Both cannabis and food are already rolling their way across the city, but if the team behind Mellow has it their way, Angelenos could get both delivered in one frozen, sweet treat.
The new cannabis brand, set to launch in dispensaries by Valentine’s Day, aims to become the first ice cream company that’s compliant with California’s ever-evolving marijuana regulations, meaning the possibility of one very exciting thing for stoners: weed ice cream.
Before you clear up some freezer space, not so fast: While shelf-stable edibles are legal throughout the state, frozen infused products are another thing entirely, and lack any sort of regulation. It’s a new frontier and until laws are passed—which Mellow hopes will occur sometime in 2021—L.A. will have to wait a bit longer for THC- and CBD-infused pints of ice cream. But starting next month, Angelenos can at least bank on sampling Mellow’s first phase of infused shelf-stable ice cream toppings and syrups to be added to the brand’s non-infused ice creams, or, you know, your favorite pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
“When things sit and they’re cold, potencies can change and [legislators] are still not sure how that works,” says co-founder Jesse Bride. “We watch the news with bated breath for things to change because we can’t wait to get our products out, but at the same time, we understand that it’s a safety thing for these states and we’re all just about waiting patiently.”
But Mellow—founded in 2019 by Bride and long-time friend Enrique Gonzalez—is about much more than waiting patiently, and it’s also about more than imbibing for fun. After both entrepreneurs witnessed loved ones endure cancer, and specifically the difficulty in battling pain and consuming food, the two conceptualized a product to help make cannabis more palatable and calorie-efficient.
“We measure our success by different things, and one of those things is impact,” says Gonzales. “We figure: What better kind of change to help promote in some way, if it’s not pain relief?”
While the team works out of commercial kitchens, they’re laying the groundwork to eventually scale the product in a way that would work for the medical field, namely by purchasing and renting medical-grade equipment and facilities.
“I think if we could have naturally gone directly into the medical industry, we would have, but we had to build a company and we had to get money together,” Bride says. “We had to make something successful first that would open the doors to even get people to look at us in that space.”
The brand is working with Chino’s Scott Brothers Dairy to source non-homogenized cream for their base, and will offer three flavors—though currently only the non-infused option for each is currently legal: mint chocolate chip, Tahitian vanilla peanut butter cup, and Himalayan sea salt with caramel, and the team is already testing sorbets and other non-dairy options, too. But until then—and set to start next month—you might find a THC- or CBD-infused sauce in flavors such as caramel syrup or peanut butter at your favorite L.A. dispensary.
California will be Mellow’s first market, but the team also hopes to enter to Nevada, New Jersey and Illinois, constantly monitoring states’ shifting legalizations and regulations and making changes and plans as the field evolves.
Bride and Gonzalez enlisted the aid of their friend Chris Cornish, who’s heading up the West Coast operations and manning a fleet of Teslas with freezers built into their trunks to deliver across L.A. in style. Eventually the team hopes to roll out large-scale, roving ice cream trucks that traverse the state from the Bay Area down to Los Angeles, where the cannabis curious can track them on a map to find them perhaps parked in front of a dispensary for events, or near the beach. There might be creamsicles or other nostalgia-driven specials, there provided they’re never confused with kid-friendly fare.
“We love that classic ice cream culture and we want to bring that back,” says Bride. “We also didn’t want to make it too kid-friendly, of course. We thought about that when branding and tried to go along more of a sophisticated brand profile. It’s almost impossible to not smile when you see ice cream cones, but at the same time, we’re going to safety around that so it looks like a version of luxury, and medical almost.”
Each pint contains five servings, with either 80mg of CBD or 10mg of THC; how much you’d eat would be up to you, so take note for self-control reasons. Wishing for a more potent dose? Mellow’s also planning on launching packs of both indica- and sativa-forward pre-rolled joints—made with California-grown bud—for those who want something a bit more traditional.
Cannabis-infused ice cream itself may still be out of reach, but for cannabis lovers looking to sample Mellow’s treats as early as mid-February, this could be sweet news.
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