Pot Goes Posh: Upscale Marijuana Eatery Thrives in Colorado


by Kitty Testa

Recreational marijuana usage elicits visions of dread-locked burnouts giggling over pot gummies, but a more refined market is developing—at least in Colorado.

Cultivating Spirits is an upscale eatery in Silverthorne, CO offering cannabis pairings to complement their food and wine offerings. The establishment’s owner, Philip Wolf, is a cannabis sommelier, accredited by the Trichome Institute. The institute, based in Ashland, VA, offers courses in marijuana sales training and Budtending, as well as sommelier training in the art of Interpening™, which is “ a method used to identify and understand cannabis variety, based on interpreting the plant’s terpenes and flower structure.”

Cultivating Spriits

The fine cannabis dining experience isn’t cheap—beginning at $450 per person for a party of two.  The price can go for as low as $225 per person in a group of 10. Cultivating Spirits’ market target is bachelor, bachelorette and birthday parties.

What is intriguing is how cannabis, for so long a shadow activity under prohibition, is suddenly interwoven into familiar material culture. The fact that this has happened so quickly—recreational usage in Colorado began less than three years ago—is a little surprising. Yet it illustrates how market forces create things and experiences that are, at first, novel, but ultimately ubiquitous if received well.

For those who fear full legalization of cannabis, surely this eatery will be seen as an outlier. It will take a long time before legal cannabis is accepted by many. In numerous states, this sort of a restaurant is preemptively illegal because of second-hand smoke regulations, so its growth may be constrained.

Still, I’m left wondering if some day in my future a server will offer, “Gorilla Glue?”

I’ll say, “No, thanks, I’ll have a Glenlivet.”

It’s always good to have choices.

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