PAWTUCKET, R.I. — In New England, a few cities are rethinking — and normalizing — how people consume cannabis. At Summit Lounge, a private social club in Worcester, Mass., patrons can smoke or eat cannabis at the bar. In addition to “sip and paint” nights, one can hang out and “puff and paint.” In Portland, Maine, there’s Higher Grounds, which offers Maine-grown cannabis and CBD-enhanced coffee. Talk about “wake and bake.”
At Rhode Island “compassion centers,” the edibles for sale are nothing like the “special” brownies of an earlier age. Instead, you can buy decadent cannabis-infused chocolate truffles, seltzers, gelatin, tea bags, almond butter, and macaroons.
On April 20 — also known as “weed day” or 420 Day — there are a ton of legal edibles made in Rhode Island. Just be sure to bring proof of age (you need to be 21+). Here’s a few you might want to try.
For a dispensary with an in-house bakery
In Pawtucket, there’s a dispensary that looks like a jewelry store: marble flooring, exposed brick, high ceilings, wooden beams, and waterfalls cascading over glass a wlogo of Mother Earth with her hair shaped like a marijuana leaf. Tiny color-coded jars — each with a nug inside — are lined up at the foot of the waterfall, and you can inspect various strains under a magnifying glass. This is Mother Earth Wellness, a vertically integrated cannabis company, that has its own kitchen, growing rooms, and extraction lab, and a retired Pawtucket police officer as head of security.
Ian Gilley, the company’s executive chef, is the one experimenting in the kitchen, coming up with new ideas for their house-made treats. Their bar line — with flavors like coconut macaroon, chocolate chip cookie, cookies and cream, and marshmallow krisp — sells out fast. Each bar has a layered base of chocolate and is dosed with 10 milligrams of hybrid cannabis oil.
Chocolate is the way to go if you want something that will overpower the cannabis taste. Gilley and his team also make dark chocolate truffles stuffed with fruit fillings like raspberry or strawberry. A pack of 10 costs about $15. Mother Earth Wellness, 125 Esten Ave., Pawtucket, 401-352-4300, motherearthri.com.
For something mellow
Jessica Gorman, the owner of Newport-based Sea Witch Medicinals, focuses on combining health ingredients with THC and Cannabidiol (more commonly known as CBD) to make small-batched edibles, tonics, tinctures, and topicals. Her peanut butter ($34) has 100 milligrams of THC (so spread carefully). Her almond butter, which she calls peanut butter’s underrated sibling, is a little more mellow with 50 milligrams of THC and 50 milligrams of CBD in each jar.
CBD is easily accessible just about everywhere nowadays, and studies show that it’s been able to help reduce seizures, anxiety, pain, and can help relieve some cancer-related symptoms — all without mind-altering effects. In 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug that had cannabidiol to treat a rare form of epilepsy in patients age 2 years and older.
So Gorman also makes a number of products that don’t include any THC but just focus on CBD. That includes her CBD Honey; CBD-infused tonics with flavors of strawberry lime or mocha cold brew; and Lemon Balm Tea bags, which have 25 milligrams of CBD with notes of verbena and lemongrass.
For upping your gummy game
Matthew Etchells studied culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University before serving as the executive sous chef at Plant City, a fully vegan restaurant and marketplace in the Fox Point neighborhood of Providence. After cooking at Plant City for four years, he left in October 2022 to become the “infusion manager” at Hangar 420, a cannabis producer and distributor in Warwick. There, he’s launched two lines: Speakeasy Gummies and Nieuport Edibles.
Speakeasy Gummies come in flavors that are inspired by cocktails, says director of post production Joe Dilley -- think Mai Tai, sour lime margarita, old fashioned, and mimosa. In a few weeks, they’ll launch new seasonal flavors like mango-tajin margarita for Cinco de Mayo and a “dark and stormy” gummy for the summer.
Speakeasy Gummies and Nieuport Edibles can be found at Sweetspot Farms in Exeter, RISE Cannabis in Warwick, Greenleaf Compassion Center in Portsmouth, and select Solar Dispensaries in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
For a twist on a Rhode Island icon
Rhode Island has several iconic food staples that seem perfect for pairing with THC. Take, for instance, the classic Del’s Lemonade. It’s perfect as is, but HAPI, a marijuana cultivator, has partnered with the family-run company to add a refined THC extract to create a special new mix. In each A 4-ounce bottle of HAPI Del’s (regular or pink lemonade flavor) has 10 milligrams of THC. Pour it over ice, add a lemon twist, and you have a cannabis-infused cocktail with a punch for $7.
HAPI also works with Don Depetrillo, who owns The Original Italian Bakery in Johnston, to make THC-infused “pizza chips.” They come in both jalapeño and original flavors.
In 2022, Hangar 420 launched a cannabis-infused coffee syrup, Co-Pilot Syrup. It’s a tribute to both the annual April 20 celebration and the official beverage of Rhode Island: coffee milk. Each 1-ounce bottle of the syrup contains 10 milligrams of THC. Even with the expected slight bitterness, it’s still sweet.
Dilley said the Co-Pilot Syrup is a “good pick-me-up” to keep you going. So don’t expect to get in-da-couch.