Prohibition has hindered the development of certifications in cannabis. Thus, a massive void exists in terms of the standardized education available, which is problematic considering the industry’s rapidly expanding into a global market and trade. Over the last few years, however, educational institutions focusing on the plant are starting to organize, and universities are scrambling to catch up with demand. But, unlike wine where people can get various certifications that define their expertise, the cannabis equivalent of a sommelier doesn’t exist yet—even though smell, taste, and pairing experts exist in the cannabis space. So the question remains: what defines a cannabis sommelier?
With the recent wave of legalization, classically trained sommeliers are starting to grapple with defining this term. For instance, the Trichome Institute is coming up with the term “Interpening®” as their cannabis sommelier certification. In Canada, CannaReps has come up with a weekend cannabis sommelier course. BBC has even thrown around the term weed sommelier, which can be offensive to cannabis connoisseurs and sommeliers alike.
But the cannabis industry can’t just copy and paste the way wine and spirits does things. Just ask the Weed Spectator. They emulated the rating scale and branding of Wine Spectator, which prompted a lawsuit this fall. But it’s difficult not to want to adopt a system that already works–especially with numerous parallels shared between wine and weed . And, while many organizations are launching cannabis education courses and crafting new terms, there’s no international standard for cannabis. So, even if you get a certificate from one of these institutions– and even if the courses were strenuous and helped you develop superior cannabis tasting, smelling, and pairing skills– it won’t hold the same clout as a traditional somm certification.