With the legalization of recreational marijuana in Maryland nearly five months ago, the state’s culinary landscape is witnessing a revolutionary change. Entrepreneurs are seizing the opportunity to cater to a growing demand for cannabis-infused cuisine, particularly through private dinner parties that offer a unique dining experience.

Leading this gastronomic innovation is Chef Jazmine Moore, known affectionately as Chef Jazz. She’s pioneering the concept of cannabis-infused meals in Maryland, merging her culinary expertise with a passion for cannabis. Her recent dinner party near National Harbor was a testament to this, where she served a Moroccan chicken delicately flavored with cannabis-infused compound butter.

Chef Jazz’s journey into cannabis cuisine is deeply personal. A graduate of a culinary school in Baltimore, her career faced a potential derailment due to Crohn’s Disease, a debilitating condition that severely affected her digestive health. Cannabis not only provided relief from her symptoms but also inspired her to incorporate it into her cooking. This experience led to the creation of her business, The Green Panther Chef, which focuses on cooking with cannabis.

At her dinner parties, the atmosphere is relaxed and convivial, starting with a CBD-infused cocktail or mocktail. Each course is carefully crafted to ensure a balance of flavor and the effects of cannabis. Chef Jazz emphasizes responsible consumption, advising guests to be aware of their cannabis tolerance and to opt for ride-sharing services for a safe journey home.

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These events are more than just meals. They are an opportunity for socializing and relaxation. Shirdell Kenney, one of the guests, highlighted the calming effects of the cannabis-infused food, noting its role in fostering enjoyable social interactions. Another guest, Ayanna Lawson, who runs a cannabis-friendly travel company, Front Row Travels, spoke about the changing perceptions of cannabis users. They are entrepreneurs and professionals, not merely recreational users, seeking alternatives to traditional forms of relaxation.

The menu at Chef Jazz’s events is a culinary adventure. A recent dinner party featured a butternut squash soup and a roasted pear salad, with guests sharing how cannabis has positively influenced their lives, from health benefits to enhancing the dining experience.

Chef Jazz is also an educator in the world of cannabis cuisine. She has authored a cookbook and conducts workshops, aspiring to see cannabis become a staple in restaurant menus across Maryland. This interest is echoed by many in the restaurant industry, who are eager to explore how to integrate cannabis into their offerings responsibly.

The rising interest in cannabis-infused cuisine reflects a broader societal shift. According to a recent Gallup poll, 39% of Americans now believe consuming one to two alcoholic drinks is unhealthy, a record-high number. This change in attitude is driving the popularity of cannabis as a healthier, more enjoyable alternative to alcohol.

Maryland’s culinary scene is leading a significant evolution. Cannabis-infused menus, such as those offered by Chef Jazz, are not just a novelty but a responsible, enjoyable way to dine. As this trend gains momentum, Maryland could become a trailblazer in the integration of cannabis into culinary arts, offering a new dimension to dining experiences and social gatherings. This development is not just a boon for cannabis enthusiasts. It is also a sign of the changing times, where alternative lifestyles and preferences are increasingly embraced and celebrated.