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KIVA Confections Elevates Cannabis Culture at Outside Lands Music Festival

Photo by Omari Allen

Recently San Francisco held their 11th annual Outside Lands Music Festival in Golden Gate Park. Like any music festival, the bill featured a long list of performers across a wide range of genres. Aside from great music, the main draw to Outside Lands is its emphasis on food, wine, and art. San Francisco is known for its restaurant scene and with Napa Valley and Sonoma nearby, its wine scene is pretty poppin’ too. Each year Outside Lands invites visitors to feel like a San Franciscan for a weekend in what may be described as a love letter to the city. 

Another thing San Francisco is famous for is it’s cannabis culture. Haight-Ashbury, a district widely known as the birthplace of the hippie movement, has had a storied history with cannabis. The first well known cannabis dispensary, or “head shop,” was called Ron and Jay Thelin's Psychedelic Shop, which opened in 1966 and grew, along with others, to become a major hub for the hippie movement. Steeped in counter-establishment ideals and widespread drug use, the movement was regarded by mainstream society as naive and idealistic. Popular terms used to describe hippies were tree-hugger, beatnik, granola, liberal, and the most notorious, stoner. 

Photo: MK Feeney on Flickr, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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The “stoner” image still stigmatizes cannabis culture, although the movement dissipated long ago. Only in recent years has the word shed some of its negative connotation, gaining popularity through entertainment and the internet. With access to information and a global community, the benefits of cannabis began to see the light of day. One example of progress was this year’s aforementioned Outside Lands Music Festival. It wasn’t the first year OSL allowed visitors to consume cannabis, but it was the first time it has been legally sold at a music festival. I was curious to experience the “experiment” first hand, especially the booth by California-based brand, KIVA Confections. The edible market has evolved considerably in the past few years and KIVA is at the forefront.

Photo by Omari Allen

KIVA Confections was started in 2010. Their goal was to offer cannabis edibles that were potent, consistent and tasty.  At the time, the cannabis edible market was less regulated, having a more inconsistent homemade quality. KIVA co-founders Scott Palmer & Kristi Knoblich saw an opportunity to elevate the cannabis edible. Searching for fresh approaches to cannabis infusion, they consulted with a local chocolatier which helped bring everything into focus. They next met with expert cannabis cultivators and certified analytics laboratories to ensure the highest quality product. Like with any start up, it took some effort before they landed on the perfect edible. Fast forward to today and KIVA Confections, through efficacy, food safety, and business integrity, has become one of the leading California-based cannabis edibles. They have maintained their mission to offer a premium cannabis experience for customers. I witnessed this first hand during my visit to their confectionary booth at Outside Lands.

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Photo courtesy of KIVA Confections

If you’ve never attended Outside Lands, it is made up of different “lands” which offer unique experiences. For example, if you’re looking for libation, there is Beer Land and Wine Land. And for “canna-bation,” there’s Grass Lands, a sprawling stoner paradise perfectly situated under a shadowy canopy of tall blue gum eucalyptus trees. The Grass Lands were definitely the chillest land around, filled with a wide range of cannabis vendors, smoking sections and interactive activities. Located squarely in the center, and standing out amongst the more subdued color palettes of neighboring vendors, was the KIVA Confectionary booth. 

Photo courtesy of KIVA Confections

The booth was shining white with gold trim and had a See’s Candies feel, an aesthetic akin to quality confectionaries consumers are typically familiar with. Workers were dressed in white dress shirts with black aprons, wearing white 5-panel baseball caps which added a hip, yet classy feel. Festival-goers bustled around the booth, patiently waiting to get their hands on one of KIVA’s confections. My personal favorite was the dark chocolate KIVA bar with the Camino pineapple habanero gummies being a close runner up. KIVA’s chocolate tastes rich, full and creamy yet has a subdued bite with a balanced sweetness. Their gummies melt in your mouth. The pineapple habanero flavor leaves a slight tingly feeling on the tongue, adding a spicy kick to the sweet flavor profile. With only 5 milligrams of THC in each serving, microdosing KIVA’s confections offers a smooth and subtle high, perfect to experience over the course of a day. Interactive stations included mazes, a gumball machine, mystery drawers and a life-sized chocolate fountain, which unfortunately, I did not have the pleasure of swimming in.

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Photo courtesy of KIVA Confections

KIVA Confections elevates cannabis culture through its aesthetic and focus on quality. The care they take can not only be tasted, but felt through the clean product design, informative packaging, and potency. With a blind taste test, it’d be hard to know that cannabis is in the product. But, you can certainly feel it. Like the cannabis taste, the microdosing effects are subtle as well — the perfect amount for first time cannabis edible users. Coincidentally, this aligns with the recent resurgence of “hippie ideals” in the last few years. In a time where legal medical and recreational cannabis use is prevalent, getting high doesn’t overshadow the actual benefits of cannabis use like it once did. By making more artisanal and thoughtful products, KIVA’s approach is helping to de-stigmatize the “lazy stoner” image. 

The confectionary booth attracted a wide range of festival-goers of various age groups and backgrounds, displaying how the culture is evolving into something the average consumer can enjoy.  It’s only a matter of time before cannabis-infused products are a norm at your local grocery store.

Photo courtesy of KIVA Confections