WATCH | Marijuana edibles are nothing new. But a 24-year-old chef in California is pioneering a cannabis-infused fine-dining scene that takes edibles to the next level.
Chris Sayegh of The Herbal Chef started experimenting with cannabis in college while studying molecular biology. He said that as he studied the plant and its effects on him, he started to understand that it was meant for human consumption in different ways.
He might have been on to something, as the use of medical cannabis is now legal in 28 states. Thousands of women also evidently use marijuana to treat severe morning sickness, despite risks and against doctors' orders.
Sayegh uses cannabis as an accent, and none of his cannabis-infused dishes have an overpowering smell or taste of weed. You do get high at the end of a 10- or 15-course meal, but he has designed his meals to produce a moderate high.
The Herbal Chef requires diners to show their medical marijuana card before serving them dinner, and dinners are usually held privately.
Use of medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996, and the state moved to legalize recreational use in November when Proposition 64 passed by a margin of about 56 percent to 44 percent.
This brings us to the next and perhaps the most exciting chapter in Sayegh's career: opening a cannabis restaurant.
"'Herb' is going to open up in late 2017, and it is in Santa Monica," Sayegh said. "It's the first cannabis restaurant in the world."
"What we're trying to do is create a standard of operation so that all cannabis restaurants that open up after this are going to have a guideline to go by," he said.
At the end of the day, Sayegh just wants to accomplish two things: provide his diners with amazing food, and educate people about cannabis.
"I'm doing this because I believe that I can help destigmatize cannabis for other people," he said. "What I'm really fighting for is federal legalization, and federal regulation that is fair and suitable."