Oklahoma-based medical marijuana company The Nirvana Group announced on Monday that it has entered into a partnership with Lover Yer Brain, the cannabis edibles firm founded by Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne. Under the terms of the agreement, The Nirvana Group will cultivate and source the cannabis used to manufacture Love Yer Brain marijuana edibles, including the company’s signature human brain-shaped gummies.
Formed in 1983 in Oklahoma City, three-time Grammy Award-winning band The Flaming Lips released their latest critically acclaimed Warner Bros. Records album American Head in 2020. Based on Coyne’s memories of growing up in Oklahoma City, the album confronts love, drugs, and death from his uniquely creative perspective.
Confessions Of A Teenage Pot Dealer
In an exclusive email interview, Coyne says that he has been in cannabis business since the 1970s, when he started selling pot to his friends at the age of 16.
“I was able to get the main dealer to front me like a quarter pound of pot. I had a motorcycle, a couple of electric guitars, I was selling marijuana and living in an apartment with my crazy girlfriend who had dropped out of high school after her father was killed in a car accident,” Coyne remembers. “I freely admit now that I was slightly oblivious to the hazards and violence that I luckily escaped.”
“There were plenty of times when I could have been robbed or killed (when I think back now) but I was always thinking more about music and art than being a drug dealer businessman,” he continues. “But, in the end it was a cut-throat, illegal thug way of life (which wasn’t the way I wanted to live) and it stressed me out too much. Luckily, I quit before something bad happened.”
Coyne says that he was attracted to cannabis as a teenager because as a teenager in the late 70s, “it represented a radical new American life, a life that was part hippie freedom and part do-it-yourself gangster. For me, personally, back then pot / weed / marijuana was too freaky!! One hit would make me too stoned, and I would get paranoid. But I liked the way it helped lots of my friends.”
Coyne, Cannabis And Creativity
While Love Yer Brain is marketed in part as a way to stimulate creativity, he says that cannabis is not a regular element of his creative process.
“I think when I work with other people, I would be too self-conscious … maybe not … I will try it,” he says. “But if it is just me, working on music or painting or writing, I think it frees me up to not see what I’m doing as overly important. When I do a little bit of Love Yer Brain THC gummy I often times think of being creative as being fun and not so serious.”
The Flaming Lips made headlines last year when they played a series of live shows while the world was still firmly in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the interest of safety, everyone—the band and all members of the audience—were enclosed in transparent bubbles. When asked if he had hot-boxed his plastic orb by filling it with marijuana smoke, Coyne says “I can neither confirm nor deny that that might have happened in the audience during the April 20th Bubble Show (our 10th!) in 2021, when we launched Love Yer Brain in Oklahoma.”
Brain-Shaped Weed Gummies
Under the new partnership, The Nirvana Group will introduce a re-formulated brain-shaped gummy using a strain-specific, full-spectrum cannabis live resin. This new formula will allow Love Yer Brain to offer an array of edibles with dialed-in effects including sativa and indica specific products in watermelon, green apple and raspberry, with more flavors expected this summer. The first batch will feature legacy sativa strain Purple Haze and the popular indica strain Dosidos. The Nirvana Group’s wholesale operation Argent Cannabis will handle distribution and retailing, including through Nirvana’s network of dispensaries across the state.
“The Nirvana Group and Argent Cannabis are thrilled to partner with Love Yer Brain. We are committed to research, development, and distribution with the best brands in Oklahoma and to being a one-stop shop for progressive industry leaders,” Arshad (Adam) Lasi, CEO of The Nirvana Group, said in a statement about the new partnership. “We’re excited to partner with Wayne at this pivotal time for the Oklahoma market and look forward to providing for both loyal Love Yer Brain fans as well as new audiences with tailored access to an array of cutting-edge, cannabis products.”
“This partnership will allow us to reach even more creative humans so they too can enjoy, not only the highest-quality cannabis products in the licensed market, but also enjoy the absurdness and beauty and awareness of the the wonder of life,” added Coyne.
The partnership also intends to introduce Love Yer Brain to other legal marijuana markets in the Northeast and Southwest. Coyne also sees other opportunities in the growing market for mind-expanding products, saying he is “closely watching and monitoring the movement to decriminalize and regulate Psilocybin in Oklahoma, Michigan, and nationwide!”
For now, however, his enterprise is concentrating on Oklahoma’s medical marijuana market, where Coyne says he enjoys being able to bring Love Yer Brain to his home state. But the experience has also given him an acute awareness of those still suffering from a century of marijuana prohibition.
“I feel blessed and it’s fun, but from a social justice standpoint, it also makes me think of the thousands and thousands of people in jail today in the U.S. from breaking cannabis laws,” says Coyne. “It’s why organizations like The Last Prisoner Project are so important for reimagining drug policy,” referring to a cannabis industry sponsored nonprofit working to end incarceration for marijuana offenses.