The San Diego Local Sesh began in 2015 by organizers with backgrounds in large-scale, mainstream events. Their skillset has brought an air of professionalism to each of the 15 Local Sesh events produced around San Diego County in Southern California in the past two years.
The organizer’s pre-existing relationships with some of San Diego’s finest venues are part of the reason the events have become so successful from the start; as was apparent during its debut at the four-star Hilton Hotel, overlooking scenic Mission Bay.
Each Local Sesh is run under California’s compassionate use guidelines for medical cannabis, as set forth under Proposition 215 (approved by voters in 1996). Attendees sign-up and purchase tickets in advance, with patient medical cards verified at the door.
The Local Sesh was a spin-off of The Secret Sesh and The Secret Cup, with the secret aspect serving a purpose – to protect all involved in a private party setting, with the event’s location announced 24-hours prior.
The strict security of the Speak Easy-type operation keeps attendance numbers in check. It also sends a message of insurance to venue owners and local authorities alike - that the party is under control. Added private security, well-versed in cannabis rules-of-conduct, underscores the safety factor.
Each Local Sesh is sponsored by a different company, with booth space rented to cannabis businesses. Local Sesh organizers research each exhibitor, making sure product makers comply with California State medical cannabis regulations.
Organizers stated that no less than 400 attendees have registered, with no sesh shut down, and no incidents reported in its two years of operation; and invitations to return received from every location.
Above: The first San Diego Local Sesh was held at the Hilton Hotel, overlooking Mission Bay.
California’s Transition to Recreation
California is technically still a medically legal state, though voters approved the Adult Usage Act in November of 2016 during its General Election, with ordinances in effect January 1, 2018.
Until then, the feel inside the sesh is decidedly celebratory – with concentrates and dabs the stars of the show, flower coming in second, and high THC products common.
That said, CBD products for both humans and pets have received excellent marks in the competitive portion of the event - with products from San Diego’s finest farmers, and remedy makers competing for trophies and cash prizes.
DJs spin, scratch, and add beats to the party atmosphere, which includes a wide array of people from 20-somethings to those above 50 or older, who still remember what it was like to hide behind the garbage cans out back to partake.
And though recreation is definitely coming, in the midst of the party atmosphere, patients in wheel chairs, roll up to tables manned by former military veterans, and the horrors of war are discussed, along with medicating with the herb for PTSD.
Guest speakers give testimonials to the crowd of how they’ve been helped by cannabis. Patients turned cannabis Evangelists who speak out to a congregation in the round, include former Marine Sargent, Sean J. Major, who joined the military when he was 18 years old.
By the time he was 27, he said he was released from duty with four traumatic brain injuries, spending time at the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Camp Pendleton in Southern California to recover.
“I hate the word marijuana; and I hate the stigma!” he laments to a respectful crowd. “I’ve always thought of cannabis as medicine. If I could change anything, it would be to give veterans of war safe access. I’ve talked to marines that go back home to states that aren’t legal for medicine – like Oklahoma and Arkansas – and they’ve done time for this plant – they served their country, now they are sick and suffering, and they’ve had to serve years in prison. That’s wrong on many levels. I’d like to help change that.”
Above: Former Marine Sargent, Sean J. Majors.
The sesh is undeniably a place for the once covert cannabis community of San Diego to come together in unity to enjoy each other, exchange information, and network – as one would in any business-model or community group – such as a monthly Chamber of Commerce mixer.
With dispensary bans enacted against safe access throughout San Diego, private delivery service is booming.
But when you see the professionally packaged products tabled at events like the San Diego Local Sesh or the San Diego Cannabis Farmers Market, with medicine clearly labeled and tested, it’s easy to see that San Diego is ready to enter into the recreational market in a good way.
To find out when the next San Diego Local Sesh is taking place, follow them on Instagram @localsesh.sd. Events take place every two months or so. They aren't announced until the last minute for security and safety reasons.
Above: Packaging of cannabis products, for both humans and pets, is professionally done, with a nod to the future of big business in California.
The term “Sesh” is slang for “session,” which has many meanings; including modern-day use as a sit-down gaming session, or spending any length of time on the computer.
The term originated in Great Britain, however, and was initially pub slang used for decades prior, with a focus on binge drinking. It’s been revived in the U.K. as a beyond-the-after-party hang-out, with negative connotations that include more than booze and weed.
In the United States, the term Sesh has been adopted by the cannabis community as part of the culture, indicating a “puff, puff, pass,” 4:20 hang-out; or a time to come together in a tribal fashion, passing the peace pipe, if you will, in a communal gathering.
Above: Chef Deonta of Papaz Potionz, maker of infused gourmet medicated food, with his First Place win for edibles.
Photos by Sharon Letts.