(Denver Post file)

Interview: A 420-minded event for Mother’s Day — a High Tea for mom

Another sign of the normalization of marijuana: An annual Mother’s Day tea celebrating women who believe in and work toward legalization and reform.

The Mother’s High tea won’t have open consumption, but it will again act as a place of ideas and celebration and femininity, according to organizer Susan Squibb, who (full disclosure) writes for The Cannabist. We spoke with Squibb about the annual tea, which she calls “a cannabis event with an elegant feminine touch.”

The Cannabist: You call the tea a “celebration of women in cannabis.” Tell me why this is necessary.

Susan Squibb: Mother’s High Tea is a tea party for the women in cannabis business and legal reform. It’s necessary because women in this emerging community need a dedicated event to reflect and celebrate our accomplishments and influence. Women have worked diligently on many facets of the cannabis issue and have achieved significant milestones. Our presence, our influence, our opinions are normalizing and integrating legalized marijuana and marijuana business into society. There is a commonly believed social norm: “If Mom says it’s O.K., then it’s O.K., it’s safe.” Well, we have a lot of mothers who are saying it’s O.K., and we’re having a fancy tea party!

Cannabist: How did the tea first start?

Squibb: Mother’s High Tea began in 2011. During that time at industry meetings, networking events and legislative hearings I was meeting so many talented women in the emerging cannabis business working in management, executive and ownership roles. At the time, there were not enough events or active women’s groups in Denver. I saw a need to gather the busy, hard-working women together.

The initial inspiration for the Mother’s High Tea concept was inspired by my mother. In my hometown, she was active in the nonprofit community addressing women and children’s issues. After she passed away from ovarian cancer in 2010, I felt compelled to create an event for women and children within my own community, in tribute. This is a cannabis event with an elegant feminine touch.

The 2012 Mother’s High Tea launched the Women’s CannaBusiness Network, the women’s group of the National Cannabis Industry Association. In 2014, this group developed into Women Grow. Mother’s High Tea in many ways has been a trailblazing event.

Cannabist: It’s clearly timed as a post-Mother’s Day party. Is this the only weed-related Mother’s Day party you’re aware of?

Squibb: Yes, the timing is a combination of a Mother’s Day event and an accommodation to the legislative calendar for our keynote speaker. And Mother’s High Tea is the only recurring cannabis-related Mother’s Day event I know of. It’s also the only event in our industry that allows and encourages children to accompany their mothers to a work event.

Cannabist: So this is very clearly a non-consumption event?

Squibb: No, no cannabis consumption going on at Mother’s High Tea! This is a public, ticketed event, and we’re following all applicable laws. It makes me think: Having to be a non-consumption event is an indicator that acceptable adult use has not been clearly defined in Colorado. Ultimately, as a public cannabis event and one with children running around, all details are under more scrutiny, so we’re leading by appropriate example. To follow all the compliance rules, we have a limited number of children’s tickets. A guest who wants to bring a child needs to pre-register to make sure we can accommodate them.

Cannabist: Tickets are $30-$40 — what do folks receive for that payment?

Squibb: Well, we have a lovely tea menu of healthy tea sandwiches and decadent treats. For children and all guests, we have a craft table to decorate commemorative teapot ornaments and a letter-writing table to encourage political engagement. A lineup of accomplished women will be speaking in an hour-long program. The museum portion of History Colorado Center is also open to all ticketed guests. Oh, and we’ll have a photo booth with lots of props!

Cannabist: Who is speaking at this year’s High Tea?

Squibb: A central event theme has always been the issue of law. This year we’re extending the legal conversation to an elected official. Senator Beth Martinez Humenik from Adams County is giving the keynote speech. She’s a fresh Republican voice in the state senate, and I’m so curious on what she will say! Additionally, cannabis business women AC Braddock (CEO of Eden Labs) and Kristi Kelly (principal of Good Meds Network) are sharing their perspectives. Diane Fornbacher, publisher of Ladybud Magazine, will inspire us with poetry. Christie Lunsford, educator and industry expert, is returning to share emcee duties with me.

Cannabist: Lastly, tell me how much you love that phrase in this context — High Tea?

Squibb: I love double entendres, they are so fun! High Tea is perfect because it references the classy intention of the event and the intoxicating nature of marijuana. It’s clever!

The Mother’s High Tea — with a buffet tea menu, speakers, art, letter-writing tables and photo booth — runs 2 p.m.-5 p.m. May 14 at the History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway in Denver. Tickets are $35.