top of page

Celebration Pipes Turns 50

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

This article is brought to you by the new Higher Learning LV Core Cannabis course.

 

Celebration Pipes Turns 50

For 50 years, consumers of marijuana the world over who prefer to smoke the ground loose-leaf flowers of the plant have flocked to a particular premium American-made accessory: The Celebration Pipe.

A bunch of Celebration Pipes at a headshop in Indianapolis.
50 years of Celebration Pipes.

Since 1973, the company's founder and resident artisan, an introspective West Coaster named Steve Lach, has been producing a few thousand of these highly coveted collector items every year. After half a century, he and his company have survived multiple recessions, several hurricanes, one pandemic, and ongoing wildfires to continuously produce these limited-run pipes.


Today, all Celebration Pipes in the wild have become more valuable due to one simple fact: Lach is planning to produce his final units and shut down the company at year 50 in 2023. Our panic didn't set in until we realized: It is now 2023.


Today, all Celebration Pipes in the wild have become more valuable due to one simple fact: Steve Lach is planning to produce his final units and shut down the company at year 50 in 2023.

But we digress. This is Higher Learning LV. Technically speaking, what makes a Celebration Pipe so special? Why do some of the world's most famous marijuana consumers and entertainers own one?


Handcrafted Pot Pipes

Celebration Pipes Turns 50. Celebration Pipes are fully handcrafted and connoisseur-grade smoking implements made primarily from 22k gold and Lavastoneware clay. A trademark of each of the 150,000 units produced to date is the model year and Lach's initials stealthily scrawled on the bottom of the bowl, hand carved by the artist himself.

A Celebration Pipe full os loose-leaf cannabis.
Get one before they're gone.

"Why not 24 karat gold?," we asked Lach during our exclusive in-person interview in Lake Las Vegas. "It's too soft, no good," he said while inspecting one of his Purple Haze models that we had filled with water hash. "22 karat is just about perfect, from an engineering perspective," he said.


Beyond cosmetic appeal, the gold serves the technical role of reflecting the heat generated in the bowl back into the loose-leaf plant material. In the process, the pipe remains cool to the touch, even during prolonged smoking sessions.


Beyond cosmetic appeal, the gold serves the technical role of reflecting the heat generated in the bowl back into the loose-leaf plant material. In the process, the pipe remains cool to the touch, even during prolonged smoking sessions.

Lach told us how, in the early days of the company's operation in Hawaii, he experimented with various production techniques, including the use of molds. "I tried to do it the mold way and they turned out horrible," he said. "I ended up throwing all of those in the ocean...they were so bad."

All Celebration Pipes are made from a special clay, iron oxide, and a variety of precious metals. Potentially dangerous substances—including glue, plastic, and resin that may feature toxic off-gassing when heated—have never been used by the company.

A couple of new Celebration Pipes.
Celebration Pipes are hierlooms.

For those trying to convince a spouse to allow them to purchase a Celebration Pipe, here's an angle: Like premium jewelry, these gorgeous ganja goblets maintain and actually increase in value. "Think about it," Lach said, "In '73, gold was $110 an ounce. Today, it is $1800."


Celebrity Owners

Celebration Pipes Turns 50. Celebration Pipes has been commissioned to produce pipes for a long list of music industry legends. The list of actors, musicians, and other celebs who own these pipes is impressive. From Fleetwood Mac and Bob Marley to Aerosmith and Woody Harrelson, dozens of entertainers have received special edition pipes from Lach personally.


"Owners also include Willie Nelson, Ziggy Marley, B-Real from Cypress Hill, actress Daryl Hannah, former Mexican president Vicente Fox, Cheech Marin, and Tommy Chong."

Owners also include Willie Nelson, Ziggy Marley, B-Real from Cypress Hill, actress Daryl Hannah, former Mexican president Vicente Fox, Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, and the late Hugh Hefner from Playboy Magazine.

A Celebration Pipe from year 47.
An example from year 47.

"In August of '78, Bob Marley came to Honolulu. He wrapped the tour in Maui," said Lach, who founded his company in the Aloha State. After the concert, he presented Marley and his band mates each with their own Celebration Pipes. "It was beyond spiritual. The guy is amazing. To this day, nothing can really top that one," said Lach.


After the concert, he presented Marley and his band mates each with their own Celebration Pipes. "It was beyond spiritual. The guy is amazing. To this day, nothing can really top that one," said Lach.

Steve Lach on the Future

Celebration Pipes Turns 50. "Most of the folks from the scene back then are either in prison or dead," Lach told us soberly. "Bob Snodgrass and I are the only ones left," he joked with a terse laugh, referring to the veteran master glass artist who gained inspiration from the Grateful Dead in the 1970s.

A gold Celebration Pipe.
A classy cannabis gift.

"What are you going to do after you stop making 3,000 gold-plated pipes every year?," we asked Lach as we finished our coffee and poured over his aging memorabilia collection, complete with yellowing photos of a 20-something version of the artist leaping from a helicopter into the Pacific Ocean in Hawaii. After a brief pause, he replied, "We've had a good run. We touched a lot of people and had some great times with some wonderful folks."


We've had a good run. We touched a lot of people and had some great times with some wonderful folks."

After saying good night to Lach, we watched his sport utility vehicle drive west into the mountains of the Mojave Desert outside Las Vegas. As his tail lights faded into the night sky, the scene tersely symbolized the end of 50 years of production of his beautiful pipes. We got a bit verklempt, to be honest.


For those who love smoking cannabis, we recommend getting a Celebration Pipe while they're still available. Because we don't think we or the members of Fleetwood Mac are going to be selling ours anytime soon.

The Higher Learning LV text logo.

Did you enjoy Celebration Pipes Turns 50? Are you a cannabis industry professional? Check out Higher Learning LV's Deep Dive Subscription that features dozens of long-form articles based on the latest peer-reviewed scientific research. Priced to accommodate personal and enterprise training budgets.

251 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page