Compact Vape Pens & The 420 Lifestyle Revolution

Vape pens, batteries, cartridges, and pods, are supplanting the leaky bong and dime bags of yore with sleek, diminutive, rechargeable (or disposable) batteries the size of ink pens or tubes of lipstick and with grams and half-grams of oil-containing cartridges or pods. Where choking, unhealthy smoke once proliferated, variously sized clouds of fragrant, potent vapor now waft. And as the quality and accessibility of cannabis concentrates improve, more vape products are making their way to dispensary shelves. Stiiizy, Mezz, and Pax are three such brands out of a growing number of companies marketing vape pens and cartridges as discrete, modern, lifestyle accessories. Brands like these seek to change outdated popular perceptions and convince recreational cannabis skeptics that today’s marijuana consumers don’t fit the stoner stereotypes of yore.

Stiiizy’s sleek, functional batteries and potent pods generate massive vape clouds (photo: Altnernate Leafs)

Brands like Stiiizy, Mezz and Pax know that their success, and the success of their industry, can be achieved only by attracting new cannabis consumers and obliterating old stigmas about marijuana use. In order for the cannabis industry to become competitive (e.g. with the beer industry), it must appeal to non-cannabis habitu├ęs by presenting contemporary cannabis use as a cleaner, more refined, and more sophisticated marijuana experience than that was had by the old high school stoner crowd. Through broadening their reach and drawing new customers, these companies are helping the cannabis industry establish itself successfully in the broader American marketplace (at least in states where it is legal).

Dispensary walls are lined with a proliferation of vape pen and cartridge products (photo: Leafly)

A cacophony of vape products representing brands of all stripes sit on dispensary shelves or hang on walls, calling out to consumers in different ways. How is one to choose? For veteran cannabis users with a high THC tolerance, Stiiizy outclasses its competition in potency and vapor production, providing even the most seasoned sinsemilla superhero with a powerful and enduring buzz. Of the brands tried, none produced as much THC-rich haze as Stiiizy. Their starter kits come with a battery smaller than a pocket comb and USB charging cable and retail for $30 at most dispensaries. The batteries are available in five different colors and the pods, offered in half-gram and gram sizes, retail for about $30 and $55 respectively, and include a wide variety of aromatic, flavorful, and potent indica, sativa and hybrid strains.

Some vape brands market their cartridges in terms of effect produced rather than the strain (photo: MezzBrands)

Other brands like dosist and Mezz bypass strain names completely and market their disposable vape pens in terms of the effects produced, such as “calm”, “relief”, “mellow” and “inspire”. Mezz Brands, a Colorado-based company, also markets brand attire and accessories in connection with their vape products (Stiiizy does, too) and uses the hashtag #mezzlife on social media. Mezz Brands self-identifies as a manufacturer of lifestyle enriching products rather than a supplier of intoxicating drugs or dispenser of medical salves. I’ve never tried their products as they haven’t appeared in any local dispensaries where I live in California. They do have an office in Los Angeles, according to this press release. I’ve written previously about the company’s very hepcat namesake, Milton Mezzrow, and am familiar with the brand. But don’t take my word for it. This is from their website:

Mezz is a cutting-edge lifestyle company leading the next wave of cannabis culture. A movement united by the common goal to define our lives through the things we do, say, and create. We are seeking to normalize the use of cannabis and redefine what it means to experience it.
Pax ERA battery flashes colorful lights to indicate battery life, play games and control the temperature, which can also be regulated with a Bluetooth app (photo: Natural Cannabis Company)

The vape manufacturer Pax doesn’t market its vaping systems in terms of lifestyle choices and branded apparel, neither does it host pictures on its website featuring stylish models posed in brand clothing with vape pens in hand. Instead, their battery flashes colorful lights, has an app for controlling temperature and includes games the user can play via the lights. The very modern Pax ERA battery was my first post-vape pen (after my old Oasis pen died) and my go-to vaping device prior to discovering Stiiizy. Different companies like Select, Bloom Farms and Island, manufacture Pax ERA pods, giving the consumer a wide range of strain and variety choices. There are plenty of potent strains, but the Pax ERA doesn’t generate quite as much vapor as the Stiiizy, though it does provide flavorful clouds. The Pax ERA communicates to the user helpful information (how much battery life left, how much has been vaped in a session, etc.) via the system of colored lights. The batteries retail for about $30 and the Pax-friendly pods are comparable in price to others and are usually of excellent quality.

There are a handful of worthy dry herb & dab pens like the AirVapeX and Megatoke XL, but they are pricey (photo: TheDabSpot)

Other vape device manufacturers are more focused on marketing branded personal devices that vaporize dry herb and / or concentrates. The company AirVape, in addition to producing a variety of traditional vape pens, also sells a portable, sleek and pocket-sized vaping device that enables users to vape ground flower and wax (though not oil, distillate or other liquid concentrates). Other manufacturers like Pax and Megatoke sell similar devices. Like the vape cartridges and pods mentioned above, a dry herb vaping device can also be used very discretely and portably.

Whether lifestyle choice or simply a safer method of consuming cannabis, vaping in its many forms is revolutionizing an industry that’s only just found its legs. Hard to make an unequivocal product or brand recommendation since there are so many I haven’t tried. But I have experienced enough vape batteries and cartridges to highlight Stiiizy, first and foremost, as a go-to cannabis vaping system that is easy to use, reasonably priced, generates huge vapor clouds, and with a battery that charges at a moderate speed but affords the user many, many vapor puffs before a recharge is needed. And the dual air-flow design and quality cannabis pods provide an effect almost as strong as if the user had dabbed with a rig. Speak with your budtender, check out Weedmaps and Leafly and High TImes reviews, and you may unearth more worthy vape brands and products, too.

Primitive Zippo
Doing high dives into the California cannabis industry, cannabis culture, cannabis-friendly music and anything else cannabis-related residing in the vast expanse of my turgid cranium.

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