A new Edmonton group wants to smoke out cannabis stigma by organizing social outings for professionals who are stoned.
Brad Ward is preparing to launch a series of events under the banner of Meet and Green.
His ideas include movie showings, charitable events and getting 20 or 30 people to smoke a joint, put on name tags and go on a hike together.
“I’d like to do something where we go out and support new businesses, like mom-and-pop restaurants that open up,” Ward said. “I think that could be really interesting, having a lineup of people who just smoked a joint with the munchies supporting a new pizza place.”
The group has about 28 actively involved members from all lines of work — including financial advisers, lawyers, owners of cleaning and repair businesses, and small business owners in the cannabis industry.
Ward is an insurance broker and describes himself as an average cannabis user, not a heavy user or an expert.
He said he started the group because he was tired of waiting for someone else to do something similar, after the federal government legalized cannabis for recreational use in October.
“When it first became legal, the first thing I thought was, ‘Wow, there’s going to be a lot of great events out there based around this.’ And it didn’t come,” he said.
“What nobody’s talking about is the experience and the community. I think back to the ’60s in California when you would have hippies get together and smoke joints. And that sense of community and well-being, the free exchange of ideas. And I thought, nobody’s doing this, so I’ll just do it.”
Meet and Green’s first public event will be a networking meetup at The Pint in Old Strathcona Tuesday evening, where attendees representing various industries are encouraged to smoke cannabis outside and let their creative juices flow.
Ward said there’s a major stigma around pot for business professionals, and it’s high time to fight those negative perceptions and embrace weed’s potential for stimulating constructive ideas.
“If you go to a mixer and you say, ‘Hey, you want a beer?’ Nobody bats an eye. But if you say, ‘Want to go outside and smoke a joint?’ They think you’re crazy,” he said.
“I think the corporate world, especially, should be embracing cannabis as a way to beat your competitors.”
The founder and CEO of Cannabis at Work, an Edmonton-based group that does consulting, training and recruiting for the cannabis industry, said it was only a matter of time before cannabis-centred networking events started cropping up.