A power luncheon for women in the marijuana business took place Friday in one of Seattle’s highest locations – the top of the Columbia Tower, where dozens of women in the cannabis business gathered to talk shop and exchange recipes.
A.C. Braddock is CEO of Eden Labs, which makes extraction equipment. These days 90 percent of her business is from clients making high-potency marijuana concentrates.
“Pretty much all of our clients are men,” Braddock said, “which is great, I love men, nothing wrong with men, but my interaction with women over the years has become smaller and smaller until this group.”
Braddock said the women entrepreneurs at this lunch really do bring a different vision for legal marijuana in Washington.
It’s not just about the potency. They’re excited about “creating products that are more palatable for people who just don’t want to get really, really stoned — for patients,” Braddock said. “More of a champagne instead of an Everclear kind of mentality.”
There were audible sighs in this audience as Braddock described a recent “tasting” event that featured blackberry kush marijuana extract paired with chocolate-filled raspberries. These women seeking state licenses trade visions of future retail stores.
Stesha Ries said she has trained as a sommelier and plans to create a pairings menu for her future retail store in Everett. One product will be a sorbet called tangerine dream.
“We’re going to work on infusing that sorbet and making it with that so it has that same smell," she said. "We’ll use fresh tangerine juice and then we’ll do the extraction process and add it in.”
“It” being a strain of marijuana that complements the tangerine flavor. Ries said pairings can refer to foods infused with marijuana, or a strain of marijuana that is recommended to go with a separate dish. Ries’s backers have that covered as well.
“You can visit the seven restaurants we own also and we have things we’ve made specifically to go with this,” she said.
Ries works for a family in Snohomish County that runs several restaurants. She said they are bracing for some controversy when their longtime customers learn they are entering the marijuana business.
“I mean 24 years in the same location, people come and visit us for lunch, they know all of us by name, they know the family by name. Some people are going to frown on it,” she said.
And yet these women say they can’t move fast enough to obtain their licenses and respond to public demand. Jessica Jordan is in line to open a retail store in Everett. Her aspirations include an adjoining lounge where people can also use the marijuana they bought.
“Just a place where people can hang out and if we get a food truck outside, bring your food up and your product and enjoy yourself,” she said. That's not something state regulators are currently allowing.
But opening the stores is the first step. The women predict an initial shortage of approved marijuana as legal supply tries to keep up.