Cannabis cuisine? Londoner calls for pot-infused restaurant dishes


A Londoner who hopes to open Canada’s first restaurant serving cannabis-infused foods calls on the provincial and federal governments to let the businesses run.

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A man from London who hopes to open Canada’s first restaurant serving cannabis-infused foods is asking the provincial and federal governments to let the businesses run.

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Jeremy Smith, 35, began circulating the petition across the province at marijuana retail stores in southwestern Ontario last month. Now the petition is collecting signatures at about 90 pottery stores from Windsor to Kitchener-Waterloo, Smith said.

“I started in London. . . and then it exploded, ”said Smith, who hopes to extend his petition to Toronto, where most of Ontario’s pottery stores are located. “If we can get even more signings, that’s even better.”

Smith, whose online petition was launched on the House of Commons website Friday, wants to open a London restaurant serving meals infused with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the component of the pot that produces the euphoric high, and cannabidiol ( CBD), a non-psychoactive component touted for its therapeutic benefits.

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“It’s going to be a game-changer for sure,” he said of the proposal.

But before Smith could start preparing to open a restaurant, which will be called Les Munchies, government officials told him he had to start a petition to prove the concept was necessary, he said.

Smith plans to deliver the signed petitions to MPs in southwestern Ontario before they return to Queen’s Park this fall.

The former bar manager started last year on the unexpected path of cannabis advocacy and entrepreneurship after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease that can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition.

After his prescription drugs triggered an almost fatal reaction, Smith turned to CBD for relief.

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Smith acknowledges that it could be some time before cannabis-themed restaurants and cafes get the green light.

Health Canada, the federal jar regulator, only authorized the sale of cannabis-infused edibles and drinks for one year after recreational cannabis was legalized in 2018.

Last spring, Ontario said it was reflecting on cannabis fairs and cafes, asking companies and stakeholders for comment, but offering no timeline.

Trina Fraser, an Ottawa lawyer who advises the cannabis industry, said she has consulted with many entrepreneurs who want to serve marijuana-based foods and drinks.

“I still happen to break dreams every now and then and say, ‘I think your business model makes sense and looks wonderful. It’s just going to take some time and some advocacy because it just doesn’t work in the current framework, ”she said.

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Serving prepackaged pot-infused foods and drinks would require provincial approval, while providing marijuana-based meals would require changes at the federal level, she said.

A big challenge is that cannabis-infused foods cannot be prepared in the same building where other foods are prepared, said Fraser, who predicted that consumption lounges would be allowed before cannabis-themed restaurants.

“There is a long list of reasons why this doesn’t work within the legal framework we currently have,” she said of restaurants serving cannabis-infused foods. “But… that doesn’t mean he couldn’t.

With the marijuana industry contributing more than $ 8 billion a year to the country’s economy, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada, Smith sees an opportunity to create new jobs in a hotel industry devastated by the COVID pandemic. 19.

“This industry has multiple marketable areas in which cannabis can further develop and these expansions will further grow Ontario’s economy,” he said.

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About Vivian J. Smith

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