It seems like New York and New Jersey are some of the last holdouts on the East Coast of states to legalize the use of recreational marijuana. While Gov. Cuomo has humored the idea and teased that the prohibition of the drug could be lifted in the not-so-distant future, residents in both states can only purchase it legally for medical reasons, and certain amounts have been decriminalized.
The chef and owner of Stoned Gourmet Cannabis Pizza, Chris “The Pizza Pusha” Barrett, is willing to bet on the odds of legalization and has been offering delivery and pickup-only cannabis-infused pizzas to people in the New York and New Jersey area, as well as a few weed-centric gourmet items like gelato, cheesecake, chicken wings, cannolis and much more.
The concept has caught on like wildfire, with multiple different Instagram accounts showing celebrities like MTV’s Sway posing with a Stoned pizza box. We caught up with the Bensonhurst native, Barrett himself, to talk about the business of weed pizza and why it’s a bet he’s willing to take.
How much cannabis is on each of your pizzas? How will it affect the average person?
There are 320 milligrams in a pie. So it breaks down to, like, 40 milligrams a slice or something like that. Everybody is different. People ask me all of the time. What I try to tell people is, just eat normally. We haven’t packed anything with so much. We’re not the company that you eat one brownie and you are on the floor. Our food is really good and we want you to eat it as dinner.
If you normally eat two slices of pizza, eat two slices of pizza. If you normally drink one soda with those two slices, that’s what you do. Have a cookie, have a brownie, get the experience. You’ll know when you need to slow down a bit.
How did you get started serving cannabis-infused food?
I started doing high-end cannabis dinners years ago, before anyone was doing them here. I used to serve steak, lobster, shrimp. Bring in a high-end chef and do these awesome dinners. The chef would cook from 6 o’clock at night to midnight but the event would go on until 4 in the morning. Around 2 in the morning, they would be high again and hungry. Not for steak, but for something. I was like “Yo, tomorrow let’s try pizza.” Then pizza went over so well. It was like I backed into this! Then other people started doing the dinners, so I stopped doing them to focus on the pizza.
Recreational use of marijuana isn’t legalized in New York or New Jersey, but it is decriminalized. Is that something that you have to worry about when selling your products?
We’re just playing the gray area, really. I don’t think they’re coming for pizza. Who’s coming, anyways? The pizza police? Who’s gonna come and what are they going to do? Who are they going to arrest, the pizza delivery guy? I don’t think any prosecutor would take this case. I’ve just been banking on it and when it gets closer and closer to legalization, I feel more comfortable doing interviews. In the first year and change, no one knew who the Pizza Pusher was. But then I started seeing the police commissioner get on the news talking about how they’re not arresting anymore for weed. They could come, but I’m betting they’re not.
Like other edibles, the question is getting the balance right between the power of the dose and the taste of the actual food. Was it a long process for you to work on that?
The reason that balance is [important] is that everyone is all over the place. You might get somebody who is not a big smoker, and one slice will be good for them. But for somebody like me who smokes 10 blunts a day, the pizza is not going to do it for me. I’ve never felt an edible. I’ve never felt that feeling because I’ve always been way too high!
[For taste] we had to play around with it. It was six months before we even started having people buy our pizza. From the time I made it at the dinner, it was six months of trying different things out, trying different recipes, seeing how things tasted. Seeing other people eat it to see how high they got.
For more information on different menu items and how to order from Stoned Gourmet Cannabis Pizza, head over to thepizzapusha.info. Make sure to check them out on Instagram as well over at @stonedgourmetpizza.