The Highest Tea Party
White linens and pink poppies lined the party table as thirty guests and a handful of cannabis vendors found their seats at this whimsical Hollywood scene.
We were seated at none other than the White Rabbit High Tea a cannabis-friendly tea party hosted by founder, Jessica Cole.
Every guest arrived dressed to the nines: they were adorned in pin-stripes, lace, and furs. Stepping into the party one could be transported to another time, or perhaps another planet - decadent and full of charm.
It has been an interesting journey navigating through cannabis events over the past few years. Some come in and out of fashion rather quickly, while others manage to secure a loyal following.
Ultimately, the reason events remain successful is hospitality and integrity. Creating a compassionate (and safe) environment for guests that is both interactive and novel can be difficult with all of the restrictions on cannabis business. Vendors would stick to private parties or play it safe at cannabis trade shows to avoid sticking out pre-legalization. However, this ended up diluting the market over time with a bunch of the same tradeshow style events.
I began to have a jaded outlook on cannabis-friendly events over the past year, as many of them would conform into the same niche group of the connoisseur and hetti community. The industry events became saturated with black and yellow Easy-Ups, provocative promotional models, and two-pound mystery blunts. The focus always seemed predominantly cis-male-focused, whether it was intentional or not there weren't many events geared towards other demographics. Even some of the female focused events were hyper-sexualized and gender-directed in a stereotypical way.
With how much potential cannabis has to open people's minds, I was always wanting to experience more intimate canna-friendly events that were inclusive and immersive. More cannabis infused dinners started popping up, and this inspired us (at The Clear) to start holding some of our own private dinners for patients and friends in the industry. The conversations we had with guests at these events were so much more authentic than those at a tradeshow, as we were able to slow down and share a meal together.
In the Spring of 2017 we hosted a small Blueberry Brunch Party to launch our new flavor of The Clear at Creatington in Los Angeles. This venue is a one of a kind art collective nestled deep in the warehouses of the Art District. Even though this was an intimate event, it really put things into perspective on what a cannabis event could be. There were plenty of joints to pass, and delicious infused canna-cocktails - but something was missing... It was a playful space, but the deeper exploration of creativity was lacking. We were present, but not immersed the way I craved to be.
This weekend at White Rabbit High Tea I got what I have been asking for. The layers of reality slipped off like a loose pair of gloves as I looked at the spread of traditional High Tea treats and all of the cannabis products sprinkled across the table. Blunts were being rolled on china dishes as the White Rabbit ladies circled the table offering tea to the guests. It was as if we had transported into a weed fantasy only thought up in dreams.
Everyone there was curious about the products, and the knowledged flowed like Earl Grey. It was an opportunity for the guests and vendors to really open up and get in touch with their inner child. I believe that the absurdity of it all made it that much easier to be intimate with the guests - everyone came with their hearts on their sleeves, ready to engage in the magic.
The setting was gorgeous, but the atmosphere was the result of the people and the conversations bouncing around the room. The intentions of the group were a collective effort to side-step the norm and allow our weirdest (and truest) selves to shine. This kind of radical expression is what continues to keep us young at heart. It was obvious that cannabis was present in abundance, but consuming it wasn't the focus of the day. I felt the products and samples were there to elevate the mood and allow guests to feel open to explore, using cannabis as a tool to expand the mind and make falling down the rabbit hole a little easier.
Photo MG Retailer / The Clear Botanist
It makes sense that cannabis would be at the center of this event. For so long there has been a need for events like this. White Rabbit pays respects to the silliness of cannabis culture; while focusing on cannabis as a healing plant in a welcoming environment.
I believe there is a place for all of these style events, regardless of my personal taste. There is a significant population of people that still appreciate the tradeshow or flea market style cannabis events, as well as events that are focused on the hetti community. What I think is important to recognize here is a shift happening where more options are becoming available. It is my hope that events like these will merge together and create diverse and unique experiences for cannabis lovers.
A cannabis user doesn't come in one size fits all, so why should their events? So long as we keep striving for balance and deeper connections I think there is a bright future for cannabis events.
For more photos of the tea party please visit my instagram @theclearbotanist