In Canada, there are roughly 40,000 people with a permit to consume medical pot and Eater Special Correspondent, Globe & Mail Vancouver restaurant critic Alexandra Gill just happens to know one of them. We despatched her to the east side to get the story. In the interests of getting all the facts, she definitely inhaled.
[Photo via Mega ILL]
At Mega Ill Pizzeria and Vapour Lounge you can beat the munchies while getting high. The East End restaurant, open since December, serves pizzas topped with marijuana-infused olive oil to customers with a cannabis prescription. It's not just for sick people. Non-card-carrying potheads can smoke or vape their own weed and order a regular pizza without the oil.
"We strive to offer healthy food in a pot-friendly environment with a positive attitude and outlook on life," owner Mark Klokeid, a cancer survivor and medical marijuana user, writes on the website. "Come enjoy life with us and feel good about the food you eat while having a safe place to relax and medikate."
1. The Rules
You have to be 18 or over to enter the restaurant. To order a medicated pizza, you are supposed to present a medical certificate and two pieces of identification. (But no one asked us for ID and we both used cards with the same name on it.)
2. The Law
Is it legal? Not really. "There are no regulations in place," Klokeid says. "The police could come and shut us down if they wanted. But technically, we're selling medication for patients who need it. We're in the same category as dispensaries – tolerated, not regulated."
3. The Pizza
Is actually not bad. The hearty dough is made with whole-wheat flour, hemp hearts and whole oats. The are nine types of toppings, including Chinese Take-Out (baby corn, baby bok choy, broccoli, roasted chicken, green onions, sesame seeds, bean sprouts and sweet soy) and The Eden (caramelized onions, olive oil, ricotta cheese, sliced apple, toasted walnuts, baby rocket, balsamic reduction and shaved Parmesan.) They cost $16 each. On Wow Wednesdays, it's two for $20.
4. The Magic Oil
The medicated marijuana oil costs an extra $10 per pie. It's an evaporated solution produced by a solvent extraction of cannabis. (Read more about the dude who discovered it here and here. At Mega Ill, they infuse the cannabis oil into olive oil and brush it on the sauce before adding cheese. The fat from the cheese helps metabolize it better. Each dose contains 100 mg of THC.
5. The Taste
You can't taste or smell the pot at all. Klokeid says that's because they strain the oil infusion so it's completely clean of fiber and plant matter. "That's the mark of a good cannabis cook," he explains. "You have to hide the flavour of the cannabis. You don't an overpowering, weedy, chompy pizza."
6. The Buzz
Edible marijuana gives you a different high than smoking. It's more of a relaxed body stone and takes about an hour to kick in. Mind you, if you're smoking or vaping dope at the same time it's hard to know what's what.
7. The Bad News
No matter what David Letterman said, they do not offer delivery.
8. The Place to be?
It's a popular place to celebrate birthdays. "It's a cool place to come with your friends," says Klokeid, noting that 90 per cent of his customers are not medical users. "We're the Chucky Cheese for adults."
· Mega ILL [Official Site]
· Previous Mega ILL Coverage [EVAN]