Ted Youngs isn’t a big fan of empty spaces.
You can see his influence while walking around Pure Joy Family Farm, an indoor cannabis farm in Cheney. One wall is covered with dozens of product labels precisely and creatively arranged into an intricate hexagon pattern.
“I couldn’t just sit around one night and had to be doing something,” said Youngs. “It also shows that what we’re doing is a business but also an art project. Art keeps it all positive.”
In another section of the grow area, there’s a collection of colorful labels and packaging from other producers and processors that Youngs said helps Pure Joy better define that what they are creating is distinct in terms of quality, look and experience.
Other walls include a colorful stencil of a fan-shaped marijuana leaf. Besides adding nice splashes of color to the stark drywall common in indoor grows, he hopes the repeated image reminds employees why they’re all there: to help brighten people’s lives with half a dozen strains.
“It helps us define our culture, and lets people vibe on it,” he said.
Youngs, in his mid-20s, has a background in technology and consumer goods. He feels the right touch is vital for the family-owned business, especially in a competitive and still-evolving industry. Besides growing quality hand-grown hand-trimmed cannabis, it hopes to create the perfect combinations of appealing shapes and colors in its packaging.
In the case of its edibles, Pure Joy seeks ways to combine its cannabis with healthy ingredients to make nutritious and appetizing treats that go beyond common candies and chocolates. They may even encourage people to get up and get active.
“Since the beginning of I-502, consumers have suffered from a lack of health-focused ways to get high,” Youngs said. “People think that all you’re going to do is sit on the couch and watch Monty Python.”
Over the past two years, Pure Joy has developed several flavors of Caramel Cannabis Sweets, including Green Apple, Raspberry, Sea Salt, Root Beer Float and Red Velvet Cheesecake. Each candy is 10 mg, which makes it easy for consumers to savor the flavor vs. simply getting high.
It also makes Shorties, cannabis-infused shortbread cookies made with organic soft white wheat flour that also have a dash of cardamom. It released a limited-edition gingerbread line of Shorties for this winter, and is working on new chewy candies for 2018.
Smokers are also enjoying The Bison, a line of pre-roll joints, illustrated by a vivid image Youngs found in an old family book of etchings.
One new product that Pure Joy is particularly excited about is Shizzle Energy Nut Budder, a high-protein, high-energy cannabis-infused paste that includes apricots, almond and cacao. Endurance athletes can suck the gel pack during a workout, or spread it on toast for a high-powered breakfast.
“Shizzle is for anyone who wishes to be active and elevated,” he said. “We believe it will be a hit with all outdoor enthusiasts, from hunters to snowboarders.”
Competitive athletes should consume at their own risk, especially those who may be screened for certain banned substances. For other levels of athleticism, Shizzle can make workouts more enjoyable.
“You will still need to get your 10 miles in – it’s not a performance enhancer, but can decrease the pain and it will help you enjoy the experience more and appreciate the beauty of the world around you,” he said.
In the future, Youngs sees potential for certain strains of cannabis to be consumed by competitive athletes, or at least not be automatically disqualifying. Many claim CBD, a molecular compound found in cannabis, can reduce pain and accelerate healing.
Youngs and his family are excited about the potential for Eastern Washington cannabis. Their products are available state-wide. He said the City of Cheney has also been good to work with, and, once barriers to academic research are lowered, he hopes Eastern Washington University could be a great research partner.
“We’d like to have some dialogue about science and different uses of the plant,” he said. “We also want to show people here we’re good neighbors. My ethos is to build a community, and engage everyone.”
Pure Joy also owns the lot next door, which Youngs said could someday be a great spot for social/community events, similar to what a winery can offer, but only if outdoor consumption laws change.
“A bunch of us watched the eclipse here,” he said. “We had such a good time – every time you can have a party on a Monday, it’s a good day.”