Medicinal food goes to pot
A bowl of marijuana and marijuana brownies.
TEXT OF INTERVIEW
STEVE CHIOTAKIS: I mentioned election day, well Californians vote on whether to allow allow people to keep small amounts of marijuana for personal use. If it passes, new business opportunities could open up, like what's already happened for medical marijuana, which is legal in the state.
Marketplace's Rico Gagliano, co-host of our sister show "The Dinner Party Download," spoke with a Los Angeles woman who's carved out a unique place for herself in the medical marijuana business.
MELANIE LUSK: My name is Melanie and I bake edibles for a medical marijuana dispensaries and my company is called Redeye Bakery.
RICO GAGLIANO: And how did you decide to start doing this?
LUSK: I was working at a dispensary and one of the guys that I worked with was doing it, but he was only like 20-years-old and wanted to have a life. And so he was like, "Hey, Melanie, do you wanna do it?" He only made muffins and I started making cookies and crispy treats and pretty much anything. I've made little cheesecakes before and stuff like that as well.
GAGLIANO: All with marijuana in it and this a completely above-ground business?
LUSK: It definitely is. And not only here in California, there's other states. I think there's 15 total now that have medical marijuana. I definitely have spread the word to some of my friends in Oregon and some of my friends in Colorado that they should look into doing it because it's a good way to build your own business because not a lot of people do it.
GAGLIANO: So there's like a weed baker entrepreneurial vacuum?
LUSK: And there's a need for it, especially people who make good ones. For anybody who's ever tried them, sometimes it's hard to find ones that taste good because people are not using the best quality buds, or they're not making it correctly.
GAGLIANO: Well this is gonna be my next question: Do you have a background in cooking?
LUSK: I've just always loved to cook and being a mom, I guess. But I've been cooking since I was like 8-years-old. My mom was a really bad cook and I didn't like bad food, so immediately I had to decide I was going to cook on my own.
GAGLIANO: Is she aware of what you're doing?
LUSK: Yeah. My mom knows and my whole family knows. My mom actually has multiple sclerosis and eats my brownies from time to time. And actually for a little while my brother and my sister-in-law were struggling, and she started coming over and baking for me. So that's also helped my brother pay his bills, too.
GAGLIANO: Speaking of baking, how many times a day do people make that pun?
LUSK: All the time actually. And something that's funny is if I ever try and bake stuff that has no marijuana in it, everybody asks me first: Is this medicated? I'm like, "No, of course it's not medicated. Why would I bring medicated to a party?"
GAGLIANO: There are some parties where that would be welcome.
LUSK: Yes. But Fourth of July with the family, I usually don't bring medicated cupcakes.
A version of this interview originally aired on "The Dinner Party Download."