After obtaining his master’s degree in management, Axel moved to Canada in 2020. The Toulouse native became a cannabis sommelier!
He observes, smells and then tastes. The aromas explode in the mouth. Axel draws his pen and puts down on his little notebook a few notes on the quality of the product. The 25-year-old is an expert. A sommelier with a little particularity. His field is cannabis. Since December 2021, the Toulousain has been paid for smoking. “I’ve been smoking since I was 16. I always focused on the quality of the flowers I put in my joints,” he says.
In France, consuming cannabis is illegal. Axel works in Canada, where recreational use was legalized four years ago. When he moved abroad in 2020, Axel left with one goal, to learn English. To do this, he went there with “an open mind, ready to accept whatever he found”. A few weeks after his arrival, the Toulousain landed a job as an ice cream maker. This smoker in the land of cannabis takes the opportunity to taste the flowers of local producers. It’s a “stoned” evening with one of his friends that his passion for the plant will take a completely different turn. “We start to smoke a joint and I describe to him the exact taste of the flower. My friend asks me “but why don’t you work in this industry? “. The next day, I typed “cannabis formation” in the search bar of my computer”, he unfolds.
He finds a two-tier training offered by the Vancouver-based professional training company CannaReps. The first level is available online. For about 300 euros, it provides the tools to acquire some basics. Level two must be done face-to-face and lasts one day. It includes a theoretical morning and a practical afternoon where future cannabis sommeliers taste flowers from local growers. Total cost of this day, 500 dollars. Afterwards, CannaReps students receive a diploma recognized by the industry but “not yet” by the State.
“Cannabis is stigmatized and misunderstood”
After 10 days of digging through the videos provided with the training, Axel obtained level 1, like nearly 3,000 people around the world. Before passing level two, the Toulousain wished to meet the director of the professional training company. The expat is organizing a road trip and planning a stay in the southwestern Canadian city, where CannaReps is based. Once there, he goes to the headquarters of the company and the marketing graduate offers his services. The director decides to train him.
Axel moved to Vancouver and, in parallel with his teaching, he worked part-time in a coffee-shop, a cannabis shop, in which he put his new knowledge to good use. If he quickly obtains level two, he completes his teaching alongside his employer, who offers him a contract in December 2021. For 10 months, Axel has been a cannabis sommelier and smokes between 4 and 5 joints a day. beyond this figure, our palace is no longer very efficient”, he slips. The Toulousain in turn trains cannabis producers and sellers with “good taste”. In the coming years, Axel hopes to be able to demystify this “misunderstood” and “stigmatized” plant in France.