Pass the Cannabis, Please: Marijuana Among Restaurant Trends for 2019
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What do millennials, vegans, vegetarians, the wellness crowd and “Wall Streeters” all have in common? They're all early adopters of a growing trend in the restaurant business: offering cannabis-based items on the menu.
That’s according to a 2019 trends report from international restaurant consulting agency Baum and Whiteman. Members of each of the above groups have led consumer interest in seeing more marijuana on the menu at their favorite restaurant. Trend-setting eateries are already responding, and we’re not talking about the Maine restaurant that gets lobsters high before boiling them. Chefs in restaurants as diverse as juice bars, organic eateries and smoothie shops are getting cannabis on the menu.
It’s an interesting, growing area of the cannabis business. Although, as Baum and Whiteman noted, “we haven’t heard from Olive Garden and Applebee’s just yet.”
CBD, not THC
In ranking marijuana menu items as a trend for 2019, Baum and Whiteman offered examples of restaurants that have already taken the plunge into cannabis-infused food and drink. In most cases, these items involve the use of cannabidiols (CBD), a chemical ingredient that naturally occurs in marijuana.
Although CBD is associated with health benefits that include pain management and relaxation, it is not to be confused with THC, which is the ingredient in cannabis that gets you high.
The Baum and Whiteman report includes references to a handful of restaurants. Here’s a closer look to give you some idea of where this trend is going. All these restaurants are, obviously, in states that have legalized recreational marijuana. Don’t expect CBD-laced truffles in Texas.
Green Goddess Cafe
This vegan cafe in Stowe, Vermont, is offering smoothies, coffee drinks and baked goods that contain CBD. Part of the reason is that the cafe owner has Lyme disease and has been taking small amounts of CBD every day to reduce joint pain. In short, he’s a believer.
The cafe is starting out by offering smoothies and coffees made with CBD, including Jolly Green, Chilled Out Chai and Chronic. The cafe also offers to add CBD to whatever menu item a customer requests it on, including sandwiches or pastries.
Monarch & the Milkweed
In Burlington, Vermont, pastry shop Monarch & The Milkweed is offering truffles containing 20 milligrams of CBD. They come in two flavors: Andy's Mints, a liquid mint fondant encased in dark chocolate, and Strawberry Blonde, a white-chocolate shell that holds smooth strawberry fondant. The restaurant plans to eventually offer five varieties each day.
The vegan chain in New York City began this fall to offer the FEELZ line of CBD-infused food items that includes cupcakes, cookies, mini pies, popcorn, bubble tea and dog treats. The plan is to find out which are the most popular and then offer them on a regular basis later in the year.
In Los Angeles, Juice Crafters now offers a line of CBD-infused teas. They include CBD Blue, CBD Green, CBD Black Tea and CBD Elixir. The elixir, according to Juice Crafters, is an “anti-stressor” that “supports a healthy blood pressure” and “digestive health.”
These are just a few of the examples. As noted by Baum and Whiteman, trendsetters already are buying into CBD-infused menu items and it’s just a matter of time before “the rest of us will follow.”