Now that cannabis is in its second year of legalization, some employers may consider serving cannabis at the holiday party.
First, gauge the corporate culture of your company.
Some stigmatization of cannabis use lingers as it did after alcohol prohibition was lifted in the 1920s. For decades, alcohol had been characterized as the ruination of families. Cannabis still has a negative image as a gateway drug leading to abuse of more deadly substances; or pathetically comic as in Cheech and Chong’s “stoner” portrayals.
Some companies may be comfortable with the sophisticated use of a fine scotch or wine at office parties but not so much with cannabis.
“Read the culture of your workplace when determining the best approach to accommodating cannabis at your company party,” says Trang Trinh, CEO of TREC Brands, “For companies with a more conservative or traditional culture, one consideration may be to make an effort to not alienate employees who may wish to legally partake in cannabis on an equal footing with those enjoying a glass of wine (Globe and Mail, Nov. 29, 2019).”
TREC Brands describes itself as “a socially conscious cannabis company based in Toronto.”
Accommodating cannabis users can make a corporate statement of inclusiveness, organizational maturity, and progressive branding.
If cannabis is to be served, policies regarding use need to be made clear before the event. A successful party will be one in which alcohol and cannabis use is moderated by a bartender or “budtender.”
Gone are the wild office parties of the 1960s where the punch was spiked and the goal of partakers was to get inebriated as quick as possible and progress to a wild, drunken affair. Gone, too, are the smoke-filled zombie pot-parties where everyone gets stoned to the point of oblivion.
If smoking of cannabis is planed, a smoking area has to be arranged. The budtender can set up rolling stations to aid regular users and newbies alike.
A host who is familiar with the effects of cannabis use should be stationed at tables where rolled cannabis and edibles are served. The uncontrolled use of cannabis at the office party can lead to guests being very stoned -the equivalent of alcohol intoxication.
The presentation of cannabis is part of the festive occasion. Just as alcohol is presenting in attractive glasses and served with an attractive flair, so cannabis products should be pleasingly displayed and offered.
“Just as a bartender is expected to know how to make a martini using the right implements, ingredients and maybe even a creative flourish or two, cannabis use has its own series of rituals and tools,” says Trinh.
“Start low, go slow,” should be the mantra. Some partygoers may want to try cannabis for the first time. Just like alcohol, cannabis affects people differently. Beginners, who have never experienced being high on cannabis, may be tempted to overdo it. The effects of moderate cannabis use are subtle and newbies will want to take it slow and to be coached as to what to expect.
Lastly, the party should be by invitation only with everyone being over the age of 19.