Cannabis and Dining: Treating Cannabis Like a Foodstuff

As we approach the 2020s, full scale cannabis legalization in North America seems all but an inevitability. In 9 U.S. states, adults over the age of 21 may purchase cannabis at their choosing legally. Those who seek cannabis as medicine can purchase it through many state run programs, with top notch medical marijuana dispensaries. Just to our north, Canadian adults may use cannabis nationwide, no prescription required.

As cannabis legalization pushes on across North America, many opportunities appear that were not possible before. Anticipating the buzz of legal cannabis, adjacent industries like delivery services, cannabis experiences, and even yoga studios, fitness centers, and saunas pop up. Now is the time to integrate cannabis into your business, and with the popularity of cannabis edibles, and the well known “munchies” many users experience, cannabis restaurants seem like a logical next step.

Bringing cannabis into a restaurant’s kitchen often clashes with archaic liquor laws.

The idea of mixing cannabis with high scale food service is not new, but cannabis cuisine experts often must work outside of restaurants if they want the world to taste their creations. For example, Payton Murry, a chef who worked at Michelin star awarded establishments like Quince and Ame, now finds himself running Flourish Cannabis, an edibles company.

Cannabis expert and former chef Michael Magallanes went from the kitchen to staging cooking workshops and private dinners featuring cannabis infused dishes for his Opulent Chef company. Instead of offering cannabis infused meals in a restaurant setting, Cultivating Spirits provides sophisticated cannabis cuisine events and experiences for reservation. These entail the “pairing” of food with wine and choice strains with a cannabis sommelier.

Mindy Segal, who produces a line of culinary quality cannabis infused candies, often encounters those who discount her or don’t take her work seriously. In a Greenstate interview with Mindy, she lamented, “I’ve had business turn away from me because I am involved in marijuana, and very disappointingly so.”

These expert cannabis chefs suffer because American restaurateur laws intersect with federal laws, which still bar cannabis. Moreover, compliance with most state liquor laws mean no establishment may serve both cannabis and alcohol at the same time, even if cannabis is legal. This makes cannabis restaurants and establishments hard to come by, and the ones that do exist do so through the clever use of loopholes. A lot of the trouble comes from cannabis being treated as
a monitored substance, like alcohol. But what if cannabis was just an ingredient?

Eating and cannabis go hand in hand

Imagine, you sit down at your favorite restaurant and the menu reads, “infuse your meal with cannabis provided you present valid 21+ ID.” Or, imagine taking in a movie and paying 10 extra dollars to douse your popcorn with cannabis infused butter.

Across America, burrito fast food chains like Chipotle often offer guacamole for an extra charge, but why not cannabis-infused queso instead? These and many more possibilities could become reality if the restrictions on cannabis dining are lifted, and treating cannabis like a foodstuff may be the solution.

Many chefs agree that cannabis behaves like a vegetable, and the culinary possibilities beg for a more transparent way cannabis may enter into the food industry. This may mean reclassifying cannabis as a food stuff similar to that of a vegetable, bringing the plant material to a kitchen near you.

By lifting this barrier, not only will marijuana-infused meals become reality in legal areas, the stigma cannabis chefs face will release, and they may be recognized for their ability and devotion to an industry held back by unclear laws and regulations.

About the Author
Chris Matich is a professional writer, journalist, and editor living in Pittsburgh, PA. Chris blogs for Schenley.net. His writing interests include LGBT+ people/issues, sports writing, and blogging. Chris currently writes about web optimization, blogging practices, medical cannabis, and cannabis lifestyle. He writes fiction and creative nonfiction in his spare time.

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