If you happen to come across the cover of Gossamer's first-ever issue on newsstands — a close-up, detailed shot of a cold orange refreshment, mid-pour — chances are you wouldn't assume the biannual magazine has anything to do with marijuana. Co-founded by former Lucky Digital Editor Verena von Pfetten and former Digg Chief Creative Officer David Weiner, Gossamer covers cannabis culture in a way that doesn't exactly focus on cannabis itself. Instead, the duo is determined to highlight lifestyle and culture through a "green lens," and with Gossamer's digital launch last fall, readers have been treated to online newsletters featuring interviews, essays from its "High Minded" series and recommendations of what to read, watch, eat, buy or follow on social media. Gossamer has also offered printed guides ("How to Roll a Sensible Joint") at events, and has a podcast is currently in the works.
"We can cover anything as long as we're doing it in a way that reflects our voice and what we're trying to deliver, which is content that's interesting and engaging for an open-minded, curious person who doesn't take themselves too seriously," says von Pfetten.
"We really try to create content that we think mirrors or channels this sensation that we all, or a number of us, choose to partake in either daily or once a week or what have you," says Weiner. "But also be accessible and understandable to those who don't even consume cannabis." What one may call a "stoned epiphany," Weiner notes can also be considered a "shower thought," for example.
For Gossamer's physical representation, the duo doubled-down, resulting in a debut issue boasting 144 matte- and glossy-coated pages, filled with short stories, essays, editorial shoots, deep dives, explainers, interviews and conversations — even a section to color and solve word puzzles. Overall, the magazine showcases cannabis culture in a way that's smart, creative and highly entertaining for any reader, whether you're 420-friendly or simply 420-curious.
Inside, there is a thorough guide on CBD, as well as a still-life photo shoot of weed-adjacent products. Writer Alexandra Ilyashov explores her obsession with fake food, complemented with beautifully surreal visuals by Doan Ly, while Molly Young offers a simple "how-to" on ad-blocking your apartment. The issue also includes a fashion shoot styled by Rachael Wang and photographed by Meredith Jenks, featuring designer couple TyLynn and Bee Nguyen, who speak to Gossamer about their backgrounds, careers and raising a family as cannabis consumers in California, where recreational use is legal.
While weed's legality is steadily increasing throughout the U.S. — across 30 states, thus far — there's a very obvious racial disparity in marijuana arrests, as Black individuals are still arrested at higher rates than white people. Gossamer brings this conversation to the fore, specifically between Tsion Lencho, who founded Supernova Women, an Oakland-based organization for women of color in the cannabis industry, and Adem Bunkeddeko, a Democratic candidate for Congress in New York's 9th congressional district in Brooklyn. "You can't really exist as a cannabis lifestyle publication or a cannabis publication at all without acknowledging the unfortunate disparity between who gets to participate in this business legally and who is currently in jail for it," says von Pfetten.
As we mentioned back in October, Gossamer launched alongside a second fancy media brand focused on weed for a female-forward audience, plus another new title that launched last week. Is this a sign of a saturated market? Not at all, says von Pfetten, using the beauty industry as a perfect example. "That's been around for a hundred-plus years and a new brand is launched every week and a new publication or blog every other week. There's still room for people to find what speaks to them," she says. "If anything, all it does is help move the conversation forward and hopefully help change the way people talk about it on a person-to-person level and then potentially, and ideally, on a legislative level."