By Diana Smith
This month the state of Washington expects to open its retail marijuana shops, and in a state known for its coffee, it only makes sense that there is a new line of caffeinated cannabis drinks waiting to hit shelves.
Mirth Provisions, the beverage company that declares to “establish unprecedented chillness, promote widespread joy, and secure the blessings of euphoria for ourselves and our buds,” is behind the marijuana-infused cold coffees that go under the witty name Legal.
Adam Stites, Mirth’s founder in Longview, Wash., began developing the concept for the bottled brews about eight months ago, playing around at home with different roasts in a French press and researching ways to infuse it. “It’s always been kind of an interest of mine,” he said.
The coffees are cold brew, which creates a smoother, less acidic beverage, and are infused with sativa, a type of cannabis that tends to be more psychoactive due to its higher THC concentration by volume, Stites explained. “So that pairs very well with the caffeine.” And while the locally grown cannabis is definitely discernable, he said, its flavor is not too strong. Stites added that both cannabis and coffee are rich, earthy flavors, making the two “very complimentary.”
The taste is described a little more playfully on Mirth’s website, stating that its regular black coffee is the “John Wayne of cold-brews,” and comparing its milk and sugar blend to that of “riding a cool avalanche of pure deliciousness down a tall mountain and landing in an ocean of good feelings.”
Might sound eccentric to some unfamiliar with edibles and drinkables, but when asked if this is something that people new to marijuana should try, Stites said, “The answer is an absolute yes.” Each coffee drink comes with 20 milligrams of THC, an amount, Stites said, that shouldn’t be overwhelming even for someone of moderate stature.
Even so, Mirth’s founder advised that people new to the product should start off by drinking half the bottle and then wait an hour to see how they feel before proceeding. Consumers should expect to feel the first effects after about 45 minutes and the entire experience will last about 2 hours. “It’s an alert, creative high,” Stites told The Huffington Post.
Marijuana Plant via Shutterstock
The 11.5-ounce bottles are expected to retail in stores between $9-$11, along with Mirth’s line of natural sodas, which contain 10 milligrams of THC and are made from fruit sourced in Washington. That is, once the retail stores are up and running. “That’s the primary limiting factor for us right now,” Stites told The Culture-ist in June. “We need customers.”
Back in 2012 Washington voters passed the initiative to make marijuana legal for citizens 21 and over, but consumers have had to wait to legally make their purchases. Unlike Colorado, which enabled its medical marijuana dispensaries to serve recreational customers at the start of this year, Washington, due in part to its complicated laws surrounding its dispensaries, will only allow for the sale of recreational marijuana through specified retail stores, which will operate similar to liquor stores. The state of Washington, however, is issuing licenses to approximately 20 retailers on July 7, and shops may open as early as July 8.
“Everybody is doing this for the first time,” explained Stites. “State Government has never opened a marijuana retail store. State Government has never worked with a marijuana licensee who is also a food processor.” But despite any challenges that have come with pioneering the new industry, Stites went on to say that the process has nevertheless been pretty exciting, not only for Mirth Provisions but also for the folks at the Liquor Control Board and the Department of Agriculture, who Mirth has been working with in order to become an approved processing facility. “We’re creating a system from the ground up,” Stites said about Washington’s marijuana retail system. “I think once the system is up it’s going to be the model for the world.”
And cheers to that.
About the Writer
Diana Smith is a Brooklyn-based writer and photographer originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to her travels in Europe, she has also explored the US, adventuring from coast to coast and back again by way of the road. When Diana isn’t road-tripping she volunteers with a non-profit AIDS organization in New York City. Diana holds a BA in film and media studies from the University of California-Irvine and an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. To view more excerpts from her travels visit RoadsAmerica.com or find her on Twitter @Roads_America.
Feature photo of Coffee with Marijuana Leaf via Shutterstock