Last week, when San Francisco-based Pax Labs announced the latest version of its vaporizer, the Pax 3, designed for use with both marijuana flowers and wax concentrates, one of my colleagues piped up, only somewhat facetiously: “Where can we line up?”
Gone are the days when stoners toted around pot-smoking paraphernalia in padded corduroy bags. Today, the elite stoner’s accessory of choice has more in common with a smartphone than it does with the hand-blown glass bubblers and pipes many of us grew up with: It’s tech-forward, branded, and available in rose gold.
Pax, you see, has made its name as the creator of the “iPhone of vaporizers,” a moniker that CEO Tyler Goldman said the company didn’t come up with, but certainly doesn’t shy away from.
“The comparison to Apple is apt yet aspirational,” said Goldman, noting that the company has sold over a million devices—obviously a tiny fraction of Apple’s sales, but representative of what he called “a dominant market share” in vaporizers.
“We look to Apple as a company to emulate in terms of product ideology and the commitment to deliver the best product on the market, iteration over iteration,” said Goldman. “Our goal was, and still is, to make traditional smoking obsolete by building technically superior products by changing the entire experience.”
And also by using design and marketing to catapult those products beyond the category of device or even accessory, thereby making them personal talismans of the sort one grabs when he or she heads for the door. A everyday carry list that might once have included keys, wallet, smokes may now be more like iPhone, Pax, sunnies.
Perhaps no products embody the new era of legal, socially acceptable, brand-centric, tech-forward–even Instagram-ready—marijuana use quite like Pax Lab’s.