ROCHESTER, Minn. – A Cannabis chef is looking into opening a restaurant in Rochester. Rochester native Payton Curry is an award-winning chef who studied at the Culinary Institute of America. He now lives in Arizona where he’s at the center of the cannabis dining arena. He operates a kitchen that stocks over 50 dispensaries in Arizona and California with high-end, healthful Cannabis edibles. Curry has also opened restaurants that specialize in using the cannabis plant in cuisine.
“Utilizing the vegetable of cannabis instead of just using it to get stoned or get baked, we’ve been using it as a supplement for people to carry on a non-toxic form of pain relief,” Curry explains.
Some of the dishes he serves at his restaurants are infused with THC, which is the mind-altering compound of the Cannabis plant that produces a “high.” THC is not legal in Minnesota or Iowa without a medical marijuana prescription. His vision for the Rochester restaurant is to utilize Cannabidiol or CBD as an ingredient. CBD is the non-psychoactive part of the Hemp plant that is legal. Curry likens it to non-alcoholic beer. This week he met with city leaders about this progressive restaurant concept.
“They want to know, “well, how do you know there isn’t THC in it?” and I told them yesterday I spent 20 years of my life making sure I was doing this right,” Curry adds.
A growing number of people, like Curry, are finding CBD to be an alternative treatment for a number of medical conditions including anxiety, pain, arthritis, and insomnia. However, only one purported use for CBD has significant scientific evidence supporting it. Last month, the FDA approved the first drug comprised of CBD to treat severe forms of epilepsy. Other claims can’t be backed by scientific evidence at this point.
“Anything that doesn’t change the human experience or bring psychosis I feel is a vitamin or a supplement,” Curry adds. “For me as a cook, I like to go out there and try to educate.”
Education is one of the purposes behind the facility Curry would like to open in Rochester. Other than the CBD restaurant, he envisions a “Cannabis college,” where classes can be held to teach people how to cook with and make products with the Hemp plant. At this point, he's still looking into potential locations and meeting with city council members, the city attorney and planning and zoning.