The Heavy Metal Cannabis Interview

“The DNA … the edginess …. and combining the world of cannabis with the world of graphic novels, comics, and storytelling.”

There is no doubt that the Heavy Metal x Berkshire Roots collaboration will go down as one of the Bay State’s early memorable high-profile cannabis collaborations, right up there with Little Steven’s Underground Apothecary x Canna Provisions and Plant Jam x Jim Belushi ice cream.

For the uninitiated, Heavy Metal magazine is not a music thing but rather an iconic entertainment brand that helped put fantasy and sci-fi graphic art on the map. It’s not necessarily a stoner emblem, but it’s certainly an imprint that has been consumed by pot smokers for generations. Furthermore, in the past couple of decades they’ve expanded into other areas—film, books, and now cannabis.

As the companies jointly explained, “The launch is part of an exclusive licensing deal with Heavy Metal Entertainment (HME) for Berkshire Roots to offer and create unique cannabis products in Massachusetts branded ‘Heavy Metal’ to coincide with HMEs plans to deliver exciting new media and experiences for its fanbase and to attract new people to its rich history of stories and characters.”

I ran into the team behind this joint venture at NECANN, and asked how it all came together.

“You get opportunities sometimes and you have to decide if you’re going to walk through the door or not,” Berkshire Roots CEO James Winokur said. “I thought, this is a great connection. I know cannabis is a big part of this world and I connected with [Heavy Metal President] Tommy Coriale and said, Hey, I think we could do something with your assets and your animations and your images.” 

“It’s been an adult oriented brand for 45 something years, right? Obviously moving into cannabis made sense, but then also as a consumer and testing their product and hearing what their plans were for the brand, then it really made sense,” Coriale told Talking Joints Memo.

Asked about the deep archives and how the art lines up with weed, the Heavy Metal pres, who also serves as the company’s head of studio for multimedia projects, said “it’s less about references to cannabis” and “more about the DNA of it, the edginess of it, and combining the world of cannabis with the world of graphic novels, comics, and storytelling.” At the same time, Coriale can imagine the powerhouse producing “new characters that tie into the brand” in the future, a place that Heavy Metal is well-acquainted with.

For their first limited edition installment, Berkshire Roots “created products and interactive packaging inspired by Heavy Metal’s rich history of boundary-pushing artwork and the 1981 film: ‘The 1981 Collection’ for flower; ‘The Never, Never Collection’ for blunts; ‘The Taarna Collection’ for vapes; ‘The Cold War Collection’ for concentrates; and ‘The Dark Wing Collection,’ for edibles.

“With the packaging, on the outside you see the logo and some faint images of the characters,” Coriale said, “but on the inside there is collectible art from Heavy Metal with QR codes that will take you to experiences.

“It’s going to be pretty cool. … The first batch is going to be one of the most collectible packages that we have ever released.”

Products hit the shelves on April 1 at the following dispensaries and delivery companies: Budzee Delivery, Dreamer, The Goods, Honey, Nature’s Remedy, Nova Farms, Panacea Wellness, and Zyp Run Delivery.