Can Cannabis dining make Americans just say yes?
Andrea Drummer // WTF VICE
Andrea Drummer is one of America’s leading chefs who cook with cannabis. The founder of a catering business in Los Angeles called Elevation VIP Cooperative, Drummer will soon open one of the nation’s first legalized cannabis consumption lounges.
When Drummer thinks What the Future, she wonders what it will take for people to re-evaluate the negative bias against cannabis and embrace it as a food ingredient.
GenPop: What is your overall reaction to the survey results?
Andrea Drummer: I didn’t anticipate Democrats being against cannabis at such a high percentage. But some things made sense. It tells me the work that needs to be done and where I need to focus my considerations.
GenPop: How so?
Drummer: The age group of us who were in the generation of the Reagan campaign, and “Just say no,” and cannabis being the gateway drug, it all aligned with the practices of cannabis being stigmatized and demonized by specific communities, and the war on drugs.
GenPop: What will shift Americans’ willingness to accept cannabis as a restaurant ingredient?
Drummer: Once statistics come out and people see what experiences are like or could be, and it’s not something to be feared, the consumer will become more educated and understand and be more open. For some people, it’s about revenue and what that means for the economy and jobs, and also continued legalization and acceptance by the government.
GenPop: How do you think cannabis dining will shape the dining culture in America?
Drummer: You could go to a very high-end, fancy Hollywood place, or you could go to somewhere where you’ll get a good, hearty meal or menu items. I don’t think it will exclude any demographic of people, whatever your tax bracket, and you’ll be able to choose.
GenPop: Whom do you see influencing cannabis dining in the future?
Drummer: It’s not only someone who consumes cannabis or is open to consuming cannabis by way of food, but they’re also foodies. They’re engaged with the culinary scene and what’s new on the scene and what’s hip and what’s good. They are Millennials and look like, or are, the Kardashians. They are social media influencers. They’re interested in a great dining experience; otherwise they would just go to a dispensary and get a brownie.
We don’t have a James Beard Award for cannabis and culinary—yet. That’s the part that I’m looking forward to—being part of the conversation of the foodies, the food critics and, hopefully, Michelin stars and the food and wine festivals.
What the Future is a quarterly deep dive into different aspects of consumer and social thought and behavior. Each edition features exclusive new data from world-leading research firm Ipsos. WTF explores how a single industry or behavior fits into the broader culture now and in the coming decades. Read Previous WTF Issues »
People are hesitant to go to a cannabis-focused restaurant — for a variety of reasons
How likely would you be to consume food at a restaurant that used cannabis as an ingredient?
How much do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?
Percentage of consumption occasions for cannabis and alcohol
I am worried about accidentally consuming too much cannabis if it is included in my food or drink.
I am concerned that a chef might give me the wrong dose/amount of cannabis in my food.
I think it would make me "high" to eat food with cannabis in it, even if the restaurant said it wouldn’t.
Eating food with cannabis in it is the same as having a drink of alcohol.
I think putting cannabis in food is probably the safest way for people to use cannabis.
I do not approve of using cannabis in any form.
I think I may become addicted to cannabis if I ate food with cannabis in it
Source: Ipsos survey conducted between Feb. 25 and 26, 2019 among 1,005 adults in the U.S. and between Feb. 26 and 28, 2019 among 1,004 adults in Canada.
GenPop: It seems you would need servers to be well-versed on cannabis as much as on the food, right?
Drummer: We can’t just employ someone who’s had restaurant experience. The training will be different. We believe a great demographic will be newbies to this idea of cannabis consumption because historically there has been fear about consuming edibles. My idea is that on some level everyone in the restaurant has to be a cannabis sommelier, and then perhaps [there’s] a lead sommelier that adds the panache to the experience.
GenPop: It’s 2030. How will we be eating, drinking and experiencing cannabis?
Drummer: There will be spas, tours, destinations and excursions. With legalization, my ideal is it will be global. You’ll be able to have your own cannabis garden on-site, like restaurant gardens have herbs and vegetables. Then we’ll be splicing vegetables and herbs and fruit, and it’s “cannabinized,” hybrid plants. It would be like a Sativa apple tree or Indica lemon trees.