Look Back, Look Forward: Baked Smart

By Mat Lee

Leah D’Ambrosio
Chief Operating Officer, Baked Smart

In the July issue of the CannaBiz Journal, Cheryl K. Smith wrote a fantastic article about a Portland, Oregon, woman named Leah D’Ambrosio. If you recall, her company Baked Smart was spreading the word of their edible and cannabis-specific decals. Business has been excellent since then, but what do you focus on once you’ve become successful? In normal, non-federally scheduled industry the focus would be on the next big thing in your space. But this isn’t normal; this is the cannabis industry—potentially a multi-billion dollar industry, once the full market potential is allowed to come to fruition.

Because each state has its own rules and regulations on how cannabis may be packaged, labeled and sold, the next step for a successful canna-business is to stay on top of each emerging market as it comes into existence, then either help guide, or tailor your packaging and decals to those state-specific rules. It sounds like a fragmented mess, but amidst the chaos, something rather appealing and borderline beautiful happens: Order, organization and precedent. It’s a fantastic feeling when you have a hand in shaping rules that allow people to consume cannabis in a safe and responsible manner.

For those who didn’t catch the first article about Leah in the July issue, Baked Smart is a distributor of edible decals. They make an edible decal called the Cannacal, which allows people to easily label cannabis edibles. They also have transfers that work perfectly for chocolate or other edibles that you don’t want to put a decal on.

In some states some sort of labeling is mandatory. In others, where it’s not mandatory, the idea is still a good one. The more you can future-proof your cannabis business in line with rules and regulations in the majority of legal cannabis states, the better off you will be once more states opt in and implement similar laws.

Leah also has a small edible company in Portland called Sconed, which makes toffee. She says they have been putting green crosses on all of their toffee pieces, even since before the beginning of the recreational market. She says, “This is a really important piece for us because when we started our edible company, that’s how we started Baked Smart. We didn't want our edible out there for someone to accidentally ingest.”

Since July, Leah said that she’s had lots of positive feedback from consumers about the green cross transfer and decals. Now they are working on home kits. Leah says this will be an easy way for people at home to bake green crosses onto any edible product, from chocolate to gummies to cookies and cakes.

Leah has also had numerous edibles companies from other states reach out at the Marijuana Business Conference she attended in Las Vegas, Nevada. Happy Seed in Santa Cruz, California, was the first company to use these decals in the market there. Those who live in Nevada or Vermont will see Baked Smart decals and transfers coming soon!

Businesses aren’t the only parties interested in Baked Smart. Leah says, “We’ve been reaching out to government bodies to try to let them know that there is an option, whether they use Cannacals, a printer or wafer paper. Whatever it is, you can mark edibles, and you can put at least one protective layer between children and adults accidentally consuming it.”

Looking ahead to the new year, Leah said they will introduce Cannatats. These transferscan be used to mark shatter, so people will know that it’s medicated and not just a piece of candy. All of these can also be custom-designed with a logo or whatever you like. They also do not change the taste of what the product.

Leah expressed concern with new testing rules in Oregon in October 2016. She has seen problems they caused firsthand. She says that dispensaries she’s visited recently had no concentrates or edibles on their shelves. This has been hard for a lot of people. Jobs have been lost and doors have been closed because of this. Leah says, “There are some dispensaries that went under, and that to me was a tragedy, because it could have been avoided had they done what they are doing now before October 1.”

It’s a good lesson to learn. The cannabis industry isn’t always the golden goose a lot of people dream it is. This is a very real industry like any other, and when pouring your life savings into starting such a business, only to have it ripped away because the local lawmakers can’t seem to figure out how best to control it, is a tragedy. As an industry we have to stay united and push forward, teaching and educating as we go.

Leah said, “Ninety percent of the people that i’ve met in this industry, they’re about helping each other, they’re about making connections, they’re about helping medical patients. Of course people want to make money, but it’s such a wonderful community of people and of all different walks of life. It’s so great ... It’s really nice to help support each other in that community. Deep down we all want everybody to succeed because there is enough room for us all to succeed.”

Leah said we have to get rid of overbearing packaging laws. “That puts a huge strain on edible companies. If you have an edible company, you have your money go toward packaging, testing, ingredients, security, so by the time you sell your product you’re really not making that much. We really have to make it easier for people to make money, and I think that Cannacals can at least help bring maybe some lessening of the packaging rules. Maybe we don’t have to have childproof packages that are completely childproof every time you open [them], like here in Oregon for [recreational cannabis].”