Planning Ahead: The Rise of Cannabis in Corporate Events

Here at The Castle Group, we pride ourselves on being ahead of the latest corporate event trends. We’re reading industry publications, browsing new event themes on Pinterest and attending events across the country–on the lookout for what’s new that we can incorporate into innovative client events. Recently, the Massachusetts state legislature legalized recreational marijuana, so we needed to prepare for the impact this may have on our industry and our events.

Our clients rely on us as expert resources, and the role of cannabis at corporate events requires understanding and sensitivity. To educate ourselves, we reached out to Sunday Goods, a vertically integrated medical marijuana company in Arizona, for some advice. Joe Diggs, its Director of Retail Operations, shared valuable insights into cannabis’ rising popularity at corporate events. We discussed how companies are handling the use of cannabis in event planning.

Infused Menus: Some companies are integrating cannabis into hosted menus, ranging from elaborate seven-course tasting menus where each course is infused with a small amount of cannabis to simple offerings, such as an infused dessert option (the more traditional cookie or brownie). Cannabis-infused fruity beverages, like sparkling pomegranate mojitos, are popping up throughout spirit menus at restaurants in the areas where it’s been legalized.

Wellness Retreats: Yoga retreats are becoming popular corporate events venues, as companies increasingly focus on work-life balance and mental health. Cannabis has been used at these events to help attendees relax and to enhance the wellness experience by reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and managing pain.

After Parties: After parties are seeing cannabis “Budtenders,” where professional dispensaries, like Sunday Goods, bring different strains of cannabis for sampling. This allows inexperienced attendees who are curious to try cannabis in a safe, controlled environment, with professional guidance.

Obviously, events featuring cannabis are not the norm in most places, and corporate events that feature cannabis may never be appropriate for certain industries or corporate cultures.  While legalization continues to occur around the nation, that may slowly change for some. We’ll continue to monitor this trend as is develops, to provide guidance to our clients. Just as with alcohol consumption, there are inherent risks and liabilities associated with serving cannabis at events, and companies must develop usage and insurance policies and practices to protect themselves and their guests. Eventually, the events industry may move toward regulating cannabis like alcohol, and standardizing its consumption, but it’s too soon to tell. We’ll continue to report back to you on how this affects corporate events as the industry adapts to these changes.

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