Experiential is getting high on its own supply

Photo by Esteban Lopez

There was a whole lotta pot talk when people celebrated the weed-friendly “holiday” 4/20 this year. Even Wall Street got its buzz on with “smoking hot” cannabis stocks. Investors are betting big on consumer products tied to marijuana and CBD. Of course, all of this talk about the budding industry got us wondering when — note that we’re not saying “if” — we’ll see cannabis play a more widespread role in experiential.

Weed is one trend we’re pretty sure won’t go up in smoke.

In New York City, where weed was recently legalized, a range of experiences were available for the first legal 4/20 holiday (holidaze?). There was a “Joints for Jabs” giveaway in Union Square Park, which is exactly what it sounds like. Yes, proof of vaccination earned you a free joint. A panel of cannabis professionals offered tips to a fancy-cocktail-sipping audience (unclear on the THC content of the libations) on how to grow your own pot and cook with it. There was even a parade, culminating in a weed advocacy forum at 4:20 p.m., because of course.

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Weed legalization movement has already sparked innovation in the restaurant space.

West Hollywood’s Cannabis Cafe, the country’s first weed restaurant, serves up a marijuana menu along with its food menu (it’s currently closed because of the pandemic). Your ID gets swiped when you arrive — you must be 21 to enter — and the restaurant’s super-powered air filtration system ensures that your culinary enjoyment is not muted by plumes of pungent smoke.

The Bay Area’s upscale Claremont Hotel, normally a stuffy affair, now offers a food-and-weed pairing. Though the pot part of the meal has to be procured from a participating dispensary. And a number of national chains offered 420-friendly food deals. The social acceptability of weed is clearly on the rise. This Detroit restaurant’s don’t-come-in-smelling-like-pot policy notwithstanding. We see green XP in all of our futures.

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