business | 11.07.2018

Cannabis Sommeliers Might Be the Next Big Thing

Sam Anthony


At wine bars and fine restaurants, you can often find a staff member called the sommelier, or wine steward. They are individuals who have a refined palate allowing them to taste subtle distinctions between wines. Their expertise doesn’t come easy, though. They taste hundreds if not thousands of different wines, they study wine, write about wine, and may even travel the world for wine.

They are expert wine connoisseurs who are not only knowledgeable about wine, they live and breathe wine. It is a passion unlike any other. And it is their job to guide you and your taste buds for your best wine experience.

With the emerging market for recreational marijuana, the term sommelier is taking on a new context. The cannabis sommelier is gaining popularity in dispensaries and coffee shops, particularly in Colorado, to guide people on their experience with marijuana.

This trend in marijuana shouldn’t come as a surprise. Due to its recent and only partial legalization in the United States, misinformation appears to be rampant.

“Imagine going to a bar and ordering a stout and being served a Pilsner. That’s what’s happening in cannabis right now,” said Max Montrose, a marijuana entrepreneur out of Denver, to CTV NEWS.

When an industry matures, it develops a community that cares deeply about the finer aspects of the experience. Wine, beer, and cheese all have their specialized experts, connoisseurs, and sommeliers.

Now it’s marijuana’s turn and they’ve already come up with a name for it.

Cannabis Sommeliers Gain Credibility

Cannabis experts have existed in Amsterdam for years, and with cannabis legalization in a number of U.S. states, enthusiasts in America have started posting their reviews on social media. But being a marijuana expert has never been a legitimate profession in the United States.

That is, until now.

The Trichome Institute out of Denver, Colorado will be offering a cannabis certification course called “interpening”. The name was coined by Max Montrose, Trichome Institute’s president and co-founder, combining the words “interpreting” and “terpene”.

A terpene is a chemical that gives a plant its fragrance and structure, among other characteristics. An interpene will be someone who possesses a robust knowledge of marijuana and will be able to decipher the psychotropic effects that individual strains can produce.

According to Montrose, studies have shown that each strain of cannabis contains over 200 terpenes. He suggests that by identifying the dominant terpene one can determine what sort of impact a particular strain might have on an individual when smoked.

America’s Next Cash Crop?

Now seems like as good a time as any to be optimistic about the success of the marijuana industry in the United States and subsequent consumer demand for marijuana sommeliers.

According to data from the Colorado Department of Revenue, for the first eight months of 2018 total sales are roughly $1.02 Billion. That’s billion -- with a “B”.

To add to that, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner just announced that he will be speaking at the American Cannabis Association’s Countdown to Legalization event. He will be covering a wide range of topics regarding the marijuana industry in the United States. Check it out to see how this currently $10 billion industry could turn into a $100 billion or even $1 trillion industry almost overnight.

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