Vibes & Vices: Gold Leaf Smoke Shop

Wait, you’re not a cop or anything, are you? If you are, you have to tell me…okayfine that’s totally false, but it’d be a lot cooler if you did.

All jokes aside, cannabis is medicine first and foremost, and from sickness of the spirit to afflictions of the physical form, I’ve found that a toke or two cures what ails me more often than not. Indeed, the medical community and governing bodies the world over are beginning to recognize the full potential of this mystic natural resource…if a plant with its properties were discovered tomorrow, it would be hailed as manna from heaven.

Samara at Gold Leaf is a staunch advocate for the beneficial powers of this miracle herb, and recently celebrated six years of stellar service to the city with an anniversary party at her store in Emiliano Zapata. The event also offered an opportunity to attend an affair at a smoke shop and call it work, and so I donned an appropriate pair of socks and headed on down.

The Vibes: Just past Insurgentes on Lázaro Cárdenas chills Gold Leaf, Vallarta’s foremost supplier of smoking sundries. For the evening’s event, streetside seating had been provided, which was occupied upon my arrival by a few familiar faces from my various social circles.

Inside awaited the bassy techno selections of a local DJ, a very inviting sushi platter, and Samara herself, who I had to that point never met out in the open. Still, I managed to gather from her Internet footprint and ownership of a coastal Mexican headshop that she was a pretty cool chick, and it was fun to finally make her acquaintance.

“I mostly started the shop because I couldn’t find rolling papers in town when I moved here a few years back.” she mused as I munchied on a roll. “I’m really glad to see that people here have responded to us so well over the past 6 years, really made us part of the community. People really appreciate what we do.”

Looking around at the animated assemblage of attendees, it was clear to see that Gold Leaf was attracting the right kind of clientele. Browsing the inventory of vapes, glassware, and water pipes, I pondered the social aspects of cannabis consumption over another serving of sushi.

The Vices: Naturally, there were no officially sanctioned sessions of the sort we were celebrating–legislation in Mexico and some points north is years if not decades behind the will of the populace–but a spirit of sharing was definitely flowing through the air.

Outside the shop, friendships were forged in the fires of communion. A volunteer vendor unaffiliated with the establishment offered free samples of CBD oil for educational purposes. I bit a…thing…offered to me by a complete stranger after being informed of its composition. Still don’t know quite what it was, but it felt right at the time….what can I say, it was that kind of night.

As for refreshments directly provided by our gracious host, a garrafon filled with some kind of party punch served as an effective remedy for dry mouth. Seems a bit strange that one can just put out a giant jug of drunkenness for the public with no issues of any kind but could be thrown in jail with murderers for possessing a plant, but we don’t have to talk about that right now.

The festivities rolled on like yet another plate of sushi. I admired interior wall art by area visionary Emilio Bustamante and tried not to be too obvious about eyeing a particular employee as well. October’s edition of independent psychonautic periodical La Dosis were passed out to guests along with new stickers for my laptop.

I made a few new friends, including one who was kind enough to look past my scrambled Spanish to see the enthusiastic soul inside. T-shirts were raffled off, and of course I won one because I’m just a lucky son of a mother and everyone has to deal with it. The high times extended well into the evening, and as I wafted into the night like a wisp of blue smoke, I couldn’t help but think I’d done more than visit a store…I’d connected with a community.

I’m even sorry I ate all the sushi. Kinda.

The Verdict: Gold Leaf Smoke Shop isn’t typically an event venue, it’s…well, exactly what it says on the tin. Still, with a staff of knowledgeable employees, an extensive inventory of ethereal essentials, and an owner dedicated to raising awareness of cannabis as a curative, it’s more than worth a visit for members of this singularly sociable subculture. Maybe I’ll catch you there.


Gold Leaf Smoke Shop

Lázaro Cárdenas 379, Emiliano Zapata

AJ Freeman on Email
AJ Freeman
AJ Freeman is an adventurous spirit, serial friendmaker, and general enthusiast. He lives his everyday life hoping to demonstrate the nearly infinite potential for discovery and wonder on this small wet rock orbiting a dim yellow star in the backwoods of the Milky Way.