Saturday, April 20, 2019

Nice Creams!

The first time I got stoned was in Santa Barbara, CA around 1992 or '93. This was just a year or so after I had gotten drunk the first time back in my hometown of Carmel. I was in my early 20s and I was one of those dudes that really had no interest in getting fxxked up.

Perhaps it was because there really wasn't any hassle from my parents if I did drink or smoke. My dad always said that as long as I called him to pick me up, if I did get all plastered, and my grades were okay, and that I didn't make it a regular habit to party, then go ahead and be a "normal" teenager. But I guess I wasn't a "normal" teenager. Getting drunk or high looked ridiculous to me. A bunch of my friends drank and smoked and they turned into total idiots when they did. So I considered myself 'straight edge': no drinking, no drugs. Straight edge also meant, officially, no sex and, well...c'mon. Not that I was getting any in my formative teen years among the glorious hair and fashion era of the 80s. But if I were to get lucky, and I did later (thank you ladies!), I was definitely going to let that happen to my zitty, skate punk, Metal head, D&D playing pudgy self.

But I was older, more curious, and a really cute girl I was dating wanted to get me stoned. So I got stoned. It was fun. I smoked weed for a good decade or so. Then one day it just turned on me; the paranoia, the total implosion of thought and rationalization, it wasn't fun any more. And if its not fun, I don't wanna do it. I just packed up my bong and said "well, that was that".

It wasn't until years later, after moving to Tucson, that a mutual friend, a cannabis pastry chef, gave my wife and I a very potent edible. It was so jarring and powerful that we gave the other half of the brownie back to him. We just didn't want it in the house. It made everything go angular, movies didn't make sense, the idea of eating and chewing food had become taxing and that all encompassing paranoia had returned. Plus it was in our system for nearly 12 hours. We just laid in bed, trying to talk and freaking out.

How some people, a good populace of people, can do that on a regular if not daily basis is beyond me.

So when my friend said she is making weed infused ice cream, my first reaction was "oh no, do I have to eat that?", followed by "she is going to make a fortune."

Creamy, dreamy and weedy

"KJ" (not her real name as she has to lie a bit underground till this whole project goes full 'legal' and legit, I mean its legit but the logistics of running a cannabis food company is compiled with odd rules and regulations, so I hope you understand) and I met years ago as I blogged about her other ice cream company, one that she runs with her husband. They were nice enough to open their freezer doors to me and this dopey blog and give me a really great story. Since then we have become friends and run into each other at various culinary events across southern AZ.

Then a few months ago I get an email from KJ saying she is starting the brand "Elixir" under the new company name A.S. Alchemy. A medical marijuana ice cream project that she plans to sell in certain dispensaries around town, with the "A S" being the initials of her daughter. This is great I thought. Even though, as mentioned earlier, I don't partake of weed in any format of late, but what a scoop!

No pun intended.

Seeing as the weekly paper I wrote for gets a lot of ad revenue from medical marijuana dispensaries, which is one of the reasons the paper is called the "Weedly", I planned on getting this article in by 4/20. Which I did. But it took some time.

I started the process of writing about Elixir back in January, right about the time I took time off from my former day job after getting in trouble for a comment I made on social media. But we'll get back to that later...

The high concentrate of pure THC that goes into the product

That first day meeting up with KJ I was invited to watch the process in a dispensary on Tanque Verde Blvd. See, she can't officially make Elixir in the same place she makes her regular un-medicated brand. It has to be in a designated, state ordinate legal dispensary. Seeing as I am not a card carrying medical marijuana member, I had to go through a few channels, on her good name, to get a guest pass for the day.

Once inside my jaw dropped seeing, and smelling, all of the different varieties of legal weed. It was sort of like that scene in "Half Baked" when the guys rob the scientists' lab of weed. The look on Dave Chappelle and Guillermo Diaz's face seeing the acres of product is pretty much how I must have looked entering the retail space. Bins upon bins of buds, some small, some dark green, some big, some covered in little purple hairs...all of it. Now, I don't smoke weed anymore but, still. It was really impressive and made me jealous of those that can handle, and embrace, the high.

 It's a fairly small and contained operation, AS Alchemy. To get to where they are, KJ worked with a cannabis "chemist" for months to get the product up and running. Through lots of trial and a bit of error, it came down to butterfat to get the THC to meld into the ice cream. She does three different doses: 10mg, 40mg and 70mg.

Hovering my nose over the 10 or even the 40mg induced ice cream, I couldn't smell the weed. But when she opened up the 70mg and let me take a sniff, oh man, that's when I could easily get the scent. KJ said that some patients that are recovering from a deep addiction, such as heroin, eat her 70mg product a few times a day. Their body has been so wrecked by narcotics that the calming effects of marijuana is like an alcoholic drinking a Bud Light. It takes a LOT to get a serious drunk drunk off of a crappy light beer.

Elixir is far from crappy. Not even in the same solar nebula of commercially produced beer. The ice cream is beyond delicious and when she gave me a sample, not from the dispensary, but from her own supply, I was a bit hesitant.

BUT!, as a food writing professional I just knew that I had to get the full story, which meant eating a dosed scoop. Only 10mg though. 40mg would probably set me on fire. And the 70mg?

I'd be hiding under the bed with the doors locked, phones off, cat hidden (because she knows!!!), apologizing to no one in particular hoping that a pizza would magically appear but to order one would mean to interact with another human (they know...THEY KNOW I'M HIGH!!!) and operating a phone, which I can't, because it is hidden due to the fact that the government can hear and see me through that tracking device and they are coming for me.

They are coming.*

*yes, that is how paranoid I get on high grade have been warned


Well, one night, when the wife was at work and wouldn't be back home till at least 3am, I ate a scoop of ice cream. It was Mary Jane's Mint Chip infused with 10mg of sativa. A "budtender" at the dispensary informed me there are essentially two kinds of weeds trains: sativa and indica.

Sativa, she liked to describe it, was light and sunny, more of a happy high. While indica is heavier, which she said "Indica is also called 'in da couch', meaning you probably aren't going to be moving anytime soon."

Thankfully I was sent home with sativa based product, even though I was prepared to get in the couch high. Even though we don't have a couch.

Around 6pm I ate the ice cream. It was delicious. I couldn't taste the weed at all. Then I went about my night knowing that in about an hour I would feel the effects. So I showered, got food ready, found some dumb movies on Netflix and settled in.

Close to 7pm, while watching old episodes of  '30 Rock', it began to wash over me. The high, at first, we very mild, but it was there. I suddenly found myself focusing on Tina Fey's crooked mouth and how square Alec Baldwin's head is. Not laughing, because jokes and chatter were getting smudged. Things were happening on the screen but it grew harder to follow. Here it was, I thought. I'm going to be fairly high for a few hours.

But it wasn't bad. It's just that I'm not used to that buzz like I used to. It's more out of body than alcohol is. Booze just hits, me anyway, with more of a switch off matter, which weed does to a lot of users. Not me. Weed just makes me overthink and over emote. I'm not calm like I am after a drink or two on weed. I get more "I should really be doing something....but what?", which then tumbles into a weird shame spiral because I'm too internal to do anything about it.

So I watched some nature documentaries. That was better. Animals and insects in the wild doing their thing was much easier to relate to rather than the high antics of a joke per second comedy show. 

A dose of delicious chocolates

As the night wore on I realized that the dosage in Elixir is very smart. I was high but I wasn't crunked out, completely useless and freaking out high, like the time we ate our friends edible. I was okay. I could do this. In fact, I even made a cocktail later to ease me into sleep, because by midnight the weed was still in my system and I wanted to be asleep before the wife came home. Even though earlier I texted her saying I had eaten that scoop of ice cream. All she did was wish me luck and call me an idiot.

Then I went back two more times to take pics and get info on new Elixir products. KJ had introduced a line of 'potcicles', yes, popcicles infused with marijuana. There were also chocolate nibs decked out like jewels that were medicated and she had just made gluten free cookies, made with 10mg of weed, and was now making ice cream sandwiches. But these are only available to card carrying medical marijuana patients...for now.

The way laws are being tossed around, especially in states like California, Colorado and Washington, regarding the legalization of recreational marijuana, there might come a time in the near future, even here in ol' red state Arizona, when regular folk can enter a dispensary and purchase weed based products without a government issued card. Just cash. For now, that don't play so only patients can buy Elixir products.

Which is cool with me because I wouldn't buy the medicated version of KJ's ice cream creations anyway. The other brand is just so good and doesn't need, in my opinion, the extra effects outside of saying "Mmmm!" after you bite into it. For those that 4/20 on the regular, Elixir is a bright (green) light at the end of a short tunnel. I'm just really glad that someone as cool as KJ came up with this idea, worked through it, busted it out and is now making a serious go at being the (currently) only medicated ice cream company in Arizona.

Elixir got some love from me and is now getting other attention as well from food based websites. Very cool! I may not procure in the nestles of weed anymore, but I 100% support it. And this is coming from a guy that likes to drink, which has a seriously more harmful effect on the body. And society! If people got stoned before a sporting event, I'm convinced that when another team did a thing that you disapproved of, rather than get in the face of a fan of the opposing team, you'd be more inclined to say "Well, that happened" rather than what booze does and fights are inevitable.

If Elixir was sold in stadiums, rather than beer, people would just enjoy the show. I've been to too many Metal and rock shows to see when dudes (and its almost always dudes) go one brew over the line, fists and kicks are to be served to some unsuspecting fellow ticket holder. But that's just one aspect.

Those that actually need THC to help with their medical condition can enjoy a product that not only eases their pain, but eases them back to the simple pleasures of just being alive. Good ice cream just does that. Good food in general, which is why I love being a food writer and blogger. Food is life. And what KJ and Elixir do is life affirming.

So cheers to that and them!

Ice cream sammies with some ka-blammy

I still have a scoop of sorbet in the freezer (did I forget to mention she does sorbets now, with fruity flavored weed? oh sorry...because she does) and a chocolate bite or two in the fridge. Waiting for me. Tempting. But its going to have to wait. Getting me into the head space to get weed heady takes some time. But one night the urge will hit and I'll hit that funky goodness and, hopefully, be okay. The flavor and texture of Elixir ice cream and chocolate is just so darn good!

The paranoia just might be worth it. Although I really didn't get that paranoid when I ate that first scoop of ice cream. Although the cat did act a little weird around me.

Was she acting weird? Did she know I was a little high that night? Oh man. I gotta relax here.

If you are one of the lucky recipients of a medical marijuana card, then you are fortunate to get yourself some Elixir awesomeness.

You can follow them here on FACEBOOK and here on INSTAGRAM.

Cheers everybody. And thank you KJ for letting me, once again, write about your amazing sweet treats.

Happy 4/20!

Your gateway to awesomeness

Camera, Typing and Imbibing
"Metal" Mark Whittaker
4/20, 2019

Metal Influence: 

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