Imagine a Philadelphia where foodies and stoners alike can gather around a table and incorporate their passions in to one unifying ritual. A ritual with the ease and convenience of a sit-down restaurant or food delivery service and the casual setting of a bong rotation. Thanks to a number of private social media accounts and a few innovative pot-enthusiasts-turned-cannacooks, that Philadelphia is no longer a figment of our imagination.
Within the past two years, Philly has seen some significant reform to local and state-wide marijuana policies. With possession of under an ounce of pot being monetarily equivalent to a slap on the wrist and our governor having just signed medicinal marijuana into legal territory, Philly pot enthusiasts and foodies alike are starting to see a more casual perception of weed and how to consume it.
The classic edibles that have become synonymous with weed such as brownies, cookies, and cakes are by no means new to stoners in Philly and abroad. From what I’m told, they’re still a big part of the local edible scene. However, if local and social media (such as Instagram) is any indication of what it means to eat your weed in Philly, then we’re far beyond the old days of fumbling over a batch of brownie mix and homemade weed-butter in our kitchens and dorm rooms.
Take the group Philly Dabbers Inc., for instance (@phillydabbers_inc on Instagram). They’re one of the various local edible enthusiast groups that specializes in their own line of cannabidiol and THC infused food items, including their green tea drinks and chocolate covered bacon strips (Cannabidiol is also known as “CBD” the primary plant component associated with Cannabis’ medicinal uses where as Tetrahydrocannabinol, or “THC”, is primarily known for its psychoactive effects). Their Instagram feed showcases their ability to turn everyday comfort food into a more discrete method of consuming pot (not to mention that it kills two birds with one stone by getting you stoned and nipping your inevitable munchies in the bud). Even for a non-user of marijuana or related products, it’s hard not to scroll through their timeline and curiously gaze at their foodporn-worthy dishes.
I know what you’re thinking. Snack food and to-go styled treats are just fine and dandy, but this is Philly. We like to eat ourselves into a coma.¹ A wider selection of snack food beyond brownies and cakes must be a welcomed perk of being a stoner in the modern age, but where do real Philly foodies go to chow down on full blown entrees of ganja based bites? The answer to that has also been provided by Philly Dabbers’ brunch club, simply called Medicated Brunch (@medicatedbrunch on Instagram). A private diner’s club where, after contacting them privately and, what I’m assuming, a general vetting process, you get to attend a weed-infused brunch with menu items prepared and served by the Philly Dabbers’ crew at their venue of choice, or have them cater your private party. Because what’s a better way to celebrate your nephew’s bris than getting completely blitzed on a stack of infused pancakes? I mean, am I right, guys?²
Philly Dabbers Inc. is just one of the many marijuana based food services that piqued my interest while searching for Philly’s new and most unique food on Instagram. Pot enthusiasts and chefs from all over the city have digitally set up shop in hopes to showcase their culinary talents and eclectic menu items with varied methods of delivering their food to both sober and hungry foodies throughout the city.
Which brings me to Exhibit B: local edible service, Loud Treats (@Loudtreatzz4.0 on Instagram).
In resemblance to services found in California and Colorado, Loud Treats, operated by two Philly cannabis chefs that go by the pseudonyms “Gref The Chef” and “Big”, has built their brand by bringing the convenience of home delivery to edible enthusiasts in Philly via Instagram. Loud Treatz puts an emphasis on variety when it comes to their infused cakes, cookies, lollipops, fruit roll-ups, and even vodka, so as to escape the cliche standard of Betty Crocker brownies that you made in your college dorm (or current apartment).
Getting a batch of their edibles resembles that of private diner’s club in that you can’t just message them and make an order. You have to be one of or referred by one of their known clients, who are classified in one of two categories. The first of which are classified as medical patients – customers who suffer from specific health conditions with symptoms that are alleviated by consuming cannabis. According to Big, they serve products to a wide variety of medicinal users with conditions ranging from PTSD to Fibromyalgia, many of whom are provided a major discount when purchasing edibles.
“We don’t charge them a traditional price.” Bigs explains to me. “All we ask for is a donation that they can afford because they’re on a fixed income. We drop what we call ‘loud packs’ off to them once a week.”
The second classification are known as recreational clients. Paying customers who don’t need cannabis for a specific ailment and who’s sale proceeds go towards helping their medical clients afford their edibles.
“We can afford to do it because of our recreation customers [that] we call our ‘extended family’.”
Whether or not you partake in such things is irrelevant to the fact that we’re witnessing an incredibly fascinating shift in marijuana laws, penalties, and social perspective. For the first time since the beginning of the war on drugs, Philadelphia officials are starting to reconsider their views on the production and consumption of cannabis and cannabis-based food items. It’s this shift in views that could open up a new avenue of culinary creativity to foodies and chefs alike (not to mention that the consumption of pot alone can only stimulate the local restaurant economy by encouraging munchie-induced patrons to try new food and restaurants). And even as a foodie who has his own reservations towards certain aspects of pot culture, I encourage this subculture to thrive and become a more normalized part of our city. Anyone who can add another page to the uniqueness of Philadelphia’s culinary resume is a welcomed addition… At least in my book.
Here are some other notable cannabis based accounts I’ve found on Instagram with their own take on the local cannabis community:
@TuffysFight – The story of a young girl with epilepsy who, along with her family, has witnessed the medicinal benefits of cannabis by using it to reduce her seizures.
@InphusedPhilly – Home styled, cannabis infused cuisine with items such as cheesesteaks, chicken wings, and pulled pork.
@HerHotPot – One of Philly Dabbers’s members with items such as lollipops, hard candy, and Muddy Buddies.
@PhillyPhatBoi, AKA: “Gref the Chef” – Chef and baker for Loud Treats.