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The event will bring together two of the state's most renown industries.

April 17, 2017

California has been a powerful force on the global wine scene for decades. Meanwhile, the state’s never been a slouch when it comes to high quality cannabis either. It’s just that one of those industries has always had to stay hidden from view. But after Californians voted to allow recreational marijuana this past November, that’s all about to change, and some in the state’s wine business want to make sure these two industries get along – so the Wine Industry Network will be hosting its first Wine & Weed Symposium on August 3.

Months in the making, this one day conference set to take place in Santa Rosa, aims to “explore, in depth, what the California wine industry can expect the impact to be over the next year and what opportunities, as well as threats, will exist,” according to the event’s website. The symposium will have expert speakers from both the wine and the weed biz covering all sorts of topics relevant to dealing with both intoxicants. The event also plans to look at what’s happened in other states to give people a heads up on what to expect as recreational marijuana starts to emerge in California. Additionally, there will be a trade show “featuring vendors offering products and services specifically relevant to wineries and Grapegrowers interested in expanding into this explosive market.” So, like, bongs that can double as a decanter? I have no idea really. Maybe I should consider attending.

Video: BKW Wine Floats

Much has been made of legal pot cutting into alcohol sales, but part of the idea of the Wine & Weed Symposium appears to be to find common ground between the two industries. The Symposium points out many similarities. “Both industries are based in rural areas with a major emphasis on agriculture and quality. Place of origin / AVA is an important differentiator for both categories,” it suggests. “To a significant degree, they share a common consumer and will be overseen by the same government agency. Like the wine industry, the cannabis industry will also be heavily regulated and because of that, will experience tremendous overlap with regard to legal, financial, compliance and distribution regulations.”

Tina Caputo, a wine and food writer who will be a moderator at the event, had a similar sentiment recently when talking to the New York Times. “We haven’t actually seen anybody who’s laying down their glass of wine to pick up a bong,” she told the paper. “There’s room in people’s lives for both.” Man, I guess these people she’s talking about don’t have any young kids!

Registration for the event opens on May 3 – though keep in mind this is an industry event. Those looking simply to get smashed and stoned are better off hosting a symposium in the privacy of their own home.