapple Diesel and some standout Purple Buddha—grown by Franco—that turned my lingering nausea from a night of overindulgence into a pleasant, cloudlike experience.
As the night grows longer and we make our three stops, we don't talk about much other than the beautiful scenery whizzing by outside the large windows. There's a somewhat regular chant of "Dab bus!" and woohoos whenever someone inhales a dab, but the din isn't the raucous shout-outs and exaggerated conversations typically heard from groups of drinkers.
Except when Franco sets down the dab rig and addresses the crowd. Before and after each stop and during lulls in the line for dabs, he and/or his wife walk from front to back, taking videos, high-fiving us, asking us how we're all doing aboard the Franco's Finest Fun Bus. He's a showman. Some might call his brand a bit cheesy, but he's not sitting on a war chest of funds from investors with a team behind him creating a marketing strategy—his personality drives this entire venture.
In my two trips, we weren't late for a planned event or stop. Perfect traffic aside, this attention to detail is what stood out while many were getting more stoned than we'd ever been before: We had people taking care of us. The Franco's Finest brand may be one man, but his company certainly is not. While many tour companies have too few guides to join in, lead and be responsible during the festivities, the dab bus solved that issue before it ever became a problem.
This kind of service doesn't come free. Four-hour tours start at $98 and the all-day Saturday trip to Mount Hood at $200. Snacks but not meals are included, along with unlimited water and soda. Attendees can also bring their own food for themselves or to share, but we were not allowed to use open flame on the bus and were discouraged from using in public settings at stops, so leave your stuff at home. Gift bags given out when disembarking contained flower, concentrate, salve and marketing samples, which were worth the ticket price for my first trip, alone.
GO: Franco's Finest Fun Bus rolls again on Sept. 19. More info at francosfinest.com.