Do You Take Your Coffee With Cream, Sugar—or THC?

Get ready for marijuana-laced cold brew, Washington state.

(Photo: George Marks/Getty Images)

Jun 5, 2014· 2 MIN READ
Jason Best is a regular contributor to TakePart who has worked for Gourmet and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Looking to add a little more buzz to your morning buzz? Well, you might just want to pack up and head to Washington state, where the aptly named company Mirth is poised to launch marijuana-laced cold-brewed coffee.

It’s an invention that wouldn’t seem to need much of a sales pitch: Just say, “THC... in your coffee,” to a roomful of stoners, sit back, and wait for the collective “Duuuude...” But Mirth has put some marketing muscle behind its (also aptly named) Legal drinks, which include the aforementioned headline-grabbing coffee as well as three sparkling juice–flavored bevs: Rainier Cherry, Lemon Ginger, and Pomegranate (because why not get an antioxidant boost with your high?).

Company founder and Legal creator Adam Stiles, from Longview, Wash., compares imbibing the drinks to “a nice IPA or glass of wine.” He tells The Huffington Post, “We don’t want to pack so much THC into every one of our drinks that it’s unpleasant, especially for people who are just getting into marijuana.”

A lot of THC-infused products that have hit the market in the wake of pot’s legalization in Washington and Colorado look like decidedly ad-hoc affairs, with packaging that might charitably be described as “homespun.” But not Legal. There’s the hip, vaguely craft beer–inspired bottles and labeling; the squeaky-clean website; and the simple, declarative tagline that wouldn’t be out of place in a multimillion-dollar ad campaign for Red Bull or Teavana: “Pursue happiness.”

Then there’s the company’s chief pitch man, Stiles, who’s clearly set his sights on the bigger picture, positioning his product as both unique and legit. “I don’t think there’s anyone else out there doing cold brew with cannabis,” he tells Seattle Weekly. “It’s certainly not like you show up with an eighth and a cup of Starbucks. There are various extraction methods and levels of refinement we go through in the process.”

He’s also pretty savvy about looking to build market share, eyeing customers far beyond your stereotypical stoner crowd. “You know, I imagine being with my parents at a picnic,” he says in the same interview. “I wouldn’t want to say, ‘Hey, Mom and Dad, want to smoke a joint?’ But they would probably be much more inclined to drink a soda or coffee with me, just like you might drink a beer or some wine.”

So, you know, there you have it—the gateway drug for Mom and Dad. Get ’em started now, and by Christmas you might all be hunkering down for a Dumb and Dumber marathon around the holiday bong, covered in Christmas cookie crumbs.

Of course, to legitimately expand market share, your product has to be, well, legit. The bottles may say, “It’s Legal,” but the truth is, it’s not—at least not quite yet. Despite that Washington residents voted for legalization in 2012, the state’s efforts to come up with a framework to regulate marijuana sales have been something of a mess. Unlike Colorado, which already had a system in place to govern the sale and distribution of medical marijuana (and where sales for recreational use began promptly on Jan. 1), Washington’s medicinal operations have existed in something of a legal Twilight Zone—legal but not entirely legal, who knows? With no good regulatory framework in place, state officials have had to scramble to build one from scratch.

Word on the street is that recreational sales might begin by July—with a little luck, just in time to pursue some Legal happiness on the Fourth.