A Delaware-based medical marijuana company that has opened a state-of-the-art cannabis edible kitchen in Wilmington expects to bring a new line of THC-infused consumables to market in the coming weeks.
First State Compassion was Delaware’s first licensed medical marijuana distribution center and operates the state’s largest cannabis growing facility.
The company has a 47,000-square-foot facility in Wilmington with 19 marijuana cultivation rooms, an extraction lab and a dispensary. The facility opened in June 2015 and a second dispensary in Lewes opened in 2017.
With its newest facility — the highly secure edible kitchen — First State will begin offering consumable cannabis products including Betty’s Eddies™ fruit-chews, Bubby’s Baked™ cookie bites and “Vibations” cannabis-infused drink mix.
Haley Schell, First State’s regional director of retail and marketing, said the company became interested in manufacturing edible products because many medical marijuana patients get better relief by ingesting cannabis.
Some are turned off by smoking or need to take their medication when smoking isn’t practical, so ingestibles offer a different consumption method, she said.
“We need to make products available for individuals who want to be able to function throughout their day,” Schell explained. “Some may have to go to work but they’re in chronic pain, so they may want to have a small edible dose and take it similar to how they would with a prescription drug.”
Betty’s Eddies is a national brand owned by Massachusetts-based MariMed Inc. That company partners with manufacturers like First State to create its organic fruit chew taffies. The products are vegan, lactose-free and dairy-free and are made with real flash-frozen fruits and vegetables.
The recipes for the products remain consistent everywhere, but because regulations relating to cannabis products vary state-to-state, Betty’s Eddies are manufactured with varying degrees of potency depending on local laws.
In Delaware, Betty’s Eddies will be sold as singles, each with 10 milligrams of THC, and also as packages of five for a total of 50 milligrams — the state maximum. The singles will go for $4 apiece and the pack of five will sell for $20.
Flavors include Smashin’ Passion, Tango for a Peachy Mango, Berry Good Things, Elderbetty, O’ My Grapeness, Orange You Beautiful, Little Lemon Heaven, Lime a Good Person and Bedtime Betty’s, which are infused with melatonin.
Bedtime Betty’s will cost $5 for a single and $22 for a five-pack.
Schell explained that the edibles are infused with THC using whole-plant cannabis oil. That oil isn’t generally available in different strains, including Sativa or Indica strains, so First State will incorporate elements like melatonin and different ratios of THC to CBD to achieve desired effects.
Bubby’s Baked, another national brand owned by MariMed, is a line of THC-infused baked goods that includes products like brownie bites, chocolate chip bites and snickerdoodle bites.
The cookie bites will sell in packs of five — also for $20.
Along with the fruit chews and cookie bites, First State Compassion plans to introduce Vibations, a water-soluble cannabis-infused beverage powder that will be able to be dissolved in water similarly to Crystal Light packets.
The company couldn’t offer edibles from the get-go because when medical marijuana became legal in Delaware, edibles were not included among the products companies could manufacture and sell.
“We had to wait for them to write regulations around them, which takes time because they need to figure out the dosing that they’re comfortable with, how many can be in a pack and what exactly they’re going to allow as far as what kinds of edibles can be sold,” Schell said.
And while those regulations can limit the products that companies can bring to market, they’re often good for consumers.
“If alcohol didn’t have any regulations, you would still be seeing a lot of drinks being made in not-so-good ways that could make you feel a lot different than if you just had a beer,” she said.
That’s also why the company is dedicated to making products with varying degrees of potency — or at least selling products in multi-piece packages that allow the consumer to choose how much they want to consume.
While recreational marijuana still isn’t legal in Delaware, First State has positioned itself to enter that market when the time comes.
That could be soon.
A new bill to legalize the cultivation, sale and possession of marijuana in Delaware is likely to make its way before the General Assembly this year.
House Bill 305 — also known as the Delaware Marijuana Control Act — builds on last year’s House Bill 150, which was released from committee but never heard on the House floor.
The bill would allow adults over the age of 21 to legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use, though it would not permit people to grow their own marijuana.
“Our goal has always been to offer our products to as many people as possible,” Schell said. “We would love to offer our products for adult recreational use and reach more than just our medical patients — but we have to to wait to see what the final bill is going to look like.”
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