A Safe Space for Cannabis Lovers
Photo Credit: Author
Philadelphia, Philly, The Quaker City, The City of Brotherly love; Philadelphia is Pennsylvania’s largest city, and has a rich history. The Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed in Philadelphia, the iconic “Rocky” steps are at the Philadelphia Museum of Art , and the city was also a huge stop on the Underground Railroad.
Also located in Philadelphia: The Lair 420 Social Club. The Lair is a black owned, cannabis friendly social club offering a safe space for 420 lovers to come by, vibe, and consume cannabis. Recently, The Lair 420 Social Club, in collaboration with their edibles company Sunflower Spacecakes, sponsored my travel and stay in Philadelphia to get to know more about them, the cannabis culture in Philadelphia, and to learn more about the city that has the best vegan cheesesteaks (them jawns bang!). Here’s how it went.
About the Lair 420 Social Club
Owned by a husband and wife, operated by a tribe that consists of family and friends, and supported by a beautiful community of people, the Lair is a place that welcomes great vibes and dope energy. The Lair is located in West Philly, a diverse area in Philadelphia that was once farmland. It is considered an area of the city that attracts Millenials and “bohemian” culture.
On their website, the Lair describes themselves as: “the brainchild of Sunflower Spacecakes, a black-owned 420 vegan company based in West Philly. Just a few (4/20) friendly vegan bakers looking to bring new people to the vortex.” And let me tell you, the vortex is a great place to be!
Not too long ago, Dom Hart, Vee_Traveling_Veg_Canna_Writer blog contributor and owner of Green Harts Kitchen, wrote about her visit to the Lair. She described it as:
“From the moment we enter the door it feels peaceful.Some of the bones and brick of the home are still exposed but the vision is plain and beautiful. Sammiyah leads our team, carefully, out onto a part of the roof that will eventually be a balcony space for The Lair (which will be a perfect smoking spot when it’s finished), where we catch picturesque views of center city Philadelphia. The city glows beneath ethereal sunset light and I feel that the spirit of the place is evident. Family and tribe mentality cover the house like a blanket of protection that is fortified by its surroundings, and by the people that build and benefit from it.”
This vibe was still there when I arrived in April 2021. There were noticeable upgrades to the building and additional upgrades happening. The outside deck overlooking the city was set and ready for kickbacks, and downstairs was being expanded and extended. The people, still dope! I was welcomed with hugs, smiles, cannabis, and vegan french toast casserole.
Spending a Day at The Lair
Photo Credit: The Lair 420 Social Club
Each day was different but everyday held amazing vibes and conversations. Once the doors open at 11a, it’s nonstop. Locals love the Lair and it’s easy to see why. Everyone that comes in is greeted like family, the owners and those that keep operations afloat, know their visitors/members by name. The Lair is a great hangout but also a place where folks can learn. Those that make the Lair possible are passionate about cannabis and all the ways that cannabis can help with a multitude of conditions. Sunflower knows her potent consumers, she knows her CBD only consumers, and she knows the timeframes that her regulars will be there.
People coming in are in good spirits, they walk upstairs into the lounge and greet everyone in the room. Black and beautiful, the owners, operators, and most of the visitors/members are Black, and it’s a beautiful site to see. It’s equally beautiful to see non-melanated people support the Lair. Black people supporting black businesses, keeping the money circulating in the community- making it stronger- that’s love- that’s Philly.
Sunflower is an amazing hostess. She is the life of the place and totally in love with what she does and has built. That’s so important because that energy is all over the building, in the edibles, and in the prerolls- which are loaded by hand and with smiles on faces. The energy between her and her husband Aqiyl is beautiful, and the collective energy that Waffle, Mark, and Shani dish out makes the building feel like Nirvana.
A day at the Lair means the clouds will lift you all the way up. I’m a smoker, I smoke all day, but let me state this- PHILLY HAS SOME CHIEFS! They love backwoods! Each one rolled had an ⅛ of flower in them and many of them were infused with concentrate. The joints, blunts, and dabs were all going at the same time and many days I had to tap out- PHILLY SMOKED ME OUT.
Day after day, I had beautiful experiences with beautiful people… day after day I embraced it and day after day I had this “I don’t want to leave” feeling.
The Philly Food Scene- Vegan Goodness With and Without Cannabis
The vegan food scene in Philadelphia starts with Sunflower Spacecakes and their delicious line of infused vegan edibles. I ate infused chips (my favorite edible on the menu), infused chocolate chip cookies, infused lemon cookies, infused brownies, infused punch, and infused ice cream. The mornings start with wake and bake joints, and a selection of various coffees, teas, and creamers- all vegan. Much of the time, the Lair crew was feeding me joints, blunts, and edibles at the same time. I don’t believe I came down off of my cloud the whole time I was there.
My trip was totally sponsored; Sunflower was so amazing to me. We have been following each other on social media for a while and so she knew the way to my heart was cannabis and good food. One of the days I was there- food was being delivered over the course of a couple of hours; she ordered from multiple places and created a vegan buffet.
The vegan food scene in Philly is plentiful. There are vegan meal options for all levels of vegan, and a lot of the restaurants that aren’t vegan, have vegan menus. There wasn’t a thing that I ate that I didn’t like. All vegan cooks making cheesesteaks need to take a trip to Philly for training. I have been all over this country, have been vegan on and off for 12 years, have ordered at least 75 vegan cheesesteaks in that time frame, and Philly was the first time I actually had a real vegan cheesesteak.
Photo Credit: Author
Congrats New York on Legalization! Our Day Trip to New York City
During my time in Philly, a day trip to New York took place. Sunflower, Dom, and I hit the city to spread love and light to the people for their success on legalization. Dom picked us up and within 2 hours, we arrived at one of my favorite places on earth- the big apple. New York City- the city that never sleeps, the melting pot of the east, the Broadway mecca, the place where so many legends come from.
Within an hour of arriving, edibles were being tossed to NYC pedestrians and a sesh was being had with Blaine, who we saw rolling up not far from the Empire State Building. Within 2 hours, Quis picked us up to take us around the city. We ate in Harlem, we drove by the Apollo Theater, we drove to and through Brooklyn and the Bronx, and ended the night with a huge New York pizza. I love pizza and love it from New York!
Networking and Community- the Lair 420 Social Club Partners and Affiliates
The Lair is really about community. Sunflower has created a space that offers other businesses an opportunity to generate sales and clients. On any day, maybe all days by this point, the Lair has themed nights such as: Yoga with Kamila (click here to check out yoga under the stars), Sunflowers Marketplace, massages by Therapeutik Touch, and Sunday brunches that feature different tri-state chefs like Dom. Sunflower believes that cannabis is fun but is also wellness and so, it’s no surprise that she recently added High Hike to her line up of events at the Lair.
While visiting Philly, Sunflower booked transportation for sightseeing with Docta Transportation. Docta Transportation is a black owned, Philadelphia based premium provider of quality transportation experiences- 420 friendly! Our guide was amazing, friendly, and just as excited about the day as we were. On that tour I saw the famous Rocky stairs and actually made it to the top (bucket list item scratched off!)! I saw the Rocky statue, the Love sign, took a little walk downtown, and went to the river so that I could stand in Philly and see Jersey across the water. Check out the day here.
Which leads me to some big news.
The East Coast Cannabis Tour and the 420- Cannabis Music Festival
While in Philly, the East Coast Cannabis Tour with Vee was born. This tour happening in July 2021, is presented by the Liar, Sunflower Spacecakes, and OUR Welding, and features me: the traveling cannabis writer. This tour is in honor of and highlights cannabis culture, cannabis legalization, and cannabis businesses along the east coast. The tour is a 7 state, 7 city excursion, starting in Massachusetts with Justincredible Cultivation and Elev8 Cannabis– 2 black owned businesses in cannabis. From there, the tour bus with about 5 businesses on board, heads up to Maine, then down to Connecticut, New York, Washington D.C, Virginia, and North Carolina.
We have some amazing sponsors on board and sponsorship opportunities still exist. For those interested in joining Cash Color Cannabis, Docta Transportation, and House of Weird Perfection, please reach out to vee_traveling_veg_canna_writer and/or Sunflower Spacecakes.
There is also the 420- Cannabis Music Festival– happening in Philadelphia, at the One Art Community Center on August 21, 2021. This is a festival presented by the Lair and Sunflower Spacecakes, with me- Vee as the press and promoter, musical performances, appearance and show by Cannabis Film Festival, food by Atiya Ola’s Spirit First Foods, and a handful of vendors. For more information on the festival- reach out to Sunflower Spacecakes.
Photo Credit: Author
There are some amazing things coming, all with the force and push of a dope black woman who loves people, cannabis, and amazing experiences. The Lair is a place for everyone: for the person that works from their laptop, to the person that works days and needs to get out at night, to the person that just needs to be in a vibe where nothing is expected of them, to the person trying to network- the Lair is a West Philly gem. Because of the Lair, the east coast will be seeing so much of me. Because of Sunflower, my summer is about to be lit!
Thank you the Lair, Sunflower Spacecakes, and Our Welding: Sunflower, Aqiyl, Waffle, Shani, Mark, Big Tee, Mr. Window, Jazz, Cheryl, and Big Jeffrey.
Thank you to the people that came into the Lair just to say hi to me, the locals that shared their plant with me, the locals that verbally expressed their appreciation for the love that I was showing their city, the locals that sat next to me and didn’t say much- but expressed gratitude through vibration…to all of you and every single person that I locked eyes with and bumped shoulders with- THANK YOU! I miss you and I can’t wait to see you!
In the movie Eat Pray Love, there’s a scene where folks at the table go around and pick a word that describes a city. They say that Rome’s word is sex, New York’s word is ambition, and Stockholm’s word is conformist.
When I think of Philly, the only word that shows up in my heart is love. Philadelphia’s word is love.