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Friday, December 11, 2009

First Gourmet Marijuana Restaurant Opens In Denver

DENVER (CBS4) ― A medical marijuana dispensary in Denver has decided to get creative and make the business into a full-service restaurant that caters to those who need to use medicinal marijuana to ease physical ailments.

The owner of Ganja Gourmet located at 1810 South Broadway Avenue said the restaurant will "aim to help distribute medicinal marijuana to those licensed to have it and provide an atmosphere where patients can visit with one another in a safe environment."

Ganja Gourmet plans to offer lasagna, gourmet pizza, jambalaya, paella, chocolate mousse and flavored cheesecakes, among other gourmet dishes.

"It's a different buzz too. It's a more alert, more awake buzz," Medical Marijuana Chef
Evan "Budman" said.

Budman believes it will put South Broadway on the state's budding medical marijuana map.

"It will bring people from all over Colorado here," he said.

The restaurant will be decorated in a 1960s retro feel, including tie-dye attire for the employees.

Steve Horowitz, an owner of Ganja Gourmet, says the restaurant will not promote a party-like atmosphere.

"With the new laws in Colorado, medicinal marijuana is a business like any other. Dozens of legal dispensaries are everywhere. We have to set ourselves apart as a business in order to survive," Horowitz said in a prepared statement. "Just like any other restaurant, we have to work on the quality of our food and our atmosphere to make sure our customers have an enjoyable experience that makes them want to come back."

Horowitz said the restaurant will offer courtesy rides home for customers who feel they can't drive.

"I hope the launch of Ganja Gourmet will set the standard for other Colorado distributers and distributers around the nation so that those suffering from illness get the best service possible," Horowitz said.

The marijuana-laced menu is actually prepared off-premises. Building inspectors won't allow an on-site kitchen because of a fire hazard.

Some neighboring businesses it's just the latest proof several blocks of South Broadway are going to pot.

"I don't think it's good for the neighborhood," an area business owner said. "I think it's a joke that they're using the guise that it's medicinal. It just shows it's not medicinal."

Former State Rep. Don Armstrong, injured in Vietnam, says the ganja gourmet is just what he needs instead of powerful painkillers.

"This is an alternative for me. It's a great alternative, when I do this," Armstrong said. "I can function with life in me and be able to live a normal life … I'm learning on the eating part. I'm just trying this out now."

Ganja Gourmet opened on Wednesday.

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