Jonathan Diaz - CBD Mixologist
Jon is a French transplant living in LA. As the owner of Petit Crêpe he brings the charm of a quaint crêperie to events all over Southern California. As a mixologist at Popcultivate, he introduces Angelenos to a new kind of drink: Terpene and Cannabis infused mocktails.
Jon’s work with THC and CBD infused food started five years ago when he produced THC-infused Macarons. Through that, he met Chris Yang, the owner of Popcultivate, a private event catering company that specializes in creating CBD dinner experiences through a monthly pop-up dinner series as well as private events.
From Chris, who is also an organic chemist and makes his own CBD tinctures, Jon learned how to use different tinctures for different drinks. He usually adds CBD or THC to mocktails, as not everyone responds well to mixing it with alcohol.
You create innovative Terpene and Cannabis Mocktails at events. Can you explain how you do that? What specific CBD product do you use?
Chef Chris Yang, the owner of Popcultivate, is an organic chemist and creates all the CBD and THC tinctures we use at our events. We mostly use alcohol-based tinctures because they are more soluble than CBD oils and therefore mix better with drinks and food.
We also use terpenes like limonene because it has a zesty citrus aroma that works well for drinks.
Not everybody reacts the same way to Cannabis/CBD. How do you make sure your cocktail creations are ok to consume?
Everybody reacts differently to CBD and especially THC, so it is at the guest’s own discretion whether they want to order it.
Before I make a CBD-drink I ask the guest if they have experience with CBD. I advise against mixing it with alcohol. CBD tinctures can legally only have less than 0.2% THC so they really don’t affect anyone on a psychoactive level.
What legal issues do you face and is there a loophole you are taking advantage of? (CBD from cannabis is not FDA approved for foods and drinks when served in restaurants.)
CBD falls under the same law as THC and requires a license to sell. Therefore, we can only sell our food at either private events or at our monthly dinner series which we registered as a club. Our guests buy a ticket that covers the entire experience. The ticket is classified as a donation to the club, and therefore they don’t have to pay specifically for their drinks. Different cities in California however have different regulations and most don’t enforce it, if a Café offers to add a few drops of CBD to your coffee.
What do you see in the future for CBD-infused foods and drinks?
There is an exciting future for CBD-food in LA because the demand is here. I believe that the product must be clearly regulated, just like alcohol sales and should not be sold to minors.
Profiting from that lack of regulation, however, are catering firms and event chefs who are basically the only ones who can serve CBD-infused food and beverages at private events and charge a huge margin for it.
The city of West Hollywood has given out less than a handful of permits for restaurants to offer CBD food, which allows the city to test the acceptance of the product. And there are several cafés and restaurants all over the city that offer to add a few drops of CBD to coffees and juices, because as long as the CBD contains less than 0.2% of THC it is within the unregulated gray-area.