.Best Way to Get Stoned and Stare at a Wall

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High Art competition, OrganiCann, Santa Rosa

Art and weed go together like a horse and carriage. Santa Rosa dispensary OrganiCann and its parent company, Natural Cannabis Company, have taken this synergy to the next level. Not only is the space chock full of amazing art that could have been lifted from the pages of Juxtapoz, but the company also runs an international art competition that is uplifting to customers and staff and potentially life-changing for artists.

Thousands of artists from as many as 150 countries enter their work every year. The top prize is $15,000 plus $10,000 to the charity of the artist’s choice. Second place gets $5,000, third place gets $2,500, fourth and fifth places get $1,000, and sixth through 20th place receive $500 each. That’s some serious green.

“We’ve watched artists’ careers develop with the help of some of the prize money, and it’s really humbling,” said Noa Commendador, who oversees the High Art program for Natural Cannabis Company. “It’s an honor. We’ve got people who actually quit their jobs and became full-time artists because we chose their artwork and they were like, ‘I never knew anybody appreciated what I did, and now that you have given me this platform, that’s what I do.’”

The High Art competition is in its 11th year. That is plenty of time to build up a considerable pile of art. Coming into the dispensary, soon-to-be-stoners are flooded with trippy visuals on every surface. In addition to the winning art and visceral printed compendiums of the top 150 art pieces of every year, the dispensary is decorated with dozens of massive pieces by Petaluma-based art legend Michael Garlington.

“I’m so very honored to have worked with OrganiCann,” said Garlington. “They are true supporters of the arts.”

Many of the artworks end up on the house-brand packaging, making for a beautiful reminder that life, art and weed go so well together. — Michael Giotis

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