From a masquerade to disc golf, this is how cannabis consumption could and should be done
We hope it goes without saying that even with all of the party hopping we did this year, we couldn’t make it out to every event. And there were certainly a lot of memories made in 2023.
This isn’t simply a compendium of great times though. Rather, it’s a hand-picked list of happenings that handled consumption maturely and in ways that we hope some aspect of forthcoming regulations guiding social cannabis venues in Mass reflects.
(If you’re interested in the subject, we also recommend revisiting our interview with Summit Lounge CEO Kyle Moon: “What Should Social Consumption Look Like? Ask Someone With Experience.”)
As former Cannabis Control Commissioner Shaleen Title said at this Boxborough hotbox back in September: “I have never been to an event like this of this scale in Massachusetts before … so it feels very special. And it feels like what we need to preserve. … It’s important to come to things like this and remember what we’re fighting for. My typical speech at marijuana events is about how we deserve better, because it’s usually in a conference hall and there’s no smoking allowed and there are a lot of serious business people, but looking around, this is about right.”
The setup for this one was mesmerizing, stunningly decked out like some kind of newfangled Disneyland but with much cooler characters. The spot was filled with enough entertainment to keep any curious partygoer busy, and more than adequate attractions to keep one’s head spinning for several hours making the rounds between vendor booths and installations. The dab bars were especially memorable, with live music kicking through the night.
Down the Rabbit Hole
There were a lot of NECANN after parties, all with their own merits, but this one thrown by Nature’s Heritage in Chinatown was extra smoky and cozy, with couches facing spinning Stundenglass windmills filled with phenomenal flower. Largely thrown for conference attendees who mostly came sporting their company gear, it wasn’t quite an all-out costumed affair, but it basically felt like one.
This mostly outdoor gathering of a reported 800 people was quite the spectacle. Spread out on the grounds of a South Coast mansion and event space with multiple fireside areas to relax and burn samples, the release for Fernway’s seasonal Pumpkin Spice & Honeycrisp line was breathtaking in more than one way and a fall ball for the ages.
In order to push helpful ideas to the top of the stack as the Cannabis Control Commission’s working group on social consumption began to compile its recommendations, Let’s Talk Weed hosted a forum at Diaspora in Cambridge in July that served as a “platform for passionate individuals to exchange ideas and shape the future of cannabis social consumption in our communities,” propelled by “the idea that by fostering an inclusive environment, we can pave the way for responsible and informed discussions surrounding this important topic.” Any event at Diaspora could have made this list, but this one seemed the most meta since people could smoke indoors while discussing the future of such situations.
Comic Alex Giampapa has been throwing secret High Performance shows for years, but in 2023 he tried something more public facing, recording a new special at one of his comedy company’s clandestine Hub lofts. “You have so much material at comedy clubs and such that centers around, Oh, we were so drunk. Or, We went out drinking and did this,” he told TJM. “Whereas when you have a crowd that is smoking cannabis, and the comedians are smoking cannabis, it actually creates a whole different dynamic where I found that I’m able to delve into material that’s more like social commentary, which is really what I’ve always wanted to do.”
The Mass cannabis community loves to hit the greens. This year, Boston Cannabis Week returned with another golf outing, as did Stem Haverhill with its second-annual Green Goddess Invitational, a women’s event benefiting Patriots Helping Vets. And teeing off first in 2023, Cannabis Creative Group and Joint Venture Company brought out more than 400 pot people for putting and in-person networking for the second TeeHC Open at the Highfields Golf & Country Club in Grafton. With a base camp featuring a small village of vendors passing out samples and swag, the day was stacked with entertainment for golfers and non-participants alike. Especially if you like getting high.
The Solar Invitational at Maple Hill in Leicester was no small effort, with sponsors at all corners the massive course and teams competing from more than two dozen brands. Maple Hill is widely recognized as one of the premier facilities of its kind in the world, and the weed community staged an impressive takeover. More than a few companies brought out ringers, and with all the crossover between the cannabis and disc golf worlds, they didn’t even have to recruit outside of their cultivations and dispensaries. As much of a success as this year’s invitational was, there’s no doubt it will attract even more in 2024. A true smoker’s fest.
An outdoor feast with loads of vendors and a glampground-like environment for stoners, there were enough bubbling communal dab rigs circulating through this large-scale casual sesh to get all of Plymouth stoned at once. Critically, most of the actual main courses—like the clams and lobster at this recent party—weren’t infused with THC. As the hosting High End Events co-founders Bailey and Bobby Nuggz explained it, “the pairing is all in smoking your samples and tasting the terpenes through your sense of smell.”
The organizers behind Boston Cannabis Week convinced PKL in South Boston to host the first-ever pot-themed pickleball tournament, and with Berkshire Roots on board as a lead sponsor to provide custom paddles plus Talking Joints Memo Editor Chris Faraone joining Boston hip-hop heavyweights Cousin Stizz and Michael Christmas at the color commentating table, the BCW Games were born. From the trippy facility, to activities like shuffleboard to keep the crowd busy beyond pickleball and puffing, to flowing infused samples, to the tournament itself, to badass setups, it was a seriously unique experience.