An ongoing oral history of the saga of Bong Mansion by Into the Weeds’ Ben Rispin and Puff Digital Editor-In-Chief, Connor Lovat-Fraser
Ben Rispin – In November 2018, Efrem Martizez Schulz (Death By Stereo, Voodoo Glow Skulls), Bubba Nicholson and I took our podcast, Puff Digital’s Into The Weeds (ITW) out to Las Vegas to the MJ Biz Conference to shoot a few episodes and cover the event.
While the primary focus of the trip was to interview Sen Dog Of Cypress Hill, we also had the privilege of meeting and interviewing legit pot czar, Terry Line. Terry Line is famously known amongst the cannabis industry for raising funds for The Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD), a play that made hundreds of millions of dollars for the company. A play, that set the pace and stage for massive amounts of funding for many Canadian licensed cannabis producers (LP’s) during what is now known as the “green rush”. Terry is one of a kind, was an amazing guest on ITW, and has become somewhat of a mentor to me (Ben) – not that he has time for that. The way Terry lives his life, proving day in and day out that great success doesn’t have to change who you are on the inside, and that being a decent person trumps all, truly inspires me. Terry is an incredible dude and really saved us when we needed help.
Bubba introduced us to Terry, who we all just fell in love with during our interview. After appearing on ITW, we’d see Terry at conventions with a huge smile and hug.
Terry had gotten a little grief about being on the podcast by some associates. I’m not sure what I can say there, but anyway, he’d laugh and say that I got him in shit by coming on my “stoner podcast.” I felt bad and offered to take the episode down, but Terry refused.
A few months went by with little contact between Terry and I – other than social media banter – when one day, an invitation showed up from Terry’s wife Nikki – who’s also an incredible person – for Terry’s 50th. I was taken aback. I mean, I loved Terry, but I didn’t think I’d get a birthday invite. I had no idea what to expect when I got to the lakefront property. I originally thought it might just be a few friends hanging around a fire…boy, was I wrong.
What I saw when I arrived was 400 people doing their best impersonation of a party you’d see in a John Hughes film – complete with a cover band ripping Cheap Trick songs in the living room of a beat up, mid century modern mansion. I had just gotten back to Hamilton (Ontario, Canada) from shooting in LA, where I became fascinated with all the mid century mansions in the Hollywood hills…then I got invited to this place…and it was like they took one of those amazing spots and plopped it right down on the shore of Lake Ontario. I didn’t know we had places like this here.
However, my friends, this was no ordinary mansion. In fact, this place is anything but ordinary.
During the party, I got a tour through the house. It had a drained indoor pool that looked like you could skate it, it had a boat launch, every room on the main floor had a sliding glass door to a massive patio that stretched the 6,000 square foot house. Then the basement… The basement had a full bar, viewing areas so you could watch people’s nether regions while they swim, psychedelic dance floors, a sex parlour, and a back hidden sex room, which would have been used for excorcising some deep fantasies. It was mind blowing.
There’s a ton of rumors about the house, but the truth of it is that it was actually owned by some land developers whose son grew up to be a well respected Rabbi. The family was also well respected in the area. We met some people around Terry’s age who knew the original owners and said they were the sweetest old couple. They just liked having orgies, I guess. The house doesn’t have any dark vibes – there’s actually a real feeling of happiness, love, and creativity when you’re here. They grew old together. I’m divorced, who am I to judge?
So fast forward a couple of months…I found myself in a pickle when we had to be abruptly moved out of our previous studio in Hamilton. We had discovered black mold. That, on top of deteriorating relationships amongst landlords and my studio partner, led me to pick up the projects I was overseeing for Puff Digital and find a new spot for the team to work.
Since becoming creative director at Puff Digital, I make or facilitate a lot of content for our publications. I had shows like Press X To Get High, The Mass Nerder Podcast, Into The Weeds, and more being created weekly out of our studio. I found myself in the middle of a bad situation with a bunch of people I love so I decided to walk away.
That’s when I took to the “Good Book” and posted to my Facebook profile, Terry reached out and offered up this space. A mid century mansion, that maybe has a year or two in it before it will have to be torn down. At that time, Terry will rebuild a new place on the property. But, until then, Terry has offered it to us for use and provided what we at Puff Digital are using as a talent incubator. So many people are thriving due to Terry’s generosity, and I think Terry, who works on his companies (Kanata Earth and Perfect Plants) there too, feeds off the energy the place naturally allows.
Shortly after that, we moved our little operation into a small wing of the house and dubbed the place “Bong Mansion”. However, as Terry and I once philosophized, I think it’s sort of always been “Bong Mansion”, we’re just the cannabis equivalent of several, less crazy “Jack Torrences”.
Connor Lovat-Fraser – Bong Mansion was a complete surprise. Ben just sort of sprang it on me, and to this very day I’m still trying to wrap my head around the whole thing.
And it’s glorious.
I was talking to Ben on the phone about his “Into The Weeds” podcast, probably in some cranky Editor way in which I needed some clarification on context, or a broken link, or some such nonsense.
We were talking about work, and Ben just sort of interjected with, “Oh, I think I got us a mansion to work out of.”
Just a complete non sequitur that completely threw me off balance while I was in the middle of a sentence. Something along the lines of:
“So, if this is going to be posted on Higher Mentality, then…wait…what? What did you just say? What do you mean you got a mansion? Hold on…what?”
Ben went on to explain how he met Terry Line, how they formed this fast friendship, and how Terry responded to a Facebook post that Ben had made.
Sure enough, like the diligent fact-checker I am, I went on Facebook to check out the thread, and there was Terry’s reply about having a goddamn mansion that we could use.
I was pretty taken aback by the whole situation.
Ben went on to explain that this ridiculous lakefront, mid-century modern mansion was built by some swingers and it came equipped with an indoor pool, and a sex dungeon.
Obviously there was a sex dungeon.
Regardless…as it turned out, Terry was willing to let us use this place as a temporary office/studio space until the whole thing was torn down so a new residence could be built atop its sexy, sexy corpse.
I had to see it as soon as possible because…well…because if you aren’t the type of person who would be immediately intrigued by the idea of a place with an indoor pool and a sex dungeon, then you’re made of different stuff than I, my friend.
So we went to check out this ridiculous temporary home.
I picked Ben up at his not-a-sex-mansion and we headed on our way – meeting up with COO, Mark Petch of our parent company, Puff Digital before beholding the place for the first time.
As soon as I saw the place I was fucking astounded.
Just fucking astounded.
As promised: lakefront, indoor pool, sex dungeon…check!
We immediately started formulating plans on how we would use this remarkable place to build remarkable content with remarkable people.
And here we are…squeezing every ounce of content out of Bong Mansion that we possibly can until it is ripped from our hearts and lives forever.
Thank you, Terry.