The Hottest Box In The West

On a hot and dry Saturday afternoon, July 29, an enthusiastic cannabis-loving mob descended upon the city of Hemet, California with the hopes of collectively setting a new Guinness World Record. Organized by The Hippie Lounge, this was the co-op’s second holding of such an event where various extract makers donated a portion of their product to be melted down in an official hotbox record attempt.

An early record in the cannabis category was set a couple of years ago when a group hotboxed 442 grams of shatter at the 2015 KushCup. That one was broken in February 2017 at a Hippie Lounge event where they melted up 504 grams of cannabis concentrates only to be shattered by another group with an apropos 710 grams in May. At Saturday’s hot box event, various parties donated a staggering 1,120 grams of shatter to be hot boxed by 185 eager guests.

The sesh took place at a decoratively tiled and stuccoed 1920’s-era house-turned-into-business on a long stretch of the CA-74 highway near the edge of East Hemet. The back and side yards of the property were filled with booths occupied by a variety of Southern California vendors who came prepared with cannabis flower, concentrates, topicals, edibles, clothing, and accessories for sale to the record setters in attendance. In addition to the edibles sold at the event, there were a variety of regular, non-medicated food options available including, hot dogs, nachos, and Italian sandwiches. D.J. Aquatic provided the soundtrack for the day from turntables by the stage.

While there were a lot of concentrates being consumed in the outside areas by guests who were sampling the vendors’ various extracts as well as taking dabs from their own stashes, the day’s real main event took place inside the house. A few more vendors had tables set up in the back entrance of the building where the line of people slowly made their way to a hallway in the front of the house to have their picture taken with their information before entering the hotbox. One by one, the crowd filled up the room as they were documented for official purposes. Some came prepared with goggles and towels to cover their mouth and nose as well as water and other drinks to soothe their throats during the coming session.

The hotbox took place in not just one, but two rooms located in the front of the house.  Inset shelves adorned the walls and trays lined with heated shisha coals were set upon them. Coals that would be coated with large sheets of cannabis concentrates only moments later. Additionally, an e-nail was set up in the second smaller room where a steady stream of half grams were set to be vaporized throughout the entire session. Once the trays were in place, the front door was shut, and the hallway was sealed off with a thin layer of plastic; then they started laying the sheets of wax on the coals.

Initially, as the shisha trays began to smolder and release the concentrates into the air, a slight haze started to rise and drift from the shelves along the wall. Enthusiastic hotboxers cheered and drew in large lungfuls of the sweet clouds as they billowed out and permeated the room. Many of the participants took out their cell phones to record video, take pictures, and stream the event for social media audiences everywhere.

As time passed by, the slight haze that was starting to blanket the room only minutes before was now significantly saturating it. View of the Hippie Lounge banner that hung from the ceiling several feet away became partially obscured by the cannabis clouds after several minutes before becoming invisible entirely, lost in a solid white haze of smoke and vapor. Human-shaped silhouettes popped in and out of the sweet swirling fog as it continued to fill the area.

An increasingly dense chorus of hacks, coughs, and whoops echoed throughout the room for the duration of the hotbox session, peoples’ throats and lungs somewhat irritated from the thick smog of cannabis concentrates that hung heavily in the air. A few of the participants made their way out the front door before the entire hotbox session was completed, unable to withstand a full ten minutes in the clouded environment. Several people remarked at how being in the hotbox felt much like being on the inside of a burning building as it was sweltering and there were clouds of smoke and vapor that made it impossible to see for more than a few feet ahead.

When the ten minutes were up, the crowd emerged from the hotbox, satisfied that they had managed to set a new world record successfully. As people filed out into the front yard, there was a little bit of confusion when a fire engine’s siren could be heard getting closer. Some panicked guests started to make their way inside and toward the back yard again, but the group’s fears were abated when the emergency vehicle approached, and the driver honked, waved, and continued toward his intended destination without missing a beat. It seems that even with legal cannabis, the paranoia of the dying prohibition era can still be difficult to erase.

After the hotbox portion of the sesh had been completed, people made their way into the back yard again to socialize and make purchases from the vendors. San Diego reggae band, Rude Creation started up as the sun set beyond the horizon and the day’s festivities came to a close. The amount of wax that was hotboxed that day was significant, collectively worth tens of thousands of dollars on the retail market. At 1,120 grams, it could be a while before someone breaks this record again.