BY MICHELLE ANN RIZZIO
Reefer Madness is a new dispensary and lounge opening in Palm Springs today. The lounge will be themed like Alice in Wonderland and will offer cannabis consumers a fun and low-key way to consume cannabis. I had the opportunity to meet with one of the owners Steven Wijatyk to discuss his vision and experience in the cannabis industry.
CV WEEKLY: What inspired you to open a dispensary in Palm Springs?
STEVEN: I became involved in cannabis in Arizona around the time that I was working for Intel as a Process Engineer for 7 years. With the big layoffs my technicians and I started thinking about what would happen if we were laid off. One of them grew cannabis in Colorado and we learned that Arizona was going to become licensed. Once I became laid off myself, 2 technicians and an investor applied for 2 licenses in Arizona but due to the competition we were unsuccessful. There were 31 opportunities and 750 applications. 2 of them being ours. Folks with big money were able to get the licenses while we did not. We learned that California would be issuing licenses and I began following what was happening in the Coachella Valley. When proposition 64 passed I partnered with a new investor interested in California and we looked at various properties and selected one that she really liked and she bought it. We separated our business and a property manager found me and I put in an application and we were approved in Palm Springs.
CVW: What type of experience do you want your consumers to have when visiting Reefer Madness?
STEVEN: I want it to be a fun experience within the lounge. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the lounge will not be opening yet. In the meantime, the lounge will be visible to the consumers until 8 weeks from now when the moratorium is lifted. I want them to be able to have products available that are medicinal and organic. There’s a definite difference between organic products and cannabis that has been grown non-organically. I am a Mechanical Engineer and I was very involved in all of the steps with the company. We will be soon producing our own organic rosin and cultivating in house flower as well.
CVW: What are some of your favorite ways to consume cannabis?
STEVEN: I really enjoy the beverages and I enjoy smoking it through a pipe or a bong. I usually can only smoke before bed and as needed. It helps me sleep and sometimes it helps me with pain. I’ll be honest, I don’t use it a lot. I’m much more of a microdoser. When I am ill, I also use cannabis. I prefer indicas and hybrids that are more indica dominant. I have a sativa brain so I prefer to have it turned off.
CVW: How has cannabis impacted your life?
STEVEN: Cannabis has shown me a lot about people’s medical conditions and how cannabis is the one medicine that treats many different ailments. In Arizona, I was a medical marijuana caregiver and I had three patients, with one of them who had a thyroid disorder ontop of being a cancer survivor. She also had Hasimoto’s disease as well. She was able to replace all of her prescribed medicines and simplify it to cannabis. I was able to cultivate for her and gained experience on how to grow strictly organic cannabis. For her, cannabis that was not organic could activate her disorders. Certain non-organic methods of cultivating cannabis inflamed her issues, so we stayed strict on our organic protocol. When I started working on Reefer Madness, I was unable to tend to my plants and during that portion I was allowed to shop in the dispensary on her behalf and provide for her. We have since split ways, but the experience showed me how truly medicinal cannabis is.
Reefer Madness is located at 4693 Ramon Rd in Palm Springs and is open from 8am-10pm. The dispensary is also offering delivery within Palm Springs.
@ReeferMadnessLounge is where you can find us on social media and you can visit our website at Reefermadnesslounge.com