Photo courtesy of Dr. Robert’s Bakery
Dr. Robert’s Bakery’s extra strength brownie
These are interesting times to be in the consumable cannabis business.
Recreational marijuana is legal in California (yay!), but the state is still working on implementing the licensing process for businesses that want to sell weed.
One of those businesses is Dr. Robert’s Bakery, a local bakery that has specialized in medical marijuana edibles since 2012, but is hoping to capitalize on an expected cannabis boom next year when it becomes legal to buy and sell weed in the state. Dr. Robert sells his bud-packed baked goods at more than 30 dispensaries and deliveries between here and San Francisco. He hopes to go bigger, much bigger, by this time next year.
“We are geared up and ready for 2018 when recreational sales are legal,” Robert says. “Another nice change is we can now gift our edibles to baristas or good friends in the restaurant industry without the stigma it once had.”
It’s not that hard to figure out that Dr. Robert is not, in fact, a real M.D., but a professional chef with 30 years of experience. During that time, he also grew marijuana for 17 years, and made cannabis cookies for friends and family. The bakery biz started in 2012 after a series of events that led him to it.
“After some health issues in 2008, I started eating more edibles rather than smoking the cannabis,” he says. “Out of the blue, I had received a call from a friend who had a friend with a lot of cannabis trim and wondered if I had any interest. We connected and many experiments later, my first professional cannabis edible was born and we decided to make a business of it.”
Dr. Robert has eight items on his menu, from vegan granola clusters to an extra strength chocolate brownie. The goods are all medical grade that are cooked for certain effects, such as relieving pain. He expects to offer different versions for the recreational market.
“I’ve found that a hybrid works best for flavor and potency,” he says. “When it goes rec we will be making more low-dose edibles between 5-20 mg of THC with a mix of indica with sativa. If we were to use only indica, people would have too much of a sedative effect. A sativa-only brownie wouldn’t have enough effect.”
Experts believe the edibles market could be the big force driving the future pot market since eating pot doesn’t have the dangers associated with smoking or the smell. However, the good doctor warns newbies not to bite off more than they can chew—literally.
“If someone hasn’t eaten a pot edible, I recommend our peanut butter cookie because it is one of the lowest doses we make and it tastes like it should—like Grandma used to make,” Robert says. “Eating an edible is completely different and long lasting. We would like people to start off taking smaller 25 mg portions and not overdo it, even though they taste so delicious and you really want to eat the whole brownie.”
Though Dr. Robert is excited about the future, in many ways, he and other cannabis-oriented businesses are in limbo.
“For us, licensing could be easier if we knew where to purchase or lease a building before the real estate prices go sky high,” he says. “We have no idea what the prices of licensing will be.”
Currently, Robert and staff work out of a home kitchen; the city hasn’t told them where they can rent, lease or build a professional kitchen.
“Our home kitchen is brand new and cleaner than most restaurant kitchens I’ve worked in,” he says. “We’ve tried to be as transparent as we can be with taxes, lawyers, CPAs, etc., but on a personal level, it’s very stressful.
“With restaurants, you have guidelines. In the cannabis industry, we don’t have guidelines that we can depend on, yet. Dr. Robert’s Bakery is hoping to grow into a multi-million dollar company in California and into the rest of the country when legal.”