Chefs use oils, butters, tinctures and terpenes to infuse dishes with (usually) low doses of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary active ingredient in cannabis, which makes users feel “stoned”), and/or CBD (a non-intoxicating cannabinoid) so diners can achieve their desired high throughout the multi-hour meals.
Pushing far beyond the cliched edible fare of weed brownies, local cannabis chefs put food first: a country pork terrine wrapped in speck, presented alongside bread and butter pickles and a medicated asparagus puree; or a Georges Bank scallop crudo topped with lacto-fermented red onion, lime juice, toasted pepitas and CBD tomato salt.
Currently, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission’s (CCC) adult-use regulations prohibit on-site social consumption, so infused dinners exist in a legally gray area in the state. It is legal to gift cannabis, but it’s illegal to do so in conjunction with the sale of another item. To get around this, many of these new businesses operate as dinner party organizers, cooking in private homes as hired chefs for members or as part of larger events.
Dope Dinners co-founder and chef Ed Hunt started the business with his wife a year ago. He said infused events are one of the few spots in the industry in which the little guy is flourishing.
“We’re a minority-owned business and education and advocacy are central to the work we do as well,” Hunt said. “It’s important that we focus on social equity and make sure that the communities that have been most harmed by the war on drugs are included in reaping the benefits now. Part of what is great about curating these unique dining experiences for people, is that it creates opportunities to engage in conversations that help break through old stigmas that still exist around cannabis.”