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NY weighs giving pizza joints, other eateries OK to sell cannabis-infused food

NY weighs giving pizza joints other eateries OK to sell


This could give new meaning to Big Apple pizza joints.

New York State officials are weighing whether to allow pizzerias and other eateries to sell fresh cannabis-infused grub and packaged pot edibles, The Post has learned.

Aaron Ghitelman, a spokesman for the state Office of Cannabis Management, confirmed there have been discussions about awarding such licenses to food preparers — raising the possibility of offerings such as pesto pot pizza or pepperoni with sweet weed sauce.

However, “the regulations regarding infused food products have not been released yet,” Ghitelman stressed.

The Empire State passed a bill legalizing recreational marijuana last year, and the first licenses to sell weed will be issued in the fall, with sales in neighborhood stores to begin by the end of 2022.

State Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan), a key architect in writing New York’s cannabis law, said having eateries like pizzerias using cannabis was not a hot topic when she worked on the bill — but it’s not explicitly prohibited, either.

“Of course cannabis with edibles is not a new concept,” Krueger said.

State Sen. Liz Krueger said allowing eaters to use cannabis wasn’t something that was considered when she worked on legalizing marijuana.
AP/Hans Pennink

The pizza industry has been abuzz about pot goods such as cannabis-infused pies, which have the possibility of generating sky-high profits.

Some pizza makers have already begun linking up with marijuana suppliers and experimenting by mixing in cannabis oils in their tomato and pesto sauces. One THC speakeasy, Stoned Pizza in the East Village, advertises “gourmet cannabis pizza.”

But the idea isn’t without complications. New York’s law bars anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing cannabis, so pot pizza could not be served to children. Kids should not even be allowed on sites where cannabis-infused food is served, Krueger said.

Village Square Pizza general manager Joe Musso slices pizza on Wednesday, October 20, 2021.
Stoned Pizza in Manhattan sells cannabis-infused food items.
James Keivom

“So no big pie shared with kids,” she noted.

The lawmaker said the amount of cannabis in foods like pizza would have to be “labeled correctly so that one was having two slices of pizza equivalent to four doses of marijuana.”

Owners who obtain a license to sell cannabis are barred from also having a liquor license or vice versa, vastly weeding out the number of eateries that would apply.

“We’ve been advocating for on-license cannabis sales for restaurants and nightlife establishments. New York is the culinary capital of the world,” said Max Bookman, an attorney with the NYC Hospitality Alliance.

Max Bookman at an event with Hochul.
NYC Hospitality Alliance attorney Max Bookman said his organization has been advocating for on-license cannabis sales for restaurants and nightlife establishments.
Paul Martinka

“But denying establishments from having both a liquor and cannabis license killed our buzz,” he said, adding, “we’re waiting to see the regulations.”

Other legal issues could also arise as marijuana is still considered an illegal or illicit drug under federal law, though the state has legalized it. One industry source questioned whether insurance companies would cover the costs of litigation if a customer sues a pizzeria claiming illness or a “bad trip” from eating weed-laced slices.

Marijuana is already being sold legally at authorized dispensaries across the Hudson in New Jersey, but a rep for the National Cannabis Industry Association said she was not aware of any state that has licensed weed-infused food licenses for pizzerias and other eateries.

“Adults must be 21 to purchase legal cannabis products from a licensed dispensary, which is held to intense regulatory and compliance standards beyond what pizzerias or other restaurants may be able to do compliantly without incurring additional operating expenses,” said spokeswoman, Bethany Moore.

A customer displays some marijuana he just purchased at a RISE dispensary in Bloomfield, N.J.
Cannabis is being legally sold in New Jersey, Massachusetts and other states.
AP/Seth Wenig



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