NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An underground movement happening in the New York area is pushing the envelope of what’s only legal in four states.
As CBS2’s Janelle Burrell explained, in the cannabis supper club marijuana is the main ingredient.
The secret address is sent to a select guest list an hour before dinner, but it’s not any ordinary weed party with pot brownies.
This is a five course meal, and all of it is sautéed, tossed, seasoned or fried with marijuana.
“Welcome to dinner for dope,” Chef Mike said.
The group of about 20 diners who managed to get a seat includes a cross-section of New York city professionals — lawyers, bankers, teachers, and designers.
They were all there for the underground experience of what they said is a controlled cannabis haze.
“We’re gonna take you on a beautiful journey on a stairway to heaven and a beautiful time,” Mike said.
What they’re doing is illegal.
“We feel like we’re at the end of prohibition with cannabis right now,” Mike said.
Mike, the chef and organizer, chose not to share his last name. He processes various strains of marijuana and extracts the potent THC — the component that causes people to get high — before infusing it into the oil that he cooks with.
It’s used in all of the menu items, right down to the alcohol being served.
“Yea, so basically you put this in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes for about 350 degrees, and that basically activates the cannabinoids,” he said explaining a roast.
Marylou is one of the guests who agreed to speak with CBS2.
“Your head is in a cloud, you feel light as air, you feel just right, it’s a good feeling you feel very relaxed,” she said.
Dr. John Mariani is a psychiatrist at Columbia University who studies substance abuse.
“This is an unregulated industry. There’s no labeling requirements. We don’t understand what the potency might be in various products,” he said.
That hasn’t stopped experimentation in the cannabis industry from growing.
Marijuana for recreational use is legal in four states and Washington D.C.
In the New York area the drug can be used as a prescription for medicinal purposes, and the restrictions are some of the most strict in the country.
“A lot of people want access to this,” cannabis marketer Andrew Hard said at a recent Javits Center cannabis conference.
Company representatives said they are eager for the laws in the New York area to change — showcasing an array of edibles including gummies, sodas, chocolate, and even sweeteners.
“You put a quarter teaspoon in your tea and it gives you a very mild high,” Ron Silver said.
The displays included mock samples because the real products were not allowed over state lines.
Experts said local lawmakers have to find a way to keep up with an evolving industry.
“Now that other states are expanding upon the availability of it, I would imagine that New York would somehow amend the law in some way in the future or it’s gonna be an influx of illegal products here in proportions that we have not yet seen,” Professor Rick Curtis, John Jay College of Criminal Justice explained.
As for the cannabis supper club diners say it’s all about pacing and responsibility.
“I wouldn’t recommend driving from here. I would take the subway,” Ben Johnson said.
While taking chances may be dicey, they believe they’re on the cusp of what could be a new legal, normal, higher dining experience.
On Election Day, five states — Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada will vote on whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.