Food For Thought | An Interview with Shamarke Ismail of Toronto’s Smoked on the Impending Gourmet Cannabis Boom
As a public relations agency specializing in communications for food, beverage and lifestyle brands, we have been following this blog post topic with great interest.
The Canadian government indicated that edibles (cannabis-infused foods that produce a psychoactive effect) will be legally available by October 17th, 2019. To gain some more insight on the impending edible boom, we spoke with Shamarke Ismail, creator of Smoked, a Toronto-based organization that facilitates cannabis events, from parties and private dinners to yoga and art classes.
Smoked began offering private, five-course cannabis-infused dinners due to the shifting audience and attitudes towards cannabis. “At dispensaries, a majority of the customers were women in their 60’s and 70’s,” said Ismail. “They wanted to come in and get a pre-rolled joint, or they wanted to try a cream. There are a number of topical creams and products that can potentially alleviate pain. People are interested in experiencing the benefits of cannabis.”
What kind of experience can one expect from a private dining event by Smoked? “We do a lot of microdosing,” says Ismail. Meaning small quantities of cannabis-infused butter is as an ingredient, creating a gradual high throughout the meal. As for the flavour, “We don’t want [cannabis] to overpower the taste of each dish. On the other hand, certain meals pair really well with the cannabis taste.”
He adds, “The difference between ingesting cannabis and smoking it is that you feel the effects over time.” According to Ismail, it’s important to wait for edibles to kick in before eating more to avoid feeling overwhelmed. For safety reasons, he says, “You can always increase your dosage of THC, but you can’t come down from it. Take small increments and then go up and see what your edible range is.”
Until very recently, cannabis could only be legally purchased online from the Canadian government. Hunny Pot, Ontario’s first legal brick-and-mortar cannabis shop recently opened, and Ismail notes that the in-store experience of purchasing cannabis is very important.
“I believe cannabis use is something that needs to be discussed face-to-face – especially if you are trying it for the first time. It’s important to learn how to use it, the benefits and how to use it safely. Everyone’s body reacts differently too.”
By Aeryn Pfaff