DOPE Magazine arrives in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. We knock on the door of a somewhat inconspicuous building off Clifton Place and are greeted out front by Abdullah Saeed. He answers the door wearing jeans and a basic black tee, hair slightly disheveled, donning a smile that is immediately inviting.
Without delay, he offers to help the video team with their gear—a reminder that TV celebs are normal-ass, courteous people, too. We walk up a long staircase into a spacious loft apartment, where evidence of a recent smoke sesh plumed around the room. Abdullah washes a few drinking glasses by hand in the kitchen while the team sets up their gear for our interview and photoshoot. Abdullah’s demeanor is that of an old friend who wasn’t expecting a drop-in visit. He happily welcomes us into his personal space.
“CBD is good for your parents.”
Abdullah was born in New Hampshire, but spent most of his youth in Thailand on the college campus where his father worked. From a first generation Pakistani family, he spoke English at school and Urdu at home. “My family is pretty liberal and open minded,” posited Abdullah when asked about his family dynamic. “My family members are all very aware of the creativity that cannabis inspires.”
Abdullah is the host of a VICELAND program called Bong Appétit. With the help of his on-camera team, Vanessa Lavorato and Ry Prichard, they throw laborious and elaborate dinner events with chefs from around the globe. The THC, CBD and terpene-infused dishes are then served to eager guests.
The team’s moms were guests on the Marijuana Mother’s Day Feast episode. While Abdullah’s mom abstained from ingesting THC (she works as a nurse), Ry’s mom smoked weed with the team on—and off—camera. “There are all types of moms out there. Ry’s mom is a head. She’s chill. She gets down. My mom didn’t want to get high, but she understands that CBD is good for you. CBD is good for your parents.” Abdullah states that while he watches some of his family members age, he wants them to be open to the benefits that CBD can have on prevalent diseases such as Alzheimer’s. “Weed isn’t just my goofy thing. It’s a medicine that can help my family. You can benefit without getting high.”
Hospitable Cannabis Cities
Abdullah has lived and traveled the globe. The most cannabis-friendly and hospitable place he’s ever visited was a tiny Nepalese city in the foothills of the Annapurna Mountain Range, filming a documentary of the Gurung people. They collect “Mad Honey,” a psychoactive honey created from the grayanotoxin of the Rhododendron flower.
One of the porters on the trip, Durga Gurung, offered Abdullah finger hash while trekking up to the bee hives. “This is the Himalayas, weed is everywhere. It’s very close to, if not, the birthplace of cannabis,” Abdullah explains. “Durga blazed me out the rest of the time that we were in this remote village…everybody was really hospitable, the sweetest people.” He described their kindness, saying quite matter-of-factly, “There is no city in America or the modern world that is going to have the level of hospitality that a tiny place in the middle of nowhere will have.”