This article originally appeared on HighTimes.com
When you imagine a groups of adults getting together to consume cannabis, what do you see? Well-dressed, accomplished empty-nesters giddily boarding a plane to Denver? Successful millennials who chose to have a budtender at their wedding instead of a bartender? If you're picturing the guys from Half Baked sunk into the couch, you're living in the past.
Although groups of people socializing and using cannabis is still heavily stigmatized, it is the cultural norm to bring a bottle of wine and have a drink when getting together with friends after dark. Adults drink alcohol in social settings to relax, unwind and be more open to new things. Well, cannabis enthusiasts are saying the same thing about marijuana--that rather than an anti-social, laziness-inducing substance, cannabis takes the edge off and enhances social experiences.
The cannabis industry is maturing and appealing to a wider audience with sophisticated events and products. Events like White Rabbit High Tea, hosted by Jessica Eriksen on the rooftop garden of a private boutique hotel in West Hollywood, are challenging stereotypes. An intimate social cannabis experience like no other, afternoon "tea" (AKA scores of joints and vape pens) is served with a gourmet, unmedicated meal and paired with tastings of unique cannabis products that sponsor the event.
Artisanal brands like Défoncé Chocolatier, CannaOil Co. and Fully Baked Ice Cream have hosted in the past. Alex Zafrin, owner of Fully Baked, invited the seven guests at September's tea party to put scoops of medicated sorbet into their champaign. Pure heaven.
Almost half of the guests were in the cannabis industry, and some even brought their own products to share with the group. For less than a night out in LA ($65), White Rabbit High Tea is connecting people in the cannabis space in a quiet, tranquil environment.
Private events, like birthday parties and weddings, are also going "green" by making flower, edibles and cannabis cocktails available. For a catered event in Colorado, you can hire Andrew Mieure, founder of Top Shelf Budtending; much like a bartender, but with cannabis. They provide the flower, educate your guests on the best strains and modes of consumption and even roll joints. Top Shelf Budtending also creates low-THC mocktails.
"Having a drink in your hand is a social experience, so replicating that with a low dose of cannabis and super fresh ingredients really changes how cannabis is viewed in social settings," Mieure explained. He predicts cannabis infused cocktails will be huge in the high-end cannabis scene.
For a more low-key event, you can buy medicated snacks for your guests, like Babinka Treats shatter-infused donuts or Angel Haus gourmet cannabis ice cream. Your guests can unwind, enjoy a delicious artisanal treat and chat, all sans booze, although you might want to recommend heavy indulgers still take an Uber home.
For those living outside legal cannabis states, 420-friendly travel is becoming a popular option.
Already taking off in Colorado with the rest of the West Coast following suit, "cannatourism" is an exciting new industry. Anyone can fly to Denver and go to a dispensary, but the full experience can be totally customized for you by Goldie Solodar at City Sessions Denver (720-250-8828). Before you fly out to Denver, Goldie will call or email to get to know your preferences, from smoking style to favorite foods and music, in order to create the perfect personalized itinerary.
Whether you choose to be picked up at the airport or your hotel, Goldie will be waiting in a limo stocked with bottled water, snacks, vape pens and other cannabis products that she has personally approved. From there, the tour is really up to you; educational and highly entertaining, Goldie will give you a behind the scenes look at the cannabis industry, from the best of the best dispensaries, to touring a grow house or extraction lab, or just going out for lunch after checking out Denver's museums. There is something for everyone, newbie or veteran.
For the more independent traveler, there's also the travel guide option.
AnnaBis, the creators of high-fashion, odor-blocking handbags, just released the AnnaBis Green Guide: For Women on the High Road. The guide, which is free and mobile-friendly, reviews everything a cannabis-tourist could want, from dispensaries and 420-friendly hotels, to local restaurants and hangouts. Plus, it breaks down local laws and the best "spots to sesh." For an elevated trip to LA or SF or Denver definitely check it out.
Socializing with cannabis has never been easier. How do you and your friends like to get together to consume? We want to hear about it! Leave a comment below!
This piece was co-created by Catherine Goldberg and Michelle Janikian for BrainBuzzOG.