Cannabis connoisseurs: New market emerging to help educate buyers

As Colorado entrepreneurs look for creative ways to meet the needs of higher end consumers, marijuana-themed versions of wine tastings, food pairings and even ratings systems are emerging in the growing pot tourism marketplace. Pairing parties Jane West of Edible Events started a series of events that, according to her website, “creates a comfortable, indulgent atmosphere to maximize your cannabis experience.” The “Bring Your Own Cannabis” art gallery evening events include high-end catering, drinks and live music. “Cannabis should be paired with meals,” West told Kristen Browning-Blas of The Denver Post. “Look at the articles on wine. Take out ‘wine’ and sub in ‘weed,’ take out ‘grapes’ and sub in ‘buds.’ It works.” Higher education Budtenders and would-be high-end cannabis sommeliers still might be hard-pressed to find courses that focus on such essentials as the finer points of taste, body and effects. MedMen University offers a budtender course and certification system. THC University based in Denver offers five two-hour courses, including one in the course catalog described as “Cooking and Infusion – Butter, oils and other goodies.” The course promises to turn participants into the next Martha Stewart – if Martha Stewart cooked with cannabis. It may be a while before resorts like The Broadmoor and high-end restaurants hire cannabis sommeliers to offer pot flights alongside the more traditional wine tastings. But as affluent residents and tourists realize marijuana offers similar taste opportunities as wine, cigars and coffee, it may not be far off.