Jewish baker adds cannabis to the mix

A Jewish baker in Brussels is launching what is believed to be Europe’s first commercial line of cannabis bread. Charly Lowy, the baker behind Cannabread, has already made the product available in the four Lowy stores he owns.

He said he mixes cannabis seeds in with the dough as he makes his bread, but that the levels of THC are too low to get a person high.

“The bread is intended, first and foremost, for people who just love bread, and different kinds of it,” Lowy told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “But it’s true that cannabis products are in right now.”

Businesses in Belgium enjoyed a legal loophole for over a year that allowed for the import and use of hemp flowers in their products as long as they contained less than 0.2 percent THC. Hundreds of shops quickly popped up across the country providing access to a wide range of hemp products.

Once the country’s finance department realized the potential for profit, however, it quickly legalized dried hemp flower, classified it as a tobacco product and taxed it at 31.5 percent in addition to a 21 percent value-added tax.

Lowy’s bread does still smell and taste like cannabis, though, and was likely the reason why Belgium’s Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain raided his store last year and seized all of his delicious Cannabread. The agency cited a lack of paperwork proving the product was not intoxicating — something no longer an issue following legalization.

It is remarkable that Lowy is even alive to offer Cannabread. His father was forced to flee Austria for Belgium after the country was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1938.

It was while hiding underground in Belgium that Otto Lowy met a Jewish immigrant named Hania who would later become his wife. They married in 1942 and had three children. Charly, the youngest, took over the bakery when his father died in 1980.