Written by Ashley Priest
Social cannabis consumption is at the forefront of many conversations. These conversations have become more topical recently due to consumers inability to engage publicly. While several states have legalized cannabis for adult use, the stigma still lingers.
Many states restrict cannabis use to private residences, which prohibits its consumption at major events. This writer had the chance to speak with Andrew Mieure, the founder of Top Shelf Budtending, to learn more about his work, passion and social consumption strategy.
Andrew Mieure – Founder of Top Shelf Budtending
Andrew’s passion for cannabis stemmed from a long, devastating journey with traditional pharmaceuticals. Growing up, Andrew was opposed to cannabis and other street drugs because of the fearmongering “Reefer Madness” propaganda that many of us were fed in our youth.
Coming from a community that was plagued by heroin, and having been personally affected by the lives that it takes, it’s easy to understand Andrew’s hesitation about consuming anything that might have been perceived as a gateway to hard drugs. So, how did Andrew journey from an anti-cannabis stance to the forefront of one of the most important movements of our time? Here’s what he had to say.
“As time went on, my depression and panic disorder got worse. Xanax and alcohol were my drugs of choice. These drugs later led to me nearly taking my life. After my suicide attempt, drastic weight loss and feelings of hopelessness, someone suggested I try cannabis. So, I tried it, and the sky didn’t fall. I was able to eat again and enjoy life a little more. Needing cannabis as a medicine is what gave me the courage to move to Colorado, where my career began.”
It wasn’t overnight that Top Shelf Budtending came to be. It was after many first-hand experiences with the “lack of professionalism” within the recreational event community. Noticing other Budtenders disregard for cleaning dab rigs in-between guests, Andrew also noticed something else — the thoughtlessness for what products were served to guests, and how much of it they consumed.
“These experiences showed me that the industry needed set standards and practices if we wanted to be taken seriously. Just like that, Top Shelf Budtending was born. My current endeavors as a social consumption strategist have been focused specifically on social consumption lounges and getting the proper legal/regulatory framework in place at the city and state levels for various states. Without safe standards and practices, the rest of the country won’t take this movement seriously. With that being said, I advise specifically with public safety and the interests of the industry in mind.”
From Birthday Parties to CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live Show
Since Top Shelf Budtending was founded, Andrew and his team have served over 10,000 guests at more than 100 cannabis events across several different states. From birthdays to bachelorette parties, to sizeable commercial events, Andrew has helped to bring attention to the need for responsible social cannabis consumption options to thousands of individuals. When I asked Andrew about a specific interaction that has occurred since he started his career as a social consumption strategist and a cannabis industry entrepreneur, he had the following to say.
“Confession: I’m terrified of public speaking and have long suffered from some pretty bad agoraphobia with a tinge of panic disorder. So, the fact that I have served this many guests is nothing short of a miracle for an introvert like myself. The event that takes the cake for most awesomeness would be New Year’s Eve 2017, with CNN. While making a cannabis-infused cocktail for the host, the interview was broadcast in front of five-plus million viewers on Anderson Cooper’s show. Just like that, I was exposed to a ton of people that had never seen cannabis being consumed in a social setting, on a national level. It will be tough to top that.”
With nine states and Washington D.C. now having legalized cannabis for adult recreation, the amount of venues that provide social consumption is growing at a noticeable rate. Knowing that Andrew is up to date on the current nationwide status, I asked him for his prediction regarding the future of social cannabis consumption. His response bodes well for the future.
“The current model that we see with social consumption will look much different in the next five years. With the pace that it’s all moving, we will see new studies, restrictions and laws regarding things that we had never expected or considered. It’s exciting and terrifying all at once.”
“I foresee the massive proliferation of legal cannabis lounges within three to five years, including various models and methods of conducting business. Some clubs will allow BYOC (bring your own cannabis), some will allow sales of cannabis with consumption on site, tasting rooms will emerge and, in my opinion, the most progressive consumption models will allow alcohol and cannabis within the same spaces.”
This is Andrew’s “ideal” model for social consumption, with cannabis and alcohol being allowed under the same roof but sold in two separate spaces. This will give guests the option to mingle rather then being segregated based on their consumer preferences. The city of Las Vegas is currently discussing possible legislation that lends from this model and, based on his personal experience, Andrew hopes that they pursue it.
“The wrong terpenes, cannabinoids and ingestion method can set off immediate panic for me. So, I look for varietals higher in CBD, lower in THC with a floral, woody, slightly spicy terpene profile (percentages high in Linalool and B-Caryophyllene). These profiles have been very kind to my anxiety issues. I prefer flower over concentrates and edibles. In my opinion, flower is the purest form for consumption. As far as devices for consumption, I really like my PAX II and Volcano. Vaporization provides more cannabinoids and better flavor than smoking. Not to mention, it won’t smell up the entire area you are hanging out in, which is important for social consumption!”
If Andrew’s predictions are correct, we could be on the verge of some significant changes when it comes to social cannabis consumption in general, and at events worldwide. To learn more about Andrew and Top Shelf Budtending, be sure to follow them on social media and visit their website today!
To learn more, visit: topshelfbudtending.com