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Food for Thought: Responsibility is the Missing Ingredient from Most Cannabis Events

A recent event in New York City offered guests the chance to try unlimited amounts of 50-milligram edibles, begging the question, who’s responsible for keeping guests safe at cannabis events?

King Cannabis NYC launch party.
J.T. White

Over the weekend, a cannabis-friendly event space hosted another successful party. 

This time it was a brand introduction, with upstate New York legacy manufacturer King Cannabis making its formal debut in the Big Apple.  

The room was filled with the smell of haze and ZaZa as a mix of Hip-Hop, Chad, and “Stipster” (a Stoner Hipster) cultures came together.

With notable eagerness, attendees dove head first into King Cannabis’ free samples which included bite-sized chocolate and gummies, both of which reportedly tested at 50-milligrams per serving. 

King Cannabis also offers nano-infused drinks with nearly 200-milligrams per water bottle.  

With a jungle-juice vibe, the King Cannabis product lineup set the tone for what was to be a heavy night of consumption for most of the guests.

King Cannabis nano-infused drinks on tap for guests.
J.T.White

Food For Thought

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of attending a formal cannabis event, whether a David Tran afterparty during MJ Biz Con or a slightly more low-key, Monday night party, you’ve likely been offered more free samples than you’d find at Costco.

Put your thinking cap on — while everyone reading this is undoubtedly a responsible cannabis consumer, have you ever seen someone at a weed event get “cut off” either by the company providing the samples or by the host of the event?

In 15 years of attending cannabis events, I could only come up with a few times when I saw a guest refused cannabis.

Each incident, mind you, included the overserved party passing out or fainting, which begs the question of how that person got so far gone.

Bowls of 50-milligram cannabis gummies and bite-sized chocolates.
J.T. White

Sample Sized?

When providing free samples to people at a party, whether at your apartment or in a formal setting, it is important to keep in mind that the maximum serving size allowed by law for cannabis edibles in nearly every adult-use market is 10 milligrams.

And while that may seem low to those of you that eat 500mg sprayed nerd ropes for breakfast, the reality is that most people who don’t eat weed professionally need about 5 milligrams to feel fucked up.

Adding alcohol, weed smoking, and dabbing into the mix, which nearly every cannabis event does (the King Cannabis event did not serve alcohol), it’s not hard to see how guests might end up more intoxicated than they intended.

One thing bars have learned the hard way is the importance of not over serving patrons.  

Whether in the name of maximizing the revenue generated from each guest, providing a memorable experience, or simply avoiding lawsuits, most bars have stopped serving Bacardi 151 and few allow guests to pour their own at will.   

Due in part to the novelty of the present-state of cannabis and the mistaken stoner-held belief that cannabis can do no harm because it’s “just a plant, man”, cannabis events simply do not protect their guests the way they should.

Beauty is a Curse

The beauty and the curse surrounding any grey-area activity is the lack of constraints that we often find attached to approved activities within our capitalist society.  

Without these constraints (aka laws), creative freedom exists.  Time-tested art across mediums (not your ALEC piece) is often made in the grey.

But with heightened freedom comes heightened risk, and, in our litigious society, risk begets a question of responsibility. 

In the context of cannabis events, while the jury is still out on whether the responsibility should fall on the venue or the producer, someone needs to step up and ensure guests are not leaving in such an altered state that bad things are more likely to happen. 

Reality Check

Several guests that I caught up with after the event stated they were high well into the next day.

Many, including myself, described text-book side effects of overconsumption including paranoia, inability to walk, and intense hunger.

For context, I consumed 1 bite-sized gummy, 1 square of chocolate the size of my pinky nail and a half cup of nano-infused juice over the course of 3 hours. My high lasted over 18 hours.

While those effects may be “cool” on the streets, the reality is the cannabis game is no longer in the streets and it’s no longer a game.

What cannabis is, however, is a multi-billion dollar global industry, backed by some of the wealthiest individuals in the world.

Perhaps corporations and the constraints of society are responsible for the death of the art of cannabis but corporations seem to be the only ones positioned to handle the risks associated with serving people cannabis in a public setting.

At the end of the day, the only answer I see to the question of whose responsible for protecting guests in the current cannabis event paradigm are the guests themselves.

Maybe the old saying was right – you shouldn’t take candy from a stranger.

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