We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Food incubator Union Kitchen has given its members the OK to possess marijuana in its kitchen facilities and even use it as an ingredient, as long as they abide by D.C. law—which now says weed is legal. That means that while food producers are welcome to make cannabis chocolate or pot-buttered popcorn, they can’t sell it or possess more than two ounces.
“I see no reason to disallow it,” says Union Kitchen co-founder Jonas Singer. “We’re certainly willing to follow the law of the land and allow possession of it in the facility. The alternative is to say ‘you’re not allowed to bring it here,’ and I don’t know we’d even go about enforcing that.”
While members can eat marijuana edibles at Union Kitchen (as long as they behave themselves), they are not allowed to smoke at the facility. Singer emphasizes that they are not endorsing the sale of any product with marijuana, which is illegal. “That said, people can come in and use the kitchen as they please,” he says.
Union Kitchen’s founders sent an email to members about the policy yesterday in order to get ahead of any questions. “We wanted to be proactive,” Singer says. “It’s something that’s obviously been on the minds of people, and it’s better for us to have a discrete and proactively communicated policy to set expectations as opposed to being caught behind the eight ball on it.” Singer says he doesn’t know which specific members may want to experiment with marijuana in their products.
As for those who might not be thrilled about their fellow food entrepreneurs baking up a batch of pot brownies? “I’d almost equate it to when a vegan comes in and there’s pork next to them,” Singer says. “They don’t love it, but they live with it.”
If and when the sale of marijuana ever becomes legal, Singer says Union Kitchen would be supportive of that as well. “[We’d] certainly figure out how to allow that production to be done in the kitchen,” he says.
Here’s the email sent to Union Kitchen members yesterday:
Dear Union Kitchen Members,
As of last Thursday, February 26th, the District of Columbia has in effect a voter-passed ballot measure that allows the possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana within the District.
As our facility is in the District, Members, employees, and other individuals will be permitted to possess marijuana at Union Kitchen, in accordance with local law. Additionally, marijuana is considered a viable ingredient and may be used (up to 2 ounces) at Union Kitchen in any manner that accords with local law.
Please note that marijuana is still prohibited by federal law and is a controlled substance, though President Obama has committed to not deploying any federal resources into the prosecution of marijuana offenses that are considered lawful in local jurisdictions.
The smoking of any substance inside of Union Kitchen is prohibited. Smoking marijuana in public is prohibited in D.C. and is prohibited at Union Kitchen. While the production and consumption of food and other products containing marjuana is permissible, Union Kitchen reserves the right to enforce appropriate and considerate behavior. The inappropriate use or the abuse of any substance – legal or otherwise – that creates an uncomfortable working environment beyond the reasonable expectations of Members will be proactively dealt with by Union Kitchen.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Mike or Jonas.
Photo by Jessica Sidman