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A Hemp-Infused Taco Shop Has Opened in the Arts District

Medtillas doesn’t go full cannabis, and serves traditional tacos without hemp

Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

It’s 2018 in Los Angeles, so its fitting that a taco stand recently opened selling hemp-infused tortillas. Medtillas debuted last week in the Arts District and serves Sinaloa-style tacos that can be served with traditional corn tortillas, or ones infused with non-psychoactive hemp.

Medtillas owners are Chris Vaca, Robert Donovan, and Betsey Leon. Donovan came prepared to open Medtillas: he owns a hydroponic supply shop in the same building, and has a good working relationship with his landlord. Leon’s family tortilla recipe from Sinaloa is the basis of the restaurant. Medtillas is their first eatery together.

Upon first inspection, Medtillas has the appearance of a takeout-only taco shop. The only difference is their selection of tortillas, which are individually pan-fried, and offer some hemp-infused shells that won’t get you stoned. Donovan has been testing the menu on customers, who are still a bit wary of any type of cannabis in their food. As a result, Medtillas sells hemp tortillas only in prepackaged form, while offering three more traditional non-hemp tacos: potato, shredded beef, and vegetarian. They also serve Hemp2O, an organic vitamin drink beverage.

Donovan believes customers are not well-educated about certain cannabis products, and many thought they would get stoned eating Medtillas. “People are not prepared yet,” says Donovan. “You see hemp extracts everywhere, or even hemp protein powder. But there’s a lot of confusion about what it is.”

The Medtillas name implies that that there might be some medical benefit to the products. Local cannabis businesses are in the same boat, by applying the very new state law to their products. The Medtillas team was very careful about making any type of assertion by placing an all caps disclaimer on their website, “All Hemp containing products are made from industrially processed hemp seed oil, and contain no THC or any psychoactive components. Per FDA regulations, we do not make any claim as to any medicinal benefit of these products, and they are not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease.”

Medtillas is around the corner from Villain’s Tavern, and is poised for good foot traffic, as soon as the unfinished Metro station is completed. Hours run daily from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

1335 Willow Street
Los Angeles, CA