This piece was co-created by Michelle Janikian and Catherine Goldberg.

May was a standout month for cannabis social events in Los Angeles with several Grassfed events and a White Rabbit High Tea. As we see weed events exponentially expand, these intimate affairs are getting more popular and diverse with customized activities and philosophies to suit different demographics and interests.

But one thing they all have in common? Plenty of pot products!

Although cannabis social events are still exclusive to those who hold medical marijuana cards here in California, by this time next year, when anyone over 21 will have access to the plant, these 420-focused fiestas are going to be huge.

Grassfed, known by the tagline “social dining elevated,” hosted two different events last May in Downtown LA: “Stand Up and Take Your Clothes Off,” a cannabis-infused comedy and burlesque show, and “Virtual Reality Elevated,” a VR pot party. Founder of Grassfed and co-host of the night, Dan Braunstein, hates everything involved with smoking: from the smell to ash, it just doesn’t fit into his lifestyle. That’s why he provided the highest quality, state-of-the-art vaping tools at his most recent event. The stars of the evening were Evo by Vape Xhale, a fantastic vaporizer that cools itself using water, and CO2 oil by 710 Speakeasy in a fabulous applicator that avoided messiness.

“Fuck combustion! I came up with the idea of an upscale cannabis events company after I bought my first (and best) vaporizer, the Evo by Vape Xhale,” Braunstein said. “It made me realize that there are better ways to consume this plant rather than just burning it, but still get a potent experience. Since then, I treat cannabis more like wine, exploring dozens of different strains and terp profiles.”

As the variety of products on the market increase, cannabis events are a great way for consumers to learn about and sample new vape, edible, and flower brands that could become their new favorite.

Braunstein and co-host, Tomer Grassiany, also invited two flower sponsors to “Stand Up”—FlowCana and THC Designs. Each company brought mostly sativas and hybrids to match the mood of the night. Plus, there were tons of great edibles, like Grassiany’s own To Whom It May cannabis chocolates, Mondo Powder and the best medicated cookies I’ve ever had, Moonman’s Mistress, which were also gluten-free. Full disclosure: I ate three!

Although I love vaping and totally get where Braunstein is coming from, I’m a regular smoker and was still craving a joint after all those cookies. So I snuck out with Aaron Herzberg, founder and partner of the Bud and Bloom Club, to burn one. An awesome budtender working the event totally hooked us up with weed, papers, even a lighter! Sorted. I was soaring.

Braunstein also prides himself on the music at the events, making epic playlists to set the mood.

“As an ex-musician and music supervisor, I always believed in the strong connection between cannabis and music,” Braunstein said.

Admittedly, I preferred Braunstein’s VR party to “Stand Up.”

First of all, I love VR, and VR Elevated on May 12 was a dream come true for a nerd like me. Also, the VR parties are more social; in between immersive VR experiences, like Google’s Tilt Brush, you sit on a comfy couch and chat with new, like-minded people.

I preferred the VR party for another major reason: Not only were there less chances to socialize at “Stand Up” because you had to sit, be quiet and watch the show, I was not a huge fan of the performances in general. The comedy wasn’t great (except for the Lucas Brothers, they were awesome!), and the burlesque was way too sexual for my taste.

Even though I’m gay, I felt it changed the dynamic of the room by objectifying women. It also reminded me of “tech bro” culture that has hindered women and LGBTQ entrepreneurs and developers from feeling comfortable at conferences and other industry settings.

Although, other women in attendance seemed to enjoy themselves, like founder of CannaSexual™, Ashley Manta.

“It was lovely to be in a room with people vaping, mindfully consuming micro-dosed edibles, and sipping on cannabis infused mocktails,” she said. “I maintained a light buzz throughout the night which served to deepen my appreciation of the comedy and especially the burlesque. The performers showcased a rich array of eye catching costumes as they swayed to the music, delighting the crowd with gyrating hips and quivering asses.”

The next afternoon, I attended the magical White Rabbit High Tea, hosted by Jessica Eriksen. Basically a cannabis-infused tea party, White Rabbit events are definitely more my speed. All of the food was delectable and made by Chef Holden Jagger in both medicated and unmedicated varieties, including classic tea party finger foods like cucumber sandwiches and scones. There was also incredible hemp seed candied brittle and some non-psychoactive medicated food infused with terpenes and non-activated THC. The food is so creative at these events that there’s often a couple of food bloggers at the table, like Abdullah Saeed from Bong Appetite and the “edible expert,” Alice Moon, founder of Swallow.

My favorite part of White Rabbit, besides the cute costumes Eriksen brought, was the craft cannabis provided by Prema Flora. They came fully stocked with tiny ¼ gram joints of their collection of strains so guests could sample many. They had sativas, indicas, hybrids, low-THC and even a 1:1 THC:CBD strain. Needless to say, I tried them all!

Ticketed events are a great way to meet new cannabis-loving people and go out in LA without feeling like you have to drink alcohol. But, if you want to throw a private cannabis party for your friends, loved ones or colleagues, hiring private budtenders like WeedBar LA, is the way to go.

A cannabis concierge service, WeedBar LA prides itself on catering a custom cannabis experience to match the desired mood of your event. They provide anything weed-related, from flower and dabs to custom edibles and mocktails. Of course, they offer CBD and non-medicated goodies as well to make everyone at your event feel comfortable. They’re even hosting monthly “Chai Havdalah” to bring the Jewish-cannabis community together over OU Kosher certified edibles by Mitzvah Herbal Co..

The best bit of WeedBar LA? Their budtenders! A lovely couple with over 10 years combined experience in the industry, and the owners of the THC pill company Truly Happy Capsules, Ian Brown and Kelsey Barney always go the extra mile to ensure everyone at your event has a good time. Plus, Brown is a master grower who, not only builds and optimizes grow houses, but also brings his own, homegrown bud for your event. For dab fans, they also own a concentrate press named the “Nug Smasher” to make fresh shatter at you party or wedding.

A similar service based in Colorado, Top Shelf Budtending, has been catering private parties, weddings and industry events since 2015. Founder, Andrew Mieure, is a social cannabis expert who specializes in low-dose or “micro served” cannabis cocktails.

“In the social use scene, low serving cannabis cocktails are really starting to take off… Mimicking the social aspect of having a ‘traditional’ cocktail in hand, cannabis cocktails provide a good time with no hangover or liver damage,” he explained. “Recently, we [Top Shelf Budtending] provided cocktails at a health forward cannabis cabaret event in Boulder. We used all fresh ingredients and every drink on the menu was vegan and processed sugar free… it was magical.”

Mieure has seen it all when it comes to cannabis parties. Some of his other signature moves including stocking the “bud bar” with pre-packed one hitters so guests can grab and go. But most of all, Mieure is dedicated to keeping party goers safe.

“Sometimes a 10,000 milligram cake sounds great until grandma bites into too much of it,” he said. “Our philosophy is always to start with the lowest serving, especially with edibles… You can always put more in, but you cannot take it out. Ensuring safe and responsible use of cannabis in social settings is the cornerstone of what Top Shelf Budtending stands for.”

From comedy shows to girls’ nights, birthday parties to tech demos, cannabis is revolutionizing events in LA.

And next year, when recreational marijuana is fully legalized for users over 21, the market for parties, meet-ups and other infused gatherings that celebrate our love of bud is only going to expand. Not only do these events give companies a great opportunity to share their new products with an eager audience, they’re the perfect chance for users to sample unique goods that might become their new favorite vehicle for cannabis consumption.

So bring a friend, watch your dosage and don’t forget to RSVP!

RELATED: How the Digital Age Is Changing Pot Culture
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