Chicken pot pie: New Brunswick restaurant serves up cannabis oil-infused wings

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A restaurant in Saint John, New Brunswick, is stirring up a buzz by cooking chicken in a creative, albeit questionably legal, manner.

Now on offer at The Coop are chicken wings cooked with hemp oil—oil that contains less than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), an intoxicating cannabinoid derived form the cannabis plant, and CBD (cannabidiol), a psychoactive, but non-intoxicating, cannabinoid.

New owners Renee Theriault and Jean-Maurice Desjardins, who took over the restaurant last month, say the decision to serve cannabis-infused wings was a no-brainer during its first menu overhaul. “I think the market asked for it, basically,” Theriault told CBC News.

While Theriault does acknowledge that cannabis oil-infused wings are as much marketing and novelty as new cuisine, she says it also creates more choice with regards to The Coop’s menu offerings.

So far, most of the feedback has been positive for the hemp-infused poultry, although both she and Desjardins, who compare the oil to a supplement or vitamin, have also had to weather a little controversy.

“The guests have enjoyed it,” she noted, but “social media has been a little bit difficult, honestly, because some people aren’t very educated on what THC-zero means.”

While CBD-containing hemp oil is legal in Canada, it must be sold in a accordance with the Cannabis Act, which requires sellers of cannabinoid-containing products to be licensed. Whether or not adding CBD oil to a meal on sale in a restaurant legally counts as selling a cannabinoid product is a bit of a grey area.

As for Desjardins, he’s pleased with The Coop’s reception so far—and though he and Theriault have no plans to turn the eatery into a cannabis restaurant, they say that adding THC to food products is something they’d consider if it became legal in the near future.

“We have a few things to change, a few things to get used to, but the reaction of the people, my guests are very happy, and that’s what I want,” Desjardins said.

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