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Patience is a virtue, especially when waiting for the next great story to come along. The turn of the Spring Equinox signals the rise out of the darkness and into the light all that has remained dormant during the winter months. Cannabis Food Culture is experiencing the same shift in the consciousness and conversation of not just foodies, but the general public at large. As the World watches, we in Colorado are setting precedent for how Cannabis is regarded, accepted, distributed, and consumed minute by minute.

Daily media coverage of the post-prohibition Cannabis industry and lifestyle is a reality that is both credible and relevant to regular everyday citizens. The revenue of the modern-day gold rush has had a clear impact in our communities, and the future rests in the hands of our responsibility to self-govern our rights to medicate and recreate as we see fit. Cooking with Cannabis, on the other hand, waits patiently, in the dark… Until now.

“Doors open at 7:00 pm, and they will be shut and locked at 7:30 pm. Don’t worry, I got you.”

The Chef of Fort Collins’, “First ever cannabis food pairing” Taylor Smith of the Gold Leaf Restaurant and Collective, knows how to make this Food Writer feel like they’re in on some crazy shit that’s about to go down. When I arrived at the restaurant I sat out front and lit up a wonderful spliff given to me on my Birthday a few days prior. I watched the attendees of the event trickle in one at a time, all with an amusing curiosity as to how the night’s events would unfold. Aged from their early twenties to well into their seventies, 50/50 male to female, the seemingly well to do, down to the ne’er do wells and all points in between, this dinner had all the right ingredients for a real conversation about what cannabis is to them, and what its future has in store.

It was a “Dinner for a Cause”, donating proceeds of the event to the locally based “Trees, Water, People” Organization, that has promoted sustainable living practices worldwide for over 20 years. Infinite Wellness Dispensary in Fort Collins provided the THC and CBD products used during the dinner in the form of:

(1) 110mg (100mg THC/ 10mg CBD) bottle of Incredible Wellness tincture per person.
(1) 10mg THC Keef Cola “Bubba Kush” rootbeer per person, that was to be used for the dessert course.
(1) As described, “An insane amount of CBD’s.” That was infused into all of the foods.

The attendee was responsible for the administration of their own dosages of THC during the meal. A “nominal” dose according to the representative of Infinite Wellness is 10mg. One full dropper (3.3mg) for each of the three courses was recommended to achieve the necessary balance in THC and CBD for a more enjoyable experience.

I did three full droppers, per course.
I added 3, more like 4, full droppers to my Silver Seed Cucumber Lemonade beverage, twice.
Don’t worry, I can handle it.
I have two hours before this all really starts to kick in.
Let’s go.

The pleasant hues of the Edison light bulbs strung from the ceiling of The Gold Leaf allowed my imagination to run amok in anticipation of the first course. The smell of the aged miso broth came in waves of synesthetic Dragons flying through the steam of the Green Onion Miso Ramen sitting in front of me. I was sent to the umami cloud island on the back of a rice noodle unicorn, tempting me to stay forever with every nibble of the perfectly individually textured vegetable mix of the grilled eggplant, broccoli, carrots, scallions, and especially the mushrooms. F#%* yah! Taylor.

The second course was a self-explanatory experience named the ‘LIT’aliano Salad. This dish is a wish come true, as an unmistakable lemon explosion with each bite of the crispy fried eggplant soared in and out of the obviously heavily CBD dosed salad dressing gracing each green leaf, like cascading dew on a rose in the early morning light. The tomatoes and olives were saved for last, as each bite sang trumpeted cries of, “Yesss…” into the ether. Oh yeah, I was getting there.

The “Burger and Fries” with the Bubba Kush Rootbeer Float with coconut/cashew ice cream was an invitation to every Pulp Fiction quote imaginable, despite the lack of mayonnaise and the $5 milkshake. (In reality, the float including the 10mg rootbeer probably costs about $10. I don’t know if it’s worth $10, but it is pretty fucking good.)

After a quick safety meeting outside with a simply lovely individual (to remain anonymous), I KNEW I was zanged when for a brief moment, I thought I was being judged for smoking cannabis outside, at a cannabis food pairing.
Go figure.

It was time to go home, though I was already gone before I left. Walking under the pale moonlight under the warm glow of dancing Laurel Street neon tapestries, I breathed the much necessary taste of relief from the cerebral thunderstorms of our tumultuous day and age, if for only a moment.

The new frontier of responsible personal freedoms is upon us. Those who didn’t see a use in cannabis for themselves saw enough compassion and empathy with their vote for those who do, and the right to do so. In the face of those throwing stones at all things Cannabis, there’s a silent majority dancing and shaking their bones waiting for the ashes to all fall down. Waiting patiently for them to see the light, we speak just outside the shadows, from In the Dark.

Meals come and go, REAL FOOD, remains.