MATT PRE­STON on the buzz around cannabis cui­sine.

Cannabis cafés are on the hori­zon in Cal­i­for­nia and, with an eye for the main chance, Matt Pre­ston ex­plores the pos­si­bil­i­ties of such bud­ding busi­nesses.

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - @mattscra­vat @MattsCra­vat

I’VE moved into a new phase of my life where get-rich-quick schemes seem sud­denly ap­peal­ing and the in­creas­ing pace of the re­lax­ation of cannabis laws could of­fer a world of op­por­tu­nity to the savvy food lover or restau­ra­teur. Global spend­ing on le­gal cannabis hit $12 bil­lion in 2018 and is pre­dicted to reach more than $31 bil­lion by 2022, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by Ar­cview Mar­ket Re­search and BDS An­a­lyt­ics.

You can now sub­scribe to a magazine like Kitchen Toke, for in­stance, which is all about cook­ing with cannabis, and Cal­i­for­nia is wel­com­ing its first eatery with cannabis on the menu – all part of an ex­plo­sion of cannabis busi­nesses as lib­eral states re­form the laws.

West Hol­ly­wood’s Low­ell Café is the first of eight planned lounges that will of­fer a ‘flower menu’ sell­ing cannabis in ed­i­bles or to smoke or vape in-house. Your friendly ‘bud ten­der’ will guide cus­tomers through the prod­ucts on of­fer and whether they’re best con­sumed by bong, joint, vape or con­cen­trate. Th­ese lounges will cash in on Cal­i­for­nia’s ex­pected cannabis tourism boom as well as the ‘Cal­i­for­nia sober’ trend for lo­cals to smoke but not drink.

Sim­i­lar lounges are planned in Colorado where the laws have also been re­laxed.A fleet of Amer­iCanna Café food trucks will ap­pear this year tar­get­ing cannabis dis­pen­saries and serv­ing foods that con­tain hemp and smooth­ies that can be spiked with ac­tive THC oil. A restau­rant will fol­low.The op­er­at­ing part­ner in the food trucks is Colorado’s Il­le­gal Burger, a fast-ca­sual chain that plans to in­tro­duce condi­ments in­fused with cannabid­iol oil like a stoner’s truf­fle aïoli or other sea­son­ings.

Ob­vi­ously, a lot needs to hap­pen first be­fore this can roll out here, but it’s got me won­der­ing what the per­fect con­cept would be for a cannabis restau­rant when Aus­tralia even­tu­ally gets around to le­gal­is­ing weed.

I have 20 cru­cial ques­tions on resin restau­rants and cannabis cui­sine be­fore I cash in.

1 Is of­fer­ing pot in cool LA restau­rants just a cun­ning way in health-con­scious Cal­i­for­nia of mak­ing all those chaga and cordy­ceps smooth­ies and shi­la­jit brown­ies seem ac­tu­ally ed­i­ble?

2 Will the ‘snacks’ fancy fine-din­ers serve at the start of a meal stop be­ing ridicu­lous 'ocelot wafers with mon­key cheese and piped fei­joa gel' and be proper snacks of Chee­tos or Cheezels? 3 Will menus be just five savoury dishes and 40 desserts?

4 Would those five savoury dishes be pizza, fried chicken and sweet po­tato fries, tater tots with burg­ers with the lot, cheese toasties, and a Mex­i­can meze plat­ter of tacos, na­chos and bur­ri­tos?

5 Would the desserts mainly be ice-cream with some­thing syrupy and some­thing salty, be it crushed pret­zels, caramel pop­corn, smashed lol­lies, ce­real or any num­ber of gaudy sprin­kles?

6 Will this lead to an in­ter­na­tional short­age of choco­late fudge sauce and salted caramel?

7 Will Dan Hong’s Stoner's De­light dessert fi­nally find its per­fect niche?

8 Will waiters be equipped with two note­books, one to write down your order, the other to write down any bril­liant thoughts you might have at the ta­ble?

9 Will you then have to tip the waiter to stop him re­veal­ing your drivel later when you’ve straight­ened up?

10 Will spe­cials now in­clude con­cep­tual dishes like ‘last night’s cold curry eaten in front of the open fridge’ or ‘cake eaten from the tin with your fin­gers’?

11 Will cannabis restau­rants take a lead from those soft-serve yo­ghurt places and of­fer a cold milk and ce­real bar where you can top your Coco Pops or Crunchy Nut Corn­flakes with mango or ly­chee pearls, crum­bled choco­late, crushed M&Ms, a shot of vodka or Frangelico, whipped cream or frozen berries?

12 Will they charge for the whole she­bang by weight and will this be as crazily ex­pen­sive as those yo­ghurt bars?

13 Will more re­fined stoner fine-din­ers serve, af­ter some sin­gle-es­tate tips hand-milled by your bud­ten­der (or here prob­a­bly som-mull-ier), no more than a per­fectly juicy peach on crushed ice be­cause fresh fruit just tastes so amaz­ing, man?

14 Will the mi­crowave be the new guéri­don ser­vice with a choco­late brownie or a car­rot mud­cake made at the ta­ble in­stead of crêpes Suzette?

15 Will cannabis restau­rants em­ploy hosts to an­swer all the big ques­tions like “Why doesn’t Tarzan have a beard?” or val­i­date in­sights like “No mat­ter how long you live, you’re dead a lot longer.”

16 Will staff be trained to smile and agree with guests' con­spir­acy the­o­ries, no mat­ter how crazy? “Yes, sir, of course Olympics ice-skaters are from a frozen alien planet, and the gov­ern­ment isn’t telling us.”

17 Will the in­evitable para­noia in­duced by ex­ces­sive po­tent marijuana mean that pri­vate din­ing rooms will be turned into rooms with a one-way mir­ror to the din­ing room so you can be as­sured that peo­ple are all star­ring at you? 18 Will all phones be con­fis­cated at the start of the meal to pre­vent the post­ing of ‘very funny’ im­ages that aren’t that funny, dan­ger­ous ran­dom tex­ting, and the ac­cept­ing of calls from your folks? 19 Will peo­ple start wishing each other “Bong ap­petit!” and think it's hys­ter­i­cal? 20 In­stead of a bowl of mints on the way out,will restau­rants of­fer sin­gle-serve bot­tles of Vi­sine for Red Eyes? If you know the an­swer to any of th­ese ques­tions, share them on our Face­book page.

MATT PRE­STON POT LUCK Caramel pop­corn with ice-cream is a shoo-in for stoner menus (see th­ese choc top and pop­corn sun­daes at de­li­cious.com.au).

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