Recreational cannabis consumption is legal in 10 states in the United States as well as all across Canada for adults of a certain age. However, unlike other recreational choices like alcohol, in many places, there is no place for adults to socially consume cannabis together. This leaves tourists high and dry when it comes to a place to consume legal recreational cannabis.
The topic of cannabis consumption within the community and industry is an elevated one. For this article, I had the opportunity to talk to the founder of Top Shelf Budtending and a leader in the field of social consumption and cannabis, Andrew Mieure. Andrew has been very outspoken and a leader in the movement to legalize social cannabis consumption in the states. Last month Andrew celebrated as Las Vegas approved social cannabis consumption clubs. Some of the few other places within the United States where social cannabis consumption clubs exist are in within West Hollywood and various cities in California.
So, what is next for social consumption in the US and around the world? Will there one day be cannabis clubs in every state where consumers can partake with likeminded individuals? Find out more below in the Q&A with Andrew Mieure of Top Shelf Budtending.
Where do you see social consumption heading in the coming months and years?
Oh man, that’s a complex question. I’ll answer it in a few parts. As it stands, much of the legislation surrounding social consumption has been focused on adding lounge models to existing adult-use models. For example, Colorado attempting to add a statewide hospitality bill and the million changes that California cities made to their consumption ordinances.
Within the coming months, I foresee existing social consumption models being built upon and developed further. Places like West Hollywood have licenses and will launch this year, giving us a proper taste of what detached lounges will feel like in a more free form environment. Beyond West Hollywood, markets like Colorado, Nevada, Massachusetts and Alaska will attempt to finalize legislation and add-on social consumption ordinances to their existing adult-use models. Within the next few years I expect lounges/social use venues to become the next industry gold rush.
Once the legislation passes and the groundwork is laid, major investment will arrive, operators will begin to open and these businesses will be able to thrive as intended. Even further down the line, I predict we will be creating major destinations for consumption. As a Las Vegas resident myself, Its only natural to dream of the biggest, most ridiculous lounge models we can think up. Within 5-10 years is where I think we will really see these come to fruition.
Aside from the social use venues opening themselves, I predict we will see a new wave of standards and requirements within the venues themselves. Things like DUI/OVI prevention, consumption safety practices and sanitation protocols are top of mind. Not to mention, the shift from handing someone a joint to a full blown cannabis hospitality with A—Z services like bottle service, valet and personal shoppers. Our future is very exciting.
What are the biggest obstacles that need to be faced for cannabis to be as socially acceptable as alcohol?
Right now, the biggest obstacles the cannabis industry is faced with in regards to being treated like alcohol are complex and multi-faceted. First off, cannabis is federally illegal [in the United States], alcohol does not have the same restrictions. Folks are afraid of being arrested for their choice of intoxicant. This, in my opinion, is what holds cannabis back from being a as socially accepted.
The other side is a little more… hazy. So when we smoke or vaporize cannabis it creates smoke and vapor. Smoke/vapor does not stay in one place and can invade the airspace of other individuals near where the consumption is taking place. With a drink, it stays in your cup, and only you get the effects when you consume it, liquids don’t travel through the air.
DUI detection and impairment while driving are two more major issues that cannabis needs to tackle before it can be as accepted as alcohol. Without reasonable rules set in place for responsible consumption, we are still sitting at square one.
Semantics and methods of ingestion aside, I believe cannabis is gaining the acceptance it deserves. My whole life has been centered around bringing cannabis to the mainstream. I have been very keen on making sure that we play nice with existing hospitality and alcohol-forward business in order to create a smooth transition into the mainstream spotlight. All in all, I believe cannabis is here to stay within our small social circles and the mainstream. If we remain patient and vigilant, the future of social consumption will be grander than we could have ever imagined.
To stay up to date with Andrew’s work in the space as well as to learn more about Top Shelf Budtending be sure to follow the social media accounts below!
Andrew Mieure on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/andrew-mieure-b589a4154/