Since making her major media debut last year at the age of 91 in the premiere episode of MUNCHIES’ cannabis-meets-cuisine series Bong Appetit, Aurora Leveroni (a.k.a. Nonna Marijuana) has been profiled by NPR, filmed by the BBC, featured on the front page of a major Italian newspaper, and even graced an issue of Penthouse magazine (fully clothed, as she’s always quick to add). Clearly tickled by all the attention, Nonna says fans around the world continue to email her daily, asking for tips when following her recipes for chicken pot-cciatore and gnocchi in ganja butter, or simply wishing her well and thanking her for being such a strong, effective medical marijuana advocate.
WATCH: Bong Appetit — Nonna Marijuana
Aurora made clear in Bong Appetit, “I don’t get high on my own supply,” but the love and compassion she puts into preparing wholesome pot-infused Italian dishes for those suffering with serious illness clearly struck a chord anyway. And now this incredible home cook and quick wit is hoping to use her internet fame and 80 years of culinary experience to save the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM), the “gold standard” of compassionate medical cannabis collectives, which was co-founded by her daughter Valerie.
Since helping to pass California’s groundbreaking medical marijuana law in 1996, WAMM has spent 20 years growing low-cost or no-cost cannabis for seriously ill patients who are otherwise unable to afford medicine. But now—after surviving a DEA raid in 2002, and two weeks later handing out free marijuana to terminally ill members on the steps of City Hall, and then successfully suing the federal government—WAMM faces the loss of the land where they grow their medicine. That could mean the end of the collective forever, cutting hundreds of seriously ill patients off from their only supply.
In response, they’ve launched a #SaveWAMM campaign to keep WAMM on their land and growing for their members. And naturally, the top perk for the crowdfunding campaign is a package that includes “spending a day touring WAMM’s 20-year-old medical cannabis garden, learning about organic outdoor cultivation, meeting WAMM members (including co-founder Valerie Corral), and enjoying a medicated Italian feast prepared and served by 92-Year old ‘Queen of Weed Cuisine’ Nonna Marijuana.”
“WAMM is truly a life’s blood for so many who would not be here today without that wonderful organization,” Nonna tells MUNCHIES. “I will always do anything I can to support my daughter Valerie’s passion to help those most in need.”
In addition to her signature dishes, Nonna says she looks forward to working with her guests to create a special menu culled from her extensive repertoire of hand-made THC-infused Italian favorites, including risotto Milanese; polenta with red sauce; pasta and fava beans in pesto sauce; ravioli; stuffed artichokes; and fried and stuffed calamari, to name a few.
“These intimate dinners will be limited to just eight guests per seating, and only legal medical marijuana patients in California can sample the cannabis-infused food,” Nonna says. “I know not everyone can make it to our garden, or afford to be so generous, so I’m offering my risotto Milanese recipe for MUNCHIES to publish for free, in hopes you’ll make it yourself at home and then donate whatever you can afford if you like it!”