May 31st, 2018

Move Over Booze, Cannabis Parties Are the Future

The more time we all spend on self-care, the less it makes sense to spend our weekends hungover. Swapping alcohol for cannabis is more than a trend, it's the ultimate opportunity for human connection.

cannabis replaces alcohol

Credit: Jen Johnsson

Partying “to get fucked up” is played out. After all, we already live during one of the most challenging moments in history—when not a day goes by that we don’t hear about some political, environmental, or social travesty on the news. Could it be that people are now taking their leisure time to heal from everything that’s going on, opting not to wake up feeling even worse?

In places like California, legal weed has sparked a revolution in partying that bridges the gap between pot’s medicinal and recreational benefits. The self-care movement that esteems the cannabis plant as a tool for wellness and spirituality has spawned a new age of 420-friendly parties, swapping out booze for bud, getting wasted for getting well.

A number of parties, retreats, and social gatherings fit this bill. Look no further, for instance, than Cannabliss, a five-day retreat in Malibu, where creator Sari Gabbay, founder of creative agency Redefining Cannabis, shares her knowledge and experience with cannabis via seminars, ganja yoga, and even a ceremony that ritualizes the use of what many deem a sacred plant. At Gabbay’s most recent cannabis ceremony on 4/20, guests had the option to partake in a cannabis tincture as they explored their own depths with a sound bath.

“Cannabis connects people to each other and it also connects people to themselves,” says Gabbay. “I also believe that people are coming out of the closet, to speak, and they finally have an environment where they can feel free to share this experience with people they love without the fear of getting arrested.”

The pot-fueled trend in self-care has repositioned wine moms as weed moms, opiate-dependant pain patients as medical marijuana patients, and once-stereotyped “stoners” as simply “cannabis consumers”.

The people who come to events like Cannabliss are looking for healing and education on how to use the plant to enhance their lives. For this reason we’re seeing a shift from alcohol to cannabis for social gatherings, Gabbay adds, noting that you won’t get a hangover and you’ll actually feel great the next day.

That said, everyone handles their pot differently, depending on their mindset, setting, and cannabis strain. In social settings, for example, Gabbay says she prefers to microdose. Whether one prefers a microdosable edible like Kiva Bites or just a few puffs from joint or vape pen, everyone has their own ritual to consume cannabis. And it also depends who you’re with—whether at a yoga class, hanging at a party, or at home with a group of girlfriends.

The pot-fueled trend in self-care has repositioned wine moms as weed moms, opiate-dependant pain patients as medical marijuana patients, and once-stereotyped “stoners” as simply “cannabis consumers”.

According to survey data from Eaze, a California-based cannabis tech company and delivery service, a plurality of consumers are well-educated, employed, affluent, and female. Twenty percent of respondents said they had kids, and among those parents, 63 percent said they used cannabis on a daily basis. Flower continues to be the most popular medium, though topics and tinctures are catching up. And though the majority of respondents were millennials, seniors and women are among the fastest growing cannabis consumer demographics.

As people start to come out of the so-called cannabis closet, what we’re seeing are cannabis consumers where we least expect. It’s become part and parcel to an otherwise healthy, functional lifestyle, rather than a way to define grandparents, school teachers, athletes, entrepreneurs, doctors, and so on.

So at parties like Sarah Best and Michelle Rabin’s Dirt, Jessica Cole’s White Rabbit High Tea, Lizzy Jeff’s Zen & Kush, Corinne Loperfido’s Pussy Power House, Courtney Nichols and Erin Granat’s Dinner in the Garden Of…, and Katie Partlow’s Afternoon Delight—just to name a few, all run by women—cannabis isn’t necessarily the focal point of the gathering, but a primary component in facilitating genuine connections between guests.

Alcohol shouldn’t be the only (legal) option available in party settings, just as cannabis isn’t necessarily for everyone all the time, either.

“The original point [of creating Pussy Power House] was to create a space that’s the opposite of what’s usually present, where women are in control of the vibe of the party, and where there’s weed instead of alcohol,” says Loperfido. “I wanted to provide a space where people could learn about the medicinal quality of cannabis and also consume it in a more mindful way that wasn’t about getting fucked up or escapism, but about enjoying being in a different state of mind with a focus on connecting and being present.”

The bar scene at times can be characterized as a predatory environment, where men could take advantage of women who may be intoxicated or feel obliged when men pay for drinks. Instead, Loperfido’s goal was to create a safe, artistic space for party goers to consume cannabis, have meaningful conversations they’ll remember the next day, and feel comfortable asking for help if the weed doesn’t suit them.

A confluence of cultural and political factors have led to this evolution in the way we party, Loperfido points out. “Because [cannabis] is legal, and because we’re in a political situation with Trump coming into office, and the women’s movement especially ignited by his ‘grab ’em by the pussy’ comment, there’s been a cultural uprising,” she says. “Alcohol culture is part of the patriarchy, the culture of going to a dark, loud bar to get fucked up and fuck a stranger. But as the role of women in society changes, alternatives for social interaction are on the rise.”

Because cannabis is more introspective, it can lend itself to a more connected experience in social settings.

“I like the idea of people opting in and out of whatever their vice of choice is,” she says. “I do believe that the sloppy bar night is a bit amateur, but people still want to feel a sense of rebellion and rambunctiousness. They still want to get intoxicated but do it in an elevated way.”

But let’s be clear: We’re not demonizing alcohol—rather, we’re expanding on the definition of what it means to let loose and let be on your Saturday night. Alcohol shouldn’t be the only (legal) option available in party settings, just as cannabis isn’t necessarily for everyone all the time, either.

Courtney Nichols’ motto is “consume everything.” Founder of Disco Dining Club, which recently launched a cannabis dinner series collaboration with Six Veils and MoonCloth, Nichols curates experiential events that tell a story—a night to remember, rather than a blackout blur, with long-lasting relationships as part of the goodie bag.

“I like the idea of people opting in and out of whatever their vice of choice is,” she says. “I do believe that the sloppy bar night is a bit amateur, but people still want to feel a sense of rebellion and rambunctiousness. They still want to get intoxicated but do it in an elevated way.”

At the collab’s inaugural event, Dinner in the Garden of Earthly Delights, playing off the Hieronymus Bosch theme, guests enjoyed cannabis, cocktail, and food pairings, followed by live music. “There is something to be said about sharing a joint with people at the table,” says Nichols. “It’s communal, it’s a social connection.”

And maybe that’s just what people are craving—perhaps cannabis isn’t the only thing getting us high, but also the art and community that coalesce around it.

Written By
About Madison Margolin

Madison Margolin is an LA/NY-based journalist on the cannabis beat. Her work has been featured in Rolling Stone, LA Weekly, Merry Jane, Herb, Playboy, and other places too.

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