Cultivate in Leicester has been selling marijuana to the general public since it became one of Massachusetts' first recreational dispensaries in November. Now, the shop's in-house chef is cooking up new recipes to introduce its products to a wider audience.
Lianne Whalen, a graduate of Johnson and Wales, has been hard at work making new cookies and chocolates, as well as pot-infused olive oil she uses to put a twist on a colorful Asian salad.
"Food is medicine, and that's kind of what we're all about here — helping people heal," Whalen said.
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Overall, marijuana sales in the Bay State have had a much slower start than anticipated. Six months after recreational sales began, there are still just 17 such stores. The Department of Revenue projected $63 million in state taxes in the first year, and just $17.7 million has been brought in so far.
Still, the Cannabis Control Commission has reported $104 million in gross sales to date.
Whalen says using cannabis in food can be fun and also help people.
"That's traditional in food in general," she said. "Your grandmother's chicken soup helps you feel better when you have a cold, and this is just a little bit more elevated, here you can actually help people take a more natural route with their care plan and also for recreational purposes. It's fun."