Since the start of this year, the masses moving to the coastlines of California for Hollywood, the tech industry, or just the freedom of the sun-soaked Wild West, are coming face to face with a new custom: Wherever they go, cannabis is seemingly everywhere. Now that it is legal recreationally, from San Francisco’s misty shores to the hills of Los Angeles, pot is as common as wine.
Weed is widely available wrapped in boxes, or cooked into exotic edibles and multi-course meals. It has become an essential addition to casual entertaining. Eviana Hartman, representing both Grass Studio, a marijuana creative consultancy company soon to launch, and Tetra, a popular e-shop for smoking accessories, says, “The whole point is that you are not overdoing it, it is not about getting crazy.”
For Anne Crawford, ambassador in Los Angeles for fashion brands Rick Owens and Roger Vivier, “It sets the mood in a very happy, relaxed manner, as opposed to alcohol, which can really change people’s personalities.” Crawford is a consummate host of luxurious dinners and garden lunches for her creative friends.
If society’s perception of consuming, ingesting, or absorbing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is evolving, the rituals around its presentations are also changing. People are hosting pot parties, and hosts have much to think about to ensure they serve it with style. Crawford, Hartman, and Michael Magallanes, Silicon Valley’s very popular pot chef for dinner parties, give etiquette tips for entertaining with weed:
· Calculate the Dosage
“I have fed and gotten a lot of people high now,” Magallanes, who began serving marijuana dinners after resigning from Michelin-starred Mourad last year, says proudly. “The first and most important thing to know is each person’s dosage.” The milligrams on each person’s plate can make an evening either legendary or disastrous.
Magallanes recommends always erring on the side of caution. He warns that consumption method has a significant effect on tolerance. For example, someone may be able to inhale more than they can ingest, and eating it takes longer for the buzz to kick in. “If they are a complete newbie, we recommend starting with five milligrams,” Magallanes insists. It is always possible to add more if necessary.
· Plan Your Menu
When serving pot-infused dishes, treat them as a connoisseur does wine. “Ask your budtender at your dispensary,” Magallanes advises. Just as one needs a sommelier for guidance, a budtender can help you navigate the terpene profiles of different strains to ensure their flavors complement the dishes on your menu. Some, like Magallanes, prefer cooking with hash.
“I will smell the hash and taste it and go from there,” he says. “For the strains I have found to be citrusy, I can use that for a lighter dish, like melon. A lot of the strains have a cheesy, barnyard-y thing going on, and I will typically put those with the meat.” Once you have decided your menu, it is important to activate the psychoactive compounds or nobody will get high.
For pot to work in cooked dishes, you first need to cook the hash at a specific temperature for the correct amount of time. In order for the body to absorb THC, it must bind first with a fat source. To achieve this, Magallanes typically infuses the marijuana into olive oil, coconut oil, clarified butter, or brown butter, and then he uses that oil to prepare the meal.
· Know Your Strains
Thousands of different marijuana strains exist, but they are either Indica or Sativa, or even hybrids of both. “I always offer sativa,” Crawford explains. “It is a much more alert experience than indica, which can give you what they call ‘couchlock.’” The sometimes sedating, always relaxing indica varieties will make the environment less social than uplifting sativa strains would.
Using this guideline, you can set the atmosphere for your event. If you want it to be short, use indica strains, as guests will soon make their way home to chill. If you want a long night of laughter about what your guests are seeing, smelling, and tasting, then you should consider using sativa strains. If you are unsure about what strains to serve your guests, then ask your budtender to help you.
· Serve Pot Timeously
When it comes to pot etiquette, the general rule is to keep marijuana far away from mealtimes, unless you are serving it in the food. “I would not serve it while people are eating.” Hartman says. “Before or after. Not in the middle.” Cannabis edibles can take up to an hour for the effects to become noticeable, so serving it as a happy hour alternative is the best way to time everyone’s high for when meals arrive.
You can also help guests to loosen up by offering cannabis to them on arrival. It is a good way to get them talking when they first meet. Even with guests who know each other well, it can get everyone into a particularly tuned-in atmosphere when sharing meals together. In contrast, Crawford appreciates edibles more, such as chocolates and desserts.
For Crawford, edibles are the ideal end-of-meal nibble that will both wind the party down and misdirect anyone who may otherwise consume too much alcohol. Those looking for a more ritualistic experience for their guests can offer vapes and joints after the meal, mimicking the way people once retired to the sitting room for after-dinner cigars, which will allow them to control their own dosages.
· Keep It Stylish
Providing guests with an enjoyable high should not involve retrieving your bong from a dark closet corner under a pile of old sweatshirts. “There are options that allow you to make it a beautiful ritual that is part of entertaining, as opposed to something sketchy that you would sneak off to do,” Hartman explains. She recommends providing quality accessories for smokers, such as crystal pipes and ashtrays.
Hartman says hosts can leave accessories out “as a beautiful addition to the table.” If you feel particularly accommodating, you can set up a small tray with a lighter, an ashtray, and pipes that guests can pass around to each other. If you want to keep things as mess-free as possible, consider rolling joints in advance or buying some pre-rolls before your guests arrive.
Additionally, the more discreet the pipe or vape pen, the better. According to Crawford, Beboe makes the most minimalistic, aesthetically pleasing vape pens in California, although the ultra-clean cylindrical design of the metal Oregon-based Quil is a close competitor. Whatever accessories and consumption choices you provide your guests, just make sure it is classy.
As far as edibles go, to ensure the ultimate ease of hosting, Crawford suggests choosing a presentation that “speaks for itself,” like the Lord Jones brightly colored boxes she so loves. “There are different flavors, so it is nice to have people open them up and look inside, and you can just stack them up on the table.”
Magallanes, however, prefers the flavor profile of Atlas Edibles’ “tasty granola,” which replaces cheap forms of marijuana concentrates with Roisin to ensure the purest taste. “Flavor and high is both superior,” he claims, so three cheers to your next high-end stone, and make it an experience your guests will never forget.