Weed Embraces the 100-Point Scale | Wine Enthusiast
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Canna-Curious? There’s a 100-Point Scale for That 

For those immersed in the wine education world, the systematic approach to tasting (SAT), in which one evaluates the overall quality of a wine based on balance, length, intensity and complexity (or the BLIC scale), will be quite familiar. Now the cannabis industry, too, has a means for assessing tokes.

“Cannabis is very nuanced and complicated,” says Derek Gilman, managing director of Ganjier. The Ganjier program, in short, is the weed world’s answer to the sommelier—industry experts who’ve gone through training to guide consumers in finding the right herb for them.

“The inspiration behind creating and developing the systematic assessment protocol (SAP) comes from different epicurean-based industries,” explains Gilman, pointing toward the Court of Master Sommeliers, the Ciceron Certification Program and, of course, the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET). “We looked at these programs and tried to find where the similarities are in cannabis.”

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The SAP scale assesses appearance, aroma, flavor and experience in order to determine the quality of cannabis and is specific to inhalables—whether flower or concentrates.

It’s the “experience” portion that greatly differs from any kind of wine assessment. “We break up the experience between mental and physical,” explains Gilman. “Within those two areas we break it down further to identify if the experience was stimulating, relaxing or balanced between the two. Or was there some kind of negative effect? For example, anxiety, headaches or sore throat.” Beyond mental and physical, Ganjiers also assess onset—how long does it take before one begins to feel those effects—as well as the intensity and longevity of those effects.

The Ganjiers doing the scoring are folks who have gone through the education system—in which the final exam does, indeed, include a “tasting portion.” Importantly, they all assess products in their local markets, since shipping cannabis across state lines is still not allowed.

In terms of final scores, they range much like Wine Enthusiast’s very own 100-point scale—the closer to 100, the higher the recommendation from the industry pros. Anything below a 75 is “not recommended.” Scores can be accessed via an app and, Gilman says, are frequently utilized by Ganjiers in all sectors of the weed industry—from retail to distribution and even the farmers themselves to see how their crop fares amongst the growing competition.

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Next in the works: “There’s a potential for vintages with cannabis concentrates, traditional hashish,” says Gilman, explaining that, over time, the expression of cannabis flower can actually evolve—sometimes for the better. “This is an area that’s gaining more traction.” And for Californians, the Department of Food and Agriculture is now looking into the effects of terroir and appellation on different flowers. So, your next roll might just have the equivalent of an AVA designation on the package.

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2024 of Wine Enthusiast magazine. Click here to subscribe today!

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