Cannabis Sampler

Ready for a potluck sampler of cannabis treats? We’ve got some tasty tidbits of information on edibles to delight your mind and your palate. First, get the latest news on a favorite producer of cannabinated sweets. Then, there’s good news about food-safety regulations, plus a shout-out about a new cooking show to inspire your own culinary imagination.

The October 2015 issue of The Emerald Magazine featured quite a few sweet edibles producers; it was Halloween time, after all. One was Kiva Confections, a San Francisco-based company founded by Kristi Knoblich and Scott Palmer. Kiva are still crafting high-quality chocolate bars using organic cannabis, which meets FDA Good Manufacturing Practices standards and guarantees an accurate dose in every bite. They’re still making their multiple award-winning chocolate bars, each with 20 mg of THC and have now added two more products to the range with a balanced blend of CBD and THC.

Do you find it hard to stop munching after one dose of the big bar? Save that for when company comes. For personal use, check out Kiva’s Singles, with just a few candies per package. There are the 5 mg Espresso Dark Chocolate or Blueberry Terra Bites and Kiva’s newest innovation, Petra Mints in Moroccan mint or eucalyptus flavors, each mint delivering just 2.5 mg of THC. The mints are in keeping with Kristi’s championing of microdosing.

You can see Kristi in action in Green Flower Media’s Cannabis 101 Summit online at Green-flower.com. The summit has great information on all aspects of cannabis. Kristi really shines in the segment on edibles, pointing out how they can be used discreetly and carried easily. She’s also positively eloquent on microdosing. Eating cannabis often produces stronger effects than smoking or vaping, and the effects keep building for several hours. By starting with half as much as you think you want, the experience is more likely to be positive every time and easy to enjoy anywhere.

As if running such an award-winning business weren’t enough to do, Kristi is also Board President of the California Cannabis Industry Association. When wearing that hat, she grapples with the challenges currently facing the industry. She said, “The regulated cannabis market is off to a slow start in 2018. Revenue projections for most companies are down, and small companies are not growing as originally anticipated.” California has seen a sharp drop in the number of cannabis businesses and steep increases in prices since the imposition of excessive, multi-level taxes (there are five cannabis tax categories) and wildly confusing and varying licensing structures. Kristi continued, “In 2017, the state had roughly 3,000 retail storefronts and deliveries. Overnight, that number shrank to a dozen licensed businesses with the turn into 2018, and it was only back up to about 500 as of late June.”

The licensing bottleneck caused by “cities [that] are gridlocked—unable, unwilling or unclear as to how to permit cannabis operations” results in far fewer places for edibles manufacturers to legally place their goods. And they’ve got unfair competition, too. Kristi said this licensing backlog has created a new black market in which “unlicensed retail continues to thrive. If a consumer pulls up the Weedmaps app, they will see dispensaries in their area, both with and without licenses, and no clear indication of which is which.” Clearly, these growing pains in the cannabis industry are deeply uncomfortable for retailers, growers and consumers alike.

The September 2015 Emerald article Medibles and So Much More exposed the complete lack of food-safety standards in edibles at that time. Under California’s medical cannabis program, the Department of Public Health considered edibles to be “medical delivery devices” outside their scope of authority. Neither the Compassionate Use Act nor the Medical Marijuana Program Act mentioned edibles, nor were they directly covered by the Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Law. Only the cannabis was regulated, not the dairy products, eggs, sanitation procedures or anything else. Fortunately, most edibles producers were honorable and recognized good health practices as being in their best interest.

That whopper of a gray area became history with the passage of cannabis legalization for adult use. As of December 7, 2017, the California Department of Public Health has been tasked with overseeing long-overdue culinary and manufacturing safety standards for edibles. You can find all the regs on the California Bureau of Cannabis Control’s website, BCC.ca.gov.

Last, but definitely not least, in this potluck sampler is a new show on Netflix, Cooking on High, billed as the first-ever cannabis celebrity-chef cooking-contest show. This morsel of history-in-the-making is a bit loopy for my tastes, as was Disjointed, but there is much to applaud in the show. Each short episode, thirteen to fifteen minutes in length, includes solid information on potency, strains, infusion and cooking tips, along with fairly simple-minded humor. Just watching dozens of elegant savory dishes come forth may encourage folks to try cooking with cannabis for themselves. We’ve come a long way from goo balls and brownies, people!

Emerald contributor since July 2015

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