By Mat Lee
Nasty Jack’s started out as a black licorice maker and seller, as well as a packager. They sold regular candy that was considered very good. When medical marijuana started taking off in Washington, they were approached about packaging medical marijuana edibles. The company making the request also loved Nasty Jack's candy, and suggested they infuse it with cannabis—which they did. Rather than try to figure out what cannabis-infused product to sell, they simply infused their cannabis into the candy they were making and it got even better.
Nasty Jack’s 10 mg Malt Balls were a popular item in the Washington medical marijuana market.
Once the medical program ended on July 1, 2016, the company had a difficult transition. Charles, head candy maker at Nasty Jack’s, said, “You just have to make sure you get your name out there, and make sure people remember you from the medical market. You’re reaching out to a lot of brand new customers who don’t know you from the medical market. It’s about encouraging a lot of people [who] remember you to be your champion.”
He continued, “The best is when you go into a store, and you’re giving them a sample and one of their customers [who] remembers you from medical comes in and tells the person at the counter all about it. You know you’ve done good then.”
The company has a sublingual candy coming out soon for the Washington I-502 recreational market.
Dan Farnham, cannabis candy salesman for Nasty Jack’s, says, “I want people to try the product. You’re going to eat this, it's going to taste great, you're going to know what it does and, at that point, you’re going to tell everybody you know about it.”
Dan says, “We’ve just now been opened up into an educational sampling thing for the people who carry our products. The initial thought here is when [it is[ educational you have to give them a class. No, no. The product gives the class. I could sit here and tell you something, or I could hand you something, and now you know.”
When asked about what dosage they normally recommend to people, Charles said that his wife thinks it is an intensely personal experience. Ten mg is different to everyone. He recommends that people start slow. They can always add more.
Dan also spoke about the difficulty for cannabis patients who have had to make the switch from a known medical dispensary to a recreational one. Before he became a cannabis candy salesman, he was a small medical cannabis provider. He offered a very personal service with the cannabis and tinctures he created, and he was passionate about strain genetics and different terpene profiles in the various strains he grew.
I asked Dan if he thought about becoming a grower for a recreational company before getting into the candy business. Dan said, “I don’t know if I have the confidence to be able to jump into the recreational side. It’s one of those things that when you make a mistake, you’re making a mistake to the tune of 60 grand. At my max, I was doing a 45-plant rotation, with no more than 10 in a cycle at a certain time. I’ve never done something the size of some of these rec grows, and it freaks me out.”
Dan says, “I miss my medical grow, but this is the evolution of the market the way the people decided it should go, right or wrong. So I can be mad at the market, or I can embrace the market and try to make it the best I can. That’s where I have to go. Yeah, it’s a recreational market. I believe in the medical market, I love the medical market. But, this is the way it is now, so let’s roll with it. Let’s run this the best we can and see where it goes.”
Dan and Charles have known each other for over 25 years. Dan says, “I work with one of my best friends every single day. Life isn’t all that bad. Do I miss growing my plants? Yes, I do. Do I hope every single day that we get a personal grow caveat in the recreational side? Oh, my, yes.”
Charles says, “Washington, unfortunately, pitted their medical industry against their recreational industry, when they should have been holding hands and marching to the finish line together.”
Although the distant future is uncertain, in the near future, keep an eye out for a line of suck-don’t-chew hard candies in four different flavors: cinnamon, green apple, root beer and raspberry. There is also a peanut butter malt ball coming soon. They will be in the recreational market in Washington at a shop near you. If you have a favorite shop you frequent, make sure to tell them to contact Dan at Nasty Jack’s!