To Regulate or Not to Regulate: From a Chef’s Point of View

Our glorious Golden State has turned green; it’s about time! Along with all of the new dispensaries, extraction methods, strains, and so on comes a new set of regulations. Colorado was the first to set precedent in the cannabis regulatory standard realm, and I must admit – we [California] can do it better. Colorado’s board of regulators, has done a great job regulating the sale and distribution of marijuana, but I believe that we can set a better standard. I won’t bore you with the details (you can see sources below), but I am specifically talking about the regulation of our beloved edibles.

As a Michelin trained Chef, and thoroughly being involved in the culinary world as well as manufacturing and production, I do not see the difference between my medicated cupcake and my non-medicated cupcake. By that, I mean that just because it is cannabis infused doesn’t mean you can throw it in a plastic baggie and slap a sticker on it. Edibles are still food. In my humble opinion (which I will try and push onto everyone I meet), we should be regulating edible packaging and labeling as the FDA regulates all other food.

We have the right to know what is in our edibles and especially to have them packaged properly. When I go to a dispensary and see items packaged in a plastic condiment container or in cellophane wrap, I cringe. Bacteria love to hang out in cool, oxygenated spaces with a bit of moisture. So if it is not a shelf stable product and pasteurized before bottling or packaging in a sanitary environment, the bacteria spores will go crazy once it has time to cool. This is the ‘stuff’ to be wary of.

What to look out for:

• Packaging that is completely sealed off.

• You are more than likely safe with chocolates, that doesn’t mean chocolate cake – it means pure chocolate. Chocolate has very little room for bacteria if any at all. It can also keep at room temperature and will be fine.

• Any baked items are a little tricky. Make sure to see the “produced on” date and check for freshness. If it wasn’t in a refrigerator, be careful.

• Anything bottled, such as my marinara sauces or salad dressings, make sure they have a pressurized lid and a shrink wrap around the top. Be smart out there folks.

I hope that soon we can all demand a certain standard from our dispensaries and the edibles they carry. I like kimchi, and cheese just as much as the next person, but please, push to regulate to the FDA standard- otherwise enjoy the lousy packaging just waiting for bacteria to grow.


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