Think back to the 90s: It’s summer. You haven’t had to think about school or homework for weeks. You’ve been skateboarding all day in the 7-11 parking lot. It’s 90 degrees in the shade. You head into the shop to find something to cool your thirst. You reach for an Arizona Iced Tea.
Now think about today. Work is stressing you out. There’s no such thing as summer break anymore. You don’t know when you’ll have the time to take a vacation anytime soon. The day is over and you need something to help chill you out. Again, you reach for an Arizona Iced Tea.
That’s because everyone’s favorite producer of 99-cent iced-tea tallboys is partnering with Dixie, a Denver-based cannabis company, to begin producing weed-infused products. They’ll start with gummies and vapes, and (ideally) move on to beverages.
Arizona is already known as one of the more popular brands to spoof when you’re making a secret stash container, so maybe this type of partnership was inevitable. But it won’t be without challenges, according to one expert.
“Dixie is licensed in a number of states, and these products would have to comply with regulations in every state that they’re sold,” Sam Kamin, a professor of marijuana law at the University of Denver told VICE last year. “Arizona Iced Tea is going to have to adjust to a situation where it’s making the product in the state where it will be sold, and that’s certainly a different economic model than most beverage companies are familiar with.”
Still, As state-level legalizations and decriminalizations rise, so too does the appeal of the cannabis marketplace to companies that might not have considered offering weed products before. Many brands won’t see cannabis culture as compatible with their image, but as social attitudes toward weed relax, many others will want to broaden their scope.
In fact, more companies than just Arizona have been openly considering moving into the legal marijuana marketplace:
- Coke and Pepsi. Coke, one of the world’s most-recognized brands, has discussed the possibility of creating cannabis-infused drinks with Aurora, a publicly-traded pot company based in Canada. And Pepsi has told CNBC regarding investing in cannabis: “We’ll look at it critically.” Nobody’s expecting to see Coke Chronic on the shelves anytime soon, though; indeed, if these companies did begin selling cannabis products, there’s no guarantee they’d market them under the parent brand name.
- Lagunitas and Coors. Lagunitas is a Northern California brewery, currently owned by Heineken, that offers Hi FI Hops, a cannabis beverage. While not technically beer, it’s beer-flavored and weed-powered, with as much as 10mg of THC per bottle. It’s also in keeping with Lagunitas’ ethic and overall brand power; the brewery’s founders have long been proponents of legalization. Meanwhile, Molson Coors is developing cannabis-infused drinks in Canada.
- Diageo. You’ve probably never heard of the London-headquartered beverage firm Diageo, but you’ve almost certainly heard of many of the liquor brands it owns: Guinness, Johnnie Walker and Tanqueray are just a few. Like most of the companies on this list, Diageo isn’t admitting to any concrete plans, but its CEO, Ivan Menezes, told The Guardian that “we just want to understand the consumer behavior.”
- Coffee. OK, technically this isn’t a non-weed company infusing its product with cannabis, but a startup aiming to blend two fantastic stimulants together. Brewbudz coffee pods mix cannabis with actual coffee and are compatible with Keurig coffee makers, if you’re looking to add a buzz to your buzz. (But if you can’t get access to this product, you can make cannabis coffee on your own at home.)
- Ben & Jerry’s. Last year Vermont’s most famous creamery announced a commitment to making CBD-infused ice cream… as soon as weed is legalized nationwide. That’s not a timeline anyone’s going to set their watch by. On the other hand, is there another company more ready to jump feet-first into legal cannabis than the hippiest of hippie ice creams? Also worth noting: Ben & Jerry’s strong commitment to cannabis justice.
While we wait for those companies to arrive on the marketplace with their sure-to-be-amazing cannabis projects, let’s fantasize about a few other companies we’d like to see dip a toe into legal weed:
- McCormick. McCormick is probably best known for its spices, but they also make a variety of gravy and sauce mixes (usually found in the same supermarket aisle). Cannabis gravy is a fantastic idea – the earthy flavor of buds is a potentially perfect addition to the spices usually found in gravy recipes, and since gravy is basically a condiment, it’d be easy to manage your dosage. Kiva Confections was first to the market with this product, introducing it in Thanksgiving 2019, when it made a splash among weed enthusiasts. McCormicks’ gravy mixes are the gold standard for anyone who doesn’t feel like making their own from scratch, and it’d be a perfect culinary vessel for cannabinoids.
- Bertolli. One of the biggest producers of olive oil on the market, Bertolli could introduce cannabis-infused oil for cooking and bread-dipping. As with gravy, the terpenes in many strains of pot could complement the flavors we normally pair with olive oil perfectly.
- Skittles. This one’s a little dangerous, mostly because a bag of skittles is so addictive. It’d be easy to down the whole thing in one sitting the THC would have to be in pretty low doses per individual Skittle, just to keep things modular for people who want to microdose.
- Starbucks. CBD lattes became popular quickly, and as it’s essentially legal at the federal level, there’s no reason a huge coffee company like Stabucks couldn’t craft a whole line of CBD beverages. Some states have stronger prohibitions against CBD, but that shouldn’t stop tasty, relaxing coffee drinks from being available in the ones that allow it.
- Those Little Honey Bears. There aren’t a lot of really popular brands of honey, but given the popularity of the iconic bear-shaped containers as makeshift bongs, honey sellers would be missing a major opportunity. That’s a ready-made audience for cannabis-infused honey!