Loka-Toka-Vores: Pot Eats & Prop 19

Why light up when you can have your weed and eat it too?

It’s no secret that more than a few chefs have been known to embrace the 420 lifestyle. The combination of late nights, a walk-in full of leftovers, creative personalities and the need for a wind-down after nine hours of aorta-bursting adrenaline makes after-work tokage pretty standard fare. Not for everyone, of course. But suffice to say it’s not just the salmon that’s smoked.
So it should come as no surprise that a lot of food folk are pretty interested in the fate of Prop 19, and specifically, what a greener California would mean for eaters. There’s little doubt that post-spliff munchies could be a serious boon not only for the snack-chip and fast-food industry, but for toques as well.
With the passing of medical marijuana laws, cannabis bakeries are cropping up with increasing regularity. Some with serious cooks creating everything from buzzed-up vanilla truffles, red velvet cake and strawberry cream cheese brownies to Crunch berry marshmallow treats. A new line of THC-juiced sodas recently made their debut and fat-laden food is a natural delivery system for many of the new high inducing sprays and powders.
Long story short: There’s clearly an interest in the business and culinary opportunities that come with relaxing laws against marijuana usage, whether you agree with Prop 19 or not.
Which lead to some interesting questions that I’ve been asked lately about how Prop 19’s passing could affect restaurants…
1. If passed, would cafes and restaurants allow patrons to light up?
2. Could restaurants use marijuana as a cooking ingredient?

Answer: Finding a plate of pot brownies for dessert at your favorite restaurant or lighting up on the patio isn’t very likely in the near future.
If you read through the actual proposition(, it states that marijuana use be prohibited from use in public or smoking while minors are present. In addition to that, there are rock-solid state laws that prohibit smoking in restaurants, bars and taverns. Local ordinances that prohibit smoking in public areas outdoors, so its unlikely that Santa Rosa or Sebastopol will suddenly approve of toking up on the sidewalks. Santa Rosa City Attorney Caroline Fowler backed that up saying, “Smoking “ is defined in Section 9-20.30 of our ordinance to include  “lighted pipe, cigar or cigarette of any kind”—so yes it would be covered.” So that pretty much answer that question.
As for cooking with pot? Although the Proposition is written in a manner that at some level equates its regulation to that of alcohol, there are a number of checks and balances in control that would require additional legislation to make it consumable in public. Not to mention liability issues restaurants would face. So don’t hold your breath on that one either.
What’s a local smoker to do? Bake at home (disclaimer: assuming of course that you have a medical card for usage and would ONLY use these for yourself and NO ONE ELSE, even accidentally).
A new booked called “Baked: 35 Marijuana Munchies to Make and Bake” (Chris Stone and Gordon Lewis, Tenspeed Press, $12.99) gives detailed instruction on cooking with wacky tobaccy.
Just in case you were curious (and didn’t come of age in the 60s and 70s), the authors discuss at length how ingesting marijuana affects the body, how to make “boosted butter” for cooking, along with olive oil and powders. According to the authors, fat is an ideal conductor for the feel-good chemicals in marijuana and hash. And so as not to make yourself feel waaaay too good, they offer up a handy dosage guide and pot-leaf stars to guide your highs (mild to woweeee!)
Recipes include Boom Boom Biscuits, Alice B. Toklas’s Cookies, Cocoa Puff Cupcakes, Sticky Ickies, Baked! Potatoes and Mighty Marijuana Meatloaf. As to whether or not these sugary, buttery, munchie-time foods actually taste good? Well, that’s not really the point, is it.
What’s your take on weed-laced eats? Sound off..
*Oh, and by the way…I totally stole the Loca-toka-vore thing from “Tortoise Versus Hare” over on Watch Sonoma County. You knew I would.  Thanks dude, you’re famous!

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5 thoughts on “Loka-Toka-Vores: Pot Eats & Prop 19

  1. There are two schools of thought in pairing smoking pot and a good meal. My parents use to like to smoke before dinner to enhance their appetite. I was a cook while attending college and really liked to light up after the meal was done. It helped to relax after preparing the meal and yoy could tatse the flavors of the meal without the interference of the green bud.

  2. blah, blah, blah
    PD has been anti Prop 19 from the get go. They use Biteclub to act hip and cool. Don’t fall for this BS. PD piss tests all employees is extremely anti-pot. When this paper goes under, remember this: PD is anti-pot in spite of being the #1 newspaper in the largest dope growing region of the country. Whether it happens this year or a little further down hte road, remember that this publication chose to promote prohibiton!

    1. Um, someone needs to take the tin foil hat off. We are owned by the New York Times and like many companies we are required to take a drug test prior to employment. So yes, everyone here had to pass at one point. I’m not sure I’d call the paper anti-pot. Editorially, we did come out against Prop 19, but most newspapers did. Keep in mind that the editorial department does not represent the staff of the newspaper. I sit next to Guy Kovner, who’s done a lot of reporting about marijuana and Prop 19. I think that the paper itself tries to report the issues, keeping in mind that marijuana use and cultivation outside medical usage is still illegal, but acknowledging that yes, we are in a major pot-growing region. Whether any of us personally agree or disagree with prop 19 or marijuana usage is not really relevant to the newspaper. Oh, and trust me, no one is “using” me for anything. I do exactly what I want.

  3. It is interesting that when reduced to an oil or butter it will bind to the fatty oils in fish and create a completely different kind of buzz.

  4. The problem is that cannabis doesn’t have a great flavor by itself. So, it would only be used as a novelty addition to food, and could never be used in a subtle dish. There are some fruity strains, but I would rather the fruit flavor came from actual fruit. Also, there is the issue of contamination. It can be perditious stuff, which would probably limit the kitchen to use of oils. Oil having an even stranger flavor profile. I am curious to see cannabis used for smoking meats.
    I don’t think any “haute stoner cuisine” will accompany Prop 19 passing; not for a while. I do think we will see restaurants find a way to cater to stoners, just like pubs cater to drinkers.

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