Chef Dan Anglin, founder of edible company Americanna (courtesy Dan Anglin)

Food & Weed: Savoring the spice in life with edibles CEO Dan Anglin

For Dan Anglin, founder of the edible gummy company Americanna, if the meal doesn’t have a spicy element to it, he’s not interested. Luckily for this former lobbyist, hot sauce is easy to come by in his hometown of Denver, just as cannabis is. Together, the two ingredients have fueled plenty of creative cooking sessions and have even inspired a dish he makes for his whole family. We caught up with the 45-year-old to hear about some of his recipes, his plans to grow his cannabusiness and, if all goes well, eat the world’s hottest pepper.

How and why did you decide to start making cannabis-infused gummies?
I was a lobbyist, and when Amendment 64 passed (in 2012) they had to create a bill to give the government authority over the recreational marketplace. I was hired to help craft reasonable regulation laws for edibles.

I could see edibles were this new magic product that the regular consumer would be interested in getting access to. Finding cupcakes, gummies, sodas — it was so thrilling to see the products that were part of the marketplace. I started at the company Edipure, which had cupcakes, cookies, and gosh, licorice, gummies, all kinds of different things. I gravitated to the gummies and left (Edipure) because I had the idea to create proprietary shapes for the industry.

I wanted to make a pot leaf shape for the gummy. I thought it made sense with all the public policy discussions about how you couldn’t tell the difference between the weed and non-weed candies. It’s a good answer to the question of, “Does this food have cannabis in it?”

Have you been a cannabis consumer for long?
I have been consuming cannabis since I was young. It’s been a long time, about three decades of consumption. The only time I didn’t consume was when I was in the Marine Corps. Primarily I like smoking it. Before, I wasn’t an advanced cannabis user and didn’t know what was out there. Making food with it seemed really hard 20 years ago. Edibles were brand new when I got in this business. But now it’s exciting and the possibilities are endless.

Do you prefer smoking weed before eating?
Usually I will choose either some indica or one of our own gummies. And actually I love eating while on edibles. It produces a different kind of munchies that creep up on you instead of when you take a bong rip and immediately go to the fridge to eat snacks. … I know I like eating after having an edible more than when I smoke, and rather than putting cannabis on or mixed into food, I prefer to eat a cannabis candy and then have a steak. I don’t know, the experience is just better.

What are some of your go-to foods when you have the munchies?
Primarily I like mixing ingredients that you wouldn’t normally mix when making food. You get ideas when you’re stoned like, “I will top my ribs with green chili.”

I am also more inclined to spice my food in a unique way when stoned. And I like spicy food, that’s my thing. I like mixing one spicy food with another spicy food and then putting on more hot sauce. (The fumes) actually take peoples’ breath away. My friends and my wife yell at me when I am doing that because I just don’t notice it. I kind of like my lips burning, and even if I make it too spicy, I keep eating.

In what way do you spruce it up?
What typically happens when I am making food is I will mix leftovers together that normally I wouldn’t. But because I am stoned it sounds interesting. I will almost always like it. I haven’t found anything that I have made while stoned that was terrible.

What are some of your favorite foods to play with?
I love Mexican food and I love to make things as hot possible. I just got a Carolina Reaper pepper (the world’s hottest pepper) and I am planning on getting high and being brave with it. I will find something that you wouldn’t normally mix it with that will also help neutralize the heat. Maybe some cream cheese, lunch meat and other spices. I am going to eat this Carolina Reaper. I hear it can have crazy side effects including hallucinations and vomiting. It’s kind of like that episode of “The Simpsons” when Homer eats the chili pepper and talks to Johnny Cash, maybe something like that will happen.

Wow, are you going to try this alone?
Oh no, just in case I need some kind of help. Everyone is like, you should not eat that.

Have you ever made something truly amazing while high?
Yes, a goulash. I came up with a recipe for goulash that kind of follows the Caesar salad story where all they had in the fridge was anchovy, lettuce and croutons, and then it became a thing. I did that with a goulash. I added pepperoni to it, which sounds weird since goulash is elbow noodles, green peppers, lots of garlic, Italian spices and ground beef. I added a chopped up pepperoni stick and hot pepper flakes, and it’s the best goulash you’ve ever had. I have had plenty of other dishes I thought were phenomenal when stoned, and then they weren’t so great. But this is one that has become one of our go-to recipes. It’s even better with jalapenos.

Have you always been this crazy about spicy food?
Yes, I love hot food. My favorites are Indian, Mexican and Thai. When they ask how hot on the hot scale I want my food, I say Indian hot or Thai hot, whatever I can do to indicate I want it to be spicy.

Is it ever too hot?
I have made it too spicy, but never something I can’t handle.

Where did this love for all things spicy come from?
I lived in Tucson, Arizona, during college and they have such spicy food there. That’s where I got my love for spicy food. They have hot sauce stores in Arizona, which is crazy. There was one hot sauce that was in a coffin wrapped with caution tape. If you were brave enough they would give you a sample by dipping a toothpick in it. But, I needed more. The clerk was like, “Man you should be a hot sauce judge.”

Since you love spicy food so much, do you ever think you will make a hot gummy?
No, but we have considered spicy Mexican candies. We make things on a large scale and want to appeal to the larger marketplace. But, once we have our brand set, I think it would be fun to do.