Why We Can’t Make Coffee Yet (and Why We’re Not Mad About It)

On July 8th, 2014, Washington made history when the first 24 marijuana retailers opened their doors and let the masses in to purchase weed legally. It was an awesome day—I was at the block party outside my neighborhood’s brand new pot shop, Main Street Marijuana, to celebrate this momentous occasion with A LOT of my fellow Washingtonians (check out the video I took). But amidst the festivities, you might have noticed that Legal sodas and coffees were nowhere to be found. In fact, no edibles and drinkables whatsoever were available on the big opening day.

And there’s a reason for that. Well, two, actually.

1) Washington is building the recreational marijuana industry from scratch.

As you may have heard through the media storm around legalization, our state has taken the slow and steady approach to getting this new industry up and running. In contrast to Colorado’s decision to sell recreational cannabis through existing medical dispensaries, which put them on the fast track to a lot of profit (and, unfortunately, a lot of problems), Washington elected to launch a completely separate market. I’ve always thought this was a smart choice, and I still do. But the challenges associated with this approach have definitely slowed our company’s process down significantly. For example, no edibles processors were able to get licensed in time for July 8th, hence the absence of sodas and coffees from pot shop shelves.

2) The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) is playing it safe.

Really, really safe. Their latest set of emergency rules has put regulations in place that ban pasteurization, refrigeration and canning. Unfortunately, these precautions make it impossible for us to make cannabis-infused coffees at this time.

Does that mean there will never be a Legal cold brew coffee, or that there will be no edibles in the Washington market? No way! It actually means that our government and the WSLCB are taking necessary precautions to make sure edibles and drinkables, which have a very different effect on the body than smoking, can be enjoyed to the fullest. We respect that. We think the key to having fun with our product is knowing your limits and imbibing responsibly, so the WSLCB’s approach resonates with our philosophy.

That said, we believe that the marijuana edibles processors in Washington should be allowed to play by the same rules as any other food producer. We’re more than happy to comply with regulations that make our beverages safer for our consumers, but we don’t think banning pasteurization and canning is the way to make that happen. We think the WSLCB will recognize that soon, too, and when they do, we’ll be excited and ready to make our cold brew coffees.

In the meantime, we have awesome news: we finally received our processor’s license! And that means we’re making a lot of sodas. Though they haven’t garnered as much media attention, we are equally proud of these tasty sparkling concoctions. We make our sodas from all natural ingredients, with no corn syrup or other freaky additives, and we use local fruit whenever we can. Stay tuned here or through our e-mail newsletter so you can be one of the first to try them.

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