Baked bakers caused the plume of smoke at The Venue in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 2 — a fusion of hundreds of bong hits, two 1,100-degree brick ovens, and lit people lighting up pre-coils and pipes.
“This is Mangia Ganja,” said Kahla Grey, spokeswoman for cannabis brand distributor Trendsetters. “It’s a food truck festival where everyone can smoke weed.”
Mangia Ganja is the first cannabis-friendly food truck festival in Arizona. trap culture, a cannabis promotion company organized the event, which was attended by more than 800 people. More than 20 booths sold cannabis-related products, and the event also featured a live DJ, games, 10 food trucks and comedy. Although no cannabis was allowed to be bought or sold at the event, free cannabis and edible samples were plentiful.
Gray, who has been smoking blunts for more than 10 years, “like it’s the only classic way to smoke,” had a bag full of Packwoods brand marijuana nuggets on his desk. Torch, THC Living and Packwoods distributed samples to attendees. “The festival normalizes cannabis and that’s better than everyone getting drunk; we’re nice and we get drunk,” he added.
Other vendors offering free samples at the festival include Nug Jewelz, Defi Edibles, Caviar Gold, Apeish, Sonoran Roots, Good Farms & Seed Co. and Mint Cannabis.
Lexie Coleman, Mint’s event coordinator, attended the festival to promote the dispensary’s line of THC-infused Angry Errl hot sauces. “Trap Culture did it on a bigger scale this spring; it was three times the size. So they decided to make it a fun networking experience every month for everyone to come out and get high and have a snack together,” he said.
“It’s a great opportunity to show them what we can do. And give them a chance to try everything here,” Coleman added.
Matt Smith, a Mesa resident, was among the participants at Mangia Ganja. He tried a glass bong at the GreenPharms pharmacy. “It’s actually seamless. They’re trying to get more people into their practice by giving out free samples,” he said.
Angel, a GreenPharms representative, refilled the bong for Smith. “This is Mac V2 (a popular Monster Alien Cookies strain),” said Angel, who asked that his full name not be used. “It’s a hybrid indica testing at 28 percent and one of the heavier indicas we’ve had in store.” About 20 people were waiting to get freebies. “Do you want to finish this or can I load a fresh one? It’s up to you,” Angel asked. Smith tapped. Angel jokingly exclaimed: “ewas standing“, which means “I’m ready” in Spanish.
Angel cleaned out the bowl of the bong with a metal pick, disinfected the mouthpiece, primed it with more Mac V2, lit it, and said, “Go.” The next person in line took a big hit, held the smoke in their lungs for about 10 seconds, and then exhaled a huge cloud.
“Weed helps me relax and keep me sane,” Smith said. – It reduces stress levels. Smith, who works in the delivery and reception department of a local business, said he has smoked for more than 30 years. He added that a Costco-like approach to weed product sampling works. He said he was going to a GreenPharms store after the festival to buy more Mac V2s. “It’s more than just the bud — they’re friendly and knowledgeable,” Smith said of GreenPharms employees.
“You Get The Munchies”
Mangia Ganja opened at 11am and at noon people were still waiting to get into the venue. The event venue quickly filled up, with lines forming at food and beverage locations at Dog On It, La Hotkeria and Savage Daiquiri.
“My biggest regret is when there’s only medicinal samples at an event and you’re eating them and I need [non-medicated] food, said Grey. “When you get high, you get chewed up, right?”
Some pot smokers also get a cotton mouth. “And here’s their little lemonade stand (Dank drank lemonade) it’s like every flavor of lemonade and Eis Café iced coffee is my jam. They’re very refreshing, especially these days,” Gray said. Both drinking establishments had customers.
The Tzikii Food Truck was the first food offering as people entered the event. “Our best seller is the gyroscope,” said Mino Henes, who has worked at the Egyptian food truck business with his mother for seven years. The $12 gyro consists of lamb and beef, which is cut from a stew by rotating it over the flame. Place the meat on pita bread and top it with lettuce, tomato, onion, and Tzikii sauce—a play on Tzatziki, a Mediterranean condiment made from yogurt, minced garlic, olive oil, and chopped cucumber—for the perfect gyro.
Henes said he understands firsthand what many participants experience, as he smokes weed to relieve sciatica pain from a pinched nerve. “I smoke weed at night to help me sleep and relax after a long day of being on my feet all day,” he said. Luckily for Henes, some of the businesses at the event ended up offering free cannabis samples.
“This is how I healed myself”
Sold by Adrianne Goudeau OMG Goodness pickles and treats at the food and cannabis event. “All my products are made from hemp,” he explained. Goudeau extracts CBD from hemp, which he sources from locally owned Superstition Hemp. At the festival, he sold a few bottles of “goudes,” including hemp bread and butter pickles and hemp-spiced cauliflower mix, which he sells for $30 a bottle.
“For my pickles, I used Kangen water (alkaline ionized water), which provides a pH level that removes pesticides from pickles—that’s the difference in my pickles.” Asked if he had the THC version of the pickle, Goudeau said, “That’s how I cured myself.” He said he made himself a line of THC-infused pickles in 2010 after becoming addicted to cannabis. When hemp became legal in 2019, it took the techniques used with cannabis and used hemp instead.
In the beginning, Goudeau sold baked goods, candies and cookies at cannabis shows. Then he switched to salty foods. “I think as a cannabis patient we need to look at our diet and what we put into our body. I have diabetes, so the worst thing we can do as a patient is to put sugar in our body for medical reasons, so I try to avoid that,” he said. .
“Best pizza I’ve had all day”
Tempe resident Tiffany Priest runs Dough Rider, a mobile pizza company that delivers pizzas to food truck events and Trap Culture shindigs in metro Phoenix. Priest said he eats edibles and smokes weed to keep his worries at bay when dealing with customer service in quick succession.
During a five-minute interview Phoenix New TimesPriest sent out more than a dozen pizzas — plain cheese, pepperoni, sausage, Margherita and meat-loving versions — to the festival grounds.
“It’s a mobile wood-burning unit and we bring a different culture to the events,” he said. “I bring fresh ingredients every day and prepare the pasta at 3 in the morning. Then I go to the store and buy fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, right on the board. [of ingredients].”
He took a break and then instructed an employee to deliver four pizzas to the Trap Culture representatives before the event. “I’m like a mother hen when it comes to my guys. I want to make sure everybody’s eating and I’m making sure the crew is eating and they’re getting water,” he said.
Priest and his colleagues brought two dome-shaped brick kilns mounted on trailers. “They let out 1,100 degrees and we try not to put too many blankets on them,” he added. “Just the tables [have tents covering the operation] so that we can roll dough on them. We like to be in the sun, so we adapt. Anyone who works for me has to know how to handle the heat because there’s no kitchen.”
Priest said Dough Riders does not sell weed-infused pizza, adding that only dispensaries can do so. The Mint store in Guadalupe is the only dispensary in metro Phoenix that serves hot food, including pizza, infused with various doses of THC. The Mint was also set up at the festival.
“I could pour my own pizza if I made it for myself to eat,” Priest said. “I make it with oils and add it to my pasta.” He also adds grass to his homemade oregano mixture because he “wants to taste it”. “When I want [non-infused] pizza, here I go. But if I want Tiff [THC-infused] pizza, I’ll take some time and it’ll be the best pizza I’ve had all day,” he added.
“It’s a Mood”
Cannabuddies Kay and Zai sat at one of the umbrella-covered outdoor tables at the venue. They were munching on Dough Rider’s pepperoni pizzas, ordered for $16. “We’re high right now,” Kay said. “This food calms me down a bit.” Zai added: “It’s a definite vibe, and it’s outdoors and downtown.”
The couple, who were attending their first public event, asked that their full names not be published. “I didn’t even know about cannabis conventions,” Zia said. “I hope they do these when it’s cooler, like in the fall.”
Mangia Ganja promoters said the next food truck and weed event will be Oct. 29 at Soho Lounge in Mesa. Rather, it will be a Halloween costume-style gathering.