What's the most money you've ever spent on weed?
Until last week, mine was a $79 one-gram gram of Sitka Gold flower rolled in 2 grams of hash—an indulgence for a visiting friend's first legal pot experience.
But I am decidedly part of the 99 percent, which means I'm not the target market for Leira Cannagars, which bills itself as "420 for the 1%" on their slick website.
Seattle-based Leira rolls cannabis cigars, the smallest of which is a petite three-and-one-quarter-inch cigarillo size that retails for $110 in Washington shops, like Freedom Market of Longview, where I snagged mine. They sell out "within hours or the weekend they are dropped," the company told us, as cannabis users splurge on a product that "represents success, luxury, and sophistication."
This cigarillo includes 4 grams of flower, coated with a half-gram of rosin, wrapped in cannabis leaves. It's advertised as burning slowly over an hour. They also sell a six-inch Corona, which retails for $420, and which is filled with 12 grams of flower, sealed with 3 grams of rosin and also covered in cannabis leaves, that they claim will burn for us to five hours.
Leira works hard to make the packaging look lux as well: each cannagar is sold in a corked glass jar, topped with drips of purple wax. While I hesitate to embrace weed as a product for the bourgeoisie, I am a sucker for marketing.
My smoking history begins with Marlboro Lights in middle school and has plateaued at frequent bong rips and the occasional celebratory joint, so the information I have about cigars primarily comes from the media. Specifically, my firsthand knowledge is limited to the boxes making great pencil cases, and the flavored ones are best served gutted and refilled with weed, then sealed with saliva. Buying a cigar already made with Grape Diesel saves so much time (and saliva), even if it costs 100 times as much!
Leira has a lengthy video with instructions on cutting and lighting the cannagar, claiming you need a cigar cutter and a butane lighter. Considering my weed budget was already shot after this purchase, I decided to go rogue and skip the step of buying equipment that I likely wouldn't use again. (My kitchen scissors and a classic Bic worked just fine, which was somehow both a relief and a disappointment.)
Here is one of the things I didn't know about cannabis cigars: They're hollow in the middle! If you smoke them in the manner you usually smoke a joint, your mouth will be burned. A lot of times, even! This was a surprise—I was expecting the density of a blunt, but the cannarillo was shockingly lightweight.
Since I have smoked pot way more times than I have smoked cigars, it took a long time to figure out the best way to hit this thing.
The two friends I shared with were equally baffled, and I ended up offering up a regular old-fashioned preroll once we were tired of the discomfort. At one point, we recalled media impressions of people smoking cigars, and puffed out our cheeks and inhaled while giving tiny wet smooches to the cannarillo, a method that finally resulted in less burning and deeper hits, but also made the whole thing sort of gross to pass around.
One friend wisely said, "I wish we would have figured this method out $60 ago." Indeed, for a 99 percenter like me, it was hard to enjoy the curling smoke without seeing it as money burning away between my fingers. I have to wonder why Leira didn't bother adding inhalation instructions to their video—I suppose one percenters already know these things.
My final impression of the Leira Cannarillo is one of disappointment.
The idea is great, but the execution makes this a better novelty gift for a friend than a smoker's splurge. I found the presentation tacky, reminding me more of Maker's Mark than Montecristo. If I'd gone for the Corona and spent four times the money, I'd be outraged since you could buy an ounce of weed for that much and roll a ton of old-fashioned blunts.
Since I'm middle class, I'll definitely be scraping the debris of the finger-burning stump left behind into my bong instead.