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( http://yeson19.com/node/6), 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!