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Cannabis Cuisine Moves Beyond The Brownie as Dispensaries Are Threatened

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There's been a lot of buzz regarding the culinary applications for weed recently. Dispensaries (or what's left of them) are taking their cooking to the next level, offering a dizzying array of edibles beyond the boring brownie. Famous chocolatiers are making fancy pot-ables, while restaurants like Denver's Ganja Gourmet specialize completely in bud-laced goods. The folks attending San Diego's cannabis culinary school are hardly alone in their endeavors. Remember that bogus New York Times piece that divulged "a handful of chefs [who] are unabashedly open about marijuana's role in their creative and recreational lives and its effect on their restaurants?"

Here in L.A., esteemed chef Laurent Quenioux hosted a marijuana-themed dinner that got hordes of media attention, including a review in our city's paper of record. Needless to say we weren't at all surprised when we received an invite to a hemp dinner hosted by Ziggy Marley in honor of Hemp History Week.

The world of cooking with weed sure has evolved since our days in Santa Cruz, where rasta pasta and triple layer cakes with "special" butter were as fancy as it came. Elise McDonough explains why in today's article for HuffPo:

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"For a long time, the taste of marijuana was considered one to avoid when creating cannabis-infused edibles and often cloaked with chocolate and peanut butter in fat-laden, sugary treats. That's largely because edible makers were almost exclusively using leaves and other unsmokable forms of the plant to create their "added value" products. But bud prices have fallen sharply lately, thanks to a glut in the market, while the edibles sector continues to grow. As a result, it has become increasingly common to cook with higher quality ground cannabis flowers, and even hashish, both of which impart a much sweeter, far more pleasant taste than leaves."

The writer, who is also a designer at High Times magazine, continues:

This field of knowledge will probably expand considerably in the coming years, and the possibilities are dazzling. "Haze" strains rich in sabinene and myrcene can be paired with foods like Thai-style soups with mango and lemongrass that contain the same terpenes (see The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook for a recipe). Savory dishes like rosemary-roasted potatoes would sing with the addition of cannabis butter from a strain containing pinene. And naturally you'd have to finish up with a chocolate dessert infused with a minty cannabis strain high in alpha-phellandrene."

The Los Angeles Public Safety Committee recently passed a "gentle" ban on dispensaries, and a vote will be made on June 22 in the LA City Council as to the official fate of the 700-800 shops that exist in our city. In the meantime, it seems like chefs, connoisseurs, and those who actually need weed will be eating very well.