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City Guides | 04.25.2022

Is New York Cannabis-Infused Pizza The Next Big Thing?

Cannabis-infused pizza could be New York's next big thing, but only if eateries can navigate strict state regulations.

While edibles have been in existence since the dawn of cannabis time, the recent recreational-legal state, New York, wants to expand its eateries and pizzerias with cannabis-infused options. 

The initial report comes from the New York Post, highlighting the spokesman for the state Office of Cannabis Management, Aaron Ghitelman, who said there had been many discussions around giving eateries the green light to expand into cannabis and offer new takes on traditional eats. 

State Sen. Liz Krueger, who worked on New York’s bill to legalize recreational cannabis, told the New York Post that a few legal obstacles might arise if the state allows its eateries and pizzerias to branch out into cannabis. 

One of the main issues is having to close locations to teens and children, considering individuals under 21-years-old are prohibited from entering sites with cannabis or cannabis-infused foods. 

Krueger says this would mean “no big pie shared with kids.”

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Furthermore, Krueger added that the specific amount of THC infused inside each dish should be “labeled correctly” to avoid unwanted experiences that might put the eatery in more legal trouble. 

Similarly, suppose these unwanted experiences occurred, and someone planned to sue the space for getting too high or not clarifying how much THC was in a dish. In that case, industry experts wonder if insurance companies would cover those costs. 

National Cannabis Industry Association spokeswoman Bethany Moore pointed out that no other state has allowed eateries and pizzerias to obtain cannabis-infused licenses to create and sell items. 

She says the cannabis purchasing process is “held to intense regulatory and compliance standards beyond what pizzerias or other restaurants may be able to do compliantly without incurring additional operating expenses.”

Finally, the New York Post writes that facility owners with a cannabis license may not apply for an alcohol license and vice versa, meaning eateries with liquor licenses would not be allowed to serve both. 

NYC Hospitality Alliance attorney Max Bookman told the outlet that his company has been “advocating for on-license cannabis sales for restaurants and nightlife establishments…But denying establishments from having both a liquor and cannabis license killed our buzz.” 

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